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Most travelers use debit or credit cards when they’re traveling for a variety of reasons. Savvy travelers know they can earn travel rewards points and cash back by booking their hotel with a top travel rewards credit card. However, some people choose to use cash for their hotel room. Fortunately, some major hotel chains and some local hotels do allow you to pay with cash.
11 Hotel Brands That Take Cash
If you prefer to use cash for all your expenses, many major hotel chains do accept cash payments. There may be some restrictions if you pay with cash at these hotels.
Plus, keep in mind that rules may vary at different locations, even within the same hotel chain. Often, the decision of whether or not to accept cash payments is at the manager’s discretion.
1. Choice Hotels
Choice Hotels is a large hotel chain that includes many economy and extended stay hotels, including Quality Inn, Sleep Inn, Comfort Inn, Mainstay Suites, Clarion, Clarion Point, Woodspring Suites, Everhome Suites, Suburban Studios, EconoLodge and Roadway Inn. Brands also include Ascend and Cambria, which offer more than the no-frills stay of a Quality Inn. In fact, Choice Hotels has more than 7,000 locations across all their brands.
According to Tripadvisor reviews, many Choice Hotels, including Quality Inn, accept cash as a form of payment. You can reserve a room using a credit card, debit card or a pre-paid card. The Choice Hotels FAQ page indicates that you must have a valid ID and a credit or debit card at check-in.
2. Drury Hotels
The Drury hotel chain owns Drury Inn, Drury Inn & Suites, Drury Plaza Hotels and Pear Tree Inn by Drury, its budget hotel brand. According to the hotel FAQ page, many Drury Hotels locations accept cash. The hotel will require a photo ID and a valid credit card or bank-issued debit card at check-in. A hold of $50 to $200 will be placed on the card for incidentals.
3. Extended Stay America
Based on various sources, Extended Stay America allows cash payments. You may have to leave a deposit to cover potential room damage or incidentals. Extended Stay America also has a rewards program where you can earn 10% off your first stay, plus other rewards and deals.
However, if you use a credit or debit card to book online, you can also qualify for Swagbucks or cash back if you use the Swagbucks or BeFrugal cash back rewards programs.
4. Hyatt Hotels
The Hyatt Hotels brand owns Hyatt Centric, a chain of boutique hotels, Hyatt Regency, Grand Hyatt, Park Hyatt and Hyatt House hotels, which may take cash as a form of payment. You will most likely need a credit card or debit card to hold the room.
Hyatt is one of the middle-level to upper level hotel chains that accept cash as a form of payment.
5. Hilton Hotels & Resorts
Hilton Hotels — which owns Hampton Inn, Hampton Inn & Suites and luxury brands like the Waldorf Astoria, LXR Hotels & Resorts and Conrad Hotels & Resorts — indicates that some locations do accept cash. For instance, the Director of Hotel Operations said that cash is accepted at the Hilton Salt Lake City Center, but a credit card will be required to reserve a room.
The Hampton Inn FAQ Page notes that you can pay in cash on check-out. The hotel prefers a credit or debit card at the time of check-in for incidentals, and would require one for online or phone reservations. But if you don’t have a credit card, you can pay a cash deposit of $200 per night at check-in, which will be returned when you check out.
6. IHG Hotels & Resorts
IHG Hotels & Resorts, best known for hotel chains that include Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo, Candlewood Suites and many others, takes cash at some locations, based on Tripadvisor reviews. You may be able to pay cash at check-in or at check-out. However, you will need a credit card or debit card for authorization at check-in. A hold to cover incidentals and room charges may be placed on that card and released at some point after check-out.
If you book online through the hotel website using a credit or debit card, you can earn 9% cash back with the BeFrugal app or 3% cash back with Rakuten.
7. Motel 6
Motel 6 allows you to book a room by phone without a credit card and pay with cash upon arrival. If you don’t reserve a room in advance, you can also pay with cash at the hotel front desk. Pets also stay free at Motel 6 locations. Make sure to ask about AARP or military discounts, too. You can become an AARP member at any age and get special rates for hotel rooms and more.
Alternatively, if you book online using a credit or debit card, you can get 4% cash back with Rakuten.
8. Omni Hotels & Resorts
Omni Hotels & Resorts has multiple locations in cities across the U.S. and two locations in Canada. Policies vary based on the location, but many do to take cash as a form of payment at check-out. You will need a credit card or debit card at check-in, and a hold may be placed on that card. These hotels may be a good option for travelers who prefer to use cash for budgeting purposes but have access to a credit or debit card.
9. Park Plaza Hotels & Resorts
Park Plaza Hotels & Resorts may accept cash as a form of payment at check-in. You may need to provide a credit card to reserve a room online. The hotel may require a government-issued photo ID at check-in, and may also collect a cash deposit or place a hold on your credit or debit card to pay for incidentals.
