Another Way Mandatory Resort Fees are Deceptive

“From time to time i get no points on the resort fee and have to mail marriott a couple of times before they understand that we should get points on resort fee, is there any were i can find it written down so i dont need to discuss this back and forth several times?”

Another Way Mandatory Resort Fees are Deceptive

Although no specific language pertaining to mandatory resort fees is included in the terms and conditions of earning Marriott Rewards points, the response to the question you just read as posted by falcon71 — who is a member of the Marriott Rewards Insiders forum — from CommunityManagers was posted as the following:

“Hi all! We took a look into that and learned the resort fees are like a tax, and are not eligible for credit. Anything labeled ‘tax’ or ‘fee’ will not earn credit. Hope that helps clear things up!”

That response may have “cleared things up”; but it did not sit well with many of the members of the Marriott Rewards Insiders forum.

“Ok, so if the room rate is $0 and the resort fee is $300 – if I ask you what the room rate is, do you answer me that the room is for free ? will I get zero points ?” falcon71 asked. “how can you say that resort fee is like tax ? do you give the resort fee to the government ?”

PlatinumBoyForever jeered “Booooooo, especially since a resort fee or amenity fee is a de facto part of the room rate!!!”

An explanation of why this policy can be considered unfair — which is all too familiar to readers of The Gate — is offered by painedplatinum: “Resort fees are nothing more than a cash grab. Hotels don’t want to add it to the room rate or that will put them at a disadvantage to competitors for folks that are looking at multiple brand rates. So, they hide this added revenue in a category to gouge money out of the unsuspecting public. Infrequent stayers don’t have any idea of this unsavory behavior, but medium and heavy travelers see it for what it is. As mentioned above, not awarding points for this unethical cash grab is just throwing salt in the wound.”

In response to the backlash, CommunityManagers offered a more detailed explanation — and here it is, unedited:

“Hi Insiders,

“We’ve asked for some further clarification to share with you all. Resort fees are like a tax in that they do not qualify for Marriott Rewards credit; they are not actual taxes and we apologize if this caused any confusion. The Marriott Rewards Terms and Conditions state the following, as platinumboyforever has provided:

“Charges that do not qualify for Points include taxes applied to the room rate, purchase of Marriott gift certificates or gift cards, purchase of The Ritz-Carlton gift certificates or gift cards, charges for third party-provided goods and services at participating Marriott brand hotels or Ritz-Carlton hotels, and catering or banquet functions charged to the guest room account.

“This is not a comprehensive list of what does not qualify for points. In addition to resort fees, other non-tax items that would not qualify for points would be service charges and gratuities. We recognize that resort fees are not explicitly mentioned in our Terms and Conditions, however, it has been requested to have it added for clarity. We appreciate your feedback on our T&C’s, and hope that instances such as fistuk has mentioned with the Best Rate Guarantee show the value in booking Marriott properties directly.

“Thanks for your thoughts on this topic.

“Deanna”

So, let us review:

  • Mandatory resort fees are purposely charged to guests for the sole purpose of ensuring that the room rate is artificially low enough to deceive customers into booking
  • Members of frequent guest loyalty programs cannot earn points as a result of paying for mandatory resort fees —  especially as not only do they seem to be increasing in cost; but also that more hotel and resort properties seem to be implementing them

Summary

What’s next — that hotel and resort properties do not have to pay taxes on revenue derived from mandatory resort fees…?!?

That I vehemently oppose the implementation of mandatory resort fees is no secret to you if you have been a reader of The Gate for years — they should either be optional or eliminated altogether — and I will just let this extensive body of work over the years pertaining to mandatory resort fees speak for me…

Photograph ©2016 by Brian Cohen.

14 thoughts on “Another Way Mandatory Resort Fees are Deceptive”

  1. Mike L says:

    If OTAs start to write in their agreements that hotels owe them a commission on mandatory resort fees they will probably disappear. I’m honestly surprised they haven’t done this already, since almost all hotels in Orlando and Las Vegas charge resort fees. Figure that if a hotel charges a $40 resort fees, OTAs are missing out on about 20%, or $8 per room, per night. I would bet Marriott is not awarding points on resort fees for the same reason, they are probably not seeing any of that revenue and it’s all going right to that individual hotel owner.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      That is an excellent point, Mike L.

      I wonder how else mandatory resort fees benefit hotel and resort properties…

  2. Balls says:

    Got a challenge for you, Brian. Write an article that doesn’t use the word ‘pertaining.’

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      …and what purpose does this comment serve when pertaining to the article, Balls?

      1. Balls says:

        Ha, I knew you couldn’t do it! Great article, by the way, and I appreciate all the reporting you have done on these scam resort fees.

        1. Brian Cohen says:

          Balls, I am so glad you took my comment to you in the spirit in which it was intended, as I enjoy having mutual fun with readers of The Gate

          …and thank you for your comment. I appreciate it.

  3. playalaguna says:

    The hotels are using “resort fees” as a money grab. The resort fees are used as means of limiting commissions where they would be payable and reducing points awarded to guests as already pointed out.

    These resort fees are also deceptive where the hotels use larger print showing a daily rate and in somewhat lower case the add-ons. In many case, hotels now charge them while stating that they include services that were previously provided, much like basic economy fares.

    When will we have to start pay the hotels for the sheets, blankets and pillows? Are we moving into a hostel (hostile) environment?

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      That great wordplay with hostel may be more relevant than we realize, playalaguna

      …and even worse than services which were included that are now part of the justification of mandatory resort fess is when guests with elite level status would have received those services as what is supposed to be a complimentary benefit but are forced to pay the mandatory resort fees to receive them anyway.

  4. Geoff says:

    Good post Brian. These fees are getting out of hand. The only true resort fee which makes even partial sense is that belonging to the Venetian and Palazzo in Vegas(obviously).
    While the fee has now risen above $40/night, it at least includes access to their Canyon Ranch sponsored fitness centers. These things are quite good for myriad reasons. Not $40 good, but it beats most hotels/resorts that charge these greedy fees for “unlimited local phone calls(really??), daily newspaper(which I’ve NEVER received), wifi(it’s 2017!), printing boarding passes(ridiculous), etc…”.
    As an aside, I’ve had some luck getting these fees waived when I claim late arrival, early checkout and being stuck in conferences all day.
    Bottom line: These fees are maddening and greedy and will bite the resorts on the a$$ someday.

  5. Resort fees are a second hotel room rate. At almost all locations with resort fee collusion, like Orlando and Vegas, hotels charge AND TAX resort fees as a second room rate. If there was actually an exchange of service – say if a hotel was actually providing access to the fitness center with the resort fee – it would be taxed with the sales tax as all services are. Resort fees are not taxed as a service. They are taxed as a second room rate at the hotel occupancy tax. Marriott is currently in the middle of 46 state attorneys general suing them for hiding their scam resort fees so it is no surprise that they are hiding these scam fees from even earning the credit they deserve since people paying resort fees are paying for two rooms for one night.

  6. Mary says:

    As a visitor to Las Vegas a place I like on a holiday. These fees are taking away from those outside the hotels businesses because I do not spend as much as I would in their establishments because of the budget I have. The losers of this unfair “TAX” is everyone except the hotel owners. Please please get rid of them or I will be forced to go elsewhere for my holiday….

  7. Anastasia says:

    Methinks we should petition OTA’s and other websites that list hotel prices to include resort fees in the price they list. That would take care of the problem.

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