Book a hotel without a credit card in 2024

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Traveling with a credit card can provide several benefits, making it an attractive payment option. One of the most significant advantages of using a credit card while traveling is its security. Credit cards are generally safer to carry and use than cash, as you can quickly report the theft or loss of your card, and your bank can lock it to prevent any unauthorized transactions. In contrast, if you lose cash, it is almost impossible to recover it.

Additionally, if someone else uses your credit card fraudulently, you are typically not responsible for paying back those purchases. Credit cards also offer various rewards and perks, such as cashback, travel points, and discounts on hotel bookings. However, credit cards are not suitable for everyone, especially if you struggle to pay your bills on time.

Based on the 2021 Consumer Credit Card Market Report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, over 175 million Americans have at least one credit card. However, some people may prefer to travel without a credit card. Several alternative payment options are available in such cases, including cash, PayPal, third-party payment services like “buy now, pay later” companies, gift cards, debit cards, and points and miles.

Despite these options, some hotels may still require a credit card to book a room. It is not always mandatory but often necessary, particularly if you plan to stay in high-end hotels. Therefore, it is essential to check the hotel’s policy beforehand, as some hotels may require a credit card to hold the reservation, while others may accept a debit card or cash deposit.

Why do some hotels require credit cards?

It’s worth noting that while most hotels accept various payment methods, including debit cards, gift cards, and hotel points, some may require you to present a credit card at check-in or when making a reservation, regardless of the payment method you intend to use. This is typically done for two reasons.

Firstly, hotels may require your credit card information to charge cancellation fees if you cancel your reservation past the cancellation window. Without a credit card on file, the hotel may be unable to charge you for these fees, which can be costly for the hotel. With your credit card details, they can charge the fees if necessary.

Hotels may also require a security deposit to cover any potential damage or theft during your stay. This ensures that guests take responsibility for their actions and don’t cause damage to the room or steal hotel property. To do this, many hotels require your credit card details to be on file. If any damage or theft does occur, the hotel can charge your credit card accordingly.

During your stay, hotels may also offer convenient payment options that allow you to make purchases without paying on the spot. For example, you may enjoy a drink from the in-room minibar, and these charges are typically billed to your credit card upon checkout. By providing your credit card details, you can easily make these purchases without worrying about carrying cash or paying with another form of payment.

What hotels do not require a credit card?

When it comes to booking a hotel room, you might wonder what kind of payment methods are accepted. Some hotels will accept debit cards, personal checks, or wire transfers, but it’s important to note that most major hotel brands require a credit or debit card to make a reservation. While you may not have to use the same card to pay for your stay, most hotels will require that you provide a card on file as a form of collateral to ensure that you have enough funds to cover any charges or fees that may arise during your stay.

When you provide a credit or debit card to a hotel, the hotel will typically place a hold on your card to ensure that you have sufficient funds available to settle your final bill. This hold is not an actual charge but an authorization that temporarily blocks a portion of your available credit or funds. The amount of the hold may vary depending on the hotel’s policies and the length of your stay.

While some hotels may accept alternate forms of payment, it’s always best to double-check with the hotel before making a reservation to ensure that you have all the necessary information and can avoid any potential issues. Understanding the payment policies of the hotel you’re staying at can help ensure a smooth and stress-free stay.

Finding a hotel that doesn’t require a credit card can be challenging. However, some hotels offer alternative payment options for their guests. Here are some detailed examples of such hotels:

  • Best Western: Although credit cards are required for online reservations, you can make a reservation by phone at 800-564-2515. The specific rules may vary depending on the property, but generally, you can make a phone reservation without a credit card. You can also pay in person by alternate (non-credit card) methods at check-in.
  • Hilton: When booking directly through Hilton’s website, you can provide a debit card number as a guarantee. You can pay for your stay using either a debit or credit card.
  • Marriott: During check-in, you can use a debit card instead of a credit card. Regardless of the type of card you use, your card-issuing bank will place a hold on your account for room and tax charges, any applicable resort fees, and an amount for incidentals per day for the entire stay (the amount varies by location). You can pay using either a debit or credit card.
  • Motel 6: While some properties require some sort of plastic upon check-in, not all do. You can use a debit or bank card and a credit card. Payments are accepted via cash, traveler’s check, or any of these methods. However, advance payment deposits through a credit card guarantee, check, or wire transfer are required for reservations with 10 or more rooms.

