Hotel mistrust

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This topic contains 14 replies, has 12 voices, and was last updated by  Remo 9 Oct 2019
at 16:09

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  • AllOverTheGaff

    I have had more than one occasion recently to fall foul of hotels and their inherent mistrust of guests. I no longer posses a credit card as I don’t chase miles and I don’t need one, I opt instead to use my Starling card (I have both business and personal Starling debits).

    In Bali I had a long disagreement with the hotel upon check in as they couldn’t (wouldn’t) accept a charge onto my debit card. Most hotels hold open a fee upon check-in, this particular hotel (5-star resort) wouldn’t take a debit card and then insisted I went to the ATM and gave them cash, roughly £500.00 worth. After a protracted disagreement I told them to check me in with no credit on the room or to cancel my booking and I’d walk to the hotel next door. I was eventually checked in with no credit on my room – and the following day they emptied the mini-bar. I left a lengthy complaint with them but their response was that was their policy and it was my fault. (I’d spent £1500.00 in advance to stay there so not really likely to do a runner for a £3.00 bottle of beer)

    A second occasion today. I’ve emailed a 5-star hotel in Spain to pay for a customer of mines who is arriving today, no reply to my email which included my business debit card for them to charge. I have a protracted conversation about how they cannot accept this as payment because I am not there. I go through the obvious “but I could have booked online for this guest” to be told that even if I send them my passport they have no way of knowing that the card belongs to me! Again, this is a really upmarket hotel in Banus.

    The hotel in Bali I actually felt unwelcome because of their non-debit card policy, and this one today I found rather incredulous. Whilst I accept credit card fraud is indeed a growing issue, seems that the hospitality business is rather taking to extreme measures. All the reservations manager would say was; “We are having problems with credit cards”….

    Is anyone else noting the same?


    “Noticing the same”? — Yes, personally I’ve noticed that hotels, including top hotels, are becoming a bit less flexible over the last couple of years on this issue – whether I’m a member or not and regardless of how much I’ve spent or will spend in/on their hotel.


    Yes. I don’t know how the precise mechanics of blocking credit work but debit cards don’t seem welcome.


    Being in the hotel industry, it is true, all of us (major brands) have tightyened our rules with regard to credit cards. Likewise, with on line bookings using virtual credit cards and any use of debit cards unless at the point of sale. With new EU initiatives, such as GDPR, it is very difficult to do what AOTG wanted to do for his client in Spain as we actually can be fined very heavily (talking 10’s of thousands of euros) if we receive credit card details by email or fax or in fact over the phone and dont then immediately destroy the information in a shredder or black out the numbers. In the event of a Charge Back, the hotel has no way of being able to validate the charge. Numerous ‘guests’ use the new regulations to make false claims against hotels. A more recent EU initiative launched in September to fight credit card fraud, has made the process of using and approving CC more onorous for hotels, and of course then for guests as well, needing two forms of proof, when checking in on a pre-paid booking or a booking with an advance deposit. Much like with airlines, if you can not present the CC you used to make the booking when checking in, with another form of ID, in theory, the hotel should refuse to check the guest in. This becomes a nightmare for us working with OTA’s and virtual credit cards. So while this might be annoying, it is due to legislation. Aside from all of that, it really is irrelevant how much you might have pre-paid, we at hotels will always want to take a deposit or an approval on a CC at check in to protect us from theft, damage, or late charges.

    10 users thanked author for this post.


    Hi AOTG

    I think more and more hotels are using secure online payment mechanisms for 3rd party payments (often encounter Sertify – still only around the 5% mark), but other countries where it is getting harder due to country regulations / GDPR where hotels aren’t keen to take CC / DC payments that are not the guests card. It is problematic for the whole industry – but from what I understand many hotels the IT is poor and opened to abuse / barely GDPR compliant with how CC data is passed from business to business as well as internally (The US still often asks for details to be faxed – the weakest way to send CC details!!)

    So hotels need to markedly step up use of mechanisms like Sertify for card payments in advance and sort the data transmission issues they have. From the card user side this would be better as I’ve worked with hotels and been able to identify which properties hotel staff are then using to clone / fraud the card in question, with all the headache that entails.

    I’d certainly use a major credit card provider though for 3rd party hotel payments given issues I’ve seen so that chargebacks can be enacted where required.

    All in all – it is a pain in the proverbial – one I deal with every day and an industry wide approach to sorting this would be useful as all TMC’s / agents have to deal with this and general customers trying to pay for gifts / stays for friends.

