It may be surprising to know that the term “resort fee” can cover a wide range of amenities you may or may not use on your next trip. These often mandatory fees can cover services such as Wi-Fi, the gym or pool and various other services such as an in-house notary public.

When first introduced, these fees were only applied at resorts—hence the name—and covered amenities like pools, tennis courts or beach cabanas. Today, that undefined fee is also used at many hotels across the country.

Often these fees are applied to your bill at the end of the stay and may not be included in your original price quote. In fact, hotel deal websites, such as Travelocity or Expedia, do not include resort fees when quoting your price per night.

What happens in Vegas…
Hotels on the Las Vegas strip are particularly guilty of applying a resort fee. Depending on the hotel you choose, fees can range from $13 to $30 and are said to cover a variety of amenities.

In most cases, the charge covers in-room Wi-Fi access and local calls. Occasionally, it will grant guests access to a fitness center or boarding pass printing services, but this isn’t typical in Sin City. Las Vegas Jaunt has a full list of which hotels charge a resort fee and what amenities that fee includes.

So, do I have to pay it?
There likely will be amenities included in resort fees that you have no intention of using. You may use your cell phone, for example, to make local calls and never intend to use a notary on vacation. The good news is, you sometimes can negotiate on these fees.

Using rewards points to book a stay is the easiest way to avoid resort fees. Similarly, alerting the front desk staff of your elite status in their program can either waive the fee entirely or at least earn you a discount. 

If you don’t plan to use any of the amenities provided for under the resort fees, you can try to decline the fee entirely. The hotel may not allow you to do this if it can’t ensure you don’t use certain perks, like the pool.

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