How To Get Credit Card Authorization Form From Hotels
Those who book business travel know there are several details that can’t be overlooked. Historically, obtaining and submitting a hotel credit card authorization form has been a vital piece.
But is it?
Here’s everything you need to know about getting this form — and even better, how to eliminate the need for one.
Table of Contents
1. What Are Credit Card Authorization Forms?
2. How to Get a Credit Card Authorization Form
3. Submitting And Follow Up
4. Best Practices To Limit Credit Card Fraud
5. A Simple Alternative: Hotel Engine Incidentals Coverage
What Are Credit Card Authorization Forms?
Credit card authorization forms are standard at most hotels when the guest’s name differs from the cardholder’s — as is common with business accounts.
The form protects the hotel by ensuring funds are available to pay for the room and that the charges will be approved. It also protects the cardholder by only authorizing certain charges within a specified time frame, so the traveler can’t use the card on unapproved expenditures.
A typical credit card authorization form requests the following info:
- Credit card number
- Cardholder name
- Billing address
- Expiration date
- Cardholder signature
- Contact information (phone number or email)
- Arrival date
- Departure date
They’ll also require you to note the types of incidentals, amenities, and hotel services the guest is authorized to charge.
How to Get a Credit Card Authorization Form
Securing the credit card authorization form for a business-related stay is best done in advance.
Forms are often readily available on hotels’ websites. If you can’t find it, you can call the property. The hotel can then email you a link to their specific form, or let you know if you can use a generic one.
Check which card types they take; Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted, but other credit cards sometimes are not.
We recommend calling early in the day, when the staff isn’t busy checking in guests. If you call during the check-in rush (typically between 3-5pm), you’ll likely sit on hold for a few minutes.
Getting Credit Card Authorization Forms from Chain Hotels
Large and the best hotel chains with multiple locations generally make it easy to find authorization forms on their websites.
For example, the Hyatt hotel credit card authorization form is available as a PDF.
Marriott, on the other hand, asks you to contact the property directly — but provides instructions in their FAQ section with helpful information.
Getting Credit Card Authorization Forms from Independent Hotels
Many smaller properties don’t have robust websites, so you may need to give them a call.
If the hotel reservation is being booked over the phone, you can inquire and get the details of their protocol then.
Submitting And Follow Up
It’s best to fill out the form and return it before check-in. Confirm that the hotel received it to avoid any hassle.
Keep in mind that hotels have different policies; what works at one establishment is not standard at another.
For instance, if you forget to submit the form in advance, some brands allow the guest to present it at check-in.
If in doubt, call. Hotel staff will advise on how best to proceed.
Best Practices To Limit Credit Card Fraud
While still commonly used, paper and PDF credit card authorization forms are no longer considered PCI compliant.
There are a few steps you can take to ensure that sharing the credit card authorization form doesn’t wind up making you a target for fraud – you always want to avoid scams.
When you speak with the hotel, inquire how — and for how long — the payment card information will be stored. If you’re not comfortable with the retention period (usually 30 days or so), you can request to have it purged after everything’s been settled.
Before faxing over the completed form, call the hotel to double-check the fax number.
If email is the preferred transmission method, confirm the email address before sending it.
And although it may be a bit old school, fax machines are harder to hack than email accounts. If the property offers both options, you may want to stick with fax.
Be Warned — Check Out These 5 Hotel Scams To Avoid.
A Simple Alternative: Hotel Engine Incidentals Coverage
Going through all the steps of obtaining, submitting and following up to ensure a hotel credit card authorization form has been received can feel like a lot.
It is a lot.
But Hotel Engine has you covered.
When you’re a Hotel Engine member, you can apply for direct billing and incidentals coverage.
For those who qualify, the Direct Bill program provides one line of credit for every hotel reservation booked by your company, and one reconciled invoice at the end of the month.
Using Direct Bill, you’ll also be able to select Incidentals Coverage when making reservations. This way, you won’t have to worry about a credit card authorization form at all.
Incidentals will be charged to your account using a fraud-proof virtual credit card.
Reconciliation is a breeze because the incidentals are tracked to individual reservations. No more agonizing over trying to match which of the following charges belongs to which room long after checkout.
Read more: How To Get An Itemized Receipt From A Hotel [+ Other Tips For Reconciling Business Lodging Costs]
Regardless of whether you choose a credit card authorization form or opt for Hotel Engine’s Incidentals Coverage, don’t forget to communicate to your team what’s authorized. If your business offers a per diem, let them know the amount so they don’t go all-out on room service and wind up having to foot some of the bill.
Want to learn more about Hotel Engine and Direct Bill? Contact us and we’ll be happy to help!
Erin Sayer is the Senior Growth Marketing Manager at Hotel Engine. She spends her days keeping a pulse on growth trends, and finding and activating new and unique ways to grow businesses. When she’s not doing ‘all the growth things’, Erin loves spending time on the water or up in the mountains with her 2 favorite Australian Shepherds. She’s is also a self-proclaimed book nerd and true crime junkie.