Why Certain Hotel Fees Will Not Check Out Anytime Soon
“T ruth is, early check-in and check-out charges are ways to pad a hotel’s profits. Fortunately, you can avoid them by sticking to your schedule, like Stolar did, or by procuring one of those habit-forming cards by spending, spending, and more spending”, Christopher Elliott wrote in this article posted within the past couple of hours. “But these junk fees, particularly when they’re not disclosed before check-in, seem more like gotchas than legitimate charges. Can’t hotels come up with a more creative way to make money?”
I will save you time by giving the answer right away: hotel fees — like ancillary fees for airlines — will not “check out” anytime soon because people pay them.
By the way, Chris warned you back on November 19, 2012 that “Frequent Flier Programs are a Scam – Here’s Why You Should Quit Yours Now” — and yet it is because he is a Diamond VIP member of the Hilton HHonors frequent guest loyalty program that he did not have to pay “check-in and check-out charges”, as he says that “When I whip out my little Diamond card, Hilton isn’t giving me a benefit as much as they’re punishing me less because I’m a ‘loyal’ customer. That’s not really fair to the garden-variety guest, is it?”
Fair? Who cares about fair? Certainly not companies in the travel industry, as they are out to earn every dollar they can in any way possible — despite my explanation as to why there is outrage against frequent travel loyalty programs. As long as what they do is legal — including charging for checking in early and checking out late at hotel properties — all is fair in love, war and business; and as long as elite level status in frequent travel programs continue to exempt its members from paying these so-called “junk fees” and ancillary fees, those members will not care in the least. That is the reality, whether we like it or not.
If you think I am attacking and criticizing what Christopher Elliott wrote, you would be incorrect. In fact, I wholeheartedly agree with him. I eschew stupid fees myself and will do whatever I can to avoid them or have them removed from my bill. Sometimes I will go so far as to patronize a competitor who will not charge me a stupid fee — provided that the overall cost is the same for a product or service of similar quality…
…but as long as people keep paying them, they will continue to exist — and that is where Christopher Elliott, me and countless other “bloggers” come in: to alert you and warn you about these fees. I certainly do not want you to pay for something you do not want, need or use.
Moreover, I am vehemently against companies that use questionable methods and practices to require you to pay extra — such as with resort fees at hotel properties, about which I have been opposed and advocated against for years. If ancillary fees and “junk fees” are clearly disclosed outright and allow the consumer a choice as to whether or not to pay them with no penalty, that is usually legal and fair. When companies sneak these fees into your bill or charge you without warning where you cannot decline, that is unprofessional; inappropriate; a betrayal of trust; possibly illegal; and a reason to not only warn other potential customers about them — but to also report them to the proper consumer agencies and governmental authorities.
To reiterate: the only way “junk fees” and ancillary fees will ever be eliminated is if people do not pay them. As long as lodging companies and airlines continue to profit handsomely from them, they will not disappear. When people stop paying them, that is when they will be eliminated.