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But they can also be frustrating to hotel guests, especially those who receive unexpected alerts from their credit card companies.
And they raise the question: Is there a better way?
For Searcy, the mystery was a 8 pending charge to her card after she checked out of the Marriott.
“I had not been told of this charge, nor did I have any documentation for it,” says Searcy, who is retired and lives in Austin.
“Credit card holds are typically released within 24 hours of checking out,” says Marriott spokesman John Wolf, who notes that holds are an industry-wide practice, common among hotels and car rental companies.
Most hotels place a hold on your credit card, according to Dale Blosser, a lodging consultant.
And in the case of excessive holds, she has requested the hotel not to authorize her card for more than the room and tax.
She finally received one after reaching Tiffany Bush, the hotel’s general accountant.“Completing the transaction is the best way to remove the hold,” says credit card expert Kevin Haney of A. Hotels should disclose the amount, reasons and estimated duration of a credit card hold long before you check in, upfront and in plain English.Too often, hotels reveal these holds at the check-in desk, on signage that guests rarely bother to read.One of the easiest ways of preventing a hold is to avoid using the card, says Harrine Freeman, a credit card expert and financial adviser. “Carry travelers’ checks or pay with cash.” However, some hotels accept only credit cards, so ask before you try this.
If you use a credit or debit card, make sure you keep close tabs on the authorizations.
The amount varies, but as a rule, it’s the cost of the room, including tax, plus a set charge of between and 0 per day.