why do hotels need your credit card when you check in for a fully-prepaid room?
why do hotels need your credit card when you check in for a fully-prepaid room? for example, fully prepaid on hotel's website, priceline, hotwire, or any other travel website.
last week I checked into an airport Hyatt with a $50 AmEx gift card that I got from a CLF lightbulb rebate. Since I had the kids with me on this trip, I asked that PPV, room service and LD phone calls be blocked from the room, which the clerk did without saying anything.
I had no idea how the clerk was able to run an authorization, but she probably punched in only $50, since the card showed $0 available when I went up to the room. The authorization went away and the card had $50 available balance a few days after I checked out of the hotel room. Used up the $50 on groceries a day later.
When I checked out, my bill was zero, since my room had already been prepaid on Priceline for the 4-night stay.
So, what was the point of the hotel asking me for my credit card in the first place?
There are 2 reasons hotels want your credit card at checkin:
1) Convenience for incidental charges. In addition to room service and in-room movies, you can charge all sorts of things to your room: parking, laundry, restaurant/bar charges, coffee/gift shop purchases. These sorts of things are normal and expected even on a prepaid rate. Collecting everyone's credit card means it's easy and convenient to bill to a room account.
2) Guarantee the hotel will be made whole for any damage/lost items. If you break a lamp, remove the TV, or hang your suit on the fire sprinkler, the hotel has at least a starting point to recover costs.