    1 user thanked author for this post.


    It’s not just hotels that are refusing to take certain modes of payment. Some bars and take away eateries (in London) no longer accept cash (for entirely different reasons).

    I guess however inconvenient it is for a passenger not the be able to pay by his/her preferred means, establishments do have the right to only accept payments through cards and card types of their choice.


    I stopped giving credit cards to hotels about 15 years ago (but I accept to leave a reasonable cash deposit). I therefore pay the stay with a debit card upon check-in while the card the hotel accepted as guarantee is turned off. Since this policy is non-negotiable, it always worked although I have occasionally to insist.


    On my first trip to the USA I had ended up with a lot of USD cash, so when I checked into an airport Hilton and they asked me for a CC, I said :
    “I’m settling my account in cash.”
    They still insisted on a CC and I insisted I didn’t have one with me, I had the upper hand since a friend I was travelling with had a 2-bedroom suite and I would simply have gone to share with him, so I said :
    “Cancel my booking.”
    In the end they settled for cash in advance, which was fine as I didn’t want to carry it around for 3 days anyway.
    I have been told recently that the only hotels that will take cash now are those where you pay for the rooms by the hour!


    I found it annoying when 5 star chain hotels deduct deposits even where I have high status and both my corporate and personal credit card numbers are with these hotels and I stay in these chains regularly.

    The check out take extra 5 minutes when the desk person fumble with how much more to deduct.


    Having over many years had occasion to speak with senior hotel management, I have no real objection to having a small ammount being blocked on my credit card. The ammount of pilfering and damage (including smoking in rooms) is apparently huge which has to be paid for – preferably by the perpetrator! I do keep a separate card just for this purpose.


    1 user thanked author for this post.


    You should have a credit card, even if you don’t need it. Just pay the balance in full each month and it won’t cost anything.

    Here are some reasons for using a credit card instead of a debit card:
    Card is cloned and criminal runs up a huge bill – credit card company has the issue and your cash is safe in your account
    You want to dispute a charge – credit card company acts on your behalf
    Supplier goes bust – your contract is with the credit card company and they refund you

    Plus as you have found, you don’t need to worry about deposits taken by hotels and car rental companies.

    I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t want/use a credit card.

    8 users thanked author for this post.


    I should have added that Status is no indication of behaviour.



    I carry credit cards for the reasons stated by BugAdvisor. For any transaction where I need proof of payment, or where the likelihood of a future claim exists, I use CC. For just about everything else, particularly meals in restaurants, day to day purchases of consumable items, and so on, I use cash. It also makes life simpler as my CC statements only consist of a small number of higher value transactions, unlike my son and my wife who use theirs for £2.30, €3.20 …..

    It’s pretty hard to book a hotel room or rent a car without a CC and for online purchases some sort of plastic money is nearly always needed.

    In an ideal world it might be otherwise, but most of us don’t inhabit that Utopia.


    Carrying a credit card and using it are two different things. I carry one, but don’t use it for the reasons stated above.

    As for the guarantees, the are similar, at least for card issued in Switzerland.

    Time is precious, as you all know. I prefer by far keeping the payment power in my hands. Giving the option to a hotel to debit my card after my departure annoys me (and, yes, it happened in the past). If I missed something, I’d pay it in my own terms.

    As for the status of showing a debit card instead of a gold or black or whatever card, I am afraid I don’t give a damn!


    I stopped to use credit card since 2015. Now I have 3 different prepaid card that I use to buy airlines tickets and to prepay hotel stay.
    During my recent stay in Istanbul at 5 stars hotel I was unable to prepay during booking (very strange because for another hotel of the same group it was possible to pay in advance, at time of booking).
    Arrived at hotel I spent more than 45 minutes to try to explain to the receptionist the difference between a credit card and a prepaid card. I asked her to charge immediately in full the amount of the room (3 nights) plus 300 Euro for incidental expenses and to not ask the pre-authorization as the amount is deducted immediately from my card.
    She worked on computer for abot 10 minutes and then she asked to insert PIN in POS terminal.
    At the end I got two slips: one for immediate charge for the 3 nights and one for a pre-authorization for 300 Euro.
    When I checked out they charged me the full amount of the incidental expenses and I must wait for 30 days before the company of my prepaid card will restore the 300 Euro to my card as 30 days is the time limit to confirm the pre-authorization.

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