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It's safe to assume that all travelers hate resort fees — sometimes rebranded as amenity fees or destination fees. These sneaky fees increase the total cost of your stay yet are often hidden. Even worse, travelers generally don't even earn hotel points on these fees.
So, the travel world was thrilled when the Pennsylvania Attorney General announced a settlement with Marriott. As part of the settlement, the hotel chain agreed to prominently disclose the total cost of hotel stays (including resort fees) on the first page of the booking process.
Finally, the scourge of undisclosed resort fees would end… right?
Unfortunately, this settlement hasn't been the silver bullet many travelers hoped for. Marriott successfully renegotiated its settlement with the Pennsylvania Attorney General to get an extension of this implementation. And Marriott just negotiated yet another such extension.
Timeline of the Marriott Resort Fee Settlement
If it feels like this Marriott resort fees settlement is old news, there's a reason for that. The Pennsylvania Attorney General's office originally announced this settlement on November 17, 2021.
At that time, Marriott committed to disclosing the total price of a hotel stay on the first page of its booking website within nine months of the November 15, 2021 agreement. That meant Marriott needed to implement these changes by August 16, 2022.
Through today’s settlement, Marriott has committed to prominently disclose the total price of a hotel stay, including room rate and all other mandatory fees, on the first page of its booking website as part of the total room rate. Marriott has committed to implementing these changes within the next nine months.
Spoiler alert: Marriott didn't meet this deadline. Instead, in an April 2022 filing, Marriott received an extension to implement resort fee disclosures until January 23, 2023:
That meant that today (January 23, 2023) was the extended deadline for Marriott to disclose resort fees in search results. However, the Pennsylvania Attorney General confirmed to AwardWallet that the implementation date has been pushed back yet again.
This time, Marriott didn't get as generous of an extension. Now, Marriott has until February 15, 2023 to finally disclose all-in pricing — unless it can negotiate yet another extension.
How to Display Resort Fees in Marriott Search Results
The good news is that you don't have to wait for Marriott to make changes to see the all-in pricing for Marriott hotels. If you search on Marriott's website, you can click the “show rates with taxes and all fees” button to be able to see the total price with taxes and all fees.
Doing so allows you to compare Marriott hotel options on an apples-to-apples basis. However, you still need to search other hotel brands and non-branded hotels to compare prices across all of your options.
How to Avoid Resort Fees
The simple solution to avoiding paying resort fees is to avoid booking hotels that charge these fees. However, with limited disclosure requirements, that's easier said than done.
The good news is that some hotel loyalty programs waive resort fees for elite members or on award stays — including Hilton Honors, World of Hyatt, and Wyndham Rewards. However, Marriott travelers aren't so lucky. Even top-tier elites aren't given an out of these hidden fees.
The only way that Marriott guests can get resort fees waived is by the hotel manually waving them. For example, you might be able to convince the front desk that you don't need the “extra” services provided through the resort fee — such as complimentary local calls or faxes.
In 2021, travelers were relieved to hear that Marriott had finally agreed to prominently display resort fees on the first page of search results. Now, more than 14 months later, Marriott has still failed to meet the requirements of this agreement. Instead, it's quietly negotiated yet another extension with the Pennsylvania Attorney General's office.
The only good news out of this extension is that it seems the Pennsylvania AG's office seems to be losing patience. Rather than a five-month extension like last time, Marriott only has just over three weeks to disclose resort fees or negotiate a third extension.
Marriott already built the tech to allow travelers to see all-in pricing. So, it's unclear what else Marriott would need to do other than make this option the default when travelers search for hotels. However, this lack of disclosure seems to work in Marriott's favor. After all, it's hard to understand why else Marriott would fight to delay implementing these changes.
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