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Make sure you're getting the most out of your Marriott resort fees

Feb. 10, 2020
4 min read
Make sure you're getting the most out of your Marriott resort fees
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One of the most frustrating elements of the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program is that, unlike competitors Hilton Honors and World of Hyatt, Marriott does not waive "resort fees" on award stays. While these ancillary charges, which often range from $20 to $50 a night, originally started at resorts with many amenities, they've slowly expanded all across the country, especially in big cities like New York, Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

In fact, the resort fee epidemic has gotten so bad, with these charges often hidden from travelers until they reach the checkout page, that Congress is weighing making resort fees illegal and Expedia has dropped the search rankings of properties that charge them.

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It's up to each individual property to decide what amenities they offer you in exchange for this extra fee. When I stayed at the Maxwell Hotel in New York last year, the $25 a night "destination fee" entitled me to a $30 daily credit at the hotel bar, which can be a great value if you plan on drinking there anyways.

When looking at resort fees, you'll want to pay extra close attention to any that include high-speed or premium internet as one of your benefits.

Marriott Bonvoy members with Gold elite status or higher already receive complimentary enhanced internet as an elite benefit, and a property can't turn around and charge you for something you're supposed to receive for free. Marriott addresses this issue in the terms and conditions of the Bonvoy loyalty program with the following note:

This is an area where it certainly helps to know the rules, as not all hotels will be proactive in offering a replacement benefit. You should inquire about this at check-in, and if the hotel puts up a fight be prepared to direct them to section 1.3.c.iv of the Marriott Bonvoy terms and conditions.

Related: How to avoid resort fees

We reached out to a number of properties to inquire about their replacement benefits. The W South Beach is currently offering a "cocktail for two" coupon as its replacement benefit, while its resort fee currently sits at $40 a night plus tax. This is on top of the normal benefits that come with the resort fee, which include two beach chairs and fitness classes.

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Meanwhile The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection resort in Honolulu charges a daily resort fee of $38 plus tax, which includes bottled water, GoPro rental and more. As a replacement for the enhanced internet portion of the benefit, guests receive an upgrade to the complimentary bag of baked goods that is normally included as part of the fee. Instead of just receiving banana bread and scones, guests can choose from any of the pastries in the hotel's Royal Hawaiian Bakery.

Related: Which Marriott Bonvoy credit card is right for you?

Bottom line

We've certainly reached a sad state when a hotel in Miami is charging guests to access $40 a night for use of beach chairs. Marriott stands out from Hilton and Hyatt in quite a bad way here, as the chain still does not waive resort fees on award stays.

Still, if you're going to pay the fee you ought to make sure to get all the benefits you're entitled to. Many hotels will try to include premium internet access as part of their resort fee benefits, but if you're a Marriott Gold elite or higher, make sure to ask about a replacement benefit as you already get free enhanced internet from your elite status.

Featured image by (Photo by Ben Smithson/The Points Guy)

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Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees