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When checking into a hotel, you often must provide a credit card for incidentals. This card temporarily holds any charges during your stay, such as room service or minibar purchases. But how long will it take to get those incidental hold funds back on your card after checkout?

If you’re wondering, “When will my hotel incidentals be refunded? “read on for a detailed look at hotel incidental policies and how long it takes to get your money back.

If you’re short on time, here’s the quick answer: Most hotels release incidental holds within 3-5 business days after checkout. However, depending on the hotel’s policy, it can take up to 15 days. Now, let’s dive into the details…

What Are Hotel Incidentals?

Credit card for incidentals when stay at hotel

Hotel incidentals refer to additional charges that guests may incur during their stay, separate from the room rate. These charges are usually for services or items not included in the standard room rate and are considered optional or extra.

Hotel incidentals can vary depending on the hotel’s policies and the amenities they offer.

Definition and Common Examples

Hotel incidentals can include a wide range of services and items. Some common examples of hotel incidentals include:

  • Room service charges
  • Mini-bar expenses
  • Spa services
  • Parking fees
  • Internet access
  • Phone calls
  • Laundry or dry cleaning services

These charges are typically added to the guest’s bill and can be paid either at checkout or as part of the overall payment for the stay.

Why Hotels Charge for Incidentals

Hotels charge for incidentals to cover the costs of providing additional services and amenities to their guests. These charges help hotels offset the expenses of offering services such as room service or maintaining mini-bars in the rooms.

Charging for incidentals, hotels can keep their room rates competitive and offer a wider range of amenities and services.

Additionally, charging for incidentals allows hotels to account for any potential damages or misuse of hotel property. For example, if a guest consumes items from the mini-bar and does not pay for them, the hotel can charge the guest accordingly.

It’s important for guests to be aware of these charges and to review their final bill before checking out to ensure accuracy. If there are any discrepancies, it’s best to address them with the hotel’s front desk as soon as possible.

Also Read:
What are Incidentals at a Hotel?

Typical Hotel Policies on Incidental Holds

Length of Holds

When you check into a hotel, it is common for the hotel to place an incidental hold on your credit or debit card. This hold is a temporary charge that ensures you have enough funds to cover any additional charges during your stay, such as room service or mini-bar purchases.

The length of these holds can vary depending on the hotel’s policies and the type of card you are using.

Typically, incidental holds can range from a few days to a week. Some hotels may place a hold for the entire duration of your stay, while others may release the hold after a certain number of days, even if you are still staying at the hotel.

It is important to check with the hotel or review their website for specific information regarding their incidental hold policies.

Release Time Frames

While the length of incidental holds can vary, hotels must release the hold within a reasonable timeframe once you have checked out and settled your final bill. The release time frames can depend on various factors, including the hotel’s internal processes and the bank’s policies that issued your card.

Typically, the hold will be released within a few business days after checking out. However, it is not uncommon for it to take up to a week for the hold to be released and for the funds to become available in your account again.

It is important to remember this when budgeting for your trip or if you need immediate access to those funds.

If you have any concerns or questions about releasing an incidental hold, it is recommended to contact the hotel directly. They will be able to provide you with specific information regarding their policies and assist you in resolving any issues.

Pro Tip: It is always a good idea to review your credit or debit card statement after your stay to ensure that the incidental hold has been released and you have been properly refunded. If you notice any discrepancies or the hold has not been released within a reasonable timeframe, don’t hesitate to contact the hotel or your bank for assistance.

Factors That Impact Refund Speed

Factors That Impact Refund Speed

Your Bank’s Processing Time

One of the main factors that can impact the speed at which you receive a refund for incidentals from a hotel is your bank’s processing time. Once the hotel initiates the refund, it is up to your bank to process the transaction and credit the funds back to your account.

The processing time can vary depending on the bank and its internal procedures. Some banks may take a few business days to process the refund, while others may take longer. It is best to check with your bank to see how long their processing time typically takes.

Weekends and Holidays

Another factor that can affect the speed of getting incidentals back from a hotel is weekends and holidays. Banks typically do not process transactions on weekends or holidays, so if the hotel initiates the refund, it may take longer for the funds to be credited back to your account.

For example, if you check out of a hotel on a Friday and the hotel processes the refund on Saturday, you may not see the funds in your account until Monday or Tuesday, depending on your bank’s processing time.

Errors or Disputes

Errors or disputes can also cause delays in receiving a refund for incidentals from a hotel. If there is an error in processing the refund or a dispute between you and the hotel regarding the charges, it may take longer to resolve and receive the refund.

