Crowne Plaza Hotel Blindsides You With A $235.13 Hold For Incidental Charges

Much like that nasty little gas station problem we talked about awhile back, hotels just love to slap holds on your debit or credit card accounts for “incidental charges.” There’s nothing wrong or uncommon about the practice, but its difficult or impossible to tell exactly how much the hold might be — and for some consumers who aren’t expecting it, the holds can cause big problems. Reader Eric recently got slapped with a $253.13 hold from the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Kansas City, and he’s a little irked because they didn’t disclose the hold when he was checking in, and they only refunded $160 of it when he checked out.

Eric says:

I recently stayed in a suite at the “Crowne Plaza Hotel In Kansas City” for a wedding. I made my reservations long in advance and everything seemed fine. I arrived and checked in, gave my card for any liabilities I incurred while staying there. Got to my room and was very happy with the cleanliness and space the suite offered. I almost immediately left after dropping my bags, running around town with the groom to be.

I have my checking account setup to send SMS messages to my phone for any purchases over 50 dollars. My wife likes to spend a lot of “little money”, but I digress. I get an SMS message saying I had a pending charge of 547 dollars. Well through the package the new couple had setup with the hotel the suites were 89 dollars a night with taxes and such my bill was supposed to be 311.87 (per the reservation line l called to confirm the price). When I finally got back to the hotel I asked for the manager and inquired about the additional 235.13 pulled from my checking account. She stated it was for incidentals and that it would be placed back in my account after my stay. I’ve stayed at some pretty high-end hotels and never have heard of such a thing. Usually the hotel keeps your account on file and then charges you at the end of your stay your room and any room service, additions etc.

I didn’t make a huge deal out of it because it wasn’t really about the money, I had plenty of money in the account to account for, well honestly a 235 dollar purchase I didnt plan on. Because when it comes down to it, that was money that was not available in my account. If for some reason I came with only 311.87 in my account, the hotel would have overdrawn me.

I’ve heard of gas stations doing this to the tune of a few bucks, but 235 dollars? I was never told this would occur, even though the front desk is supposed to tell you about this before check in.

Really what it comes down to, is how much power do these companies have over our own money. Money we don’t even designate them to take or “hold” in the first place. Ironically 30 mins after I left the desk, I get another SMS saying 160 dollars had been deposited into my account. Still not the whole amount just really odd. Something to think over.

Eric, you’re not alone in being upset about this. We found a thread over at FlyerTalk where people are debating whether or not these types of holds should be standardized or disclosed to the customer. The problem, as the Marriott Concierge explains, lies in the fact that each hotel (even within a chain of hotels) calculates the incidental hold amount differently:

The hold is determined by sum of three factors, the length of stay, room rate and tax, and something called the incidental factor. The first two are simple math, you take your room rate and tax and multiple it by the number of nights you will be staying. However the incidental factor is less constant. This amount is based on the typical spending habits of the property’s guests. This means you can expect to have a much larger hold at a resort location than you would typically have at an Airport location because guest tended to spend a lot more on incidentals. Likewise guests typically spend more at certain international locations than at many domestic locations.

Once the incidental factor is created, like Socrates said, there is no human determination of what the hold amount will be. The hold is determined and processed by the hotels system based on the factors mentioned above.

As far as we can tell, the best thing to do is to ask how much the hold will be when you check in. Then, if you can, give the hotel a credit card, rather than a debit card, to use for incidentals. That way you’re less likely to run into overdraft fees and other debit card related nuisances.

Of course, if the hotel doesn’t end up returning the correct amount to your checking account within a reasonable period of time, you should contact your bank and dispute the charge.

Is there a consistent incidental hold policy? [FlyerTalk]
(Photo: Chrispitality )


Edit Your Comment

  1. jaubele1 says:

    Typically these holds are “calculated” by the property management system (i.e. computer system) at the hotel, and *that* is usually established by a manager(s) and loaded into the system.

    As for being informed about the hold for incidentals, having worked in hotels and stayed at hotels the next time that information is highlighted will be the first time.

