Here's When You Will and Won't Pay Resort Fees on Award Stays

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Nothing ruins a points-and-miles junky’s vibe quite like resort fees—sometimes referred to as destination fees—especially when you have to pay these on your “free” award stays. Unfortunately, these additional charges are a part of travel that doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon. 

The good news is that not all hotel loyalty programs charge resort fees on award stays, although there are plenty that do. Here’s a look into all of the major loyalty programs where you might use points for award stays, so you know when you will and won't pay resort fees.

What are Resort Fees?

A resort or destination fee is an extra charge properties can tack on to “cover” the cost of amenities. From the use of facilities—such as the pool or gym—to simply using hotel features like Wi-Fi, resort fees abound. Fees can range from a few dollars a night all the way up to well over a hundred dollars per night. Looking at you Fisher Island Resort and Club in Miami.

Even if you never step foot in the pool or touch the Wi-Fi, you'll still be responsible for paying these fees. Worst of all, award stays using your points or free night certificates aren't always immune to these extra costs. However, several brands do waive these fees when you're staying with points or free night certificates.

Let's take a look at the policies in place for each major hotel loyalty program.

Resort Fees Waived on Award Stays

Image that shows a laptop and the words "no fee" as we look at programs that don't charge resort fees on award stays

Hilton Honors

When you use your Hilton Honors points or free nights for a hotel, you don't have to pay these fees—regardless of elite status. 

World of Hyatt

World of Hyatt doesn't charge resort fees to those on award stays (using points or free night awards). Additionally, Globalist members, Hyatt’s top-tier elite status, do not have to pay resort fees on cash stays.

Hotels that Charge Resort Fees on Award Stays

Under a magnifying glass, calculator shows the word "fees" as we discuss resort fees on award stays

IHG Rewards

On award bookings or cash bookings, regardless of your status, the fee will not be waived with IHG Rewards. 

Marriott Bonvoy

Resort fees are not waived for Marriott Bonvoy members using points or free night awards. All booking and status levels will need to fork out the funds if staying at a Marriott property that assesses these fees. 

Hotels that May Charge Resort Fees on Award Stays

The following properties may or may not charge resort fees on award bookings. 

Radisson Rewards

With Radisson Rewards, it is ultimately up to the property whether they charge destination fees or waive them on award bookings. Make sure to research the hotel before you commit so that you don’t end up with any unpleasant surprises. 

You should be able to see if a property charges resort fees by making a mock booking online. If, however, you are still unsure, you can contact the property and ask.

Wyndham Rewards 

Wyndham’s official policy states that destination and resort fees should be waived on award stays everywhere except with Caesars' properties. However, not all properties are aware of this.

If you do get charged a resort fee, you can either show Wyndham’s terms to the agent and ask to have them waived or contact Wyndham customer service directly. Neither option is fun, so you'll just need to pick your poison.

Final Thoughts

Regardless of how you feel about resort fees, they're out there, and it's up to you as a customer to do your research beforehand. Then you can decide whether the fee being tacked onto your booking is tolerable or is grounds for making other plans. Most resort fees are overall affordable, but some can get pretty extensive. 

How much work do you put into avoiding these fees when making your hotel plans?

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Comments

  • Michael Karpiel says:

    What you have listed for IHG is not correct as it does vary by property. My prior status has been Spire and my wife’s account is Platinum. On several points stays the past year plus we have either not been charged the resort fee or the room under my wife’s Platinum was charged the resort fee but not my rooms booked as Spire. (IHG Spire is now Diamond in the the new IHG One program).

    • Very interesting. Which IHG properties have waived the fee for you? I’m also a Spire/Diamond and I haven’t had the resort/amenity fee waived before – but I’ve only stayed at a couple of properties with these fees.