Virtual cards provided by CSI and Conferma allow corporate customers to securely centralize payment and pay on behalf of travelers, reducing the risk that high-limit corporate cards are compromised and letting travelers check in without charging their own credit or debit cards.
(What are virtual cards, you ask? They’re one-time use credit cards sent to hotels to pay for a specific hotel stay. The card can only be used for a hotel stay and the limit is set to the price of the stay, minimizing the likelihood that a compromised card incurs thousands of dollars in fraudulent charges while still paying for a hotel stay so the traveler doesn’t have to present a card. Providers like CSI and Conferma contract with companies to provide these cards, AmTrav facilitates this by creating the virtual card when a hotel booking is made and sending that virtual card to the hotel.)
Those virtual cards are great – when they work. Unfortunately with hotel staff shortages and turnover, front desk staff often haven’t been properly trained to help travelers checking in with virtual cards. Occasionally, travelers show up and the front desk asks for a card, either unaware that the traveler’s room rate, taxes and incidentals should be covered by the virtual card, or unable to access that virtual card.
This is an industry wide problem and there is no silver bullet solution. But AmTrav is committed to doing what we can to solve these issues for our travelers and travel programs. To date we’ve
The new AmTrav integration with Marriott allows AmTrav to send an extra signal to the Marriott front desk staff alerting the staff that a virtual card is available to pay for the guest’s stay. This alert means that staff are more likely to seamlessly take the virtual card for payment, less likely to confuse your travelers by asking for a card when a virtual card should be used (which also means fewer calls and emails to you and to AmTrav – everyone wins!).
While this may sound like a minor improvement, it’s just one of many steps that AmTrav is taking to smooth hotel checkin and payment, along with allowing travelers to easily request that a card authorization be re-sent to the hotel and automatically sending card authorizations via a secure Sertifi connection to eligible hotels. While hotel payment still presents challenges for travel programs and travelers, we’re committed to solving those challenges so that customers and travelers can get the full value of business travel without fewer obstacles, complexity and costs.
Are you a CSI or Conferma client wondering what you need to do to activate this Marriott feature? Answer: nothing, AmTrav and Marriott have activated it for you, it’s already making your travelers’ trips easier.
Are you a travel administrator wondering if virtual cards can securely cover your travelers’ hotel payments? AmTrav Relationship Managers are experts in virtual cards and are ready to help, reach out to your AmTrav Relationship Manager today.
(Editor’s note: if you’re a travel administrator or AmTrav CEO Jeff, you’ve probably noticed a confusing and frustrating irony in hotel payment policies: hotels will happily charge no-show penalties to the card provided to secure the room at booking, but won’t let travelers use that same card to check in when they do show up. Why is that?!)