  2. blue_duck says:

    I’m still wondering about the $160…

  3. PsychoCemia says:

    I’m curious about that SMS feature he’s got, though. Is that a common thing? I’ve never heard of it before, but it sounds incredibly useful.

  4. simplegreen says:

    Well the 160 is just part of the incidental that they put right back into my account they held the rest until after i checked out which they refunded as well.

  5. simplegreen says:

    the SMS feature is through BoA (dont crucify me please, I’ve always had good luck with them so far)

  6. 12-Inch Idongivafuck Sandwich says:

    The hotels I used to work at would hold $75 & $100/day for incidentals (depending on the class of room). Pretty standard practice from my experience.

    Can’t blame the hotels, because they want to make sure you are good for whatever you are charging to your room (it wouldn’t work to wait until the end of the stay, then charge your card, because of the chance of the cc being declined at check out). If you charge enough to your room during your stay, the hotel may go out for another authorization.

    IMHO, if you don’t have a credit card, get one, if for nothing else other than for hotel stays. You can book the room with the credit card (they will usually charge the first night room & tax at the time), and use the credit card for incidentals. If you want to swap out the credit card for a debit card or cash at the end of your stay you can (usually they will refund the first night room & tax to the credit card and you can pay it with cash/debit also). If you put your debit card down for incidentals, the money will actually come out of your checking account, and you won’t get it back until a few days after checkout.

    If you aren’t happy about it, don’t put down a credit card for incidentals, you won’t be able to make phone calls, order movies, or charge stuff to your room, but you won’t have to worry about temporary authorizations.

  7. PsychoCemia says:

    I looked through a couple banks’ websites, and I found out that Wachovia, for instance, has free email alerts (which I’ve already got) for minimum balance amounts, but nothing for expenditure alerts. Also, it has an email-to-phone feature (, but that dings you for internet/data charges through your phone provider. That’s a shame. :(

  8. SadSam says:

    The last time I rented a car with Avis I was given documentation disclosing the hold/deposit they would impose on any debit card used for a car rental. I appreciated the up front disclosure, although I was already prepared for a hold/deposit. I’ve since switched to using a credit card for rental cars, hotel reservations and airline tickets.

  9. ckaught78 says:

    What should happen when placing a hold on a credit/debit card is that the merchant will place a hold for $1, as most gas stations and rental car companies do. That $1 hold gives them an authorization number that they can then go back and use to charge the entire amount.

  10. Opie says:

    When funds are put on hold, they are not actually pulled from your account (but they do become unavailable for other vendors, so the hold could result in NSF hits when the money is actually there). Funds are put on hold for many reasons…including (as has been mentioned at this site in the past) when you use plastic to pay for gas at the pump.

  11. EllaMcWho says:

    When I checked into a Las Vegas hotel after pre-paying via a dot-com travel booking service, I refused to provide a CC for incidentals – but then had to pony up a $100 cash ‘deposit.’ I asked whether they couldn’t just turn off my charging privileges and was told that it was too easy for the hotel’s employees to override the system at the various outlets (bars, coffee shop, restaurant) that offer charging to rooms. Anyhow, I thought them holding onto the $100 was a steep price for their system not being designed correctly. Oh, and I didn’t have that $100 to drop into their slot machines over the course of my stay, so they were the ones to lose on the policy.

  12. evslin says:

    @PsychoCemia: USAA has that too, you can configure your account to ping you for deposits/withdrawals, NSF, etc..

    It’s pretty slick.

  13. EllaMcWho says:

    ETA: I did get all my $$ back at checkout.

  14. Perhaps, you should contact your bank ahead of time about pre approving charges of certain vendors

    Or maybe this leaves the market open for pre paid credit cards

  15. Jevia says:

    I didn’t think hotels even allowed debit cards to be used for the initial ‘hold.’ Granted, its been some years since I stayed at a hotel, but I’m pretty sure I was told I had to use the credit card up front, but could switch to the debit card when i left to actually pay for anything.

