Hotels take your credit card number and confirm a room until a certain time. Some have a cancellation charge, but most don't actually charge anything on your card until checkout.
Most hotels offer a guaranteed reservation. When the credit card number is taken to guarantee the reservation, your card will be charged the agreed on price for the room. The prepaid room will be held even if you are late.
The guaranteed reservation will cost you if you don’t show up, but you’ll still have the room in the event of a delay in your trip. Hotel policies differ regarding when and if they charge you and how long they will guarantee the room. Check with each individual hotel about its policy.
Not usually, but sometimes a hotel will charge an up-front deposit, which you may lose if you cancel or no show. Especially during peak season when the hotel is near full. Familiarize yourself with the hotel’s reservation and cancellation policy before giving out your credit card number.
Ask the hotel about its cancellation policy, time limit and fees. Many are very restrictive during peak or the holiday seasons. Careful when using a consolidator, as they charge an additional fee for canceling the reservation. Decide whether you can accept those policies for the sake of a low price.
Check to see if the hotel will penalize you if you have to shorten your stay or check-out sooner than planned. Find out if early notification will eliminate any early check-out penalties.
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