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Why I Hate Marriott Resort Fees As A Percent of Room Rate

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Marriott Bonvoy Resort Fee Percentage

A week ago Mark wrote about a disturbing policy at one of Marriott’s properties that we should all be worried about. The Inn at Bay Harbor now charges a resort fee that is equal to 10% of the room rate. Insert picture of Armageddon here. 🙂

Marriott Bonvoy Resort Fee Percentage

As a sort of response to that post my friend Greg the Frequent Miler wrote a post titled, “Why I like Marriott resort fees as a percent of room rate”. In his post Greg shares his personal experience at the Inn at Bay Harbor and how he wasn’t charged a resort fee on an award stay. On the surface that seems like a good thing considering Marriott Bonvoy requires members pay a resort fee on award stays.

Here is how the terms are written:

When redeeming Points for an Award Redemption Stay, the Award Redemption Stay includes the cost of a single or double standard room at a Participating Property, room tax/service charge, and extra-person charges, if any. All other charges, including incidentals, resort fees and The Ritz-Carlton Club level charges, are the responsibility of the Member and are not included in the Award Redemption Stay.

This Isn’t Good

While Greg says he likes this “percentage” resort fee, he does admit, “…I can’t promise that they won’t find a way to charge you on an award stay.  But I can safely say that the Inn at Bay Harbor doesn’t charge resort fees on award stays.” That is great, but this
“percentage resort fee” is terrible for many reasons.

  • First, anyone who stays at that hotel paying cash now has to pay sky high resort fees during the peak season. The “resort amenities” don’t change when the price of the hotel is higher, but regular paying customers still need to pay more. In some cases much more. #Bonvoyed.
  • Also, customers on award stays are not exempt from resort fees at this property. Yes, Greg has proven through his own experiences that the hotel in practice is not charging the resort fee, however they can at any time. The terms back them up. So what happens when another Marriott property decides to implement this? Will they too be so generous? I don’t think so.

Marriott Bonvoy Resort Fee Percentage

This Is About Bonvoy As Much as the Resort Fee

Everyone complains about resort fees these days, so I want to make it clear that isn’t what I am doing. I have a very different and firm stance on resort fees in that I don’t necessarily think they should go away. With that said, I have an utter distrust for Marriott and Bonvoy given how they have treated customers since the merger of Marriott Rewards and SPG. We can’t just look at one hotel that is sort of doing something nice despite the terms that say they can do otherwise. We need to look at the program that has put in no protections for its customers. Or at least I can’t find any in the terms.

Resort fees are a plague, but one that is probably unavoidable just like fuel surcharges. Truthfully we need to get to a place where the total cost of a room (including taxes & resort/other fees) is fully disclosed in searches and when booking. This is already mandatory for airfare and it needs to come to the hotel space. We shouldn’t trust huge corporations to give us a break and maybe not follow their terms and we especially shouldn’t trust Marriott.

So while I am jealous of Greg’s many stays at this hotel (seeing his pictures makes me jealous every single time), I most certainly don’t like Marriott resort fees as a percentage of room rate. It’s bad for the majority of that hotel’s customers and more importantly it will be bad long term for Marriott customers and probably all of us as this practice spreads.

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Shawn Coomer
Shawn Coomer
Shawn Coomer earns and burns millions of miles/points per year circling the globe with his family. An expert at accumulating travel rewards, he founded Miles to Memories to help others achieve their travel goals for pennies on the dollar. Shawn also runs a million dollar reselling business, knows Vegas better than most and loves to spend his time at the 12 Disney parks across the world.

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  1. I think that the only thing we disagree about is the meaning of “10 percent of the nightly room rate.” As long as it is 10% of the cash part of the award rate (i.e. 10% of 0) then I’m happy to pay it. I think you assume that it is meant to be 10% of the standard room rate or something like that. If that was true, then I’d hate this too.

    Regardless of all that, I agree 1000% that advertised rates should include ALL required fees.

    • I just think we need to look at a bigger picture. Even at that hotel where standard awards are hard to come by the vast majority of customers are paying more because of this new policy. That, plus no protection in the terms is not a win for me. At that one property based on how they are enforcing things for awards it is better than a flat resort fee, but in the big picture consumers lose when paying cash at that hotel and more importantly as this practice spreads.

  2. Hmm. I have a stay coming up at Bay Harbor in October. We’ll see if I don’t have to pay a resort fee.


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