6 Ways to Avoid Sneaky Hotel Fees

What's Hot

2 Types of Black Marks Might Vanish From Your Credit File SoonBorrow

6 Ways the Obamacare Overhaul Might Impact Your WalletInsurance

7 Dumb and Costly Moves Homebuyers MakeBorrow

This Free Software Brings Old Laptops Back to LifeMore

Obamacare Replacement Plan Gets ‘F’ Rating from Consumer ReportsFamily

Beware These 12 Common Money MistakesCredit & Debt

21 Restaurants Offering Free Food Right NowSaving Money

17 Ways to Have More Fun for Less MoneySave

House Hunters: Beware of These 6 Mortgage MistakesBorrow

30 Household Uses for Baby OilSave

25 Ways to Spend Less on FoodMore

Nearly Half of Heart-Related Deaths Linked to These 10 Foods and IngredientsFamily

5 Surprising Benefits of Exercising Outdoors in WinterFamily

10 Ways to Save When You’re Making Minimum WageSave

Boost Your Credit Score Fast With These 7 MovesCredit & Debt

7 Painless Ways to Pay Off Your Mortgage Years EarlierBorrow

The Most Sinful City in the U.S. Is … (Hint: It’s Not Vegas)Family

The True Cost of Bad CreditCredit & Debt

10 Companies With the Best 401(k) PlansGrow

This Scam Now Tops ID Theft as the No. 2 Consumer ComplaintFamily

6 Stores With Awesome Reward ProgramsFamily

6 Ways to Save More at Lowe’s and The Home DepotSave

6 Healthful Treats for Your DogFamily

New Study Ranks the Best States in the U.S.Family

Thousands of Millionaires Moving to 1 Country — and Leaving AnotherGrow

Strapped for College Costs? How to Get the Most From FAFSABorrow

6 Overlooked Ways to Save at Chick-fil-AFamily

Ask Stacy: What’s the Fastest Way to Pay Off My Mortgage?Borrow

Where to Sell Your Stuff for Top DollarAround The House

8 Ways to Get a Good Price on a Shiny New AutoCars

Ask Stacy: How Do I Start Over?Credit & Debt

Secret Cell Plans: Savings Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint Don’t Want You to Know AboutFamily

30 Awesome Things to Do in RetirementCollege

14 Super Smart Ways to Save on TravelSave

The Rich Prefer Modest Cars — Should You Join Them?Cars

You’ll Soon Pay More to Shop at CostcoSave

10 Ways to Save When Your Teen Starts DrivingFamily

Whether it's in the air or on the ground, the fight against fees is shaping up to be an eternal struggle. Use these tactics to push back against fee-focused hotels.

Do you really know how much your next hotel stay will cost you? You may have a confirmation in hand, and you might think you know what the price will be – but the hotel industry is following the lead of the airline industry in trying to charge customers extra for services that were once free.

“Following in the footsteps of the airlines, hotels are piling on a slew of hidden fees,” CNN reports. “Now guests are getting charged for everything from access to a gym (or a pool), to early check-ins or departures to holding your luggage.”

Fortunately, avoiding these fees on the ground is actually easier than doing so in the air…

1. Shop around. If you need a nonstop flight from Denver to Des Moines, you probably have the choice of only one or two airlines with similar fee structures. On the other hand, you’ll have dozens of lodging options. When choosing a hotel, take into account optional expenses such as parking, Internet service, and breakfast in order to determine where the best deal is. Unlike with airlines, it’s still relatively easy to call a hotel, speak to a live person, and ask about fees.

2. Confirm everything. Just because a hotel lists amenities like Internet service or garage parking doesn’t mean they’re free. Go directly to the hotel’s website and see if it lists the amenity as complimentary.  If it’s not clear, send a brief email or make a quick phone call and ask what the charges will be for the services you’ll use. If you use email, print it out as proof in case the hotel tries to change its policies later.

3. Be careful with third-party booking sites. Online travel agents are notorious for including language that absolves themselves from any mandatory fees a hotel may decide to tack on. For example, Expedia only informs customers at the very end of their reservations process that, “The price shown DOES NOT include any applicable hotel service fees, charges for optional incidentals (such as minibar snacks or telephone calls), or regulatory surcharges.” Notice how they obscure their policy by lumping in optional expenses like the mini-bar and telephone charges with unspecified mandatory charges such as resort fees and regulatory surcharges – rendering their price quotes almost useless. I’ve found this to be especially a problem with Las Vegas-area hotels.

4. Be pushy. I once checked into a hotel in Phoenix and was informed that there was a mandatory “safe fee” added onto my bill. I told them that I wasn’t informed of this charge when I made my reservation, and that I had no intention of using the safe during my brief stay. They responded by offering to remove the charge when I checked out. I got them to relent only after I told them that I was leaving for an early-morning meeting, and I insisted the charge be removed at check-in. Managers do have some discretion to remove charges, especially when they failed to properly disclose them. At a resort in Beaver Creek, Colo., I had a parking fee taken off after their valet failed to close my car’s window.

5. Consider low- and mid-range properties. While I enjoy staying in luxury hotels for cheap, I can do without paying a $40 “resort fee” or $15 a day for Internet. There’s a strange dynamic going on in the hotel industry, where low- and mid-range properties offer free amenities while high-end hotels – even within the same corporation – tack on additional charges. For example, Hampton Inns offer free local calls, high-speed Internet, and breakfast, while their corporate parent Hilton often charges for these amenities. It’s as if the industry has discovered that  luxury guests are not price-sensitive and will consent to anything.

6. Bargain. A hotel might have a long list of fees, but again, most of them can be waived at the manager’s discretion. If you’re booking a longer stay, visiting during a slow season, or have multiple rooms, you’ll be in a great position to suggest that some fees be eliminated in return for your business.

For more on how to save at any hotel, check out 8 Tips to Save at Any Hotel – Even the Nation’s Trendiest.

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

I know... every site you visit wants you to subscribe to their newsletter. But our news and advice is actually worth reading! For 25 years, I've been making people richer without making their eyes glaze over. You'll be glad you did. I guarantee it!


Read Next: Costco Releases Dozens of New Deals

Check Out Our Hottest Deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 1,996 more deals!