Shameful: Hyatt Hotel Charges Guests Extra For Paying With Hyatt Visa

Hyatt’s Eliza Jane hotel in New Orleans has recently started adding a 1.85% surcharge when you pay your bill by credit card. That’s basically an undisclosed 1.85% surcharge on all hotel guests. World of Hyatt members have been billed an extra fee for paying with their Hyatt Visa from Chase, even. Shameful.

This fee isn’t disclosed on the Hyatt website, on the hotel’s own website, or in the breakdown of fees when making a booking. Presumably that’s because it is technically optional. But who pays a hotel bill in cash?

The default payment method is certainly credit card, everyone assumes they’ll pay by card. So this is really a stealth 1.85% surcharge meant to take guests by surprise. They’re being charged nearly 2% more than they expect, and only learn it when they get a copy of their bill at the end of their stay. Small enough that maybe it doesn’t affect future booking choices, and even small enough that many guests won’t complain, but a 1.85% bump in total revenue for the hotel lines the pocket of its owner.

We’ve seen this at Hilton, at IHG and at Marriott though when I called this out with Marriott that chain banned the practice in the U.S. and Canada.

Credit card deals are big business for hotel chains and being charged extra for paying with a brand’s own credit card isn’t going to pass muster with the hotel group’s bank partner, either.

Individual hotel owners and ownership groups, of course, are going to try to sneak anything past the chain that they can – free riding on the brand’s reputation while extracting as much revenue from one-off guests as possible. That’s the fundamental tension in hotel chains that don’t own their hotels, and even franchise, especially common in both limited service and soft brands (Eliza Chain is part of Hyatt’s “Unbound Collection” soft brand).

I flagged this to to Hyatt for their take on whether this is consistent with its brand standards and other rules? If not, whether the hotel will refund everyone that’s been improperly charged? And if it is (ouch) then doesn’t the fee at least need to be disclosed to guests in advance when booking?

In under 48 hours they let me know that “We have addressed this issue with the hotel and they should cease the implementation of this extra charge.” I am still waiting to learn, however, whether customers that the hotel has stolen from over the past couple of weeks while this charge was in place will be refunded.

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 »

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  1. News Flash

    I lot of places and companies are adding a surcharge for paying by CC.

    Hell, even my dentist does it now.

  2. well it’s called the Unbound Collection for a reason. I still remember being charged money for asking for toothbrush at Hyatt Place NOLA Convention Center. Globalists love it but I try to avoid them without the status.

  3. Completely shameful and possibly illegally deceptive. Credit card use is almost “required” at hotels. They frown upon cash payers or those using debit cards. EVERYONE is told to use a credit card, as it provides extra protections from unscrupulous practices. I hope this practice, as well as the BS “resort fee” practice gets outlawed by Congress. If you want more money from customers, just raise the rate and be honest about it.

  4. Wow beyond shameful indeed — do they also accept reality checks?

    It’s also a safety issue for the hotel and anyone in it with criminals knowing it’s a cash heavy establishment.

    Thanks for using your platform as a force for good.

  5. Early on, travel was the primary reason for getting a credit card.

    It should be disclosed particularly since the charge is extremely unusual for a hotel.

    I know someone who runs a small business and they get charged more than 1.85% by the card processor

  6. @derek – regardless of what a business is charged just build it into the prices. Also for retail stores and restaurants numerous studies have shown people that use credit cards charge more so they business benefits from the use. This is a cost of business and for any of them (except IMHO government payments) to add an additional fee is unacceptable

  7. I just stayed at this hotel 2 weeks ago, and will have to check my bill. Regardless, I was more than underwhelmed. It’s really puzzling to me how rooms, even suites, can have zero exterior windows. The place was also super loud – noise from the (pretty decent) bar area echoed up to the rooms, off of the concrete interior, at all hours.

  8. This is a reason to AVOID hotel websites. New Zealand hotels typically add a CC surcharge. So, I’ve learned the way around this: book & pay with a travel site (, Expedia, Orbitz etc.).

  9. @ Gary — More hotel fraud. Overcharged guests are encouraged to file a complaint with the State Attorney General’s Office in Louisiana.

