Resort fees, the hidden room charge

Let’s face it: resort fees suck. Those hidden mandatory fees one must pay on top of the base rate, that also make finding the best price for a hotel difficult. Benefits such as High Speed internet, access to fitness club, pool, and other amenities** now are placed under the umbrella of a mandatory “resort fee” charge.

For those of you that don’t know, a resort fee is:

A resort fee, also called a facility fee a destination fee an amenity fee an urban fee or a resort charge, or a hidden hotel booking fee is an additional fee that a guest is charged by an accommodation provider, usually calculated on a per day basis, in addition to a base room rate*

With resort fees being so common these days, it’s very hard to judge what the final price is for a hotel, and hotels are nto the only one doing the hidden fee game (see AirBnB below).

IHG Resort Fee Example

An even greater example of hidden resort fees is apparent in an IHG reservation. The rate of $132 a night comes up in the hotel search but then they add in 28.62% or taxes and fee, hiding the 18% a day resort fee in the 28.62% total fees. The hotel costing close to 30% more then the listed price really makes these hotel price listings inaccurate.

IHG Resort Fee Example

Hilton Resort Fee Example

Signia by Hilton Bonnet Creek: A daily resort charge of $45 (plus tax) will be charged to your room rate per room, per night and includes: Many amenities** that used to be free now are part of the resort fee.

Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort Fee Example

How To Avoid resort fees

You can avoid most resort fees that would be incurred if you paid for the room and instead pay for the room with points or a an award free night certificate.

For IHG the official policy is the reward nights pay a resort fees but there are some ways around that.

In the IHG example above the resort fee is 18% of the room cost (not a flat rate of $40 a day). If you pay via points, the room cost is zero, so the resort fee would be 18% of zero equaling no resort fee, the same when using Award Free Night Certificates as the room rate is zero.

UN-officially in Fall 2022 I have had several IHG reservations booked with points where I was not charged any resort fees. These reservations were at hotels that had a daily resort fee, such as $30 a day but no resort fee was charged to my room. This is YMMV but it does make me wonder if some IHG locations are rewarding members by not charging a resort fee.

Hilton is much simpler, any reservation booked with points or Award Free Night Certificates have the resort fees waived, taxes are also waved as they are included in the price of how many points you need to use.

AirBnB also has hidden fees

AirBnB has gotten a lot of push back on their fees and rightly so. I myself have tried to book a $150 a night room, only to find out the final cost adds up to $400 a night. There are some service fees and exorbitant cleaning fees ($200 in this case). AirBnB has had such push back about this that, in October 2022, they went so far as to start rolling out the total fees for a reservation on their search listing as an option. I would like to preface that this was not always the case, and I think AirBnB fees may be based on per night costs, so my renters charged high cleaning fees as a way for the renter to avoid paying fees to AirBnB.

*from Wikipedia

**Amenities, example from Hilton, the majority were included before the resort fee

  • Premium High Speed Internet access (excluding meeting rooms) for up to 2 devices
  • Two (2) Bottles of Water Daily
  • Access to the Waldorf Astoria Golf Club practice facility
  • Access to the Fitness Center
  • 20% discount on Spa Treatments at the Waldorf Astoria Spa
  • Free Golf Club Rental after 2pm
  • Use of Lazy River Tubes
  • Shuttle Service to all 4 Disney Theme Parks & Disney Springs
  • Complimentary dinner for children 12 & under at Harvest Bistro* when ordering from the kids menu and accompanied by an adult entrée.  Limit one comp child’s meal per paying adult.  *Currently complimentary dinner is available at Beech or Zeta Asia when Harvest Bistro is closed for dinner.
  • Children 5 & under eat free for breakfast at Harvest Bistro

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