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Travel Tip: Blocked Charges at Hotels

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The next time you check into a hotel, beware of blocked charges and also be prepared for many hotels not disclosing either the policy or the amount of those blocked charges.

For most of us, when checking into a hotel, we’re asked to provide a valid identification–that’s normal, and a credit card. However, many hotels are not disclosing what they do with your credit card. They swipe it and then block charges–in some cases up to $150 a day–against the possibility of you using the minibar or other paid hotel services, whether you ever use them or not. And therein lies the problem.

If you have a credit card with a pre-set credit cap, the blocked charges could easily max out your credit line, and it takes about five business days to get those blocked charges reversed.

Even worse, if you present a debit card at check in, that money is removed from your checking or savings account. Keep in mind that this blocking policy as well as the amount of those blocks can be negotiated.

And if not, then use a credit card with no pre-set spending limit, like American Express, so that you aren’t embarrassed later when your credit card charges could be denied at other establishments because you’re over your limit.

For more on hotel charges, check out: 

How to Avoid Excess Hotel Charges

Using a Credit Card When You Check In to a Hotel

Getting Around Hotel Fees

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