Bits: Hotels adding ‘resort fees’ in New York, last day for the great Qatar sale

News in brief:

Hotels adding resort fees in New York and other cities

If you’ve ever stayed in Las Vegas or at a US beach resort, you have probably been subjected to ‘resort fees’.

These are, without a doubt, the biggest scam in the hotel business day.  If they weren’t a scam, they wouldn’t have been banned in pretty much everywhere else in the world.  They are a hidden fee – hidden to the extent they are not included in the price shown when searching for a hotel although they are disclosed later – covering, well, nothing in particular.

A typical example would be a $39 per day ‘resort fee’ to cover ‘use of the hotel pool’, internet, local phone calls and some water in your room.  These are all things you would expect to be included in your room rate, and you cannot refuse to pay the fee if you don’t use any of the ‘benefits’ listed.

This Wikipedia article is a good primer on the topic.

A reader recently told me that he had been hit for a ‘resort fee’ in New York.  I found this hard to believe but a bit of research pulled up this article.

One of the New York hotels with a ‘resort fee’ is the Crowne Plaza Times Square.  A quick search for 25th January showed a room available for $135.  This is the number that is used if you rank hotels by price on the IHG website or a third party site like Expedia.  Click ‘rate details’ though and it turns out that a $30 per night ‘resort / service fee’ is added mainly for wi-fi – which should be free to all guests signed up with IHG Rewards Club anyway.

Your $135 headline price becomes, with taxes, $188 per night.  Quite a difference …..

Qatar Travel Festival sale 2017

Last day for the Qatar Travel Festival sale

This is your final reminder that the Qatar Travel Festival sale ends today.  You probably won’t find a better opportunity this year to pick up a cheap business class flight.

The best of the availability has gone, unfortunately, but some deals remain.  The highlight was a flash sale to Tokyo last Thursday evening from Brussels or Amsterdam, which we flagged on the HFP Twitter and Facebook feeds, at €630 return.  In business class.

My two articles on the best deals on offer are here and here.

Remember that all flights on Qatar Airways earn Avios and British Airways Executive Club tier points.  Return flights to Asia from Europe will generate 560 tier points (140 x 4) which is 90% of a BA Silver card.

You can book for flights until 15th December although blackout dates apply.  Bookings ends tonight.

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

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Comments

  1. OT – Just a heads up to anyone who got the IHG “Here’s an easy path to keeping your status” email last year. I stayed more than the three nights required to keep my platinum status but they still downgraded me (I noticed today). After a 20 minute discussion with the helpdesk they were still insisting that it had to be three consecutive nights, not just three nights. It didn’t say this anywhere on the email or in the T&Cs. But I asked for a supervisor and they said that as a “one off courtesy” they would put me back to platinum. My concern that the email was poorly worded fell on deaf ears though. So if this has happened to anyone else, persevere, get a supervisor!

  2. And some cities charge a local tourist tax e.g. EUR 5 in Venice.

  3. OT – I see the HFP mobile site has slightly changed its formatting/layout – when did this happen? Or am I just being stupid? (Looks very good btw)

  4. the real harry1 says:

    just an O/T whew! snippet – just taken delivery of a very nice Xmas tree knocked down in the sales – my wife asked me to get a decent perma-tree despite having a wonderful real Nordmann fir this year! – and realised it was to big to check in – then I vaguely remembered this bit (BA):
    “You can take larger items of up to 190 x 75 x 65cm (75 x 29.5 x 25.5in) for an additional charge. (Currently, we waive this charge so you do not pay it.)” – maybe some people didn’t ever see this…

  5. Note last day for Qatar sale, can anyone advice when booking on how to put in BA executive no to gain BA credit.

    Sorry if this is obvious.?

  6. Agree resort fees are a disgrace for exactly the reasons outlined.

    Last time i was faced with one was at a hotel in Grand Cayman and I had roughly this conversation:-
    – “in addition, there is an optional resort fee of $50….”
    – “what does that cover?”
    – “it covers use of the pool, gym, towels, water sports equipment and other things….”
    – “what if I don’t want to use any of those things?”
    – “um… … … you still have to pay it.”

