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Hotel Hold On a Credit Card: 7 Best Ways To Handle Them

What is a Hotel hold on a credit card? You may find that in addition to your room fee, the hotel deducts an additional amount from your account. If you aren’t familiar with this procedure, you could be taken aback by the deduction.

If you don’t have much information regarding this charge, don’t worry, you’ve come to the right place. In this informative guide, I will shed light on credit card holds. Let’s get started!

Hotel Hold On Credit Card

Read also: Incidentals Hotel Charges: 2024 Detailed Guide

What Is a Hotel Hold On a Credit Card?

A pre-authorization hold, or hotel credit card hold, temporarily blocks or freezes a specified amount of a guest’s account.

  • This procedure guarantees the hotel will be able to pay for any extras the visitor may want during their stay, such as room service, mini-bar use, restaurant bills, damages, and so on.
  • Holds are not the same as charges. They temporarily take away some of your money on your credit or debit card until the hold is removed.

But, this is only the tip of the iceberg. Continue reading to find out how long it takes to release a hold, how much is a hold charged for, the effect on your finances, and much more! Let’s dive deeper into the details!

The Purpose of Credit Card Holds in Hotels

Hotels use payment networks like Visa and Mastercard. Sometimes, when you use your card at a hotel, these networks might put a hold on your money.

The Purpose of Credit Card Holds in Hotels
  • No Confirmation of Final Bill: The hold is placed when the hotel doesn’t know the final bill yet. They want to check if you have enough money for it.
  • Safety Check: Once the hotel figures out the total cost, they take hold of your money. It’s like a safety check by the card networks to make sure you can pay for what you buy.

A 6-Step Detailed Explanation of How Hotel Credit Card Holds Work

A hotel credit card hold may appear complex at first, but its components are actually fairly simple. Here’s a detailed breakdown of how things typically go:

1. Check-in

The hotel will request your credit card details at check-in. This information includes any details you may have already supplied when making a reservation.

2. Prior Approval

The hotel will next call your credit card issuer to place a hold on the specified amount. This is often calculated as a percentage or fixed rate added to the total cost of your stay to cover any unexpected costs.

3. Verification

If the bank agrees, they will set aside the funds for you. This sum is currently ‘held’ and cannot be used in any further financial dealings.

Hotel Hold On Credit Card

To be clear, this is not a charge and will not show up as an expenditure on your bill. However, this action will decrease your available balance or credit.

4. Incidentals

The hotel will keep note of all of the little extras you use (minibar, spa, room service, etc.) during your stay.

5. Check-out

Your total is tallied at the cashier’s desk when you pay. All of the costs associated with your hotel stay are included in this total.

6. Hold is Released

If the total cost of the stay is less than the hold, the hotel will release the difference. With this release, the hotel notifies your bank that it will not be seeking the entire hold amount.

For more insights, check out this interesting video.

In What Timeframe May a Hotel Release a Hold?

Different hotels have different minimum hold times. At check-in, the front desk clerk will let you know when the hold will be released from your credit card.

It might take from 24 hours to a week for the money to show up in your account again once you check out from your hotel room and pay the final bill.

Pro-tip: Check your credit card balance before heading to the hotel. You don’t want to get to your hotel and discover that the hold will force you to go over your credit limit.

Why Does it Take a Long Time to Clear a Hotel Hold?

The length of time a hotel hold can remain on your account varies widely. Holds are typically lifted within 24 hours of checkout. However, occasionally the charge doesn’t erase for up to a week.

What causes this to occur? It’s not the hotel’s fault; rather, it’s the responsibility of the card issuer.

Hotel hold durations
  • Limits on how long an issuer can pause payment are governed by payment networks. For instance, a hold on a Visa card can only be in place for 30 days, but on an Amex card, it can only be in place for 7 days.
  • While payment networks do impose constraints, individual issuers have their own policies for how long a pending pre-authorization charge can remain on a customer’s account.

