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How to Avoid Hotel Resort Fees (and Which Brands Are the Worst)

Author Gertrude Brogi

Posted Feb 25, 2023

Reads 2.7K

Hotel resort fees have become a thorn in the side of many travelers. Initially advertised as an add-on to cover the cost of amenities like Wi-Fi and gym access, these fees have suddenly ballooned into a huge chunk of the trip cost. These offensive resort fees are now being charged by most major hotel chains, and they can vary dramatically from one property to another.

The irritating truth is that resort fees tend to be hidden until you arrive at your destination, and they can add up quickly. Fortunately, there are insider tips that savvy travelers can use to avoid paying these extra charges. In this article, we'll explore how hotel resort fees work, which brands have the highest resort fees, and most importantly - how you can avoid them altogether.

The Irritating Truth About Hotel Resort Fees

If you've ever booked a hotel room and noticed an extra charge labeled as "resort fees" or "amenity fees," you're not alone. These semi-hidden fees have become increasingly common in the hotel industry, with over 22 hotels charging resort fees in the United States alone. Despite efforts by the Federal Trade Commission to urge hotels to disclose resort charges upfront, many consumers still find themselves surprised by these added expenses.

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It's easy to understand why travelers begin complaining about resort fees. After all, they're paying for amenities that should be included in the price of their room. Hotels tack on these charges to cover back-end expenses like facility fees and destination fees. But are they necessary? While some day resort fees may justify luxury amenities like spas and fitness centers, others simply aren't resort-like at all.

In the end, it's up to hotel reservation websites and individual hotels to adequately disclose resort fees upfront so that consumers can make informed decisions about where they stay. Until then, travelers will continue to feel frustrated by extra charges that seem unnecessary and unfair.

1. Resort fees are a significant portion of your vacation budget

Resort fees can make up a bigger chunk of your lodging expenses than you might have initially anticipated. For example, at the Hilton Hotel Alana in Waikiki Beach, the resort fee is $35 per night in addition to the room rate. This means that for a one-night stay in October 2023, you're hit with an additional $35 on top of the room rate and combined taxes. It's important to note that this fee is not included in the initial booking page you're presented with, so it can come as a surprise when you see the total cost of your reservation.

If you're planning on staying at a hotel with resort fees, it's essential to factor these fees amount into your budget. In September 2023, for instance, if you plan on staying at a hotel for four nights with a nightly room rate of $150 and a resort fee of $25 per night, you'll owe an additional $100 just in resort fees. That's a significant portion of your vacation budget that could have been spent elsewhere if you had chosen lower-cost hotels without resort fees.

2. Resort fees cover bizarre expenses

Hotels charge resort fees to cover extras that are arguably worth the extra cost. For instance, Hyatt's Andaz Maui charges a resort fee that covers local snacks including Maui Brewing root beer, guava juice, and macadamia nuts. Guests can also use free snorkel equipment, rent a GoPro camera, and take part in free lessons on ukulele playing, hula dancing or stand-up paddleboarding. In addition, guests can learn about cocktail making or enjoy free outrigger canoe rides.

Ritz-Carlton Bacara in Santa Barbara California charges a resort fee that covers electric bike rentals and guided hiking tours. However, not all hotels offer such extravagant extras with their resort fees. Las Vegas hotels usually have the highest resort fees which cover basic services like gym usage and unlimited calls in addition to room amenities like free boarding pass printing or mobile boarding passes. Nonresort hotels sometimes offer free Wi-Fi to compensate for not having a mandatory resort fee.

Learn To Spot Resort Fees When You Book

As you're shopping for a hotel stay, it's important to be aware of resort fees. For starters, resort fees are additional charges that hotels add to your bill. They often cover amenities like Wi-Fi, gym access, and pool use. The problem is that these fees aren't always prominently displayed when you book your room.

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When you start a search for hotels, especially in popular destinations like Las Vegas, Nevada, you'll notice that many travel aggregator websites initial search pages show the listed platform price without including any additional taxes or fees. That's why it's crucial to read the fine print before making a reservation. The bottom line make sure to check the total price and see if it includes taxes and resort fees.

If you don't want to be surprised by unexpected hotel fees during your trip, there are ways to avoid resort fees altogether. One option is to look for hotels that don't charge hidden fees like resort fees in the first place. Another option is to talk directly with the hotel before booking to confirm whether they charge resort fees or not. By being diligent in your travel searching and knowing how to spot hidden hotel fees like resort fees and taxes, you can save money on your next trip.

Use Flexible Travel Credit

If you're looking for ways to cover resort fees and additional travel incidentals fortunately, using flexible travel credit could be an excellent option for you. With additional rewards credit cards like the Venture Rewards Credit Card, you can earn lucrative rewards structures that offer generous bonuses on eligible purchases. For instance, with the Venture Rewards Credit Card, you'll earn 5 miles for every dollar spent on hotel stays and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel. Plus, you'll get unlimited 2 miles per dollar spent on all other purchases.