    We’ve been here before in the UK with this kind of scam. It was called payment protection insurance and it has cost the banks billions of pounds in compensation payments and legal fees.

    • “Welcome to America!”

      Different legal system, different rules.

      • Grand Cayman isn’t in the US (though most of its US visitors behave as if it is) – it’s a UK territory…. technically the law there is Cayman Islands law but it’s very similar to English law…

        • TCI, I think the Cayman government has a whole department dedicated to coming up with ways to squeeze money out of visitors! We pay timeshare tax, environmental tax, government tax, tourist tax and now resort fees…Apparently they have recently had a huge crackdown on private homes being advertised on air bnb and similar because they weren’t getting any revenue from it, lol.

    • an optional fee you have to pay?

  7. Rob do you think there’ll be another similar Qatar sale later in the year or a maybe not as good sale? You say there wont be a better opportunity this year.. I bought my CPH to BKK on 18th May last year which was roughly £1090 at the pre brexit exchange rate and am hoping for a ex EU biz to somewhere on east coat of Australia (ideally Sydney) late December for hopefully £1500/£1600.. Not sure if that’s a silly expectation of a price.

  8. the real harry1 says:
    • Good on that commuter, although the reporter didn’t address the fact that as they paid with an Amex S75 doesn’t apply!

      • Section 75 does apply for Amex credit cards… what makes you think it doesn’t? I used it last year successfully.

        • Not to Amex charge cards it doesn’t – a common misconception! 😉

          https://www.theguardian.com/money/2012/jan/20/section-75-chargeback

          Amex do have their own chargeback scheme and generally excellent customer service though, which often helps but isn’t the same legal guarantee. Using PayPal, Curve, Supercard, etc all invalidates it too.

          • Agree, though I think it’s important that people distinguish between charge cards (those branded Amex) and the 3rd party branded cards (which are genuine credit cards). i.e. BAPP Amex is a credit card with legitimate S75 protection.

            From my experience Amex are good at following the principle of S75 even when you may not technically adhere to the rules (i.e. travel agency relationship meaning you don’t have a direct link to supplier when booking hotel room).

          • Totally agree, Jonathan – I think they could have put some sort of caveat in the article though given to make that clearer. Agree Amex CS usually very good though!

          • PS – yes, I had a complaint about a transaction via Paypal and they refunded it to me no problem, even before the retailer responded! It certainly makes me more likely to push more spend via them, which is hopefully the sort of thing they’re looking for!

  9. Andy, I just flew that route out from the sale. Just beware that even at 6pm (when I arrived for 9pm flight) Terminal 2 at Manchester is akin to a ghost town at the weekend airside, with few shops left open – only this and two Pakistan flights go after 4.30!

  10. the real harry1 says:

    God knows what they are playing at but if you’re flying to Europe at Xmas 2017 or perhaps any other time, check BA prices.

    Our flights out just went to £65 HBO peak (from £135 a couple of days ago, at that price I wouldn’t have used redemptions) and just £45 on peak return 2nd Jan, again a massive drop & makes RFS a total waste of points esp given the £17.50 fee each way (THE best day to fly back as last day before state schools restart).

    So £110 return vs my 15000 Avios + £35 fee, bit of a sickener :(

  11. odd, shows in mine, 6 avios per pound until end of month. Normally 3 avios per pound.

  12. Hi all

    Qatar have extended the sale by 2 days.

    • Anything great to CMB Sri Lanka ??

      Anyone spotted anything else fantastic, perhaps not advertised ?

      Does the x4 QMiles still count in the extra 2days ??

  13. Chilibenny says:

    I am trying to book Intercontinental Times Square two nights on points and one night cash in February – I am doing this separately as together the dollar cost is more. If that is the best way or not please advise.
    But on the resort fees, while it doesn’t say they have them whenever I go to book at a cash rate when I get to the end to pay on the IHG app it is always about 35 dollars more than the original price stated despite playing around with different room types. Could this be the resort fee?