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Hotels and credit cards

mbannickmbannick Registered User regular
edited August 2010 in Help / Advice Forum
So I'll be going to a certain event in September and I'm going to book a hotel downtown. As I remember you needed a credit card upon checking in. Problem is I don't have one at the moment and don't plan on getting one for a while (don't really have a use for one, ect.) Anyway whats the policy for most hotels? Last time I checked in they didn't even bother asking for one (although the place was pretty much the bottom of the pile as far as "budget" hotels go). So, am I going to fly 1200 miles just to get turned away at the front desk? From google research I found that places take debit (I guess they hold a predetermined amount of money on the card until you check out) is that something I should go for?

mbannick on

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    noir_bloodnoir_blood Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    I work for the Hilton brand of hotels, so I can give you our policy.

    You will need a credit card/debit card upon check in. Very few hotels take cash deposits. Something that I end up hearing a lot(I work on the guest assistance side) are guests that aren't aware that the hotel will do an authorization hold when they first check in usually for the cost of the room plus incidentals. With a debit card, this will show as a pending charge for up to 10 business days.

    So if you give them a debit card, make sure you have enough funds in your account to cover this pending charge.

    Best thing to do is to call the hotel up and ask their policies though.

    noir_blood on
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    illigillig Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    I'll chime in here to add that you should get a cc asap. You'll be pissed off when you decide to make a large purchase in the future such as a car or house, and you get rejected or get hit with an astronomical rate due to lack of a credit history. not to mention, it makes things like this easy.

    illig on
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    mbannickmbannick Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Thanks for the advice guys. Anyway, I'm going to be booking on one of those travel websites, and I was wondering if that would make anything different? Also, is there a good way to compare the big 3 websites?

    mbannick on
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    Mmmm... Cocks...Mmmm... Cocks... Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    illig wrote: »
    I'll chime in here to add that you should get a cc asap. You'll be pissed off when you decide to make a large purchase in the future such as a car or house, and you get rejected or get hit with an astronomical rate due to lack of a credit history. not to mention, it makes things like this easy.
    Indeed, get a Credit Card.
    And yes you can use a debit card at most places but will hold a large amount of funds (I was reading the policy at a hotel as stayed at not to long ago).
    There's nothing wrong with having a CC and almost never using it if you're afraid of racking up a huge bill.

    I doubt the fact that you went through a site will change anything.
    The idea is that if you break anything in the room they have your money to fix it.

    Mmmm... Cocks... on
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    YamiNoSenshiYamiNoSenshi A point called Z In the complex planeRegistered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Credit Card Advice, in a nutshell

    Always pay it off every month.

    If you're not great at tracking your spending vs savings, put some small purchases on it every month and pay it when you get the bill.

    If you've got a good handle on it, get a credit card with decent rewards, use that sucker for everything, and pay it off in full every month. Depending on your spending, you can make up to a couple hundred a year in cash rewards for basically nothing.

    You should get a credit card, though. If you can be responsible with it, there's no reason not to have one and plenty of good reasons to have one.

    YamiNoSenshi on
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    LadyMLadyM Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Get a Discover card. From July to September you get 5% cashback on hotels, movies, gasoline, and theme parks. If you pay off your balance every month (which is easy to do online), THEY will owe YOU money.

    LadyM on
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    mbannickmbannick Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    illig wrote: »
    I doubt the fact that you went through a site will change anything.
    The idea is that if you break anything in the room they have your money to fix it.

    Yeah I know they hold it for damages/expenses (like internet, mini bar, etc.) I thought it may be different since I will be booked through a site and paid in advance. Anyway I wouldn't mind using debit this time around as long as it isn't crazy (I think I read it can be up to $500).

    Since were on the subject I am looking into getting a card since it's beneficial to my credit rating. My thought was to get it through the credit union I belong to since it will make the process a bit easier, and I might end up with better interest. Also I thought discover sucked? At least the last time I was looking it wasn't as widely accepted as visa (I think American Express is the worst though).

    mbannick on
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    LadyMLadyM Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    It's true, Discover is not accepted as widely as Visa. My debit card is a Visa, though. I gather from your initial post that you don't have a debit card either? If you check with your bank or credit union, there's a good chance you can get one. I guess if you don't normally travel much a Discover might not be worth it. I do a lot of travelling/hotel stays in the summer, for work, so that 5% cashback really came in handy. I made over $100 in a year. Lousy interest rate, mind you, but I pay my bills off before they can charge me interest, so it doesn't matter.

    LadyM on
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    mbannickmbannick Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    LadyM wrote: »
    It's true, Discover is not accepted as widely as Visa. My debit card is a Visa, though. I gather from your initial post that you don't have a debit card either? If you check with your bank or credit union, there's a good chance you can get one. I guess if you don't normally travel much a Discover might not be worth it. I do a lot of travelling/hotel stays in the summer, for work, so that 5% cashback really came in handy. I made over $100 in a year. Lousy interest rate, mind you, but I pay my bills off before they can charge me interest, so it doesn't matter.

