5 On Your Side

Hotel fees can sneak up on travelers

Posted January 3, 2019 6:19 p.m. EST

— Hotel fees have become as bad as airline fees because many hotels are adding surcharges that can quickly add up.

One hotel in Miami has several surcharges, including: resort fee of $45.60 per room per night; average breakast fee of $42; valet parking fee of $45, adding $132 per night for fees.

Liz Gabay found after a recent hotel visit that she had been charged for the in-room safe.

"It's totally sneaky," she said. "If it costs extra for them to put a safe in your room, build that in. Let me know up front. I won't feel so taken advantage of."

Consumer Reports' readers shared hundreds of similar stories, complaining about the practice of hidden fees while traveling.

Hotel fees and surcharges were expected to top $2.7 billion last year, including those charged for cancellations and date changes.

You can look up fees charged at hotels world wide -- at Resort Fee Checker.com.

Consumer Reports found fees for the safe, towels, beach chairs and umbrellas. Some hotels even charge recycling fees.

"Hotels know that consumers are shopping for hotel rooms by price," said expert Margot Gilman. "So they try to keep their advertised prices low, but then still make up the revenue on the back end, with fees."

Want to check-in early or check out late? It may cost you.

Parking fees can be another budget buster, even for hotels with outdoor and unsecured lots.

What can travelers do?

Consumer Reports advises hotel guests to try reaching out to the hotel directly -- especially if you plan to book thru a third party.

Hotel guests should also ask about specific, additional charges – for anything other than the room and taxes.

"If you join a hotel loyalty program –– something a lot of hotels have –– you may find that some of the fees are waived," Gilman said.

And, don't be afraid to speak up.

Like many Consumer Reports' readers, when Liz Gabay complained she never even opened the safe, they immediately removed the charge.