Have a travel related question? Post it here, and I’ll do my best to answer it as quickly as possible.
While anyone can comment on regular blog post, registration is required in order to post a question in this space. Creating your account is free, and you'll be able to see when your question is answered, as well as like comments from other users. And of course, you'll earn status points for offering helpful answers!
This space is intended to be more of a community as well, so please jump in and share tips!
US dollar security deposit not accepted, mini bar removed, Ritz Carlton Kyoto
Platinum SPG/ Marriott staying two nights on points. Been looking forward to this for many months.
My credit card had expired so I presented a master card debit card, which had worked at marriott Hong Kong. They completed check in in the room which was great. Later they called and said the debit card wasn’t accepted.
Debit cards can be used for payments but not as a deposit.
I took US$1000 in cash to the front desk and offered it as a deposit.
I was told only Japanese yen was accepted. US dollars not possible!. I mentioned that US dollars were usually accepted at large 5 star hotels. I didn’t bring up the fact that the Ritz is an American hotel. I was told not in Kyoto.
As it was 8pm and I didn’t have the 40,000 yen required (embarrassing!) they said, ok just pay cash or card when ordering room service etc. No problem. End of story? No.
Then they said they would remove the contents of the mini bar. I was a bit speechless. Seriously? Thank you for loyalty?
I went back to the room thinking. They won’t actually come and remove the mini bar. But they did. I took photos and a short video. I was speechless.
Would be interested in what you think about this experience. From my point of view the US dollars should have been accepted to avoid this awful experience. So humiliating. Why is corporation with revenues of 3 billion dollars doing this to its “Platinum” customers?
Hi JWC –
Does seem strange that $1,000 USD is not okay, but 40,000 yen (about $350 USD) would be. However, for argument’s sake… I will take the hotel’s side 🙂
First, while the Ritz is obviously part of an American chain, it is very likely that the hotel is actually operated by a separate company that could very well be Japanese (or just non-American).
Them not accepting cash could be that their staff is not trained on verifying the authenticity of your US dollars. Or, they don’t have the ability to safely store your US dollars through the duration of your stay.
I agree that the mini-bar situation was odd, but again, looking at it from the hotel point of view, they have no way of recouping their money back from you if you don’t have a deposit or card on file.
Again, not trying to be confrontational, but if I were the front desk agent, and a guest showed up with an expired credit card and trying to pay in cash, I would be a bit skeptical myself.
My experience is that only local currencies are accepted, even at large US chain hotels in foreign countries.
At the time, when they requested local currency, did you consider going to an ATM and making a cash withdrawal on your debit card for the 40,000 yen? The removal of the minibar was petty and unnecessary. I don’t blame you for being highly upset.
I travel alone and am a bit paranoid about having a credit card problem while half way around the world. My typical travel wallet includes three credit cards which have no foreign transaction fees and a debit card for small cash advances in local currencies. I do travel notifications in advance of travel to each bank and they confirm back by text or email that the notification is good and my cards are valid. I carry no US cash at all. I usually use one or two cards and the third is just backup. Back in 2016, my Barclay AA Aviator Card was skimmed at a gas station fuel pump in Southern France. The bank texted me and immediately canceled the card. I had a Chase Card and a Citi Card left. The Chase Card wouldn’t work at French toll booths (no cash accepted) for some reason, so after burning through two cards, I was on my last backup for the last two weeks of a 20 day trip. Ninety-nine percent of the time nothing ever goes wrong with a card while on travel but when it does, it’s a scary thing.