10. Red Roof Inn
Red Roof Inn requires a credit or debit card when you make a reservation online, by phone or when you check in to a hotel. However, you can choose to pay in cash when you check out.
Based on Tripadvisor reviews, many Radisson and Radisson Blu hotels allow you to pay in cash. Of course, if you book online, you will need a credit or debit card to hold the room. If you don’t reserve a room in advance, you can pay in cash at the hotel front desk upon check-in. The Radisson may collect an additional cash deposit to cover incidentals and damage, refundable at check out.
Country Inn & Suites, a Radisson brand, also accepts cash at most locations. A cash deposit or a credit card may be required to cover incidentals or potential damage or theft. You will need a credit card to reserve a room in advance.
Reasons People Want To Pay for a Hotel with Cash
In spite of the drawbacks of paying for a hotel in cash, some people prefer this method. There are many reasons people prefer to pay with cash.
Credit Card Holds
Hotels often put a hold on a certain amount of money, often as much as $200 per night, for incidental charges and potential damages. If you use cash, you may have to provide this deposit in cash. Likewise, if you use a debit card, they will put the hold on your bank account.
It can take up to 10 days after you check out for the money to be returned to your account. This can be inconvenient if you need the money for bills or other travel expenses. If you pay for the hotel with a credit card, it isn’t like they are holding your actual money. They put a hold on your credit card for the incidental amount but do not charge your credit card company.
No Credit Card
Many people don’t have a bank account or a credit card. There are 5.9 million Americans without a checking account or savings account, according to the most recent figures from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households.
Similarly, up to 17% of U.S. households do not have credit cards for a variety of reasons, according to Forbes.
Some people prefer to use cash because they use cash to budget for expenses, including trips. It can be easy to lose track of spending when you pay for everything with a credit card or debit card. Some people use an “envelope budgeting system,” based on Dave Ramsey’s teachings. Using this system, you put money in labeled envelopes for different expenses.
When the cash is gone from that envelope, you cannot spend any more money in that category.
If you are going on a trip, you might have separate envelopes for your hotel, meals, attractions and souvenirs. That’s one reason you might want to pay for your hotel in cash.
Why Hotels Don’t Want You to Use Cash
Hotels prefer that you use a credit card over cash or debit to pay for your room. That’s because they want to make sure incidentals and damages are covered by your credit card. They will put a hold on your card for a certain amount, which is typically $50 to $200 per night, depending on the hotel.
The hold can pay for any bar tabs, restaurant charges, items from your room’s mini bar, items from the hotel snack bar or gift shop, plus damage or theft. Sometimes hotels will charge you if they discover you were smoking in a non-smoking hotel room.
If the hotel placed a hold on your credit or debit card, you can use that money by charging items — such as hotel restaurant meals or drinks — to your room. That money will be used to pay for those items and your refunded deposit will be smaller.
Hotels also want you to use a credit card to avoid losing money if you cancel your reservation at the last minute or don’t show up. They might still charge you the full rate, or a cancellation fee, or the price of one night. Read the fine print on the hotel’s website before you book to find out the cancellation policy.
If you pay cash without a credit or debit card to hold the room, they have no way to charge you if you don’t show up. Some hotels may accept cash as payment but will require a credit or debit card to reserve the room. That way, they can bill your credit card company if you don’t show.
Why Some Hotels Don’t Like Taking Debit Cards
Some people may prefer not to use credit cards because they want to avoid debt. Or maybe they have poor credit — or no credit history — and can’t get a credit card.
Some hotels that don’t accept cash may accept debit cards linked to your bank or even prepaid debit cards as an alternative to credit cards.
However, many hotels won’t take debit cards for the same reasons they won’t take cash. If you don’t have enough money in your bank account or on the prepaid debit card to cover cancellation fees, incidentals or damage or theft, the hotel will lose money.
Other Options to Book a Hotel If You Don’t Have a Credit Card
If you don’t have a credit card, you can use a third-party booking site to place your reservation. Sites like Booking.com, Expedia.com and Hotels.com allow you to pay in advance using PayPal. Often, you can find lower rates that way. Plus, you may qualify for bonus points and rewards if you use a cash-back app, like Rakuten.
Hotel policies vary depending on the location, so it’s best to call ahead to determine if you can pay cash. In most cases, you’ll need a credit or debit card to reserve a room.
Local, independently owned hotels or bed & breakfast locations may be more likely to accept cash as payment on check-in. Be prepared to carry enough cash to also leave a deposit of as much as $200 per night, per room. Call in advance to find out how much of a deposit you will need to leave.
Alternatively, you may be able to book a room through a travel website like Expedia.com and pay using funds from your PayPal account. Call ahead to find out if you’ll need to leave a cash deposit or a credit card when you check in.
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