It's easy to have a stress free trip when you know what to expect.

Smart Travel Planning. Understanding American Hotel Credit Procedures

It's easy to have a stress free trip when you know what to expect.

It’s easy to have a stress free trip when you know what to expect.

Every week, we encounter guests with questions about typical American hotel credit procedures. So that all travelers can be prepared and fully understand what to expect when they travel to the US, we asked the concierges at the Library Hotel Collection to put together this useful Q&A. We hope you will find it helpful in preparing for a smooth and worry-free travel experience!

 Q: Why do I need a credit card to check in?

 A: In order to guarantee a traveler’s room, tax, and incidental expenses, guests must provide a credit card upon arrival when checking into a hotel. Incidental charges may include room service, dry cleaning, telephone charges, etc. The hotel will contact your credit card provider for authorization for the amount of the total stay room and taxes, plus an additional amount for possible incidental expenses each night. This amount varies from hotel to hotel but it might be as much as $50- $100 per night or even per person per night.

Q: Do you recommend using a credit card instead of a debit card?

 A: Absolutely! Always provide your credit card instead of a debit card upon arrival. An authorization on a credit card is simply designating a portion of your credit limit to cover your hotel expenses. The hold will be released by the hotel when you depart, although it might take a few business days for your bank to release the funds. An authorization on a debit card however, will actually block you from accessing your cash and takes longer to be returned to you by your bank after you check out.

Q: Do I need to inform the credit card provider that issued my credit card about my travel plans?

A: We recommend you do inform your credit card provider when you travel. This will help avoid unwanted security alerts or even possible declines when you are trying to use your card while you are far from home.

Q: What should I talk to my financial institution about?

A: In addition to letting them know you will be away and using your card out of town, it is a great idea to be sure to ask them to extend the credit limit on your card to an amount that will comfortably allow for your hotel expenses to be paid and pre-authorization to be set aside, as well as provide for all the activities you plan to enjoy during your trip.

Q: Any other advice?

 A: By prepaying for your stay on our own websites, you will get the best rates we offer. Plus, if you pay off your card in full before your visit, you will have more available credit for your incidental expenses and leisure activities during your trip.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to ask our experts at We would be happy to help you plan a stress free trip!


  1. Pam Rowley says

    I read that you can pay for your room before you arrive on a credit card. Could you please tell me how to do this. Kind Regards Pam Rowley

    • says

      Thank you for your question, Ms. Rowley. The easiest way is to book the PrePay and Save Rate online on our website. Visit select your hotel, then go to reservations, select your dates, then choose your preferred room size carefully to best suit your needs. Then select the PrePay rate. You can also email us at the hotel or at the corporate office and let us know what your dates and room preferences are and we will send you a credit card authorization form, which will give us permission to charge your card in your absence. Please let us know if we can be of assistance in any way. – Adele

  2. says

    It’s also a good idea to protect your credit card while travelling using an approved RFID sleeve for each individual card. Our company is acquiring many of these sleeves for our customers and it will protect the card number from being stolen from a casual airport or on-the-street encounter with a stranger. Good information on this post – good to know you can pre-pay for a room too!


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