When booking a hotel room, it’s important to know which hotels require a credit card and which ones don’t.

Hyatt, for example, requires a credit card for all reservations made through their website. Radisson Americas and Radisson Hotels only accept credit cards, not debit cards. Wyndham also requires a credit card for online reservations.

It’s worth noting that some hotels may place a hold on your card for incidentals or damages, and these holds may not be released until after you have checked out. Therefore, it’s important to have enough funds available on your credit card to cover any potential holds.

How to book a hotel without a credit card

If you plan to book a hotel that typically requires a credit card for reservations, there might be some ways to book that room without a credit card. Here are a few things that you could try:

Book over the phone: Most hotels have an automated booking system that requires a credit card for reservations. However, if you call the hotel directly, you could speak with a property manager who can help you. Policies can vary by property, and a human might provide a workaround for you.

Consider booking through online travel agencies: If the hotel you want to book requires a credit card, you could consider booking through online travel agencies like Expedia or Orbitz. These third-party travel agencies might let you book the same hotel room using a different payment method. However, it is important to understand the tradeoffs when you book through a third party. This can include higher rates and worse cancellation policies.

How to check in to a hotel without a credit card

It’s important to remember that even if you have successfully booked a room at a hotel, you may not be allowed to check in without providing a credit card as a deposit. Many hotels require a credit card on file at check-in, either to cover any potential damage or to cover any incidentals you may accrue during your stay.

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If you have used an alternate payment method to reserve your room, it can be frustrating to arrive at the hotel only to find out that you cannot access your room without a credit card. However, it’s worth noting that many hotels do accept alternate forms of payment to ensure that you will not steal anything from the room or use the minibar without paying.

If you find yourself in this situation, some common alternatives to credit card deposits include:

1. Pay the security deposit upfront in cash

When you’re checking into a hotel, it’s common for them to request a security deposit to cover any incidental expenses you may incur during your stay. One option that some hotels offer instead of putting a hold on your credit card is to allow you to put down a cash security deposit, which will be returned to you upon checkout.

However, keep in mind that these security deposits can often run north of $200, and in some high-end properties, it could be as much as $1,000. While some hotels may accept cash deposits, carrying that much cash with you could be risky and not something you might want to do.

On the other hand, paying with cash has one significant advantage over using a credit or debit card – your funds will be released immediately upon checkout. This differs from the multiple days it can take to release holds on a credit or debit card. Therefore, it’s crucial to weigh the pros and cons of paying with cash versus using a credit card and decide which option is best for you based on your individual circumstances.

2. Place a debit card hold

When booking a hotel, you may wonder whether you can use a debit card to make the reservation. The good news is that many hotels do accept debit cards. However, it’s important to know the potential implications of using a debit card for your hotel reservation.

Firstly, it’s important to note that when you check in to the hotel, they may place a hold on your debit card for a certain amount. This is similar to a credit card hold and covers any incidental charges you may incur during your stay. The amount of the hold can vary depending on the hotel and the length of your stay.

It’s important to keep in mind that some debit cards have daily or monthly spending limits, especially prepaid debit cards. Even if you have enough money in your account to cover the room rate, the additional hotel security deposit could cause you to exceed your spending limit. To avoid any issues, it’s a good idea to have a plan in place if the deposit exceeds your spending limit. This may involve calling your bank and informing them of the hold, or arranging for additional funds to be transferred into your account.

