Save money by avoiding hidden hotel and resort fees

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- If you're booking a hotel for an upcoming holiday or winter getaway, we have some important, money-saving information.

Two words of warning: Resort fees. Those are hidden charges tacked onto your hotel bill and you need to watch out for them, especially when searching for hotels online.

"The price you're being shown is not at all the price you're going to pay," said Kevin Brassler, Executive Editor of Checkbook magazine.

Because on top of the nightly hotel rate, many hotels also charge a per-night resort fee or facility fee.

"We found in some cities it's anywhere from $10, we found one resort fee $112 per night," he said. "And none of the sites that advertise hotel rates these days are including these often high resort fees in their base rates."

Consumer advocates warn that hotels aren't disclosing them either. Attorneys General across the country are fighting against hidden resort fees. Two of the biggest hotel chains are facing lawsuits over the issue.

"We called dozens of hotels and asked them 'what do I get for this $40 a night' and the answers we got were absurd," said Brassler.

They were told fees included access to a fitness center or use of the hotel pool and more.

"Don't say you're paying extra to get access to amenities that they're already advertising as a reason to stay there in the first place especially if it's a four place, they should have WiFi, a bottle of water in your room," he said.

So when you're booking, check for hidden fees by paying attention to the total price for your stay.

"I think consumers should complain very loudly at check-in and check-out about having to pay these fees," he said.

Sometimes a hotel will waive the fees. And if the fee is a surprise once you check-out, try disputing it with your credit card company.

There is a new federal bipartisan bill called the Hotel Advertising Transparency Act of 2019. It would require any mandatory fees, aside from taxes, to be shown in the advertised price.
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