  16. juniper says:

    @PsychoCemia: I know does this.

  17. Antediluvian says:

    Reason #846 why I don’t use a debit card for stuff other than fuel (sometimes) and groceries / drugstore / Home Depot purchases (and ATM withdrawals). And only transactions where I’m getting cash back do I use a PIN — others go through as credit.

    I really recommend using a credit card for non-incidentals, especially travel-related spending. Ideally, a GOOD credit card (Amex, not Discover). I know some people can’t, and that I understand, but some people WON’T, and that I do not understand.

  18. Cattivella says:

    This happened to me too. I stayed at a Ritz-Carlton for a girls weekend (my sister works for one of their hotels, so I was staying with the family rate of $100/night). The only difference is that this hold STARTED the day AFTER I checked out and was for $750.

    I couldn’t believe they could hold that much money (which is chump change for most of their guests, but definitely not me) without notifying me that they were going to AFTER I checked out and paid for everything charged. That hold was on my account for four days and made a couple of bills late, but both the hotel and my bank said there was nothing that could be done until the 4 days was up.

    This was especially surprising since I had stayed at other Ritz locations several times and never had a hold for any amount of money placed on my card.

  19. @Opie: The trouble is that this was not a “hold” but a straight up charge because he used a debit/check card. Hotels have taken to charging the full stay up front plus “incidentals” on debit/check cards, but not true credit cards. Even if the money is to be refunded –a process that can take up to 30 days after you check out at some hotels– your money is not available to spend nor to cover any pending checks and debits going thru your checking account. So if they aren’t taking your money and it’s not available for you to spend, then who has it?

  20. AaronZ says:

    HOW does anyone who reads the Consumerist still use Debit Cards?

  21. quail says:

    My first experience with this was back in college. 3 nights stay in San Antonio right after Thanksgiving. 3 weeks later I tried getting gifts for XMAS and the card company said I was maxed out even though I had $600 left on the card. The hotel still had a hold on $500 of my credit and the card company said it wasn’t scheduled to come off for another week. (A 4 week hold?) After a few phone calls it did come off, but I got to where I just used my Amex card after that. No more spending limit worries due to hotel and car rental holds on my account.

  22. quail says:

    @Antediluvian: I got to agree. Out of all of the credit card companies I’ve ever dealt with I love American Express. Yea, there’s the yearly charge and they aren’t accepted everywhere, and they charge outrageous interest if you don’t pay them off each month. But when it comes to travel and having a card company back you up when a retailer tries to do you wrong, they can’t can’t be beat.

  23. bravo369 says:

    This still doesn’t make much sense to me. so his bill came to $311. If he only had $425 in his account, he technically had enough to pay the bill agreed upon but not enough for what they put on ‘hold’. would they have denied him the room? That would have been an even more interesting story to write into consumerist. i was denied a room because i didn’t have enough imaginary money for an imaginary bill.

  24. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    Go [] and comment on proposed regulation AA, which might have some bearing on this practice.
    It also is beatin’ on the automatic overdraft ‘protection’ for debit cards, to save you from the ’embarassment’ of being denied a transaction for a small ($35.00 each time) fee (then the overdraft fees)…the proposal would require banks to allow you to opt-out of this ‘protection.’

  25. chartrule says:

    Hold in hotel speak sounds like a fancy way to say theft.

  26. bossco says:

    He must not stay in hotels very often. It’s at least $50 a night hold every place I worked. Rental cars agencies do it too, although it’s just one lump sum. When you reserve a room just ask how much a day additional will be authorized That way you will not max out. And yes it takes like a week for the charge to drop off. It’s been this way for years.

  27. Consumerist-Moderator-Roz says:

    @AaronZ: Don’t be a jerk. Helpful suggestions are fine, blindly blaming the OP for making choices you don’t agree with is not fine. Read the comment code.

  28. HogwartsAlum says:

    @12-Inch Idongivafuck Sandwich:

    “IMHO, if you don’t have a credit card, get one, if for nothing else other than for hotel stays.”

