Using a Credit Card to Book a Hotel

Using a card to pay for a hotel stay can make your trip a little more stress-free and seamless. It can even allow you to earn points or miles that you can use for future travel.

Let’s explore some reasons you might use a credit card for hotel stays, as well as the potential benefits.

Why use a credit card for hotel stays?

There are a few practical reasons to use a credit card for hotel stays. Many hotels require a credit or debit card to secure your reservation. Whether you call or book online, you’ll need to use a card, or the hotel might not even allow you to make a reservation. 

Hotels also want a card on file in case they have to charge for any incidentals, damage or theft. Having a card on file also means the hotel can charge you cancellation fees if you no-show or cancel your booking past the cancellation window.

Many hotels allow you to charge things to the room. Using a credit card can also mean you’ll be able to enjoy your stay without worrying about keeping cash or other forms of payment for add-ons like mini-bar snacks, room service, parking and other amenities and services.

Using a credit card vs. a debit card or cash

You can often use a credit or debit card to secure a hotel reservation. The hotel might place a hold on a certain amount on your debit or credit card for the stay, taxes, fees and incidentals.

When you use a debit card to reserve a hotel room, you also miss out on the opportunity to earn points or miles and any additional benefits or protections your credit card may offer.

Paying for a hotel with cash is not always possible. Sometimes you can pay with cash at checkout, but most hotels will require you to put down a card to make a reservation. They also want a card on file to charge for incidentals, damage or theft. 

Benefits of using a credit card for hotel stays

Earn points or miles

Depending on your card, you may be able to earn points or miles on your hotel stay. Some credit cards even offer additional points for certain categories, such as hotels, flights or restaurants.

If you have an eligible Citi credit card, Citi Travel can give you access to over 1.4 million hotel and resort options around the world, as well as competitive prices when booking flights, hotels, rental cars and attractions and round-the-clock customer service to support you in your travel booking needs. You may be able to earn additional points if you book your hotel with Citi Travel, so check your card’s current offers. 

Convenience and security

Using a credit card for hotel stays can add a layer of convenience, allowing you to easily charge additions to your room, from meals at hotel restaurants to purchases at the gift shop. Credit cards can also make checking in and out a simpler, more straightforward process.

Putting larger travel expenses on your credit card can also mean not having to carry as much cash. If your credit card is lost or stolen, you’re protected against unauthorized charges. Citi credit cards come with $0 liability on unauthorized charges.

Easier budgeting

Using a credit card for hotel booking can help you track and maintain your travel budget. If you put all your vacation expenses on one card, you’ll know exactly how much you’ve spent on a trip.

Disclosure: This article is for educational purposes. It is not intended to provide legal, investment, or financial advice and is not a substitute for professional advice. It does not indicate the availability of any Citi product or service. For advice about your specific circumstances, you should consult a qualified professional.

Additional Resources

  • Utilize these resources to help you assess your current finances & plan for the future.

  • Learn how FICO® Scores are determined, why they matter and more.

  • Review financial terms & definitions to help you better understand credit & finances.