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To sweeten the deal further, new cardholders can earn a bonus of 75,000 miles when they spend $3,000 within their first 3 months of account opening. Although the card comes with an annual fee of $95 (waived in the first year), it's worth noting that it doesn't charge any foreign transaction fees or application fees. What's even better is that you can redeem your miles at a value of 1 cent per mile towards any eligible travel purchase including resort fees. Alternatively, if you transfer your miles to one of Capital One's airline transfer partners, you could potentially get even more value out of them.

Another great perk of having flexible travel credit is that it could help you save money on related capital expenditures such as TSA PreCheck worth $85 or Global Entry worth $100. By paying for these services with your eligible credit card, you'll receive a statement credit that covers the entire cost of your application fee once every four or five years (depending on the program). So next time you book a hotel stay and are hit with unexpected resort fees at check-in time, remember to use your flexible travel credit to cover them and enjoy peace of mind knowing that they won't break the bank!

Smart Ways to Dodge Resort Fees and Save Money

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How to save money on resort fees? It requires effort, but it's possible to avoid them. Some ways include booking directly with the hotel or using loyalty programs, checking for hidden fees before booking, and negotiating with the hotel for a waiver or reduction of fees. With some research and planning, you can dodge resort fees and keep more money in your pocket.

1. Book resort stays with hotel points (at some brands) or with elite status

Book resort stays with hotel points or with elite status - this is the question many travelers ask themselves when planning their vacations. While some hotels charge annoying resort fees, others offer valuable perks to their loyal members. For example, if you have Hilton Honors or a Hilton-branded credit card, you can quickly earn Hilton points and book rooms at some brands with no resort fees using points rate.

On the other hand, Hyatt charges high resort fees for award bookings and paying cash. However, if you have an elite status with Hyatt or an eligible Hyatt credit card, you can earn Hyatt points and book rooms without paying these fees. Additionally, Chase transfer partners and travel credit cards can help you earn more points and save money on your next resort stay. Keep in mind that hotel elite status programs don't charge resort fees, and loyal members of Hyatt don't pay them either - especially those who hold Globalist members who are at the highest elite status level.

2. Use travel statement credits

Travel credit cards offer statement credits that can be used to cover a variety of travel expenses. The broad definition of a "travel charge" means that many different types of expenses are considered covered expenses, including ferries, buses, and campgrounds. This can help offset the cost of extra fees like resort fees, which are not always included in the initial price of your hotel stay.

When it comes to reimbursement, typically resort fees do qualify for travel statement credits within rewards credit card offers. These statement credits can be applied to any eligible travel purchases charged to the card, including those pesky resort fees. And generally speaking, these statement credits renew every anniversary year so you can continue to use them towards future trips. So next time you're hit with an unexpected resort fee at check-out, remember that your travel credit card may have you covered with its statement credits!

3. Make your case in person

When it comes to hotel resort fees, many travelers feel frustrated and taken advantage of. But did you know that you can actually negotiate these fees in person? That's right - simply refuse to pay the resort fee at check-in and ask to speak with a manager or supervisor. Hotel employees are occasionally empowered to waive the fee or offer a discounted rate for guests who make a compelling case.

While it may feel uncomfortable to challenge the hotel's policy, remember that you have the right to voice your concerns as a paying customer. And if negotiation doesn't work out in your favor, don't worry - refusing to pay resort fees doesn't hurt your chances of enjoying your stay at the hotel. So why not give it a try and see if you can save some money on your next vacation?

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to stay at a resort?

The cost of staying at a resort varies depending on the location, amenities, and time of year. It can range from $100 to over $1000 per night.

How to avoid resort fees?

To avoid resort fees, you can try booking directly with the hotel or choosing a hotel that doesn't charge them. Another option is to negotiate with the hotel to waive the fees or look for package deals that include them in the price.

How do I avoid a Marriott resort fee?

The best way to avoid a Marriott resort fee is by joining their loyalty program, which grants members perks such as waived resort fees. Additionally, booking directly with the hotel and being upfront about your desire to avoid extra charges may lead to a waiver or reduction of resort fees.

How do I look up hotel resort fees?

To look up hotel resort fees, simply visit the hotel's website or call their customer service hotline and ask for information on resort fees.

Why do hotels charge so much?

Hotels charge high prices due to various factors, including location, amenities, maintenance costs, and staff expenses. However, travelers can often find discounts or promotions to reduce the price of their stay.

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Gertrude Brogi

Writer at CGAA

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Gertrude Brogi is an experienced article author with over 10 years of writing experience. She has a knack for crafting captivating and thought-provoking pieces that leave readers enthralled. Gertrude is passionate about her work and always strives to offer unique perspectives on common topics.

She enjoys researching the latest trends and topics in order to provide her readers with the most up to date information. Her areas of expertise range from business, lifestyle and fashion to technology, health and wellness. Her articles have been featured in numerous online publications, and she is also an avid public speaker who loves sharing her knowledge with others.

As a woman, Gertrude strives to empower other women through her work by highlighting their successes and stories while inspiring them to reach new heights of success.

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