A LoyaltyLobby reader sent me a question by email that must be about authorizations that are done during guest’s stay at the Hilton Diagonal Mar hotel in Barcelona.
You can access Hilton Diagonal Mar’s website here.
Here’s the email from the reader:
I wonder if anyone else out there has seen the issue i am currently undergoing at the Hilton Diagonal Mar.
I am staying for a business trip along with many others to which we are all employed by the same company. The company should be paying all the bills including our meals, mini bar, bar, and laundry.
Initially check in was fine, easy process for a large group. I then had been staying for 5 days to and fro with work. I then checked my bank balance to see that the hotel had taken £178 without prior permission to do so on my credit card, used as a guarantee when we checked in.
I thought this strange as i am and have been a worldwide traveller and stayed in many hotels of higher and lower quality, but never seen this money taking in all that time.
I went and asked for the Duty manager, who came along at the same time as a colleague who is of the Spanish language.
I asked why was the money taken, the manager was surprised so asked for a receptionist to check my room account. The reply came that the money had not been taken and was “in hold” and “was company policy to take money without asking as a guarantee gesture” the money was gone, as seen in my account, and in the account balance. I showed them this. They still insisted it was not taken. All four of us talked/ranted about it, but from our point of view the money was basically stolen from me. I do not accept that by giving card details on entry is a right for anyone to take money….they say this is company policy, and that they do it to everyone.
I do not recollect this in any previous Hilton that i have stayed in.
Anyway we left it that i was bot happy, will inform my bank not to allow the hotel to take money.
Sadly, that was a Saturday evening, my bank was closed to callers so had to wait until the Monday
But…in checking my account prior to calling the bank, i found the hotel had taken another £76 out, the following day, Sunday.
I immediately called the bank to stop any further payments being taken, to which they obliged by putting a stop on any hotel, guest house or room that i may rent during the period of stay.
As another note, because wine is expensive here (5eu a glass minimum) i bought a bottle from the local supermarket in the diagonal mar complex, opposite the hotel. The following day the wine glass in my room was taken away! Mental!
What is my company doing I hear you ask? Getting very angry with exchanges to the hotel, and seriously thinking of pulling out altogether, so thats around 30 rooms vacant!
It is not unusual for the hotel to put holds to guest’s account (credit or debit card) multiple times during a stay depending of the incidentals charges incurred.
I believe that these are not actual charges but rather authorizations that will drop off from the account after set number of days that is dependent of the reader’s bank.
These holds can be extensive especially if one travels a lot because they can take up to 30 days to drop off. When one checks into number of hotels and uses car rentals, they do add up fast.
I believe that if the reader’s employer or some other company takes really care of ALL possible charges during the stay at this Hilton property then there should not be additional authorizations during the stay. I believe that these may be automated in the system that the hotel uses and probably time consuming to make exceptions to some guest accounts.
My advice would be to carry several cards and have enough credit limit in each one of them. There will be occasional authorizations (perhaps unwanted) and only time will take care of them. Merchant may cancel an authorization at their end but seems that the information doesn’t usually transfer to the card holder’s bank or credit institution.
This is a solid Hilton property, although the executive lounge can get very busy (and saw one person emptying bottles to their bag there last time).
It is bit outside of the immediate city center and thus not the most convenient location for sightseeing. I have stayed there number of times and most recently last year.
These credit card holds are in place to ensure that the hotel gets paid. I guess that the property and the business entity that the reader works for should have had clearer agreement in place about possible holds for employees/guests staying under their billing account.