Stupid Tip of the Day: Print Out Your Receipt When Paying In Advance For Lodging

“O n checkout I didn’t pay close attention to the emailed receipt. Today I was checking if the points from the stay had been awarded, I opened the receipt and saw that there was no mention in it that the stay had been prepaid. I looked at my credit card account and, sure enough, there is a (still pending) authorisation for the whole amount of my stay. I have called the hotel, spoken to the manager and they have told me that they would investigate and call me back (it seems they didn’t get the money from Hilton). They have asked for the reservation confirmation email (which says that it is a prepaid rate).”

FlyerTalk member Yllanes had booked a room rate paid in advance at a Hampton Inn hotel property during an advance purchase promotion from what was known then as the Hilton HHonors frequent guest loyalty program in May of 2016 — and yet, the credit card was charged despite paying in advance, meaning that Yllanes had been billed twice for the stay.

Stupid Tip of the Day: Print Out Your Receipt When Paying In Advance For Lodging

You might be surprised to know that computers and systems are not always accurate — note the sarcasm there — and more often than not is usually not in your favor…

…and unforeseen circumstances can preclude management at the hotel or resort property from knowing that the stay was indeed paid in advance. Consider my experience at Katse Lodge in Lesotho as one example. In addition to a plethora of reasons which formed a “perfect storm” of sorts, there was no record that I paid for my stay in advance when I arrived extremely late. Fortunately, I had a copy of my receipt with me so that even though there was no record, the people who were there believed me and allowed me to stay for the night until the situation was sorted out the next morning.

Summary

To keep inconvenience to a minimum, print out a copy of your receipt to prove that you indeed paid for your stay in advance in case you encounter a similar situation to Yllanes — who, by the way, was able to have the duplicate charge removed. Also, keep an electronic copy of your receipt on your portable electronic device or laptop computer.

In addition, pay close attention to the receipt you receive at the hotel property once your stay has completed. If you do not get a receipt, ask for one. Ensure that the hotel property has a record that the stay had already been paid in advance, as you certainly do not want to spend your valuable time later on fighting a double charge which may not be easy to have removed.

On a similar note, you also should always check your receipts against your monthly credit card statement and hold on to your boarding pass until your account is credited with the proper amount of frequent flier loyalty program miles.

Photograph ©2016 by Brian Cohen.

2 thoughts on “Stupid Tip of the Day: Print Out Your Receipt When Paying In Advance For Lodging”

  1. HanoiIG says:

    I once had the opposite. I had a prepaid rate but had not been charged (yes I checked) so was charged at checkout. Guess I should always see if card is charged soon after booking

  2. Tyler C says:

    I don’t know about hiltons system but with IHG, SPG, etc when you prepay for a reservation through the spoke site it has to be manually processed by the front desk. Then once you check in they transfer that “hold” from a backend system into your reservation. The majority of the time the front desk forgets to transfer this and that’s where the double charge comes into play. Either way they can easily reverse it with the click of a button.

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