Photo: Flickr via James Farleigh
Hotel rates are projected to shoot up more than $100 per night in 2012, according to Consumer Reports. And like airlines with their bevy of extra fees, you might be paying far more than just the price of your room the next time you book your stay. In fact, we dropped an estimated $1.8 billion on hotel fees in 2011—an amount that hasn’t been matched since 2008.
Here are a few that stood out:
Resort. These fees are common at luxury retreats that offer perks like hiking trails and golf courses, and range anywhere from $20 to $50 per day—whether you use them or not. The report says the fees are “difficult to have removed from your bill,” and “most resorts automatically add staff tips.”
Minibar extras. Hotels charge as much as six bucks to restock the minibar if you dig in, which makes the $5 granola bar you snarfed down that much more expensive. “Hotels are also doing away with locked minibars, instead displaying overpriced items in an unlocked fridge or in baskets in the open, where they’re more difficult to resist,” the report says.
Early check-in/late departure. Arrange a wake-up call on check-out day if you want to dodge the $50 penalties some joints charge customers who leave late. Some go as far as charging a full extra night worth 60 per cent of your initial rate. To skirt the fee, sign up for a hotel loyalty program that offers waivers for tardy patrons.
The best way to dodge fees
Loyalty cards. Just 19 per cent of summer travellers plan to use loyalty programs this year, according to Hotels.com, which means most people are missing out on the best way to save. Members can score free upgrades, airline miles and discounts. (Don’t forget to sign up for Tingo.com either—it will refund you whenever your hotel rate drops.)
Per the report: “Among other perks: access to hotel club lounges (Hyatt Gold Passport) and weekend discounts, fast check-in, and late checkout (Marriott Rewards). And you can generally accrue points at any of a chain’s brands. Thus, if you belong to Hilton honours, you get points and receive benefits at the flagship Hilton nameplate or at DoubleTree, Embassy Suites, Garden Inn, Hampton Inn, or Homewood Suites.”