Seeing One Mile at a Time note that the Hyatt Place Chicago has stopped adding 3.5% surcharges to guest folios for an ‘energy surcharge’ reminded me that a week ago I learned that this practice had ended, and that it was because Hyatt wouldn’t abide it.
A Hyatt spokesperson explained, “As soon as we were made aware of this situation, Hyatt worked with the hotel’s owners to look into the matter, and at this time, the hotel has removed this fee.”
While I wish hotel chains would uncover these things and police them on their own, it’s great when they are responsive to guests who flag the problems (who guests who flag them for bloggers who then ask about it).
Most of all it’s good to know that Hyatt considers this unacceptable, so we shouldn’t see the practice spread. And their cracking down on it means it would require just a little bit more gall for Marriott or Hilton to try it.
Original post follows:
Reader Bryce C shares that the Hyatt Place Chicago/O’Hare Airport is adding a 3.5% “energy surcharge” onto room rates.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the absurdity of an obscure independent property in Las Vegas charging extra for electricity. I didn’t expect this practice would actually be found at a major chain hotel. (Or if it did, come on, you had to figure it would be a Marriott, right?)
This is despicable on several levels:
- This is disingenuous because it is not a tax or optional charge, it’s a cost that you must pay if you stay in the room and that is part of the rate.
- This is fraudulent only purpose of charging separately, rather than including it in the rate, is to mislead consumers.
- It’s possibly actionable because it is drip pricing, since the room costs more than what consumers are originally quoted.
At some point we have to ask: what does the room rate even cover if it doesn’t come with electricity?
There’s clearly no relationship between the power surcharge and the cost of power incurred by the room – there can’t be since the surcharge is a percentage of the room rate, surely guests don’t keep the lights on more on nights when the hotel charges more for the room. That makes it seem ripe for a lawsuit along the lines of the class action settlement with British Airways, because fuel surcharges weren’t related to the cost of fuel.
It seems to me that Hyatt needs to crack down on this practice. But even if they don’t, an add-on fee that isn’t a tax is essentially a resort or destination charge by another name — and under World of Hyatt rules at least Globalists should be exempt from paying it. I’ve reached out to Hyatt to get their take on the matter.
Bryce shared the story with One Mile at a Time, too, and Lucky over there is just as incensed.