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Incidental fees at hotels, also known as resort fees, can really add up. But you don’t have to just accept them as an unavoidable part of your hotel stay. With the right approach, you can often get these pesky fees waived.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Be polite yet firm when asking, mention competing rates without the fee, highlight your loyalty status, and negotiate the fee when extending your stay.

This comprehensive guide will provide tips and strategies for getting your incidental fee waived, from leveraging status match programs to highlighting competitor rates without the fee. Read on to become a pro at dodging resort fees and other incidentals.

Understand How Incidental Fees Work

When staying at a hotel, it’s important to be aware of the various fees that may be added to your bill. One such fee is the incidental fee, which is often charged in addition to the room rate.

Understanding how incidental fees work can help you avoid any unexpected surprises at check-out and even potentially get them waived.

staying at a hotel

Definition of Incidental Fees

Incidental fees, also known as hotel fees or guest service fees, are charges that hotels impose to cover any additional services or amenities provided during your stay.

These fees are typically separate from the room rate and can vary from one hotel to another. They are meant to cover expenses such as Wi-Fi access, parking, gym usage, and other similar services.

Common Incidental Fees Charged by Hotels

Hotels may charge a range of incidental fees, depending on their amenities and services. Some common incidental fees include:

  • Wi-Fi fees: Many hotels charge for Wi-Fi access in guest rooms or public areas.
  • Parking fees: If you’re traveling by car, be prepared for parking fees, especially in urban areas.
  • Mini-bar charges: Consuming items from the mini-bar can result in additional charges.
  • Room service fees: Ordering in-room dining services often incurs an extra fee.
  • Spa or fitness center fees: Using the hotel’s spa or fitness facilities may come with a separate charge.

Incidental Fees vs. Resort Fees

It’s important to note that incidental fees are different from resort fees.

While both fees are additional charges, resort fees are often mandatory and cover a package of amenities and services that the hotel offers. Incidental fees, on the other hand, are charges for specific services or items that you use during your stay.

Policies Around Waiving Incidental Fees

Some hotels may have policies in place that allow guests to have their incidental fees waived.

These policies can vary from hotel to hotel, so it’s always a good idea to inquire about the possibility of having the fees waived when making your reservation or at check-in. Some hotels may waive incidental fees for elite members of their loyalty programs or for guests who book directly through their website.

Additionally, if you have a legitimate reason for disputing an incidental fee, such as a service or amenity not being as expected, it’s worth discussing the issue with the hotel’s management. They may be willing to waive the fee as a gesture of goodwill.

Remember, being informed about incidental fees and knowing the hotel’s policies can go a long way in potentially getting them waived. It never hurts to ask, and you might just save yourself some extra money during your hotel stay!

Leverage Your Loyalty Status

One effective way to get your incidental fee waived at hotels is by leveraging your loyalty status. By being a loyal customer and member of a hotel’s loyalty program, you can enjoy various perks and benefits, including the possibility of having incidental fees waived.

Here are some strategies to make the most out of your loyalty status:

loyal customer

Enroll in the Hotel’s Loyalty Program

If you frequently stay at a particular hotel chain, it’s definitely worth enrolling in their loyalty program. By signing up, you can start accumulating points or earning elite status, which often comes with exclusive perks and benefits.

Some hotels even offer automatic elite status to their loyalty program members, giving you a head start in getting your incidental fee waived.

Status Match to a Higher Tier

If you have elite status with another hotel chain, you can leverage it to potentially receive a status match to a higher tier in a different hotel’s loyalty program.

This means that your existing elite status will be recognized by the new hotel chain, allowing you to enjoy similar benefits and privileges. By securing a higher status, you increase your chances of having incidental fees waived.

Politely Highlight Your Elite Status

When checking in at a hotel, it’s worth politely highlighting your elite status to the front desk agent.

While it’s not a guarantee, many hotels value their loyal customers and may be willing to waive incidental fees as a gesture of appreciation. Remember to be friendly and respectful in your approach, as hotel staff are more likely to go the extra mile for polite and courteous guests.

Remember, each hotel chain may have different policies and approaches when it comes to waiving incidental fees. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the terms and conditions of the hotel’s loyalty program and inquire about any potential perks or benefits you may be entitled to.

By leveraging your loyalty status effectively, you can increase your chances of getting your incidental fee waived and enjoy a more rewarding hotel stay.

Compare Rates at Nearby Hotels

When trying to get your incidental fee waived at hotels, one of the first things you should do is compare rates at nearby hotels.

This will give you a better understanding of the average pricing in the area and allow you to find the best deals available. By comparing rates, you may discover hotels that offer lower rates without the additional incidental fee.

Compare Rates at Nearby Hotels

Find Lower Rates Without the Fee

While researching nearby hotels, make sure to look for accommodations that do not charge an incidental fee. Some hotels may have policies in place that exclude this fee, saving you money in the long run.

