This week’s Whine Wednesdays deals with credit card holds that most hotels authorize when the guest checks in. You often see horror stories online and sometimes in the press as well about people that don’t understand how these work.
Some hotels only put the room charge through as an authorization, others may use room charge + $100 and others, who knows what. A LoyaltyLobby reader emailed me an example earlier this week that I thought was excessive considering the room rate.
You can access Hilton Tokyo Shinjuku’s website here.
Hilton Tokyo Shinjuku (which is a hotel that I like) had made a preauthorization that was four/five times the daily rate for the stay. The reader wasn’t complaining about this, but thought that it was on the high side considering the room rate he was paying.
EDIT: This authorization was for a one night stay.
Remember that these preauthorizations are just that. They are not actual charges. The hotel puts the charge through that it should match with the authorization when the guest checks out. Unfortunately, these don’t always match or the front desk agent doesn’t use the preauthorization code and do the settlement offline.
Some hotels may add an additional authorization each day during your stay while other hotels do it only if you have F&B or other incidentals that exceeds the preauthorized amount.
The problem with these preauthorizations is that they are often not matched with the actual charge and can linger (read reduce your credit limit) for up to 30 days depending on your bank. This is not an issue if you have several cards with reasonable credit limits, but that is not the case with all travelers.
This is one of the reasons too why nobody should use their debit card to guarantee a hotel stay. The preauthorization is reserved from the account balance (note not withdrawn but merely reserved) and released later. The money cannot be used or withdrawn before the authorization is canceled/dropped off/settled.
I actually like this Hilton hotel in Tokyo and have stayed there several times. I have no idea, however, about authorizations they have made. Quite a few hotels tell you how much they will be holding from your card. Some don’t do any holds for guest loyalty program elite members.