Lately I have been making hotel bookings, which has been great. To ensure I’m covered, I’ve been booking refundable stays, just in case things go pear shaped again. What really irritates me is when hotels charge upon booking for a refundable stay.
Quite frankly I prefer not to have cash tied up with a hotel at the moment. While everything will likely be fine, it’s just not what I want to do, and I have been actively avoiding booking places that do this.
A Very Sneaky Charge Upon Booking
Recently I booked a stay at the TWA Hotel at JFK as I will have an overnight connection there next year. For a change I used Booking.com as they’re an Aer Lingus eStore partner and I earn frequent flyer points on these.
The site says, “Free cancellation before” a date a week before the stay, just as it always does. Based on my previous experience, this usually means you won’t pay anything until you arrive. All well and good.
Colour me surprised when a credit card charge appeared virtually immediately for the entire amount. Checking my confirmation shows the line, “You will be charged a prepayment of the total price at any time.”
I certainly didn’t see that on the website. When I went back, it turns out it’s there twice. You have to hover over the question mark in a circle beside the notice about FREE cancellation and there it is. Who hovers over these things? I certainly don’t.
Having the money go out upon booking for a hotel stay is really no big deal to me. I would have had to pay for it anyway. The way the prepayment term was effectively hidden from me is what I really dislike.
I will give it to them though, free cancellation is correct, it’s just showing half the facts. I’ll be curious to see how quickly a refund comes through if it happens to come to that. Let’s hope it doesn’t though, as I want to go on my trip!
What do you think of hotels taking a charge upon booking for a stay that is refundable almost up until check-in? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
Images via Booking.com.