OK, when asking for ID at check-in goes too far – Intercontinental, San Juan

I am staying at the Intercontinental, San Juan and whilst I have reluctantly accepted that most US hotels now ask for photo ID at check-in I still don’t like it.

The Intercon at SJU goes a little further – it records the information from your passport in it’s computer system.

When challenged the agent explained it was ‘policy’ and when the Quality Manager came to talk to me all she could say was that Identity Theft ‘had never happened’. Phew, that’s a relief then.

As she pointed out, there are no laws here which prevent them from recording the information. Glad we cleared that up.

Intercontinental already know enough to charge my advance deposit to my credit card – several weeks ago, enough to know when I have stayed with them and where (from my Priority Club Account), and they know the credit card is valid and matches the name on the reservation as well as being the same as they charged the deposit to. Isn’t that enough, really?

Do you think this is a step too far, or am I being paranoid?



  1. Most hotels in most countries take a photocopy of a passport upon check in. I think this is normal, it’s always surprised me how relaxed US and Canadian hotels are. Checking in once in Toronto I asked the clerk if she wanted to see my passport and she said, good heavens why, you have a credit card on file. But in Europe pretty much all hotels require this.

  2. What’s with the ‘outrage’ regarding a photo ID at hotels in the US? They’ve been asking for that for years . . . Don’t most hotels in Eurpoe require a passport to verify your identity?

  3. @Susan – I cannot recall the last time I was asked for Photo-ID in Europe. Recent stays in London, Copenhagen, Berlin etc have never asked me for my passport let alone taken a copy. I think the last time anyone asked for a copy was in Egypt and they gave it back in the morning – although clearly they could have copied the copy!

  4. Last two times I have been to england and Scotland the hotels made a photocopy of my passport. Maybe I could have refused but I’ve gotten used to it as most hotels in Asia also ask for your passport. Seems like a trend that is only going to spread.

  5. At every hotel stay in recent memory I’ve always — without exception — I’ve been asked for a credit card and photo ID. Even with prepaid or award stays, they’ve always asked for it.

    I’ve never been asked for my passport in the US or US territory though, but I’m assuming that’s because I live in the US?

  6. I’m not a ‘frequent’ traveler in that I’m a road warrior, but I have similarly been requested Photo ID all all US hotels and passports at all European Hotels/Hostels (except a quaint little place in Cinque Terre)

  7. I am an avid backpacker, traveled/backpacked 47+ countries on 5 continents. When checking into cheap hotels, Hostels, or even resorts while traveling aboard it is VERY common for the hotel to take down a copy of your passport or at the very least your FULL name and passport number. I’ve never had my identity stolen and this is standard procedure. And again this has happened at almost every place I’ve stayed from all inclusive resorts to tiny hole in the wall hostels

  8. Stayed in London hotels (mostly in SPG and Marriott as Gold/Plat) for most of 2011 and every time I checked in was asked for my passport. Even after they knew me by name, they still asked for it. It seems pretty common place to me, even here in the states (ID at least, not passport specifically).

  9. In several countries in the EU the hotel is required by law to transmit your data to the local police every night and in some countries this includes the requirement to have foreign guests show their passport to validate their identity.

    In Germany for example the hotel has to follow such a law (which recently go extended to include also German citizens data)and there are heavy fines if they don’t stick to a very complicated process.

    So you might want to check if the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico has similar requirements. Remember that while a US national/citizen does not require a passport to travel to PR, they are having loads of own laws. It’s often forgotten that PR is a commonwealth and not a US state.

    In Asia I always have to show my passport when checking into hotels, in some hotels where I have never stayed before they take a copy including a copy of the immigration exit card (Thailand for example) again because they need to report it to the police or in case of fraud prevention.

    I agree that for frequent travellers your passport is part of your hotel loyalty card profile but still some hotels demand to see it.

  10. “check-in goes to far” enough with the drama. In every hotel I have stayed in the US, Canada, Asia and Europe, etc., etc., I have been asked at a minumum a photo ID and the Max a passport.

    Must have been thin on posting ideas this morning.

    And as far as them collecting this information, if you are a member of their loyalty program then I’m afraid that ship has sailed.

  11. Odin is correct, what happens in Germany also occurs in Italy.

    After reading about lax hotel desk clerks in Europe (specifically in France) misplacing passports, I carry photocopies of my passport and hand that to the check-in agent, never had a problem.

  12. Traveling abroad it seems asking for passport is fairly common. I have never been asked in the US. Most of the time in the US I am not even asked for a photo ID. I just say my name, they say “card on file with reservation?”, I say yes and then they may or may not ask to see the credit card.

  13. There always used to be legal requirements in most continental European countries to collect ID information on all visitors and transmit such to the police every night. I understand that these laws still exist in some countries and certainly the practice generally continues. In the UK and the USA there never were such practices, and if it happens at all it’s fairly recent. Certainly in the UK most people do not carry any photo ID with them so it would be difficult to implement (there’s no requirement to carry a driving licence when driving and it has only carried a photo in the last 15 years – the old ones only expire when you move so many are still in circulation). It seems that the posters above who were asked for ID in the UK were staying at US chain hotels

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