Fees, Fees, Fees!

Fees at hotels really bum me out.  Most of us are out here rocking the points, miles and rewards scene, trying to grab a great hotel deal…and then you discover the Fees.  Hopefully, the hotel you are booking is transparent about their fees and lists them clearly on their website. If not, you get an ugly surprise when you arrive.

We found out the hard way at a Marriott a few years ago that not all hotels post their fees where they are easy to find.  We got hit with Valet Parking fees for a stay in Grand Rapids and had no idea there was a fee based on the information presented on the hotel’s app when we booked.

Hint: Remember when booking a hotel that there is no flashing fees sign so you need to look for Resort fees or Parking fees.  Sometimes you have to dig in a few layers to find them.  Before booking your hotel on the app, review the properties details thoroughly on their website.  There will be more information available, it will be better arranged and easier to get to than it would be on the app.  

Parking Fees

When booking a hotel stay, I have a simple expectation that I will be able to park my car on site for free (or at least for a reasonable price).  More and more in my travels, I am finding hotels are charging ridiculous fees to park your car.

While planning our upcoming trip to Portland, Oregon, I found that most of the hotels downtown charge either a Parking fee or a Valet Parking fee (Valet essentially means that it will cost more and you have to tip too).  The prices vary widely from $22 per night to over $50.  You think that you are getting a good deal on your hotel stay, but by the time you figure in the parking fees, your deal is gone and then some.  I think these fees are offensive.

Having to play the parking fee game is a huge turn off to me when choosing a hotel.  Unfortunately, as in the case of this Portland trip, you don’t have much choice.  The only way to avoid it is to stay a long distance from the city center at the outlier hotels and drive in each day.  If you try to street park, my research says most of the meters in Portland have a 2 hour cap.  Not ideal.  Worrying about parking tickets is not something that I want to do on my vacation.

The hotel that I booked for part of our stay is the Hyatt House.  I booked the room for 6,000 points + $100 per night for 3 nights.  Based on other options, I am happy with this rate.  Although it is in a beautiful location near the river, it is a little further from downtown than I wanted AND there is a $39 night parking fee.  Wow, Maggie and I could eat a nice dinner every night for that!  The parking fee would add an extra $120 to our  “budget” stay bringing our total to $420 for those 3 nights. Yikes!

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This information can be found without too much difficulty on the Hotel Website, but it is much harder to find on the Hyatt booking App…You have to be looking for it.

I checked to see if there were any free or cheaper places to park nearby the hotel.  It looks like there a few lots and garages in the area that have daily parking rates.  Hopefully I can find one for  less than parking at the hotel.

So be careful when planning a stay in a City Center and dig deep to find out if there will be a Parking fee.  Otherwise, it could kill your amazing deal.

 

Resort Fees

As if parking fees aren’t enough, there can also be Resort Fees.  Resort Fees are kinda tricky because it’s not always clear what they are for.  Like Parking Fees, the prices hotel charge for Resort Fees is all over the place.

Here is an example of “services” listed by a hotel under the description of Resort Fee.

The Venetian – Las Vegas

Resort Fee

Rates do not include a daily resort fee of $45 plus applicable tax per night, payable upon check-in. The Resort Fee includes:

  • Access for two to the fitness facility within the Canyon Ranch® spa + fitness
  • In-suite internet access (WiFi or Ethernet)
  • Boarding pass printing
  • Unlimited local and toll-free calls
  • Access to thousands of top newspapers and magazines using PressReader app while connected as guest to Venetian or Palazzo WiFi

The Resort Fee is not reflected in the grand total quoted on your reservation. If you have questions about the Resort Fee, please inquire with the Front Desk Agent upon check-in.

Let’s be honest, how many of these items do you really want or need at a fee of $45 per night?  If given the option of paying $45 or declining these services, would you decline them?  I would!  I think I should be given a choice whether to pay the $45 for these “extra” services or decline them rather than just being billed for them.

Especially watch hotels located at Beaches, Lakes, Popular Tourist Areas (like Las Vegas or New York City) or with a long list of “included” amenities for Resort fees.

I booked our 4th night in Portland using IHG points at a nice hotel a few miles outside of the city where parking is free.  Woo Hoo!  The location works out because we already planned to explore some nearby vineyards that day.

Had I booked any of the 3 Kimpton locations in Portland, they all had both Valet Parking fees and “Guest Amenities Fees” which is just a fancy term for Resort Fees.  No matter what you call them, they still irk me!  Those fees would have added nearly $75 per night to our reservation costs.

 

Hey Hotels, Cut the crap!

  • If you are charging any kind of fee, make it clear, transparent and easy to identify during the booking process.
  • The charge for parking should be a fair price and don’t force us to have to pay for a Valet and a Tip.  Price gauging doesn’t look pretty on you.
  • Do not take advantage of guests by padding Resort Fees with nonsense charges nobody wants, just to make an extra buck.

 

You do want us to stay in your hotels, right?

 

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