Nearly all hotels charge you some money for incidentals. Well, they don’t actually charge, but they just hold this money on your credit card up until you check out. Once they see that everything is fine, they will give this money back to you. Actually, this will not cost you a cent of banking commission – just nothing. But you just have to have this money on your credit card.
Incidentals are special payments that are held on your credit card in case you break something in the room or steal something from a hotel room. If it’s revealed before the hold period is finished, they can charge you some money according to their prices. And the rest will still be refunded on your credit card. So, what about Mariott hotels?
Here’s what we’ll be talking today about:
- How much will Mariott hotels want to hold on your card for incidentals?
- What’s the procedure for giving this money back to you?
- What’s the procedure for charging you with some incidentals?
- Can you refuse to pay incidentals?
Let’s get started!
Incidentals in Mariott – some rules
We know for sure that many hotels will want to hold some money on your credit card before you enter the room. Well, they can hold this money even when you are booking a room. For example, some hotels will still charge you for a one-night stay even if you don’t arrive. But in most cases, they put your money on hold when you arrive and are checking in.
Many hotel guests are surprised by the fact that Mariott, as well as many other hotels, holds much more money than the room costs. For example, the room is $100 a night, but they put $200 a night on hold. Why? These are incidentals – the money that they will take from you if something bad happens during your stay.
Here are some rules for Mariott hotels:
- nearly all Mariott hotels in the world hold incidentals on your credit card;
- the sum can vary from one hotel to another and it depends on the room price;
- on average, Mariott hotels take $50 to $150 as incidentals;
- this money is not withdrawn from your card when you check out;
- the money can be used to cover additional services or any damages caused by you;
- also, incidentals are the kind of insurance for the hotel that you will not steal anything;
- incidentals are common for American hotels and they are rarely found in other countries.
The funny thing is that we’ve booked rooms in hotels in Europe that cost hundreds of euros a night and they didn’t even try to hold some incidentals. But even some cheap hotels in the US and Canada hold some money on your credit card. This is a little annoying, but you should just know about it to plan your budget.
Incidentals are held when you are checking in. It means you will give your credit card and they will hold a certain amount of money including the room price for the whole stay, also taxes, and incidentals. So, the final sum can be really big if you don’t stay just one night.
How are incidentals calculated?
Every hotel has the right to set a certain price for one-night incidentals. And in most hotels, it’s somewhere near $50. But Mariott hotels are more expensive than average, so most of them will hold about $100 on your credit card. The biggest Mariott hotels will hold $200 for incidentals because their rooms are equipped with more expensive things and these hotels are actually more expensive.
But the final sum of incidentals per one night is calculated using different factors:
- the price for the one-night stay in a hotel;
- the average price of equipment and things in the room;
- average damages caused by guests in this hotel;
- chain policy – for big chain hotels like Mariott;
- other individual factors that may influence the price.
So, hotels can set the incidentals as they wish. Just because of the competition between different chains and companies, the incidentals are still not about $500 or something like that. Hotels love being insured that they will not lose money.
If you think that the incidentals are too big, you can try and find another hotel in the same area that will not hold so much money or probably will not hold any money at all.
Can you refuse to pay incidentals?
We’ve seen guys trying to reassure a hotel receptionist when they were checking in. But we can say there is basically nothing a receptionist can do. This person will not allow you to check in until you do everything that is included in the check-in list.
So, you have to get prepared before you arrive at the hotel. We have some ideas that will help you avoid this additional fee which can actually hold all your trip budget sometimes.
Here’s what we offer:
- Try to find hotels in the same place that are not in the top-10 because the most expensive hotels are usually the ones to get the highest incidentals.
- Use one chain of hotels wherever you travel. You will most likely join a reward program or a loyalty system of this chain and they will not hold incidentals on your card when you check in.
- Inform the hotel that you will not use any additional services and are not intended to pay any incidentals in the end, you are going to just sleep in the hotel and then check out. This may help in some hotels, but certainly not in Mariott.
- Contact one of the managers of the hotel before you arrive and ask to not hold any incidentals on your card because your balance is low and you don’t want to be in the city without any money. This may help even in Mariott.
We don’t know any other ways to refuse to pay incidentals. You have to read the rules of a hotel and always know what you will be charged for during your stay. Always ask at the reception whether they include any additional payment services like newspapers, wake-up service, morning coffee, or whatever. You can refuse to pay for these services if you cancel them before they are completed.
What do incidentals actually include?
Many people think that incidentals are just some money that is held because hotels want to be sure that you don’t break anything in your room. No, this payment is a little wider and it covers all additional expenses you may have during your stay.
Here are some examples of what can be included in incidentals:
- Paid Wi-Fi spots that will be open for you (and you may not even know about them).
- Daily delivery of fresh newspapers (a very rare service, but we’ve seen it recently).
- A wake-up service when a hotel worker comes to wake you up at a certain time.
- Phone calls from your room – they are extremely expensive in Mariott, by the way.
- All snacks and drinks you may have in your room, in a minibar, in a fridge.
- Room service – they can take some food, clean your suit, iron your shirt, but for money.
- Any other wishes of a client – Mariott is ready for everything, just pay for it.
For example, you may want a luxury car with a driver to just drive around the city at night. And they will organize this service for you, but you will pay from your incidentals. On the one hand, it’s good because you don’t pay at once for every small service you get. On the other hand, you just don’t control your expenses and they may be much higher than the amount of incidentals the hotel charged at the very beginning of your stay.
Why can incidentals be a problem?
We don’t always travel with a lot of money on our credit cards. OK, nearly all Americans have huge credit limits on their cards, but not all people are Americans, let’s face it. So, if you arrive in the US from another country and your credit card limit is tough, you can get problems when Mariott just holds all your money and you will not have anything left to buy some food and to pay for transport.
Also, we’ve already said that when you pay from your incidentals, you just don’t control your expenses. And this may create the feeling that you can take everything for free. But remember that eventually you will pay for everything, and a beer from the minibar may cost you $10 instead of $1,50 if you buy it in a shop around the corner.
We don’t think that paying incidentals is a good idea, but nearly all American Mariott hotels still want to get some incidentals from their clients. To get all this money back, refuse all additional services. You may also just find another hotel that doesn’t hold incidentals on your credit card. Always make sure that you know how much you spend when you are staying in a hotel.
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