    Wow. Another reason for me to sell my soul to the credit card companies. I guess Amex wasn’t kidding when they said “Don’t leave home without it.” Without it, I can never leave home. :P

  29. I got hit with this in June at a Holiday in. We were staying for 4 nights and the hold was not disclosed to us when we booked or when we checked in. When I got to the room and set up my laptop and checked my banking statement I noticed it and I was irate because they hit us with double the rate for our rooms totaling some $700. The wouldn’t refund it and wouldn’t let us transfer the hold to a credit card. Luckily we had extra money but I know what this guy is going through.

  30. Average_Joe says:

    Do hotels not allow cash? If you pay with cash how can they hold your money? It seems odd they can take advantage of credit cards to pre bill you. But as with anything never ever use your debit card as a credit card. Get a real credit card for that. You can avoid all kinds of problems including this one.

  31. wcnghj says:

    This happened to me at Hampton Inn without anyone telling me and they didn’t release the money for 3 days after I left!

    They held $85. Never again will I use a debit card at a hotel.

  32. thelushie says:

    @Jevia: @ceejeemcbeegee: Honestly, I have never had these issues with a debit card when checking into a hotel. They do take off a predetermined amount of money, but I know this beforehand and account for it. Just ask. They will tell you how much. I have never had a full nights stay taken off my card before I got there. And how long it takes to get credited back to your account has more to do with your bank than anything.

  33. Ragman says:

    @quail: Amex has their Blue card now, with no annual fees and cashback. It’s quite tempting, but I don’t see Amex signs in some places I shop at. For me, it’d be a repeat of when I got my first Discover card and had to carry a Visa backup.

    I’m glad my credit limit is WAY over my monthly expenditures on my cards. I think I started off with $1200 on Disc (Classic) way back when I was fresh out of college, and they increased it every year for several years. Just keep charging some stuff on it monthly (put your cell phone bill or buy groceries/gas on it) and paying in full, and you should get your limit raised. If not, you can call in to ask for an increase.

  34. 12-Inch Idongivafuck Sandwich says:

    @HogwartsAlum: It’s your call, if you want to use a debit card (and have the hotels actually take your money out of your checking account for incidentals, and not get it back for upwards 7-10ish business days) then go for it. As I stated, you don’t have to actually pay the hotel with the credit card (not racking up any fees or anything in the process).

  35. scoosdad says:

    @evslin: … add Chase-issued credit cards to that list. And you can set the dollar threshold where the alerts are triggered.

  36. mythago says:

    @ceejeemcbeegee: The trouble was also that they didn’t, apparently, inform the customer of the hold. Credit card or debit card, how hard is it to have a policy posted, or to inform the customer that given the length of their stay and their room that there will be a hold of $X?

  37. humphrmi says:

    What I love … hotels like Holiday Inn Express, which I stay at a lot (they always have a pool and free breakfast) that don’t offer any amenities, but still want a credit or debit card at check-in for “amenities”… I make a point of asking “What amenities?” One hotel actually had the gaul to tell me that they offer some limited travel amenities, like toothpaste and shaving cream, for sale from behind the front counter. “So you want my credit card to make sure that I don’t make off with any of your amenities located BEHIND THE COUNTER???”

    Fortunately I use a credit card, so I’ve never been impacted by this. Still, it irks me.

  38. simplegreen says:

    Exactly, I’m no spring chicken. If i would have known there was a hold, I would have been smart enough to use my Credit card so i wouldnt be denied any of my money. The point here is that it was never disclosed. And to the gentleman that said I must not stay in hotels very often.. I travel about 50-60% for my job. I know the routine. This hasnt ever happened before.

    By habit i use my debit card, i’ll reach for my CC for now on at a hotel thats for sure. I just hate being in debt, If i dont have it, i wont spend it.