    I'll mention that yes I do have a debit card, one with chase bank (primary) and one with a credit union.

    mbannick on
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    AurinAurin Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    mbannick wrote: »
    illig wrote: »
    I doubt the fact that you went through a site will change anything.
    The idea is that if you break anything in the room they have your money to fix it.

    Yeah I know they hold it for damages/expenses (like internet, mini bar, etc.) I thought it may be different since I will be booked through a site and paid in advance. Anyway I wouldn't mind using debit this time around as long as it isn't crazy (I think I read it can be up to $500).

    Since were on the subject I am looking into getting a card since it's beneficial to my credit rating. My thought was to get it through the credit union I belong to since it will make the process a bit easier, and I might end up with better interest. Also I thought discover sucked? At least the last time I was looking it wasn't as widely accepted as visa (I think American Express is the worst though).

    American Express isn't that bad really. Hubby and I have one through Costco, so they pay the yearly fee as long as we keep our Costco membership, which is nice to shop at anyways. I've only run into a few places (like hair cutting, buying smokes from the smoke shop) that don't take the AmEx. For those purchases we just use debit. But we regularly buy everything with the AmEx, since it's really easy to spot fraud if someone gets the card number, and our bank account through the debit card doesn't get cleaned out if something happens to the AmEx.

    Whatever card you choose, as long as you pay it off every month, it's the best thing for credit ratings ever. I'm just an authorized user on the account, and my credit rating is beautiful for not having a job and no loans in my name. ;-)

    Aurin on
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    FyreWulffFyreWulff YouRegistered User, ClubPA regular
    edited July 2010
    See if you can get a card that acts like a credit card from your bank (usually for your checking account). I know for a fact USBank has this, and First National Bank also does this

    FyreWulff on
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    DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    I really don't understand why people don't get a couple of credit cards and then barely use them or use them prudently. As long as you track your spending with the same level of dedication as you did when you had a bank account you end up getting some kind of money back from credit card perks, plus you can do things like check into a hotel without having to ask people for advice first.

    Darkewolfe on
    What is this I don't even.
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    WildEEPWildEEP Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    As someone who got raped by a credit card let me tell you my story as to why I don't have them now:

    I used to make a lot of money - long story short - I had a CC with a 35,000 dollar limit. I used it for business and always paid it - they loved me.

    At one point my health crashed hardcore and I went to the ER. Turns out I had a major organ not only fail but turn septic. I was rushed put into surgery - they actually told me I'd have gone in immeadiately, but the guy who does that kind of work wasn't there at that moment but he was already on his way in.

    I had insurance - good insurance - expensive insurance.

    I paid my co-pay using my CC and signed all the forms, explained I wasn't allergic, left emergency contact stuff in case I didnt make it, filled out the donor info . . It was pretty goddamn surreal.
    What I didnt notice was the small print at the bottom of the form - that if you use a CC as a co-payment and your insurance company doesnt pay, they will hold that CC as collateral.

    The insurance wouldnt pay. Apparently you have to get authorization to almost die and someone save you - problem is that no one informed me of this problem because someone doing data entry transposed two digits in my address which prevented me from getting their bill. So they charged 35,000 dollars to my CC and maxxed it out.

    I called the CC company and said it wasn't authorized, to which they sided with the Hospital, citing the form I signed. I wasn't happy, I was super pissed, but I was also super tired and super in pain. I had the money - I just paid it. I didn't want to fight, even though I should have.

    Fast forward two years - I get a call from a collection agency, telling me I had a balance on an old credit card. Turns out that the bill was for more than 35,000 dollars...there was another 7 thousand left over. They had maxxed out my card until it was useless and then as soon as I paid it off, stuck another 7 thousand on it.

    Of course, this was two years later...it had already taken a wrecking ball to my credit. I managed to finally pay all of it off and get myself back to a decent position, but from then on I swore I'd not touch another CC.

    My advice - call them and ask them how much the authorization is for when you use a Debit Card. Budget appropriately for that.

    WildEEP on
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    jedikuonjijedikuonji Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    If you use a debit card at the hotel I work for we put a hold equal to the room and tax amount.

    jedikuonji on
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    DiogeeDiogee Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    WildEEP

    That story sucks. I'm sorry you had a terrible experience. But the last thing this guy needs is some one in a million horror story about a hospital screwing you because you used a credit card for your copay.

    It's absolutely remarkable the level of ignorance about credit and finance in the world today. Given how tremendously commonplace financial instruments such as credit cards and loans have become it seems like blatant oversight that there isnt a high school "real life finance" class to teach the basics of how a credit card works. There are two kinds of people now - those who don't understand credit so they take it as free money, and those who don't understand credit and are terrified of it.

    Get a credit card. Put monthly auto pay on it for the total balance due. Use it for gas or something to save 1 or 2%. Then when things like this come up you never have to worry about it. It doesn't really matter if its discover or visa or what your interest rate is because you are paying it off every month.

    Diogee on
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    ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    WildEEP wrote: »
    As someone who got raped by a credit card let me tell you my story as to why I don't have them now:

    I used to make a lot of money - long story short - I had a CC with a 35,000 dollar limit. I used it for business and always paid it - they loved me.

