The Real Deal: Hidden hotel charges and how to avoid them
Resort fees can add up to sometimes 60% more than advertised. If you aren’t using facilities like the pool, tennis court, Wi-Fi and the gym, can you avoid having to pay for them?
Travel expert Peter Greenberg says you can argue the charge.
“This is what a resort fee is. It's a tax dodge. Because hotel room rates are charged at a very high occupancy tax by local municipalities. But a resort fee is not a room rate. It's tax if it's the lower sales tax rate. It's no different than what airlines do with their airline tickets versus what they charge you for baggage.”
Some states have agreements with hotel chains where the resort fees must be clearly noted. However, it is up to you to read the fine print or call the hotel to make sure you know the cost of the stay. You can also check with hotels in the area and choose one that doesn’t add on the fee.
If you book with hotel award points, usually all fees are included.
If you travel to one chain often, consider getting a credit card with that hotel like Hilton or Marriott. The perks can include waiving those fees, getting you upgrades, and meal credits.
You could also just plain refuse to pay the resort fee or argue it with you credit card company if you were misled about the extra charges.