Hank Investigates: Hotel Fees

Don’t you hate it when you go to check out of your hotel room and get hit with the fees? It’s essentially a hotel room price hike, but before you pay another fee, wait till you hear what Hank found! You might be able to save yourself some money. Hank Investigates.

From beachfront resorts to mountain spas, travelers know it’s a checkout fact of life, those extra charges that boost your bill’s bottom line.

Jeanne Borelli had a fee on her bill when visited Washington DC.

Jeanne: “I go what’s that for?”

Brendan DuBois got hit with one when he visited Toronto.

Brendan DuBois: “I think they nickel and dime you to death.”

But here’s what hotels don’t tell you: Sometimes those extra charges are negotiable. And sometimes you don’t have to pay them at all! It all depends on what they’re called.
If they’re taxes–that’s money that goes to the city and state. No choice about taxes–you’ve gotta pay up.

But if you’re charged a “fee” that money goes to the hotel or a hotel association. And those fees are where there may be financial wiggle room.

Emily McNutt, Associate Editor, The Points Guy: “It’s money out of your pocket, so it never hurts to ask.”

Take Jeanne’s bill, she was charged a resort fee. Some hotels call them facilities fees or amenity fees. Jeanne was charged $25 – but it can be 100 dollars or more!

Sometimes they’re for things you never used, maybe the gym, pool, or the sauna. In that case, tell the front desk. They may take it right off your bill.

McNutt: “Kindness is key in this industry if you can elicit some kind of sympathy from the front desk agent, chances are in your favor you could get that amount refunded.”

And here’s another one, it showed up on Brendan’s bill as a “destination marketing program,” money used for advertising.

But since it wasn’t disclosed in advance Brendan asked to have it taken off his bill

Brendan: “Once I called and made a stink, they refunded me the money.”

Another problem, when you book online the site may not reveal all the fees. The Attorney General of Massachusetts and AGs from 45 other states are investigating that.

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