You just got back after staying in a hotel over the weekend. You checked your account and noticed no charges posted by the merchant on your account. Did you get lucky and win a free stay?
Maybe or maybe not. Let’s find out:
A charge may disappear from your records because the hotel merchant forgot to accept the funds, they have a request for a pre-authorization on your card, or they made an error on the transaction information. Outstanding charges can vanish now and appear later as a posted charge.
The Hotel Failed to Charge You
It could slip the merchant’s mind to charge you for your stay. Or they haven’t updated their records and forgot to claim the funds. It could happen, and if it did, don’t look at it as a free stay. Just reserve the payment for it and treat the money as already spent.
There is no known limit to this error. Hotels may realize this oversight after months. It may surprise you to receive a charge even after a year. They will always charge you at some point. So better check on them if it’s been a week after your stay and they still haven’t billed you.
There Have Been Delays in Posting the Charge
It’s too early to conclude anything on your charges after only a few days. There could be a time-lapse between your checkout and the actual billing on your card. The charges might fall off of your account as if nothing happened. Wait a couple of days for them to be cleared.
The merchant may have also requested a pre-authorization on your card. This ensures them that you would pay them after the checkout. This enables them to temporarily hold your card for pending room service or damage transactions. The process for this might take a while and cause delays to the charges.
There Have Been Mistakes in the Billing
Your hotel might have put the wrong name or amount in your final bill. Incorrect data may come from the littlest detail as a can of nuts from the hotel room or a big mishap as disregarded discounts.
Double-checking your hotel bill and looking through each charge is important in these cases.
If this happens to you, call the hotel’s attention right away. Reversing these changes could take a while. And maybe the reason for your previous charges to be dropped and later appear again.
A pending transaction is a card transaction not fully processed by the merchant, mostly because of your payment not going through to their account. You will notice that the appropriate amount will be deducted from your balance relative to the pending transaction.
If the pending transaction fails, the funds you spend will often return to your account after seven days.
There are three root causes as to why your pending transaction can vanish. First, if the transaction is finished where it has been processed, accepted, and posted.
Second, If an error was present during the transaction. And lastly, if your funds were not accepted by the merchant. All in all, outstanding transactions do appear and vanish.
Make it a habit to constantly check your card statements. Some would attest to having an experience of merchants taking about 30 days to finalize the transaction. This would later show up on your account and might shock you if you're unaware of your billing information.
No, most hotels charge you before you check out.
However, there is no set rule for this. Each hotel handles this differently.
Some hotels offer non-refundable rates. This means that you pay when you book and are not eligible for a refund. Usually, hotels give you a discount of about 10-15% when you book using a non-refundable rate. In this case, the hotel will charge you when you book the hotel, even if your stay in the hotel isn’t for another year.
Usually, the charge will reappear 2 or 3 business days after it disappears.
However, once again, there is no set rule for this.
It depends on how fast the bank of the hotel and your bank process pending transactions.