  39. loganmo says:

    A few months ago, I stayed at the W Hotel in Times Square. I pre-paid the stay on a credit card, but had to give a card at check-in to cover incidentals. I provided my debit card as they said the hold would only be $50. Well, the hotel had run out of my room type so they gave me a free upgrade. The clerk neglected to make the upgrade “free” in the system and several hundred dollars were stolen from my account. It took a day to convince the hotel manager that it was an actual charge, not a hold. It took a week to get it fixed. I was unsatisfied with the service I got from them trying to fix it. So I disputed the original charge for the hotel stay on my credit card, won, and got all my money back!

  40. onebadazzmofo says:

    Similar incident happened to me several years ago.
    The IUPUI (Indianapolis University Purdue University Indianna…I think) did this to me, except it was 2500 or so they they put on my card, took like 7 days to get it removed,l I was livid by the end of it.

  41. ChuckECheese says:

    @AaronZ: I wonder what percentage of adolescents think that everybody in the world lives exactly as they do? According to the Federal Reserve, in 2004 one-quarter of American adults had no credit cards. Many of that 25% probably cannot obtain a credit card for various reasons. The credit card obsession is a distinctly American thing. It’s acceptable in other countries to do business with cash, and you don’t have to worry about hundreds of dollars of preauthorizations. I shouldn’t have to pony up hundreds in extra fees in order to buy gas or stay in a hotel.

  42. @thelushie: First, you don’t know to ask until it happens to you.

    Second, I can give you a list of hotels where this is the common practice. The short list: Hyatt Anaheim, the Pala Mesa Resort, Hampton Inn (Denver), Hilton Houston TX, Adolphus Hotel in Dallas…

    How long a refund takes isn’t really the issue. It’s that many of these hotels don’t tell you about this policy when you book the room. I’ve only been made aware of this when I check in (Hyatt Anaheim and Hampton Inn had a friendly sign at the check-in desk) or after checking in and getting a ping from my account (like the OP did).

    It’s just freakin’ inconvenient to have an extra $100-$300 for “incidentals” unknowingly taken out of your account. It’s alarming to have less money in the bank than you anticipated, especially when away from home. And if you are traveling on a tight budget, you run the risk of NSFs on your checking account which mean more fees and digging yourself even deeper into debt.

  43. @mythago: Exactly. Just tell me when I make the reservation or when I check-in. Now, I call ahead and ask, but what about people who don’t know to even ask.

    This happened to my mother, who is well into her 60s. The Marriott in DC took an additional $250 for incidentals, which was most of her spending money, without so much as a word. She went to dinner and was very embarrassed when her card was denied. Fortunately, I was able to deposit funds into her account so her pending checks wouldn’t bounce.

  44. @ChuckECheese: Right, a debit/check card is just like cash, whereas a credit card is not. However, I know the hotel’s reasoning for doing this is that they can authorize your debit/check card and then you could empty the account before you check out and skip town. With a credit card, and authorization is a guarantee they will be paid. I get the logic, but I don’t like the practice.

  45. Snakeophelia says:

    Even if we agree the logic is correct, there is NO excuse for hotels not to be up-front when customers check in about the amount being held and the duration it is being held. I know that when I first started working and was on business travel on my own credit card (could only get reimbursed after the trip), a hotel in NYC caught me out with this and basically froze the remaining CC balance that I needed to, you know, eat while I was on the trip. I didn’t know they’d do this – I was fresh out of school – and it caused me quite a bit of grief.

    Bottom line – don’t do business travel without a corporate AmEx.

  46. AbbyNormal says:

    Having worked at hotels for the last seven years, in several states, I can say that it is standard practice to authorize a certain amount on the card presented at check-in for incidentals. The problem with using a debit card for is that, while the authorization is released by the hotel upon check-out, your particular bank may take up to 10 days to release your funds. But, you can call the hotel, and give them your bank’s information, and the hotel can fax a release-of-funds letter to the bank, which facilitates the bank releasing the hold promptly.

    I can give a hundred examples of why this is done, based on experience. And, yes, not everyone will run up $177 per day in pay-per-view charges, or flood their jacuzzi because they passed out smoking blunts with the water on, but it only takes one or two bad guests to ruin it for everyone.