In these cases, it is important to communicate with the hotel and your bank to ensure the issue is resolved as quickly as possible. Keep all documentation and receipts related to the incidentals in case you need to provide evidence during the dispute resolution process.

It is important to note that the speed at which you receive a refund for incidentals from a hotel can vary depending on these factors. While some refunds may be processed quickly and appear in your account within a few business days, others may take longer due to bank processing times, weekends and holidays, or errors and disputes.

Please contact the hotel or your bank for clarification if you have any concerns or questions about the refund process.

Also Read:
How to Dispute Hotel Charges: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Get Your Incidentals Refunded Faster

When staying at a hotel, providing a credit card for incidentals such as room service, minibar charges, or damages is common. These charges, or incidental holds, are typically refunded to your account after you check out. However, the time it takes for the refund to appear can vary.

Here are some tips to help you get your incidentals refunded faster:

Pay With Debit Instead of Credit

Close-up view of debit card

One way to potentially speed up the refund process is to pay for your incidentals with a debit card instead of a credit card. Since debit card transactions are typically processed immediately, the hold on your account may be released sooner.

However, using a debit card for incidentals may temporarily reduce your available funds until the refund is processed.

Call the Hotel to Expedite

If you’re hurrying to get your incidentals refunded, consider calling the hotel’s front desk or accounting department. Politely explain your situation and inquire about the estimated time for refund processing.

Sometimes, a simple phone call can help expedite the process or provide you with valuable information about any delays.

Avoid Overpayment Situations

One common reason for delays in getting incidentals refunded is when there is an overpayment situation. This can occur if you authorize a higher amount for incidentals than what was charged. To avoid this, double-check the charges on your hotel bill before checking out.

Immediately bring any discrepancies to the hotel staff’s attention if you notice any discrepancies. Addressing overpayment issues upfront can help ensure a smoother and faster refund process.

Remember, every hotel has its own policies and procedures regarding incidental refunds. While some hotels process refunds quickly, others may take a few days or weeks. Following these tips can increase your chances of getting your incidentals refunded faster and avoid unnecessary delays.

The Bottom Line

When getting incidentals back from a hotel, remember a few key things. The typical refund time frame can range from a few days to weeks, depending on various factors.

Policies can also vary between hotels, so it’s important to understand your reservation’s specific terms and conditions. However, there are steps you can take to potentially speed up the process and ensure a smooth refund experience.

Typical Refund Time Frames

The time it takes to get incidentals back from a hotel can vary depending on several factors. Generally, hotels process refunds within a few days to a week after check-out.

However, it’s important to note that some hotels may take longer, especially during busy periods or if there are any complications with the refund process.

It’s always a good idea to keep track of your expenses during your stay and keep any receipts or documentation. This can help facilitate the refund process and provide proof of any charges that need to be reimbursed.

Policies Vary Between Hotels

Each hotel may have its own specific policies regarding refunding incidentals. Some hotels may have a straightforward process and refund the amount directly to your credit card or provide a check. Others may require you to fill out a refund request form or provide additional documentation.

Before making a reservation, reviewing the hotel’s policies regarding incidentals and refunds is a good idea. This information is typically available on the hotel’s website or can be obtained by contacting customer service directly.

Understanding the hotel’s policies can help set your expectations and avoid surprises when getting your money back.

You Can Take Steps to Speed It Up

While the refund process is ultimately up to the hotel, you can potentially take steps to speed up the process.

First, settle any outstanding charges or disputes with the hotel before checking out. This can help expedite the refund process, as there will be no unresolved issues to address.

Additionally, it’s a good idea to follow up with the hotel after check-out to inquire about the status of your refund. Politely reaching out to the hotel’s customer service department can help ensure your refund request is being processed and provide an opportunity for any necessary follow-up actions.

Remember to keep all communication with the hotel politely and professionally. Being courteous and understanding can go a long way in resolving any issues and expediting the refund process.

Also Read:
How Long Does It Take for a Hotel to Refund Your Money?
How to Get a Hotel Refund: A Step-by-Step Guide


As you can see, most hotels take 3-5 business days to refund credit card incidental holds after you check out. However, it can vary based on each hotel’s policies and factors like your bank’s processing time.

The best way to get your money back quickly is to understand the policies upfront, pay with debit instead of credit, and avoid overpayments. With the right information, you can better manage the process and minimize any hassles with the common hotel practice of charging incidentals.

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