Another thing to consider is whether you have enough money to cover the hold. If you don’t, you may incur overdraft fees, which can be quite costly. Before making your reservation, it’s important to determine how much money is in your account and whether you can cover the hold without incurring any additional fees.

3. Look at nonchain hotels

If you are looking for accommodation and have specific needs or preferences, it’s worth noting that different lodging establishments may have varying policies and procedures.

For instance, a large hotel chain may have a standard set of rules that apply to all guests, which may not be flexible or accommodating to individual requests. On the other hand, a locally-owned motel or a small bed-and-breakfast might be more willing to work with you and tailor their services to your needs. This is because they are not bound by the same bureaucracy and corporate protocols as larger chains, making it easier to negotiate and find common ground.

It’s always a good idea to research different options and read reviews from other guests to get a sense of what each place is like and what kind of experience you can expect.

4. Consider vacation rentals

When booking vacation rentals, it’s important to note that some hosts may not require credit cards for payment or deposit purposes. However, in most countries, it’s worth mentioning that Airbnb accepts various payment options, including credit and debit cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and PayPal.

It’s worth noting that hosts on Airbnb are not allowed to charge security deposits. Instead, guests are informed at the time of booking that their payment method may be charged if they cause any damage during their stay. In the event of a dispute, Airbnb provides a Resolution Center where both parties can work towards a solution.

While it may be tempting to pay in cash, it’s important to remember that cash payments violate Airbnb’s terms and conditions. Therefore, it’s always best to stick to the accepted payment methods provided by the platform.

5. Ask for a courtesy hold

When booking a hotel room, many hotels require a payment card to secure the reservation. However, some hotels offer an alternative option for those who prefer not to use a payment card: a courtesy hold.

A courtesy hold is a reservation that allows you to hold a room without making a payment at the time of booking. The hotel will still keep the room available for you until the day of your arrival. This means you can book a room without providing your payment card information, which can be helpful if you don’t have a payment card or prefer not to use one.

When you arrive at the hotel, you will need to pay for your room using one of the approved payment methods, such as cash, debit card, or credit card. It’s important to check what payment methods the hotel accepts beforehand so you know what to expect when you arrive.

It’s worth noting that courtesy holds are becoming increasingly rare, and many hotels won’t let you make a booking without some sort of payment to hold the room. However, if you are a trusted and frequent hotel guest, you may have a greater chance of getting a courtesy hold. It’s always a good idea to ask about this option, especially if you prefer not to use a payment card to book a room.

6. Call and ask

If you plan to book a hotel but do not have a credit card, it is always a good idea to call the hotel as early as possible. You can ask them about the credit card free options they provide for such cases. Some hotels offer alternative options like paying with a debit card or cash deposit. However, keep in mind that not all hotels may provide such options.

If the hotel you are interested in does not offer any credit card free options, it is best to look for alternative accommodations that better suit your needs. Moreover, you can also check if any other hotels in the area offer credit card free options and are within your budget.

The bottom line

If you frequently use credit cards, it’s always a good idea to choose one that offers cashback and rewards. This way, you’ll earn rewards and get some money back on your purchases. Additionally, if you enjoy booking hotels online, you should consider going through cashback sites like Rakuten. These sites will give you cashback for booking hotels through their platform. Not only that, but you may also be able to avail exclusive discounts and deals for popular hotel chains.

It’s important to note that you don’t necessarily have to use a credit card to earn cashback. You can use a debit card, pay with PayPal, or use other methods and still receive your cashback from Rakuten. It’s that easy!

Moreover, it’s always a good idea to join hotel reward programs. By doing so, you’ll be able to earn rewards for being loyal to a brand. These rewards can range from free stays to discounts and other perks. It’s a win-win situation!

Finally, if you’re not comfortable using a credit card, don’t worry. There are many ways to book a hotel without a credit card. You just have to pick the best option for you and your situation.