    Always ask up front. Some hotels will shut off all amenities in lieu of a deposit. If it’s a non-smoking hotel, the cash deposit will be higher, but it varies.

  47. Norislolz says:

    The op says he has “stayed at some pretty high-end hotels and never have heard of such a thing.”

    As someone else who has stayed in plenty of expensive, high-end hotels, practically every hotel has done this. I’m not saying that the practice is right, but it’s common.

  48. DeadWriter says:

    I once, when I was ~20, had to book a hotel, conference rooms, and meals at a hotel in Oregon or Washington. I had cash. Thousands of dollars of cash, including enough to cover the “deposit”. I had 2 forms or ID, a bank card, but no credit card. The hotel also approved billing directly to the company I worked for, but we have had problems with that in the past, hence the cash. I went to check in, and they wouldn’t let me pay in cash. They wouldn’t even let me get my room. The solution- the office administrator. The problem was, we had overnighted them a cashiers check and they refused to accept it, but said cash would be OK.

    My boss was out. My bosses boss was out. I was up the creek until my admin. asst. pretended to be my boss and called the manager after calling our contact with their corporate office. A coworker of mine could check in, but they wouldn’t let me. Their reasoning wasn’t that it was cash, but that I was too young to have that much cash. The reason I had the cash was their suggestion, as they didn’t want checks, certified or otherwise before checking in. Well their ad hoc policy cost their chain every training session from that point onward. After the office administrator called (as my boss) everything changed.

  49. sean77 says:

    @humphrmi: Holiday inn express has Pay-TV. That’s an amenity.

    Plus Holiday Inn provides toothpaste and combs and such for *free*. They even have a card in the bathroom telling you this.

  50. STrRedWolf says:

    At Anthrocon 2007, I was staying at the Omni in Pittsburgh. I had moved about $1k into my checking from savings for AC, and was told on check in, up front, that they will hold $200 for incidentals… which were $9/night for Wifi access and $7 for a slice of cheesecake at the end of the convention. I got the rest back on check-out.

    From just the summary above, it sounds like the Crowne Plaza Hotel didn’t tell them up front about it. Ether way, I basically bank $1K for at-hotel fees and food because it’s a rather large convention (nearly 4000 attendees this year).

  51. lingum says:

    I went to a Microsloth seminar at this very hotel this spring and was very impressed by how nice it was. This is very disappointing to hear.

  52. mythago says:

    @AbbyNormal: customers shouldn’t have to “ask up front”. The hotel should have to “tell up front”. It’s perfectly understandable that a hotel might want to have a cushion in case a guest decides to empty out the minibar. What’s not acceptable is failing to tell the guest the policy and how long the hold will last.

  53. chiieddy says:

    @simplegreen: You can do it without specifically calling it SMS if you know your email SMS address (ie and have it send email alerts for over a certain amount. Most banks with online banking/billpay features have this.

  54. trojanjustin says:

    A couple things on this:

    – Hotels ALWAYS authorize more than room and tax, it is the only way they can guarantee they will get the money for anything charged to the room. Don’t take your anger out on the desk clerk, it’s not his fault. The computer is set up that way.

    -It is better to use a credit card. However many banks release the holds on the funds after only one business day.

  55. @trojanjustin: Again, the issue isn’t that they do it, it’s that they don’t tell you.

    And when you use a debit/check card, the “authorization” is really a deduction of amount from your checking account, making those funds unavailable. You might as well give them cash.

    With a credit card, they authorize the same amount but to verify the credit limit. You can still use your charge card. The final charge is made upon check out.

    I agree, the computer is set up that way: to charge the full amount to a debit/check card NOW and to charge the full amount to a credit card LATER.

    And I agree it is best to use a credit card when traveling. But not everyone has that option.

  56. And it has always amazed me that banks can take money OUT of your account in a matter of seconds, but it takes DAYS or WEEKS for them to put it back IN.

    I call shenanigans on the “it takes XX days/weeks for a credit” bullshit banks/hotels spew.