  10. When it’s a product that almost nobody pays cash for, it is indeed deceptive and a money grab. In fact, is it even possible to check in at most places without a credit card for incidentals? The hotel doesn’t really want to go back to the 1970s and have people come in and pay cash. It’s a way to mislead about prices and pad the bottom line at the expense of inattentive, unsuspecting customers. These deceptive business practices, including “resort” or “whatever other euphemism we pick” fees, need to be banned or explained in full disclosure at the initial point of contact. In the meantime, stay somewhere else. If you’re going to charge me more for not needing to carry around wads of cash to get the better prices when I travel, I’m going to find another hotel.

  11. This is what no regulations and no enforcement means.
    It started with the pandemic when business started adding surcharges and no one pushed back.
    Now we all just bend over and take it and businesses get away with it more and more.
    The US used to have strong consumer protections but not anymore. It’s more like the third world countries now.
    I fight back with complaints, reviews or damage/theft. If you do not push back then you like to be a victim and you are worthless to the rest of us trying to stop this abuse.
    Call your congressman- they are either clueless as to what is going on or they take money to look the other way.

  12. This is great and i hope it takes off even more with other businesses. I’d much rather see this than any legislation to do away with credit card benefits. It is a cost like any other that businesses have. Plus, it gives me an option to get a discount if i can pay a different way.

    As far as increasing the base rate to include the fee, If they don’t break it out like this as a separate fee, people won’t understand how much credit card fees are costing businesses or have the ability to waive it if paid by other means.

    My only concern would be that it needs to be disclosed upfront at time of booking.

    More choices are better.

  13. This hotel absolutely sucks. I stayed there a month or so ago, and they quoted me a three hour wait for a breakfast table as a Globalist, rendering the benefit useless. There was no one in the restaurant.

  14. @CMX, seriously globalists love credit card surcharges. Are you kidding us? Do you even know what a globalist is? I am a globalist. For any businesses to ignore what’s happening in the world would be insanity, even small businesses. What happens across the globe affects supply chain, prices, available credit, competing businesses, the ability of customers to pay bills, etc. And if you don’t think your anti-Globalist hero DJT is a globalist himself just telling you what you want to hear, then you should see a shrink pronto. DJT has businesses in 25 countries and you better bet your bippie that he takes into account what happens in those nations and across the globe when making business decisions.

    Oh by the way, I hate those credit card surcharges. They are an ordinary cost of doing business and even with their cost, taking payment by credit card positively contributes to the bottom line of those businesses. Think what would happen to Hyatt’s business if they didn’t take credit cards. All those surcharges, no matter what companies like Hyatt say, are nothing more than money grabs so they can have lower advertised hotel room rates. I don’t stay at Hyatt because most of the Hyatts add the fee. I ask about fees before making reservations. It takes more time, but there’s a principle involved.

  15. Charging the consumer part or all of the transaction fee on top of the price is going to become the norm, not the exception, in every industry.

    I just got back from a trip in New Zealand. E ery single merchant, including the Park Hyatt, charged me up to something like 2% for using my credit card each time. It was posted, disclosed , and my choice to use a credit card or not

  16. Daves,

    Up to around ten years ago, I used to sometimes pay major brand hotels in the US in cash. They wanted the cash for the room charges up front plus extra cash for incidentals and would have it as a fixed amount per day booked. I would get the excess deposit back at the end of the stay. They were more interested in ID on such stays but I also typically had some status with the hotel programs at the US hotels where I would pay cash.

  17. I thought we clarified this a couple of weeks ago: using a credit card comes at a higher cost and there are plenty of countries that allow passing this on to consumers, Australia being one.

    This has to be disclosed upfront of course, no questions.

    Credit cards have little interest in their cost being transparent in order to protect their billions of dollars of profits.

  18. On a recent trip to Natchitoches, Louisiana I visited the Gator Country alligator park outside the city. The park charged a $2.00 fee to use a credit card to pay for admission. Then asked me for a tip on top of that on the admission fee which I refused. Overall a very poor way of doing business.

  19. This must’ve been a *very* recent change. Maybe they made a New Year’s resolution to see if they could pull off a marginal grift? I checked out of the Eliza Jane just before Christmas and they weren’t yet charging this fee. (Cash stay paid with WoH personal card.)

  20. @NSL14, “Globalists” in the context of this conversation are the highest tier of Hyatt elites, not the folks MAGA types like to rail at.