    At one point my health crashed hardcore and I went to the ER. Turns out I had a major organ not only fail but turn septic. I was rushed put into surgery - they actually told me I'd have gone in immeadiately, but the guy who does that kind of work wasn't there at that moment but he was already on his way in.

    I had insurance - good insurance - expensive insurance.

    I paid my co-pay using my CC and signed all the forms, explained I wasn't allergic, left emergency contact stuff in case I didnt make it, filled out the donor info . . It was pretty goddamn surreal.
    What I didnt notice was the small print at the bottom of the form - that if you use a CC as a co-payment and your insurance company doesnt pay, they will hold that CC as collateral.

    The insurance wouldnt pay. Apparently you have to get authorization to almost die and someone save you - problem is that no one informed me of this problem because someone doing data entry transposed two digits in my address which prevented me from getting their bill. So they charged 35,000 dollars to my CC and maxxed it out.

    I called the CC company and said it wasn't authorized, to which they sided with the Hospital, citing the form I signed. I wasn't happy, I was super pissed, but I was also super tired and super in pain. I had the money - I just paid it. I didn't want to fight, even though I should have.

    Fast forward two years - I get a call from a collection agency, telling me I had a balance on an old credit card. Turns out that the bill was for more than 35,000 dollars...there was another 7 thousand left over. They had maxxed out my card until it was useless and then as soon as I paid it off, stuck another 7 thousand on it.

    Of course, this was two years later...it had already taken a wrecking ball to my credit. I managed to finally pay all of it off and get myself back to a decent position, but from then on I swore I'd not touch another CC.

    My advice - call them and ask them how much the authorization is for when you use a Debit Card. Budget appropriately for that.
    This is like not wanting to get into a car because one time a plane crashed into the car you were driving.

    I'm not saying it doesn't happen, but it's such a freakish sequence of events that it's really not worth worrying about, and the convenience of having one far outweighs the chances of something like that happening.

    Thanatos on
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    DiogeeDiogee Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    FyreWulff wrote: »
    See if you can get a card that acts like a credit card from your bank (usually for your checking account). I know for a fact USBank has this, and First National Bank also does this

    See, this is what I mean. This is called a debit card. How do people not know this? Almost all banks have this and its completely different from a credit card.

    Diogee on
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    Dr. FrenchensteinDr. Frenchenstein Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Diogee wrote: »
    FyreWulff wrote: »
    See if you can get a card that acts like a credit card from your bank (usually for your checking account). I know for a fact USBank has this, and First National Bank also does this

    See, this is what I mean. This is called a debit card. How do people not know this? Almost all banks have this and its completely different from a credit card.

    It's also called a check card. i think debit cards are for ATM and "debit" purchases only (where you have to put your pin number in), and they don't have the visa logo. I've had a check card, which acts as my debit card as well, for as long as BoA offered them. i think when people say it "acts like a credit card" they mean, it's accepted anywhere Visa is.

    Dr. Frenchenstein on
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    ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Diogee wrote: »
    FyreWulff wrote: »
    See if you can get a card that acts like a credit card from your bank (usually for your checking account). I know for a fact USBank has this, and First National Bank also does this
    See, this is what I mean. This is called a debit card. How do people not know this? Almost all banks have this and its completely different from a credit card.
    It's also called a check card. i think debit cards are for ATM and "debit" purchases only (where you have to put your pin number in), and they don't have the visa logo. I've had a check card, which acts as my debit card as well, for as long as BoA offered them. i think when people say it "acts like a credit card" they mean, it's accepted anywhere Visa is.
    "Check cards" and "debit cards" are functionally the same thing, these days.

    The only real difference is in whether or not your debit card has a credit card logo. If it does, it can be used wherever that type of credit card can be, though they may still treat it as a debit card.

    In any case, the easiest way to go about this is to simply get a credit card.

    Thanatos on
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    FyreWulffFyreWulff YouRegistered User, ClubPA regular
    edited July 2010
    Diogee wrote: »
    FyreWulff wrote: »
    See if you can get a card that acts like a credit card from your bank (usually for your checking account). I know for a fact USBank has this, and First National Bank also does this

    See, this is what I mean. This is called a debit card. How do people not know this? Almost all banks have this and its completely different from a credit card.

    My First National card worked completely as a credit card. the 'debit' option didn't even work in the card scanners, and had a Visa logo.

    So yes, for all intents and purposes it was a credit card, I just had to have money backing it in the account to work

    FyreWulff on
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    mbannickmbannick Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Soooo... If anyone is interested I ended up booking a hotel (silvercloud inn, is it any good?) and gave em a call and asked about their check in policy. Turns out they allow debit (not terribly surprising) and since I booked through a travel site they only charge incidentals (she said $30 but that sounds kind of low) and not for the rooms themselves. So having only $30 frozen for a few days doesn't seem too terrible. At some point I think I may call them again to clarify a bit more (just so I know she wasn't just blowing smoke about the policy). So anyone have any experience with this hotel? From their website it seems like they are a small Washington only chain.

    mbannick on
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