Websites like or can provide you with a comprehensive list of hotels in the area, along with their rates and policies.

If you find a hotel that offers lower rates without the incidental fee, it’s worth considering as an alternative. Not only will you save money on the room rate, but you’ll also avoid any surprise charges during your stay.

Mention Better Deals at Competitors

When contacting the hotel you plan to stay at, it can be helpful to mention any better deals you have found at their competitors. This can serve as leverage to negotiate a lower rate or have the incidental fee waived altogether.

Hotels are often willing to match or beat their competitors’ prices to secure your business. Be sure to provide specific details about the better deals you found, such as the hotel name, the rate, and any additional perks or benefits they offer.

By demonstrating that you have done your research and are considering other options, you increase your chances of getting a more favorable rate.

Be Ready to Provide Evidence of Lower Rates

Hotels may require evidence of lower rates at their competitors before considering waiving the incidental fee. It’s essential to keep screenshots or printouts of the lower rates you found during your research. Having this evidence readily available will strengthen your case and make it harder for the hotel to deny your request.

Additionally, you can mention any customer reviews or testimonials from reputable sources that highlight the lower rates and lack of incidental fees at other hotels. This further supports your argument and shows that the hotel should consider matching or surpassing their competitors’ offerings.

Remember, the goal is to demonstrate the value you bring as a customer and convince the hotel to waive the incidental fee. By comparing rates at nearby hotels, mentioning better deals at competitors, and providing evidence of lower rates, you increase your chances of getting the fee waived and enjoying a more affordable stay.

Negotiate When Extending Your Stay

When it comes to getting your incidental fee waived at hotels, one effective strategy is to negotiate when extending your stay. By using this approach, you have the opportunity to demonstrate your loyalty to the hotel and showcase your desire to stay longer.

Highlight Your Loyalty and Desire to Stay Longer

When negotiating with the hotel, make sure to emphasize your loyalty and the fact that you genuinely want to extend your stay.

Mention how many times you have stayed at the hotel before and express your satisfaction with the service and amenities. This will show the hotel that you are a valuable customer and increase your chances of getting the incidental fee waived.

Highlight Your Loyalty and Desire to Stay Longer

Note That You’ve Already Paid the Fee

Another effective tactic is to mention that you have already paid the incidental fee for the days you have already stayed. This shows that you are aware of the fee and have fulfilled your obligation.

By bringing this up, you are essentially asking the hotel to consider waiving the fee for the remaining days of your stay as a gesture of goodwill.

Ask Politely and Confidently

When making your request, it is important to ask politely and confidently. Use a friendly and respectful tone, and clearly explain why you believe the fee should be waived. Remember to be confident in your negotiation, as this will make you more persuasive.

By approaching the hotel staff with a positive attitude, you increase the likelihood of them accommodating your request.

Remember, a polite and confident demeanor can go a long way in negotiations. According to a study by Harvard Law School, negotiators who displayed confidence were more likely to achieve successful outcomes.

Escalate Your Request When Needed

When it comes to getting your incidental fee waived at hotels, sometimes a simple request at the front desk may not be enough. In these situations, it’s important to know how to escalate your request effectively.

Here are three strategies you can use:

Ask to Speak to a Manager

If the front desk clerk is unable to waive the incidental fee, don’t be afraid to ask to speak to a manager. Managers often have more authority to make decisions and may be able to accommodate your request.

Politely explain your situation and provide any relevant information that supports your case. Remember to remain calm and courteous throughout the conversation to increase your chances of success.

Contact Customer Service After Your Stay

If you were unable to get the fee waived during your stay, another option is to contact the hotel’s customer service department after you have checked out. Many hotels have dedicated customer service agents who can address your concerns and provide solutions.

Be sure to provide details about your stay, including any issues you may have encountered, and explain why you believe the fee should be waived. Customer service representatives are often empowered to make decisions that can result in a positive outcome for you.

Contact Customer Service

Write a Polite Email Explaining Your Request

If speaking directly to a manager or contacting customer service doesn’t yield the desired results, consider writing a polite email explaining your request. In your email, clearly state your concerns and reasons why you believe the incidental fee should be waived.

Provide any evidence or supporting documentation that can help strengthen your case. Remember to maintain a respectful tone throughout the email and avoid using aggressive or confrontational language. This approach can be effective as it allows you to clearly articulate your request and gives the hotel time to consider your appeal.

Remember, when escalating your request, it’s important to remain patient and persistent. Each hotel may have different policies and procedures, so it’s worth exploring all available options to get your incidental fee waived.


With the right approach of leveraging status, comparing rates, negotiating, and escalating politely, you can often get pesky incidental fees waived at hotels.

A waived fee means more money in your pocket without sacrificing the quality of your hotel stay.

Use the tips in this guide as a savvy traveler to maximize your experience without overpaying.

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