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Doubletree refuses to release $6k in cc authorizations

Doubletree refuses to release $6k in cc authorizations

Old Dec 16, 12, 2:36 am
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Doubletree refuses to release $6k in cc authorizations

I recently stayed in a single at the Doubletree in Jersey City (franchised hotel) on business. Without going into great detail, I had a number of billing issues during my 11 night stay but they were finally resolved before I checked out. I paid in full ($4400) and checked out, yet the hotel continues to hold $6000 in authorizations against my Skymiles AmEx. AmEx says since they aren't actual charges, AmEx cannot reverse them but that the hotel has to release them. Despite multiple calls, the hotel is unresponsive, and the $6000 reduction of my credit is cramping my style.

Does anyone know of a Hilton rep or contact that I can contact to intervene on my behalf?
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Old Dec 16, 12, 3:15 am
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Originally Posted by ecaarch View Post
I recently stayed in a single at the Doubletree in Jersey City (franchised hotel) on business. Without going into great detail, I had a number of billing issues during my 11 night stay but they were finally resolved before I checked out. I paid in full ($4400) and checked out, yet the hotel continues to hold $6000 in authorizations against my Skymiles AmEx. AmEx says since they aren't actual charges, AmEx cannot reverse them but that the hotel has to release them. Despite multiple calls, the hotel is unresponsive, and the $6000 reduction of my credit is cramping my style.

Does anyone know of a Hilton rep or contact that I can contact to intervene on my behalf?
Those authorizations will eventually drop off (5 to 30 days) and that time frame is entirely within the control of Amex. Normally, the initial authorization will drop off at the time of the final charge going through. If you had some billing issues, it might be the case that these were no longer synced.

If $6K temporarily credit line reduction is cramping your style, maybe it is time for some lifestyle adjustment.

Last edited by holtju2; Dec 16, 12 at 10:20 am Reason: tyo
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Old Dec 16, 12, 3:16 am
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Is there some sort of urgent need for the credit line?

By the time you get somebody at Hilton to talk to somebody at the hotel, the holds will probably have fallen off...

My only suggestion is to call Hilton (800-445-8667) and ask for "Guest Assistance" and get them to deal with it.
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Old Dec 16, 12, 8:21 am
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Something is not right.

If the authorization and the charge were on the same card, the charge should have released the authorization.

Otherwise, you just have to wait it out. They will eventually drop off, most hotels don't release them, it's up to Amex's policy how long they hold an authorization without a charge coming through. It's doubtful there is anybody at the hotel who actually knows how to release an authorization, it's not at all a common thing to do, and I'm not even sure most merchant accounts even support the function anymore.

On a long stay, if you don't have the credit room for a charge and an authorization like that to overlap for some time after checking out, it's best to settle the bill several times during the stay to keep the authorizations low.

About the only thing you can do if you need more available credit is see if Amex will give you a temporary increase until the hold rolls off on it's own.
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Old Dec 16, 12, 9:45 am
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I actually had several authorizations on my Citi card for a Doubletree stay in October. None of them exceeded the hotel stay but they were there for weeks.

No need to question the OPs lifestyle, the limit on my Amex Surpass is $12k and it would annoy me if I had to use a different card because a $4K hotel stay cost me $10K of my credit limit.
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Old Dec 16, 12, 10:20 am
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This one doesn't sound clean. Given OP's mention of billing issues during his stay, it's more than likely that the authorization and debit are not synched. It's too late now, but best not to muck with credit issues during a stay unless you've got a good deal of excess credit lying around.

As a general matter, if you're a frequent business traveler, you probably want to have at least $15-20 K in excess credit at any given time.

Presuming that OP is credit worthy, if he needs access to the funds, he can ask Amex for a 30-day increase in his credit limit.
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Old Dec 16, 12, 10:32 pm
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the timeline of events

I am the OP and, while I (like most here) have traveled extensively, I’ve never encountered a situation quite like this. To help others to understand what sounds like an implausible (or half-told) story, here is a time line of the facts (largely provided to me by AmEx). I am fully aware of the difference between an “authorization” and a “charge” and I have taken great care to insure that I use the correct terminology where appropriate.

Dec 3 – I check into the hotel for a two week stay. I am told that on an extended stay, I must settle my account at least every seven days. I provide AmEx card #1 with a sufficient credit line to cover more than one week of my stay. While I intend to settle my account with my SkyMiles AmEx, the hotel does not have that card information at this point. Although it is not abnormal for people to guarantee a room with one card and settle the tab with another, this likely contributed to the situation.

Dec 3 – The hotel does not run an authorization on AmEx #1. Instead, the hotel attempts to run a charge for $3487.18 on AmEx card #1. I have no clue what that figure is because it does not match any possible combination of the room rate/taxes/nights. The same holds true for all of the 20 (yes, twenty) charge attempts on AmEx #1. They all seem to be random amounts. AmEx declines the charge.

Dec 3 – The hotel attempts to run another charge for $2936.98 on AmEx card #1. AmEx declines the charge.

