Hotels Keep Scamming Guests With Extra Fees And Blaming The Government

A Marriott and a Hilton were both caught adding fees onto room nights to cover their property taxes and pretending this was a government-mandated environmental charge.

Proving though that hotel owners will scam guests with deceptive drip pricing regardless of what flag their property flies, the Holiday Inn Express in Durango, Colorado charges a mandatory $5 fee that they describe as a “Colorado Green Energy Fee.”

By adding the state’s name to the fee, they make it sound as though it is imposed and required by the State of Colorado. They even go on to describe it as contributing to some sort of statewide environmental fund, supporting “quality energy conservation measures being utilized by newly built businesses throughout Colorado.”

You know what gives away that a “Colorado Green Energy Fee” isn’t a real thing? The only online reference to it, outside of disclosures on the IHG booking site itself, is from a guest complaint about this hotel charging the fee.

The amount is small enough that most guests don’t bother to object, but across all guests at a hotel, and across months and even years, it’s significant. Fake environmental fees seem like fertile ground for class action suits. And we should all be concerned that phony charges under the guise of environmentalism undermine trust that’s necessary for real change.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »



  1. but but the government gave billions in stimulus $$$ to businesses in general, and more than $60 billions and more in forgivable loans to the travel/hospitality sector, in just the past 2 years!

    Hotels are businesses that are geared up for profits and to maximize such, most have adapted the “just-in-time” approach to management (inventory, staff, etc.). This model won’t work in every situation and they got caught unprepared during the pandemic and its aftermath. Basically bad management or management without contingency plans.

    Scamming guests with extra fees is pure greed and unless the government is dictating to businesses to be greedy, one can only blame the hotels!

    @GreggB, they should be charged with that, but who’s gonna go after them?

  2. Hotels charge these fees for the same reasons airlines did. They rank higher in search results as guests sort “lowest price” sorted by base price.

    Lawmakers, airfare-like law to mandate hotel rooms advertise total avg price per night, please.

  3. In keeping with the proof that it doesn’t matter which flag the hotel flies, let’s not forget the Hyatt Regency Boston Harbor that charges you for the view, and the one that charges you for using the electricity (the exact property escapes me).

  4. Hotel tax has always been tricks on politicians sleeve to tax individuals who don’t living in the districts or locals. I don’t see politicians have any interests interfere here because often they are guilt of this as well. I remember in my political science class in college that tax without representation still goes on, and hotel tax is a classic case. If you ever visited high hotel price area, all the various fees city tax, tourism fee or tax., and finally room tax itself in additional to sales tax. Some fees are very small, but some can be significant. I often travel to SF, try parking tax and city parking tax. Whew, often to park a car in SF will be a room charge. If you have a large vehicle like a full size truck or suburban, they charge 2 spaces. They expect you drive a mini or golf in the city. It’s shame that the city I used to love is stench with human excrements and marijuana.

  5. Don’t forget the blasted car rental companies who pioneered this fake-fee nonsense, who have somehow gotten a pass from prosecutors for this blatant consumer fraud. 11.11% “concession recovery fees”, surcharges, etc. on top of the local and state governments’ indefensible (but legal) fees.

    This nonsense should simply be included in the rate or it is quite obviously bait-and-switch fraud. To misidentify it as a government tax ought to be punishable by prison.

  6. Hotels and car rentals keep getting worse. Surcharges/Fees: $144.68 is STEALING
    This is the reservation I just made
    Never understood what “Concession” was. Thought it was the building/office? Why should I have to pay for the building/office? Search reveals “…Operator’s use of facilities and grant of concession rights at the Airport…”
    But then why is there now a “Schg”?

    But now I see “Customer Facility Fee” and “Domestic Security Fee”. This is nuts. You can’t just add them on like this. Surcharges/Fees: $144.68 is STEALING. These are all YOUR costs of doing business.

    And then Taxes are an additional $58.67 with no breakdown or percent of how this was calculated or who gets it

    $593.35 AVIS ESTIMATED TOTAL Newark Airport p/u & return 06/01/22 – 06/7/22 (six 24 hour periods) for a full-size Camry equivalent and I am AVIS President’s Club
    Base Rate: $390.00
    Rental Options: $0.00
    Protections/Coverages: $0.00
    Surcharges/Fees: $144.68
    Concession Recovery Fee (11.11%) : $44.21
    Concession Recovery Fee Schg .50/day: $3.00
    Customer Facility Fee 7.43/day: $44.58
    Domestic Security Fee 5.00/day: $30.00
    Energy Recovery Fee .60/day: $3.60
    Transportation Recovery Fee 2.50/day: $15.00
    Vehicle Lic Fee 1.10%: $4.29
    Taxes: $58.67

  7. I noted a Holiday Inn in Statesboro, GA had the exact same “additional charge” before I booked the room. It appeared, at first, to be a “bait and switch” proposition to make the initial rate lower than the neighboring Hilton properties. I booked the Hilton. Upon further checking, Hilton charges the same exact fee of $5.00/night but expresses it as “Georgia Hotel Fee” or something like that. I checked and Hilton is correct. There is a $5.00/night fee imposed by the State effective 7/1/21. I suggested to Holiday Inn that they change their web site from “Additional Fee” to “State Mandated Fee” to avoid confusion. To date, they haven’t changed their web site. That’s their problem!

  8. Don’t all corporations just blame the government? Oil Prices rise Governments fault, food prices rise governments fault.

    I love how these companies will ask for handouts when things go wrong though

  9. I was just at the worn out and abused Paris Hotel in LasVegas. The daily resort fee is $45.30 but with Tax =$52.20===It gets you substandard wifi for 2 devices, free local phone calls, use of gym and 2 chairs at the pool… NUTS.. Most of these items are free with most hotels. total scam and then there are the city,county and states taxes on each room…. over the top for a sad room with no view.

Comments are closed.