A hotel might put a certain amount on hold on your credit card upon check-in
A hotel might put a certain amount on hold on your credit card upon check-in – photobyphotoboy (canva)

Your time spent traveling is meant to be enjoyable, and the last thing anyone wants to worry about is when or how much their card will be charged. And when you’d rather be relaxing in your hotel room, you shouldn’t have to linger around the front desk after hours of traveling to wait for your payment to be processed.

Hotels can charge your card after you checked-out if they discover missing or damaged items in the room. Hotels can also charge after check-out for additional fees that were not included in the room rate. In addition, some hotels apply account holds as a credit card charge after check-out.

The following information below will cover additional details about why hotels charge your credit card and how to avoid it. In addition, how long it takes a hotel to charge your credit card and whether you can dispute a hotel’s charge will be discussed.

Possible Reasons Why A Hotel Will Charge Your Credit Card After You Checked-Out

Some hotels place credit card holds per night based on the amount a guest spends on the room rate, incidental coverage, or a combination of both. The purpose is to allow them to cover incidental costs & possible damaged/missing items by charging your card even after you already checked out.

1. Incidental Coverage

Also referred to as incidental hotel charges, these represent the extra expenses of hotel services and amenities not included with room rates. Common hotel incidentals include:

  • Bar and restaurant fees
  • Room service
  • In-room phone usage for long-distance calls
  • In-room movies
  • Business/office center services, including mailing, copying, or package storage for guests
  • Laundry facility services
  • In-room water bottles and snacks from the mini-bar
  • A hotel convenience store or gift shop purchases
  • Hotel Parking
  • Wi-Fi internet usage

How To Find Out About A Hotel’s Incidental Coverage Policy

The hotel’s website is the most reliable source of incidental coverage information. However, not all hotels provide this information on their website’s reservation page and may only display information on room rates and taxes. Sometimes hotel staff members may voluntarily disclose incidental coverage information to their guests during check-in so you can ask as you’re checking in.

Alternatively, you may call the hotel’s front desk staff about their incidental coverage policy before booking a room. If you don’t plan on using the covered items and services, you may inquire about excluding the cost from your bill after check-out.

2. Damage in Room/Items or Missing Items

As mentioned above, a hotel might charge your credit card based on what they found after you checked out. It can be damaged in the room itself, damage to the items in the room, or missing items such as ashtrays, towels, and others.

If this is the case, the hotel can charge you an amount that is already stated in their terms and conditions, or they might inform you before they charge.

About Credit Card Holds

Upon arrival at the hotel, the front desk receptionist will request a credit card to be put on hold before you receive your room key. Credit card holds act as a hotel insurance policy, explicitly covering incidentals, including room or property damage, room service, or mini-bar usage.

A temporary charge is placed on your room when you use a card for your room’s incidentals. Any damages to the room that the hotel discovers will result in a deduction of the necessary amount of money for repair coverage.

Note that different hotels perceive ‘damages’ differently. For example, in a hotel you might be charged for getting bloodstain on the bedsheet while other hotels might let you go without any charges.

Note that this credit card holds is commonly known as ‘hotel deposit’. Read here to find out more about how hotel deposit works.

Credit Card Hold Duration and Cost

The front desk attendant will inform you when the hotel will remove the hold on your card. Typically, these holds last anywhere between a few days after check-out to approximately a week at most. The average final expense of a hold ranges from $20-$200 per night or may be presented as a specific percentage on your bill after check-out.

How Long Does It Take For A Hotel To Charge Your Card After Check Out?

The average time for a hotel to charge your card after check-out is 24-48 hours. This is because hotels need time to process all the paperwork and transactions associated with your stay.

For example, if you decide to check out Monday, your card will be charged on Wednesday at the latest. However, in cases where it’s been longer than two days, it may indicate that something went wrong such as a hotel computer system delay or a holiday postponement of card transactions.

Can I Dispute A Hotel’s Charge On My Credit Card?

A chargeback can be initiated within 120 days of the transaction’s completion. Upon receiving evidence from the borrower, the issuing bank will decide within 60 to 75 days. Since the bank’s decision is final, anyone cannot directly challenge it.

Customers can file chargebacks if they want to avoid being charged a penalty for not canceling their reservation, do not pay, or don’t receive any refund. To initiate a charge dispute under the Fair Credit Billing Act, you must prove that the delivery of goods or services was not agreeable. The cardholder and merchant handle the chargeback in a dispute in which both parties state their positions.

It will be nearly impossible to receive a refund if your bank disagrees with you on the dispute. However, you have the option of disputing a chargeback if you agree to pay for a purchase with a credit card. Then, if your bank reconsiders your case based on the evidence you provided, the chargeback is granted.

How To Avoid Hotel Deposit Fees

1. Use hotel loyalty points to book an award stay.

Using travel rewards to cover the cost of your hotel stay is one of the top strategies to avoid hotel fees. However, not all hotel points help avoid hotel fees from being added to your bill. You will need to earn points through the most suitable hotel loyalty program.

2. To cover incidental expenses, utilize flexible travel credit.

You can pick up a flexible travel credit card that covers hotel fees for free if you’re staying at a hotel, but you don’t have loyalty points to lean on. This card allows you to redeem points for statement credits for the coverage of travel incidentals. Since hotel fees can vary by property policies and the number of nights stayed, this strategy’s key component is choosing a card that allows you to redeem for statement credits in any increment you prefer.

3. Look into Costco travel packages.

Costco travel packages help limit the hassle of hotel fees in your life. With particular travel packages from Costco Travel, several properties will include hotel fees, required tipping charges, and additional fees in your final booking cost.

4. Search for hotels that don’t charge hotel fees.

As a last resort, you can always seek hotels that don’t charge a hotel or destination fee of any kind. However, this will require flexibility on where you’ll book a stay and may limit your options from the more popular hotels in particular locations, which are notorious for charging hidden fees.

Final Word

Most of the time, the charges are fair and deserved as hotels do not see this as their source of income. You’ll be charged for what you’ve used or what you broke and that’s it. So don’t worry too much about it when searching for a hotel room for your next trip and just book as usual.

Booking.com is a big name in the industry when it comes to booking, but here are some alternatives to Booking.com that just as good. Check them out.

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