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Why hotels need your credit card information

minute read

    Hotels often require a credit card to reserve a room or check in, and there are a couple specific reasons for this. Let's take a closer look at those reasons and explore the benefits of using a credit card for your hotel stay.

    Why do hotels need a credit card?

    A credit card may not be absolutely necessary for your hotel stay. Most hotels accept credit cards and debit cards, and this is a normal requirement for 2 reasons: 

    • To validate the reservation: Hotels want to know that you'll show up for your reservation. By taking your card information, hotels get that assurance. They can also contact you about changes to your reservation and charge cancellation fees. 
    • To charge for potential damages or theft: The card which hotels keep on file is used in case the room has any damage or missing items. Usually that's found after checkout, so charges could post to the card that was used for the reservation or checking in. Hotels may also require a security deposit to ensure that customers leave the room and hotel property as they found it.

    Paying for a hotel with a debit card

    Many hotels accept debit cards when you book or check in, but they may request a security deposit. The hotel may place a hold on your debit card, but the money isn't withdrawn from your account until checkout. It may not offer you some of the benefits of paying for a hotel with a credit card, but feel free to use your debit card.

    Paying for a hotel with cash

    Paying cash for hotel stays is not always an option, and it would usually be accepted only at the time of checkout. That means you may still need a credit or debit card to reserve your room. Consider cash as a last resort or contact the hotel before you book your room to avoid surprises.

    Benefits of paying for a hotel with a credit card

    Using a credit card to book your hotel stay can be a good option for both parties. The hotel may gain a sense of security, and you may have the opportunity to earn perks and benefits.

    Earn rewards

    By making purchases with hotel credit cards or travel rewards cards, you can earn reward points. As you might already know, hotel stays can be pricey, but you can earn reward points. Those points can be redeemed to cover future hotel stays. These types of cards may also give you access to loyalty programs, and you can enjoy perks like late checkout and complimentary breakfast.

    Handle add-ons and extensions more easily

    With a credit card on file, you could pay for additional charges more easily. Maybe you'll want room service, drinks at the bar or services the property offers in addition to the standard amenities. Using the card you give them, hotels can also help you adjust your reservation if you want to add nights or upgrade your stay.

    Travel credit card vs. hotel credit card

    Consider using one of these options to earn points and maximize the potential rewards for your trip. Both hotel credit cards and general travel credit cards offer rewards specifically for hotels that may be redeemed for your current or future stays.

    Hotel credit card

    If you use your hotel credit cards for purchases within that hotel chain, you may earn points at a higher rate. Hotel credit cards also offer perks like free nights every once in a while, as well as access to special events. Hotels usually have loyalty programs, and having the chain's credit card might make earning and using points a seamless experience.

    Travel credit card

    General travel cards allow you to redeem points for stays at hotels and are not usually affiliated with any particular chain. However, some travel credit cards may have perks for your trip like an annual travel credit, airport lounge access and a complimentary hotel room upgrade.

    In conclusion

    Using a credit card to book your hotel stay may be the easiest payment method because hotels get the assurance they're looking for: cancellation protection and accountability for damage or theft. It's hard to say which payment method is best for you, but it's easy to see that using a credit card for your hotel stay has the most benefits. If you're still having a hard time deciding on a credit card, try the Chase Card Finder.

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