Dec 4 – The hotel attempts to run another charge for $3435.15 on AmEx card #1. AmEx declines the charge.

Dec 4 – The hotel successfully runs a charge for $10.00 on AmEx card #1.

Dec 4 – The hotel successfully runs a charge for $1000.00 on AmEx card #1. From this point forward, the amount the hotel has successfully charged AmEx #1 surpasses my room charges incurred.

Dec 4 – The hotel successfully runs a charge for $110.00 on AmEx #1.

Dec 4 – The hotel attempts to run another charge for $1900.00 on AmEx card #1. AmEx declines the charge.

Dec 4 – The hotel successfully runs a charge for $815.00 on AmEx #1.

Dec 5 – The hotel attempts to run another charge for $815.00 on AmEx card #1. AmEx declines the charge.

Dec 5 – The hotel attempts to run another charge for $1461.07 on AmEx card #1. AmEx declines the charge.

Dec 5 – The hotel attempts to run another charge for $695.01 on AmEx card #1. AmEx declines the charge.

Dec 6 – The hotel attempts to run another charge for $1140.73 on AmEx card #1. AmEx declines the charge.

Dec 6 – The hotel attempts to run another charge for $2500.00 on AmEx card #1. AmEx declines the charge.

Dec 7 – The hotel attempts to run another charge for $636.87 on AmEx card #1. AmEx declines the charge.

Dec 7 – The hotel attempts to run another charge for $1082.60 on AmEx card #1. AmEx declines the charge.

Dec 7 – My billing cycle closes on AmEx #1.

Dec 8 – The hotel attempts to run another charge for $578.73 on AmEx card #1. AmEx declines the charge.

Dec 8 – The hotel attempts to run another charge for $100.00 on AmEx card #1. Amex declines the charge.

Dec 9 – The hotel attempts to run another charge for $520.59 on AmEx card #1. AmEx declines the charge.

Dec 9 – Unaware that the hotel has successfully charged a total of $1935.00 on AmEx card #1, I go to the desk and settle my account to date (and actually pay forward a day) using my SkyMiles AmEx card for $2862.47. At this point, I have knowingly and unknowingly paid the hotel $2000.00+ more than my charges to date.

Dec 10 – The hotel attempts to run another charge for $50.00 on AmEx card #1. AmEx declines the charge.

Dec 10 – The hotel attempts to run another charge for $70.00 on AmEx card #1. AmEx declines the charge.

Dec 10 – The hotel successfully authorizes $3061.96 on my SkyMiles AmEx.

Dec 10 – The hotel successfully authorizes $2862.47 (AmEx was very clear in their explanation that this was unrelated to the charge of the same amount on the previous day) on my SkyMiles AmEx.

Dec 11 – I see my statement for AmEx card #1 showing $1935.00 in charges from the hotel. I go ballistic. The hotel issues a credit to AmEx card #1 for $1935.00. The credit has posted to the account.

Dec 14 – I check out and settle my outstanding balance of $1492.22 using my SkyMiles AmEx card. I think I am done with this *&%$ hotel. I am unaware that the hotel is still holding authorizations for $3061.96 and $2862.47 on my SkyMiles AmEx.

I should note that at no time does the hotel attempt to communicate with me regarding the charge attempts or my outstanding balance. The hotel staff just seemed to go haywire in attempting random charge amounts.
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Old Dec 16, 12, 10:36 pm
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Originally Posted by holtju2 View Post
If $6K temporarily credit line reduction is cramping your style, maybe it is time for some lifestyle adjustment.
Wow. Just, wow.
Originally Posted by JJJJust View Post
Is there some sort of urgent need for the credit line?
Actually there is. I am staying at the same hotel again this week (part of a larger group so I had no choice…if it was up to me, I’d be walking to the Westin two blocks away). When I called the hotel today to ask them how I was supposed to check in when they already had $6k in authorizations tying up my credit, they told me I would need to come up with another credit card for the new stay. Huh?
Originally Posted by JJJJust View Post
By the time you get somebody at Hilton to talk to somebody at the hotel, the holds will probably have fallen off...
The holds are still there.
Originally Posted by JJJJust View Post
My only suggestion is to call Hilton (800-445-8667) and ask for "Guest Assistance" and get them to deal with it.
I took your advice. Hilton has opened a guest assistance case file. Hilton called the hotel directly and arranged for me to check in with no further credit card authorizations until this gets sorted.
Originally Posted by cordelli View Post
Something is not right.
If it seems that part of the story is missing, it is. I have no clue why a guest that has spent/will spend a combined $5k in 3 weeks is treated in this manner
Originally Posted by cordelli View Post
If the authorization and the charge were on the same card, the charge should have released the authorization.
I would have thought so as well.
Originally Posted by cordelli View Post
On a long stay, if you don't have the credit room for a charge and an authorization like that to overlap for some time after checking out, it's best to settle the bill several times during the stay to keep the authorizations low.
I did that.
Originally Posted by BrlDsguise View Post
No need to question the OPs lifestyle, the limit on my Amex Surpass is $12k and it would annoy me if I had to use a different card because a $4K hotel stay cost me $10K of my credit limit.
Thank you.
Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
Presuming that OP is credit worthy, if he needs access to the funds, he can ask Amex for a 30-day increase in his credit limit.
AmEx has been absolutely stellar in their service and working with me to insure that I don’t get stranded until this is totally sorted.
Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
This one doesn't sound clean. Given OP's mention of billing issues during his stay, it's more than likely that the authorization and debit are not synched. It's too late now, but best not to muck with credit issues during a stay unless you've got a good deal of excess credit lying around.
Lesson learned (the hard way).
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Old Dec 16, 12, 11:26 pm
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If it doesn't fall off soon, call hilton, ask for Guest Assistance and let them know you have tried multiple times to resolve your issue with the hotel directly.

