Credit cards: How I get automatic alerts when hotels charge me after a stay and catch incorrect charges

Estimated read time: 2 minutes

Credit cards can help us travel to places we never would have without points, they make payments simple but also sometimes too easy.

Companies can easily charge us for things after they received authorization to charge us. That’s what hotels do. They post a hold for a specific amount – often $100. Then they release that back if there are no additional charges or they use it to get paid for that water bottle you may or may not have taken.

Once I see those pending charges on my credit cards I go into the card app and turn on the “remind me when this posts” function.

Once the charge gets cancelled I get an email. Once all or a portion gets charged I get an email of that as well.

That’s exactly what happened when I stayed at the Westin Downtown Cleveland during Content Marketing World. I spoke in the Publishing Lab.

First, let me tell you how much I enjoyed the hotel. Five stars! Lakeview rooms can view small airplanes land. Video I shot here.

The executive lounge was great:

And the view was great. Also, I loved the proximity to the conference.

Anyway, a great hotel. I had booked it through American Airlines Hotels and received 4,000 AA miles. I don’t like to do that but the Marriott/Sheraton sites were down as the two loyalty programs were merging.

So I didn’t expect Marriott points at all and they didn’t post. But what posted was a $12 charge from the Westin to my credit card.

I knew because I turned on the auto notifications!

What could that be? I didn’t eat there – except the free meals and drinks at the lounge. And I didn’t buy anything at the shop.

I called and asked. “That’s For using WiFi, but you should get that for free since you are Gold.”

So why charge me? It happens but had I not caught it I may have been stuck with it.

Plus, with plenty of mobile data I see no value in actually paying for WiFi at a hotel or an airport in North America.

They said they will remove the charge. $12 or any amount of unjustified charges added to credit cards can add up. With 95 days on the road this year especially.

Using this simple function can help me track charges easier. Of course, I can also catch it by simply reviewing my transactions every few days or so.

Either way, don’t pay for things you shouldn’t pay for. I found these techniques helpful to catch those charges.