  57. hamsangwich says:

    I’ve never had that happen to me, but if I was in a jovial mood I think I’d probably respond by letting them know that if they were putting a hold on my account, I was putting a hold on whatever crappy vase they have in the lobby. Grab vase, exit right.

  58. Syrenia says:

    Is this really even reasonable as a business practice in the first place? To charge you ~165% of the agreed price before you consume any of the service? And then take their own sweet time to undo the excess?

    Their staff is in each room every day, and can notify the manager of damage.

  59. Trojan69 says:

    Headline news, folks….anytime you charge your meal at a restaurant, the amount authorized is greater than the pre-tip total. I hope you aren’t counting on that extra 20% in your checking account or available credit limit when you leave the establishment.

    The reason hotels, such as Holiday Express who offer no amenities, authorize more than the anticipated bill is for potential damage and leakage. (Don’t think plumber, think theft)

  60. Brazell says:

    I’ve had similar problems though not with Crown Plaza. I stayed at a Hilton in Philadelphia in 2006, and they put a hold on my credit card for something close to three weeks for about $250. I called multiple times to see when they’d release the hold, and nobody had any information about the charge or even the policy of puting a hold on the card.

    What was equally confusing was a billing snaffoo that they charged my CC when it should have been my work CC for the room, and had to remove that… and so the hold that lingered there for 3 weeks just caused extra confusion.

  61. Brazell says:

    @hamsangwich: haha. I’d take one of those industrial starbucks carrafes. Sounds fair to me :D

  62. shugo says:

    I work at a Crowne Plaza in a different state. At the front desk there is a big notice about debit card purchases and it warns about overdraft fees. They also recommend not using your debit card.

  63. itsmequinn says:

    I was blindsided with the exact same kind of charge at Jury’s Hotel in Dupont Circle, Washington, DC and it took more than a full business week for ANY of the hold to be released. Thankfully it was not a problem for me but I was never told that any hold would be put on my card at all. In fact, their exact words were that they would be keeping my card info in case of incidental charges. To me, this did not employ a hold of $240.

  64. outsdr says:

    The hotel I work for holds an additional $150 above the total cost of the guest’s stay. That additional is released upon checkout. It is to cover possible long distance charges to the room, meals billed to the room, and any possible damages incurred.

    The registration for has this printed on it in 18 point bold text- I know it does; I designed them myself. Whenever a guest checks in, I point that area out to the guest and ask them to read and initial the part that says “no smoking or pets in the room” and then read through the bottom and sign. The bottom part talks about the $150 additional charged, as well as that while the amount is released by our hotel upon checkout, it can take 2-3 weeks for the money to be returned to the guest’s account, depending on their bank’s policies, and as such, we prefer that debit cards are not used. If they are, our hotel will not be responsible for the length of time it takes for the bank to return the money.

    95% of the guests checking in don’t read that area before signing, even when it’s pointed out.

    And a great number get very upset that we prefer something other than a debit card, and argue with us that it “works just like a credit card,” refusing to listen to our explanation.

    I can’t speak for every hotel, but I know the one I work for isn’t out to screw over the people who chose to stay with us, no matter what they may assume.

  65. outsdr says:

    In addition, our policies are printed and displayed on the front desk counter in the two places where guests are checked in. Most people don’t even notice them, and I don’t know how to make them more noticeable without using neon.

  66. derekisphat says:

    the hotel that i work for has a similar policy of holding for incidental charges, in case someone smokes in a room, orders something, or has any other extra charges. the only people that ever complain about it are the debit card users.

  67. HogwartsAlum says:

    @12-Inch Idongivafuck Sandwich:

    I DON’T want to have a hold put on my debit card, but with all these crazy policies, it just seems like I HAVE to get a credit card, even if I don’t want one. Even if I can’t afford one. It makes me want to cry. :(

    I will hold out as long as I can! >:|

  68. RckPngn says:

    I work at a hotel. This is true we do hold money for incedentals. But after you check out we release the funds from our side. Anything after that has only to do with your bank. Once you have checked out in the system the money is taken and its up to the bank to release the hold when they want or when you call.