Of course it helps if you have names, but in any event, they will be the department that can best help you.

Good Luck.
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Old Dec 16, 12, 11:31 pm
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Originally Posted by shoreline View Post
If it doesn't fall off soon, call hilton, ask for Guest Assistance and let them know you have tried multiple times to resolve your issue with the hotel directly.

Of course it helps if you have names, but in any event, they will be the department that can best help you.

Good Luck.
Thank you. I just opened an e-mail from Guest Assistance this evening. They have contacted the hotel for resolution. I responded with the detailed timeline/info I provided here to help them understand the situation.

I have stayed in hundreds of hotels and never encountered anything remotely like this. I realize that some reading my posts may wonder what information I have left off since this seems like an implausible series of actions/events, but the situation IS really as bizarre as it reads.
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Old Dec 17, 12, 12:45 am
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Originally Posted by cordelli View Post
Something is not right.

If the authorization and the charge were on the same card, the charge should have released the authorization.
That depends!

If the person (or system) running the final charge does not key in the authorization code from the first 'ping' then this will be a completely new charge amount with a new authorization number.

Given the info provided by the OP there were so many different authorizations run by the hotel that it is impossible to balance those up. A final charge can only be sequenced with one other authorization code and not the whole dozen (or even two for that matter).

This sounds to me like a typical case of miscommunication Hotel ./. Guest. Often this is caused by untrained/incompetent front desk staff. Some other times the reason is that the guest is giving conflicting information. Both can happen. It is not unusual that a different card is used for final settlement HOWEVER bear in mind that the initial authorization falls off after an automated process. The merchant can not be forced to engage in a release process for these funds as essentially it was the decision of the customer to provide two different cards.

I had something like this happening to me in TPE this week, front desk staff did not key in the authorization code from the day before and even the same CC got pinged with a new charge. I was not pleased, not because the 90$ would hurt my weekly allowance but because it was a processing error that should not happen.

@ OP: Your best bet is continuing to talk to Amex when the expiry date of these charges is and maybe they can extend a temporary credit line to you.
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Old Dec 17, 12, 5:54 am
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Originally Posted by skywalkerLAX View Post
If the person (or system) running the final charge does not key in the authorization code from the first 'ping' then this will be a completely new charge amount with a new authorization number.
Good to know for future reference.

Originally Posted by skywalkerLAX View Post
This sounds to me like a typical case of miscommunication Hotel ./. Guest. Often this is caused by untrained/incompetent front desk staff. .
My bet is this is the case.
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Old Dec 17, 12, 8:13 am
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Don't know if this will be helpful or not, but with Christmas spending and purchasing air tickets for travel in early 2013, the credit limit on my Surpass card was looking tight. I went online to my card account and requested doubling the credit limit (from $10K to $20K). It was approved in about 30 seconds.
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Old Dec 17, 12, 8:21 am
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Originally Posted by holtju2 View Post
If $6K temporarily credit line reduction is cramping your style, maybe it is time for some lifestyle adjustment.
Originally Posted by ecaarch View Post
Wow. Just, wow.
I think that you are confusing cash in the bank and credit line. Amex can withdraw the line of credit that they have extended to you at any point for any reason.

It is not uncommon for the hotels to authorize the entire stay + some incidentals plus then a certain amount for each day as they pass.

You could have paid the entire stay up front using the card that you wanted the charge to go and then give another one for incidentals. I think that you are just wasting your time with this. It is up to Amex when they release the authorization.
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Old Dec 17, 12, 3:39 pm
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Originally Posted by holtju2 View Post
I think that you are confusing cash in the bank and credit line. Amex can withdraw the line of credit that they have extended to you at any point for any reason.

It is not uncommon for the hotels to authorize the entire stay + some incidentals plus then a certain amount for each day as they pass.

You could have paid the entire stay up front using the card that you wanted the charge to go and then give another one for incidentals. I think that you are just wasting your time with this. It is up to Amex when they release the authorization.
As I previously noted, I understand the distinction between an "authorization" (or sometimes called a "hold") and a "charge". The timeline clearly articulates what was an authorization and what was a charge, and the information listed is not based on my conjecture but rather on the dates/times/amounts provided by AmEx. After hundreds and hundreds of hotel stays, this ain't my first time at the rodeo.
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