Therefore, it may take a few days for the original pending charge to be removed when the hotel tells the card issuer that a hold is no longer necessary pending an official charge.

Can Hotel Credit Card Holds Have An Effect On Your Finances?

Having insufficient knowledge of how hotel freezes work or how much they’ll cost you can have serious consequences for your budget. Some essential ways in which a hotel’s hold on your credit card might impact your finances are as follows:

How a hotel's hold might impact your finances
  • Reduced Credit Limit: A hotel’s freeze prevents you from using that particular dollar amount on any other purchases. If you’re close to your credit limit or if the hold is proportionally large to your total available credit, this reduction can have a substantial impact.
  • Overdraft costs: It’s possible to incur overdraft costs if you use a debit card without realizing a hold has been placed on it. Although the amount placed on hold is not a fee, for a short while you will have a smaller balance available to spend.
  • Credit utilization ratio: Your credit utilization ratio may be negatively affected if the hold is substantial and stays on your account when your credit card issuer reports to the credit agencies.
  • Hold Release Delays: It may be many days after you check out before the hotel and your bank lift the hold on your account. This delay may throw your budget off if you weren’t planning on it.

Credit Card Holds and Their Determining Factors

There are a number of variables that determine how much a hotel will have a temporary hold on your credit card. Your ability to predict the freeze amount during your hotel stay depends on your familiarity with the following:

  • Room rate: The nightly hotel charge is a major factor in establishing the security deposit. The standard policy of most hotels is to keep a deposit equivalent to one night’s accommodation and breakfast costs, plus a predetermined percentage or flat fee for incidentals.
Determining Factors of Credit Card Holds
  • Length of visit: The length of your visit will determine how much of a deposit is required, since this number is calculated by multiplying the daily room fee by the number of nights you’ll be there.
  • Hotel’s policies on incidental charges: Hotel policies regarding payment for extras like minibar items, spa treatments, etc., vary widely. Some hotels set aside a certain dollar amount every day for incidentals, while others use a certain percentage of the total cost of the stay.
  • Quality of hotel: Guests at luxury hotels and resorts are typically required to put down a larger deposit or security deposit in order to secure their reservation.
Determining Factors of Credit Card Holds
  • Previous behavior: Hold amounts may be adjusted by hotels based on historical data or regular patterns of visitor behavior. Higher holds may be implemented to cover possible costs if a hotel frequently receives visitors who utilize incidentals excessively or cause vandalism.
  • Rules and regulations: Hotels may be limited in the amount they can hold from a guest’s credit card by state or municipal rules and regulations.

Normal Cost of Incidental Charges

Most hotels will freeze funds in the range of $50 to $300 on your credit or debit card as an assurance for incidentals.

Normal Cost of Incidental Charges

More details are listed below:

  • Business traveler: Incidental charges include Room service, Wi-Fi, and Parking fees, costing $50-$150.
  • Single tourist: Incidental charges comprise Minibar, room service, and spa treatments, with a cost of $100 – $200.
  • Family Holiday: Incidental charges involve Spa treatment, kids club activities, minibar, Wi-Fi, and laundry service, totaling $200 – $300.

The Best Ways to Handle Credit Card Holds at Hotels

Hotel credit card holds can be difficult to manage without an in-depth familiarity with the procedure. To assist you in getting around this standard procedure at hotels, here are some pointers:

  • Hotel policy: Make sure you know the hotel’s hold policy before giving them your card details. Being aware of the amount and length of the freeze may better prepare for your stay financially.
  • Use a credit card: Paying for hotels using a credit card is recommended. Credit card holds are often released more quickly than debit card holds, and credit card users never have to worry about becoming overdrawn.
The Best Ways to Handle Credit Card Holds at Hotels
  • Be aware of additional expenses: Room service, using the minibar, and other facilities may come with additional costs that you should be aware of. The sum total of these will be subtracted from the hold.
  • Keep an eye on your bank balance: Check your bank account balance and activity both while you’re here and after you’ve left. Any mistakes or unexpected holds will jump out at you immediately.
The Best Ways to Handle Credit Card Holds at Hotels
  • Keep all documents safe: Keeping track of all your relevant paperwork will help expedite the resolution of any differences or disputes that may arise.
  • Spend only as much as you can afford: Make sure that the freeze and any other charges you expect to incur during your stay can be covered by the cash in your account or the available credit in your account. Overdraft charges and rejections can be avoided in this way.
  • Check if the hold has been unfrozen: Keep a watch on your bank account after you check out to be sure that the freeze is removed within the time limit specified. Make sure with the hotel or your credit card companies if it isn’t.
The Best Ways to Handle Credit Card Holds at Hotels

How To Contest Unauthorised Holds on Credit Cards

There are measures you may follow if you discover an unauthorized hotel charge on your credit card statement. Always bear in mind the importance of dialogue and record-keeping in these circumstances. What you must do is as follows:

  • Contact hotel: Getting in touch with the hotel is the first order of business. Inquire as to the reason for the hold, and if it seems to be an error, ask that it be lifted. Always write down the names of the people you talk with, along with the date, time, and topics of conversation.
  • Keep all documents with you: If the hotel messed up your reservation, you should get it in writing. Having proof to back up your claim is especially useful if the argument centers around a specific charge (such as a minibar item you didn’t eat).
  • Contact your bank: You could contact your bank or credit card company if the hotel does not address the issue to your satisfaction. Give them all the information they need to make an informed decision and invite them to contest the hold.
How To Contest Unauthorised Holds on Credit Cards
  • Bank guidance: The formal process of filing a complaint will be explained to you by your card issuer. In most cases, you’ll need to file a dispute form, describe the issue in detail, and attach relevant documents to strengthen your case.
  • Wait for the matter to resolve: The bank or credit card company will look into your claim and may get in touch with the hotel as part of the process. This may take some time (60-75 days), so please be patient.
How To Contest Unauthorised Holds on Credit Cards

Can A Hotel Hold Be Paid As A Cash Deposit?

To find out if a specific hotel accepts cash payments, you should phone beforehand. A lodging reservation is often only possible with the use of a credit or debit card.

Hotels and B&Bs that are locally owned and operated may be more inclined to take cash as payment upon check-in. Some larger hotels like Marriott are also known to accept cash deposits as holds.

Difference Between Credit And Debit Cards Hold

Similar to a credit card hold, a debit card hold prevents you from making purchases. The key difference is that credit cards let you borrow money that you need to pay back later with extra charges (interest). On the other hand, debit cards use your own money directly from your bank account.

When money is frozen due to a debit card hold, it might be difficult to make necessary purchases or pay bills. As a result, if you have available credit, it’s best to use it while making preauthorization deposits.

Note: Debit card holds are also removed from your account once the merchant has paid the bill and the bank has released the funds.


What does it mean when a hotel puts a hold on your credit card?

The hotel puts a hold on your credit card to ensure that you have sufficient funds for the purchase you are making.

How long does a hotel hold take?

A hotel hold typically lasts until you check out. However, it can take a few days after checkout to clear from your account.

Can you use a maxed-out credit card on a hotel hold?

You cannot use a maxed-out credit card on a hotel hold as there will be no credit available to cover the cost.

How much does the hotel hold for the deposit?

Hotel holds vary according to different hotels, however, they are usually in the range of $50-$300.


Let’s revise! A hotel hold on credit card means the hotel will freeze some cash in addition to your room fee when you check in or receive your room key. The amount that is frozen can vary according to the rate of the room you’re staying in, the length of stay, the hotel’s quality, and policies. However, usually, they are in the range of $50-$300.

Managing hotel holds can be challenging but is very doable. Be sure you are up-to-date with the hotel hold policies, use a credit card instead of a debit card, keep an eye on your bank balance, and keep all receipts safe with you. Follow these steps and you will never have any problems with hotel holds again.

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Hotel Hold On Credit Card