When booking a hotel stay, you may see an authorization hold on your account for the room rate plus an additional daily amount during your trip. This hold is to cover any incidental charges that may come up during your stay, such as room service, minibar snacks, movies, parking fees, and damages.
If you’re wondering whether hotels really put holds on cards for incidentals, the short answer is yes, they typically do.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explain what exactly hotel authorizations and holds are, why hotels place them, how much the hold amount is, how long the pending charges stay on your account, tips for avoiding large holds, and how to get the hold removed after your stay.
What is a Hotel Authorization Hold?
A hotel authorization hold, also known as a hotel hold or a pre-authorization, is a temporary hold that hotels place on your credit or debit card to cover the estimated cost of your stay, taxes, and any incidental charges.
It is a common practice in the hospitality industry to ensure that guests have sufficient funds available to cover their expenses during their stay.
A temporary hold on your account
When you check-in at a hotel, the front desk staff will typically ask for your credit or debit card to secure payment for your stay. This is when the hotel will place an authorization hold on your account.
The hold amount is usually the total amount of your reservation, plus an additional amount to cover any potential incidental charges, such as room service, minibar purchases, or damages.
This hold is not an actual charge, but it makes the funds unavailable until the hold is released. The purpose of the hold is to ensure that the hotel will be able to collect payment for any additional charges or damages that may occur during your stay.
Pending transaction that drops off after checkout
The hotel authorization hold will appear as a pending transaction on your account, which means that the funds are set aside but not yet deducted from your available balance. After you check out, the hotel will process the final charges for your stay, and the hold will be released.
It is important to note that while the hold will drop off after checkout, it can take a few days for the hold to disappear from your account. This delay is due to the processing time of the hotel and your bank or credit card issuer.
The exact timing may vary depending on the policies of the hotel and the financial institution.
Not an actual charge but makes funds unavailable until hold is released
It is essential to understand that a hotel authorization hold is not an actual charge. It is simply a temporary hold placed on your account to ensure funds are available for potential expenses. The hold will be released once the final charges are processed, and the funds will become available again.
To avoid any confusion or inconvenience, it is always a good idea to check your account balance and make sure you have sufficient funds available before your stay. If you have any concerns or questions about the authorization hold, it is best to contact the hotel directly for clarification.
Why Do Hotels Place Holds on Your Card?
When you check into a hotel, you may notice that the front desk asks for your credit card information and places a hold on a certain amount of money. This practice, known as a “hold” or “authorization,” is common in the hotel industry. But why do hotels do this?
Let’s explore the reasons behind this policy.
To ensure guests have sufficient funds available.
One of the main reasons hotels place holds on guests’ cards is to ensure that they have enough funds available to cover the cost of their stay. By placing a hold, the hotel can verify that the guest’s card is valid and that they have sufficient funds to pay for their room, taxes, and any additional charges they may incur during their stay.
This is especially important for hotels that offer services or amenities that guests can charge to their room, such as room service, spa treatments, or minibar purchases. The hold helps prevent situations where guests may rack up charges without the means to pay for them.
To cover any additional incidental fees or damages during the stay.
Another reason hotels place holds on guests’ cards is to cover any additional incidental fees or damages that may occur during the stay. Incidental fees can include things like parking fees, resort fees, or charges for using the hotel’s facilities.
If a guest causes any damages to the hotel room or property, the hold can also be used to cover the cost of repairs or replacements. This ensures that the hotel is not left financially responsible for any damage caused by guests.
Protection for the hotel in case guests leave without settling the final bill.
Lastly, placing a hold on a guest’s card provides protection for the hotel in case the guest leaves without settling their final bill. If a guest checks out and fails to pay for their entire stay, the hotel can use the hold to cover the outstanding balance.
This practice is particularly common for hotels that allow guests to check out before their final bill is settled, such as when using express check-out options. By placing a hold, the hotel can ensure that they have a form of payment to cover any unpaid charges.
How Much is the Hotel Hold Amount?
When you check into a hotel, you may notice that the hotel puts a hold on your credit or debit card for incidentals. The amount of the hold can vary depending on the hotel, but it is typically in the range of $50 to $100 per night.
Varies by hotel but often $50-$100 per night.
Each hotel has its own policy when it comes to the amount of the hold. Some hotels may have a flat rate hold amount, while others may base it on the length of your stay. However, a common range for the hold amount is between $50 and $100 per night.
Covers estimated incidentals like room service, minibar, movies, etc.
The purpose of the hold is to cover any incidentals that you may charge to your room during your stay. This can include expenses such as room service, minibar charges, pay-per-view movies, and other similar amenities.
By placing a hold on your card, the hotel ensures that they have enough funds to cover these charges.
May also include taxes, fees, and potential damages.
In addition to covering incidentals, the hold amount may also include taxes and fees that are associated with your stay. This can include things like occupancy taxes or resort fees. Furthermore, the hold amount may also serve as a buffer in case there are any damages to the room or if you check out without paying for any additional charges.
