Why Do Hotels Need a Credit Card to Make a Reservation?

by Jeannine Mancini ; Updated July 27, 2017
Requiring guests to reserve a room with a credit card protects the hotel.

The majority of hotels require credit cards to secure a room reservation. If you want to book a hotel room online, you will most likely need to enter your credit card number to hold the room. Some hotels will allow you to pay the nightly rate in cash at check-in.

Avoid Cancellations

A hotel wants to book as many rooms as possible on a given night. If someone reserves a room, the room is held for a certain amount of time. A person may book several rooms and have no intentions of showing up or may cancel at the last minute. In order for the hotel to confirm the validity of the reservation, a credit card is required. Hotels also have their own policies when it comes to cancellations. Some hotels may charge the credit card for the room if adequate notice of cancellation is not provided.

Payment for Damage

Even if a hotel allows a guest to pay his reservation in cash or with a debit card, it may still request a credit card number be on file in case of damage. Housekeeping does not always come into a hotel room until after guests have checked out. If the room is damaged, it is too late to collect payment from the guest. Having a credit card allows the hotel to charge the guest for any damage done to the room during his stay.

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Prevent Theft

Some guests are known to take items from hotel rooms, which drives up the hotel's expenses. Hotel staff do not always realize the items are gone until it is too late. When guests place a credit card on file, the hotel can charge the guest for any items taken from the room.

About the Author

Jeannine Mancini, a Florida native, has been writing business and personal finance articles since 2003. Her articles have been published in the Florida Today and Orlando Sentinel. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Central Florida.

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