A LoyaltyLobby reader sent me a question regarding a credit card hold that was placed at the time of checking in but not used when checking out from Starwood’s Tribute Portfolio hotel Le Dokhan’s in Paris.
You can access SPG’s web page for Le Dokhan’s here.
Here’s thee mail from the reader:
I stayed at the SPG Le Dokhan’s Portfolio in Paris, 7 rooms for four nights from May 23 to May 27. They scratched our credit card for security deposit when checking in but used a different code when settling our bills. Which led to fund-holding… which has not been released as of today. I wrote to them/SPG and I got replied mail saying they have released it but it may take up to 30 days… 30 days! why so? who’s fault? Should they be doing something to rectify their fault? It’s more than US$10K credit which I cannot use in my trips.
The hotel incorrectly processed the payment at the time of checking out by putting through a brand new charge instead of using the previous authorization.
Some hotels are better at this than others. They should have done the final payment “offline” merely adjusting the preauthorization to the final amount and charge extra if the preauthorization was not enough to settle the folio (food and beverage and other additional possible expenses).
The problem is that it is up to the reader’s bank to decide when they drop the charge that doesn’t come through. The time really varies from bank to bank. Over the years, I have had some clearing pending transactions in five days while others wait full 30 days.
One option would have been to ask the hotel to charge the entire stay up front and then do a preauthorization only for incidentals (smaller amount that would eventually drop out).
Another option is to use several cards and use one for preauthorization and another one for final payment.
Some hotels may say that they will cancel the preauthorization but I am not sure if this info ever get transferred to the actual institution especially when in different country. I doubt it.
These credit card holds can be high at times especially when at expensive hotels that sometimes preauthorize several hundred dollars per day for incidentals.
The only real solution is to carry several cards and make sure that the credit limits are high enough to get through the trip. Your card may be compromised (last year two of my cards got cloned in Brazil – read more here) and new one sent back to your home address while in trip.
The reader could contact their credit card issuer and explain that the final charge was put through but the initial authorization was not used and ask them to clear it. They may or may not do it. Other option is to pay the card midcycle that would help with the limit.
Reader could ask for compensation for the hotel not correctly processing the final payment. In case of 7 rooms for 4 nights the holds are high.