It’s important to note that the hold amount is not an actual charge. Instead, it is a temporary authorization that allows the hotel to ensure they have access to funds to cover any potential expenses. It typically takes a few days for the hold to be released after you check out, but the exact timing may vary depending on your bank or credit card issuer.
If you have any concerns or questions about the hold amount or its release, it’s always best to reach out to the hotel directly for clarification. They will be able to provide you with the most accurate information regarding their specific policies.
How Long Do Hotel Holds Last?
When you check into a hotel, it’s common for them to place a hold on your credit or debit card for incidentals. This hold is to ensure that you have enough funds to cover any additional charges that may occur during your stay, such as room service or minibar expenses.
But how long do these holds actually last?
Typically drop off 3-10 business days after checkout.
In most cases, hotel holds will be released within 3-10 business days after you check out. This means that the funds that were held on your card will become available again for you to use. Keep in mind that weekends and holidays may extend the release time, as banks may take longer to process transactions during these periods.
Banks process releases at different speeds.
It’s important to note that the exact timing of when the hold will be released can vary depending on your bank. Some banks may process releases faster than others, so it’s always a good idea to check with your specific financial institution to get an idea of their timeline.
In some cases, the hold may be released sooner than the typical 3-10 business days, while in other cases it may take a bit longer.
Hotels must release within 15 days of checkout per contract.
According to industry standards, hotels are required to release any holds placed on your card within 15 days of your checkout date. This is typically outlined in the contract that you agree to when you make your reservation.
If you notice that the hold has not been released within this timeframe, it’s a good idea to reach out to the hotel directly to inquire about the delay.
It’s worth mentioning that these timelines and policies may vary depending on the hotel and the specific circumstances of your stay. It’s always a good idea to review the hotel’s policies regarding incidental holds before making your reservation to ensure you have a clear understanding of how long the hold may last.
Tips to Avoid Large Hotel Holds
Use a debit card instead of credit if concerned about holds.
If you’re worried about potentially large holds on your credit card, consider using a debit card instead. While hotels may still place a hold on your account, the funds will be taken directly from your checking account, rather than being added to your credit card balance.
This can help you avoid accruing interest on the hold amount. Just be sure to keep enough funds in your account to cover any potential holds.
Inform the hotel at check-in if you don’t plan to use any incidentals.
When you check in to a hotel, let the front desk know if you don’t plan to use any incidentals during your stay. Incidentals typically include charges for items like room service, minibar, or pay-per-view movies.
By informing the hotel upfront, they may be able to waive the hold on your card or reduce the amount to cover only the room rate. This can help prevent any unexpected charges or holds on your card.
Pay cash for incidentals instead of charging to your room.
If you prefer to avoid any holds on your card altogether, consider paying for incidentals in cash instead of charging them to your room. This way, you can settle the charges immediately without having to wait for the hold to be released after checkout.
Just keep in mind that not all hotels may accept cash for incidentals, so it’s always a good idea to check with the front desk beforehand.
Remember, it’s important to always read the terms and conditions of your hotel reservation and understand their specific policies regarding holds on your card for incidentals. Each hotel may have different practices, so it’s best to be aware of their policies before checking in.
How to Get a Hotel Hold Removed
Call the hotel after checkout to request release
Once you have checked out of a hotel and paid your final bill, it’s important to know that the hold placed on your card for incidentals may not be automatically released. To ensure a timely release of the hold, it is recommended to call the hotel directly and request that they remove the hold from your card.
Be polite and provide them with the necessary information, such as your name, check-out date, and the amount of the hold. Most hotels will be able to assist you in releasing the hold promptly.
If no release after 15 days, call bank to dispute
If you have followed the first step and the hold has still not been released after 15 days, it may be necessary to escalate the issue. In this case, it is advised to call your bank or credit card issuer and explain the situation.
They will be able to open a dispute on your behalf and investigate the hold. It’s important to provide them with any relevant documentation, such as your hotel receipt and proof of payment, to support your claim.
The bank will work with you to resolve the issue and ensure that the hold is removed from your card.
Be patient as holds can take some time to clear
While it can be frustrating to have a hold on your card, it’s important to remember that these holds are a standard practice in the hotel industry. Hotels place holds to cover any potential incidentals or damages that may occur during your stay.
The duration of the hold can vary depending on the hotel and the policies of your bank or credit card issuer. In some cases, it may take a few days, while in others, it may take up to a week or more for the hold to clear.
Therefore, it’s important to be patient and allow the necessary time for the hold to be released.
For more information on hotel holds and how they work, you can visit creditcards.com. They provide detailed information on the process of holds and offer tips on how to handle any issues that may arise.
In summary, it’s standard practice for hotels to place a temporary hold on your account when you check-in to cover incidentals and potential room damages during your stay. While the pending charge can be inconvenient, hotels have legitimate reasons for putting holds and release them within 15 days after you check out.
Being aware of how hotel authorizations work can help you avoid problems. With some planning, you can often minimize the hold amount as well. If a hold remains on your card longer than it should, follow up with the hotel or your bank to get it resolved.