Usually I never bring my card out, that's what I ask.

Will not bringing my credit or debit card be a problem to a hotel such as The Park Ave North?

  • 13
    Why not? It's much more complicated to travel with out a Credit Card and a card is also a lot safer (and typically cheaper) then cash.
    – Hilmar
    Commented May 29, 2019 at 10:57
  • Please update your question to include what the comments are asking you to clarify. If you update the question with more content, people reading the question won't have to read all of the comments just to understand the question. Commented May 30, 2019 at 12:03
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Willeke
    Commented May 30, 2019 at 18:24
  • Not sure how broad incidentals are, but keep in mind that beyond room service/minibar many hotels will only check the room for damage/surprises after you already left. Hence they have a reasonable argument (process efficiency) to require a card. Commented May 31, 2019 at 13:24

3 Answers 3


Travelling without a credit in the US is difficult.

  1. It's almost impossible to rent a car.
  2. Some hotels will try to work with you, others will not.
  3. You may have to put down substantial amounts of cash as deposit.
  4. Many providers will simply refuse service. For example: there is a simple food truck outside of Boston's South Station that takes card only: no card? no coffee!
  5. Large amount of cash are very unusual in the US and may raise suspicion or concerns. Some travel providers may report this to local authorities which may or may not decide to check you out.
  6. Somewhat far fetched but still possible: The US has statute called "civil forfeiture" where authorities can take your cash just "on a hunch" and even without any wrongdoing, you have no way of getting it back.

It's NOT recommended.

EDIT Hotels and car rental companies mainly want a credit card or deposit to cover unexpected expense that you didn't plan on having in the first place: a car accident, getting keyed in the parking lot (happened to me), breaking something in the hotel room, late night snack attack on the mini-bar, etc.

  • 3
    "no card? no coffee!": there are other places that will sell you some coffee for cash, however.
    – phoog
    Commented May 29, 2019 at 12:59
  • 5
    @phoog: of course. This was just an example of how you can into a no-cash policy these days, even at places where you wouldn't expect it, such as a food truck.
    – Hilmar
    Commented May 29, 2019 at 16:52
  • 8
    The civil asset forfeiture section is a slight exaggeration. It is possible to get the money back. It's just time consuming, expensive, and not a sure thing.
    – Deolater
    Commented May 29, 2019 at 18:20
  • 10
    The litigation may cost more than the money is worth, and, the cops have a well-tuned sense of that.... Commented May 29, 2019 at 19:23
  • 2
    Please give some sort of citation for point#5. I have never heard of TRAVEL PROVIDERS recording or reporting anything regarding large amounts of cash. Border control may question it if you are coming in from another country but once in, I can't see any hotel employee looking into your wallet and reporting to the police that you are rich. Commented May 30, 2019 at 12:28

When you check-in, a card is usually requested, which will be used as a guarantee for incidentals, but also in some cases for the cost of the hotel itself (unless you paid at tile of booking, of course).

  • Some hotels will simply not accept anything else.

  • Others will just block any incidentals on your room. That may include locking the mini-bar if there is one, blocking external calls, pay per view, etc, flagging the room for room service, bars, restaurants, etc. so they refuse to charge your room, and so on. Depending on the hotel, this may be very easy (if there are no stocked minibars anyway, no bar or restaurant, etc.) or not.

  • Others still will ask for a cash deposit instead. Depending on the hotel, it could range from a few dozen USD to hundreds.

Of course, if they also need to charge for the room, there will be no choice but paying in advance or leaving a deposit.

Note that even if you provided your card when you booked, you may still be asked to present the card, as you are switching from the "Card Not Present" regime (used to charge the penalty in case of no show) to the "Card Present" mode. They want to make sure they see the card, and either swipe it or have you use your PIN.

In any case, what exactly happens and what options are available is very dependent on the hotel's policies, so your best bet is simply to call them.


Credit Card not REQUIRED for this hotel

According to website Hotels.com:

Required at check-in

. . .Credit card or cash deposit required

. . .Government-issued photo ID required

. . .Minimum check-in age is 18

It does not specify what the cash deposit is, and is likely tied to the length of your stay (you may need to deposit more than the total bill would be at checkout).

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