  21. I was globalisted last weekend at Andaz Scottsdale. I see my credit card with all kinds of random charges from Andaz. They never emailed me a folio. I had to call and ask for one. They charged me for a suite upgrade, for late checkout, for “free” breakfast, and for complementary waters lol. These are all normally free for globalists. I called they took them all off but what outright fraud. No wonder they didn’t want to email a folio. Globalisted.
    Oh but they did welcome me as a globalist and for my business lol.

  22. I almost stayed there two weeks ago but stayed at the Hyatt Regency NOLa instead. The Hyatt Regency has a new mandatory $25 destination fee with a $15 daily food/beverage credit and basically nothing else. You can’t even recover the fee they are charging which is ridiculous. Guess what? The $15 food/beverage credit was never taken off after FOUR different conversations. I made them remove the destination fee at checkout.

    Also, for my globalist breakfast they tried to charge me “local tax” each day after removing the breakfast buffet charge, they left the tax. I showed them the globalist breakfast T&Cs, which clearly states it covers taxes, surcharges and gratuity and they finally removed these bogus charges as well. Always check your bill many times in the app!

  23. …it’s an easy fix, I’d go to the nearest bank and pay the bill in as much coin and small bills, think $1 as I can get.

    Break those dime and quarter rolls apart ahead of time; don’t forget some pennies and hand them a ziplock bag with the exact amount. Key is don’t let them keep the bag…a few guests a day doing this would sour the property on the practice.

  24. CC fees are a write off for a business. So they get to write off thousands in fees AND pocket 1.85% on top of that? Nah, F that.

  25. I recently searched Hyatt hotels in New Orleans for an upcoming trip in May and remember leaning at one point towards booking the Eliza Jane. Glad I booked a different Hyatt property, hopefully one that doesn’t pull this kind of shenanigan.

  26. I am not sure what rogue credit card fees have with anything to do with globalism. Anti-globalists are usually ultranationalist (often racist) dupes (welcome ‘Oo Es Ay’ MAGA troops!) who want to pay double or triple current prices in order to further enrich American mega billionaires. Or do they really?

  27. Thives will love it if hotels take a lot of cash payments. I would be interested to see a hotel handle a lot of cash and provide security so they wont be robbed. I can see this costing a lot more than 1.8% they save off CC.

  28. @tomri

    Being that the hotel is in NOLA, its presumed that they’ve already been robbed several times!!
    As for the mayor, she’s too busy making Sister City trips and under federal investigation for speeding city money for personal gain!!
    Welcome to New Orleans!!!!

  29. New Orleans has a special place in my heart as the first and only place where I had personally been robbed of goods of sufficient value to constitute a serious felony of grand theft or the equivalent. The theft was from a hotel parking lot. I always suspected the hotel had crooked employees or maybe even crooked management in on the criminal action. Insurance paid squat and the hotel didn’t even get a complaint or waive the bill for the night. Happened at a hotel that was part of a major chain at the time.

  30. Gary, thanks for contacting Hyatt and getting this reversed.
    And, no, credit cards are not more expensive for a business than cash. We used to analyze payment processes for corporations and cash is the most expensive – the handling, counting, bundling, bringing to bank, etc is a huge effort. Add the “loss” from errors and theft and companies don’t want to push people away from electronic payments…
    They certainly don’t want to push them to OTAs that charge them 15-20% commission and absorb the cc fees…
    Passing the fees on only becomes standard if customers don’t push back.
    So, Gary, thanks again for pushing back…

  31. You might want to edit the 2021 review you linked to have a reference to this article added in the lead paragraph of the review….

  32. There is a simple solution. Everyone should start paying in cash. In practice this would cause a host of problems for the hotel given the risk of robbery, employee theft, etc. Of course that is not really what the hotel owner wants so I’d bet the surcharges would soon cease. Very different from restaurants and small businesses that prefer cash which enables them to evade taxes.

  33. According to a report on FT yesterday, the fee is back.

    ‘Just stayed and hit with the credit card fee.
    Got refunded as not disclosed anywhere but was advised: “But for your information for your next visit, the hotel implemented the credit card fee this 2024 and this is fee for everyone.” ‘

  34. I am a globalist and I checked out yesterday after a 4 day stay. (2/29/24). Breakfast was still charged for one of the four days, and the 1.85% Credit Card Fee was charged. The credit card fee was not disclosed at check-in, check-out or on the web site. I called the accounting department, had to leave a vm, and I am waiting for a call back . . .

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