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Photograph ©2016 by Brian Cohen.

Is This Secret to Ease the Pain of Paying Resort Fees Viable?

Mandatory resort fees — and their siblings known as mandatory facilities fees and mandatory destination fees — are still spreading like a plague across the lodging landscape primarily within the United States; and with no signs of abating anytime soon.

Is This Secret to Ease the Pain of Paying Resort Fees Viable?

Worse is the fact that these bogus fees have been increasing in cost — which means that guests have been paying these fees. For example, Caesars Entertainment raised nightly resort fees earlier this year at eight of its nine properties located in Las Vegas — including:

  • Bally’s, Flamingo, Harrah’s and The Linq: $35.00 — an increase of five dollars from $30.00
  • Cromwell, Paris and Planet Hollywood: $37.00 — an increase of two dollars from $35.00
  • Caesars Palace: $39.00 — an increase of four dollars from $35.00
  • Rio: Remains unchanged at $30.00

…And Now: The “Secret”

“You might not be able to avoid paying the fees”, according to this article written by Keith of MillionMileSecrets. “But the trick is to ask for extra points when you check-in or check-out.  In my experience, it’s possible to get thousands of free points just by expressing dissatisfaction with the resort fee add-on.”

Keith cites one example during “a 4-night stay at The Westin New York Grand Central, I received 8,000 Starwood points. That’s more than enough for a free night at a Category 3 Starwood hotel!”

Although that is interesting advice which could potentially enrich your wallet or purse, the problem is that it does not solve the overall problem. In fact, I would argue that it only exacerbates it.

Mentioned earlier in this article is that resort fees are not only spreading; but they are also increasing in cost — and that is primarily because guests are paying them. If customers avoided staying in hotel and resort properties which charge these useless fees, then lodging companies would not charge them. It is as simple as that.

The “secret” as imparted by Keith requires several components in order to work. First, you must be willing to take the time and effort to negotiate with members of the staff of the hotel or resort property to receive points as a result of dissatisfaction of paying the resort fee. Then, an agreement on just how many points is fair compensation must be reached. Finally, that agreement must be officially documented in the event that your membership account is not credited with the points.

Although the process may only take a few minutes, it could also potentially consume a significant amount of your time and effort. Are you willing to go through all that trouble — with no guarantee that your request will even be granted?

Worse is that this “secret” actually helps to perpetuate the proliferation of resort fees. The relatively few people who request points as a form of compensation for having to pay resort fees are still paying resort fees — and despite the example given by Keith, I am willing to bet that more often than not, any points which are indeed given typically cost the hotel or resort property less than the revenue brought in by the resort fees themselves.


To add insult to injury, guests usually must pay taxes resulting from the mandatory fee — regardless of what it is called.

Regardless of the method of enrichment — including compensation in the form of points — no one should be subject to the deception of mandatory resort fees and their brethren, as it is nothing more than advertising artificially low room rates to which the unsuspecting guest may be attracted but could never hope to pay such an inexpensive rate. Lodging properties should instead simply raise their room rates by the amount currently covered by these mandatory fees for truth in advertising.

The most effective way to combat this scourge — short of government legislation, of which no sign exists that that will happen anytime soon — is to boycott all hotel and resort properties which have the nerve to charge fees which guests are required to pay but get little to no value in return.

Other sites which are in the fight against resort fees include — with which you can check on which hotel or resort properties charge the mandatory fees and how much they will lighten your wallet or purse — and

That I vehemently oppose the implementation of mandatory resort fees, facilities fees and now destination 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.

  1. I agree with you but if I have no choice based upon lack of other available options or by oversight in the booking process then I’d keep that “trick” in mind but instead of asking for the points I would likely try to refuse paying the resort fee. If that didn’t work then I’d take some points while letting the corporate brand know that I find the practice repulsive and won’t do it again.

    1. I am not necessarily advocating to not use the trick, Andrew Armstrong, as I do not doubt that it works; but you are correct: refusing to pay the mandatory resort fee is a better option if it is possible to do — as well as letting management at the property know that you will not do it again.

  2. I’m boycotting them too, but without letting them know they’ve lost my business. Do you share this with every hotel you pass up, or is it a silent boycott? I want them to know that I considered their lodging and decided against it due to a resort fee. What’s the best way to inform them? Who should this be directed to?
    One side note, I will stay at a resort that charges a mandatory resort fee if it’s a location that typically charges for parking and self-parking is included in the fee. I see it as a balance to a valet charge I would otherwise be forced to pay. That’s the ONLY time I’ll do it.

    1. With me, the boycott is silent, Taryn, as I prefer not to spend my time negotiating with members of the staff of a hotel or resort property which charges one of these fees…

      …although contacting them prior to a potential visit might not be a bad idea if there is a chance that the resort fee will be waived for you. If they will not waive it for you, then tell them you intend on staying at a competitor instead.

      I do agree with you that if the exceptions are extraordinary enough, staying at a hotel property which charges one of these fees might still be worth considering — and there have been those rare times that even with a mandatory resort fee, a hotel or resort property could still be less expensive than its competitors.

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