The ‘Breakfast Included’ Hotel Rate Scam

Some hotels offer rates that include breakfast. You need to figure out how likely to buy breakfast you are – and how much you’ll save. Sometimes the ‘breakfast included’ price is really just the room rate plus the cost of breakfast. And if you skip breakfast even one day, for instance you leave too early in the morning on the day you check out, you come out a loser on the deal.

But some hotels during the pandemic have been pulling a breakfast rate scam on guests.

  • Sell a ‘breakfast included’ rate
  • But their restaurants aren’t even open
  • They give out a brown paper bag breakfast
  • Which is available to all guests, whether they’ve paid the ‘breakfast included’ rate or not

The hotel hasn’t broken its promises. Guests paid the breakfast included rate, and they offered something that kind of approximates breakfast. But it’s the same so-called breakfast that they’d give out whether the guest paid extra for it or not. So guests paying for breakfast are literally getting the same breakfast as someone who does not pay more for it.

That appears to be the case at the Holiday Inn Rochester Marketplace in Rochester, New York, according to a reader report. The hotel advertises that its restaurant and bar are open, but he found that they are not.

Yet he points out,

The property is also selling rooms that include BREAKFAST. There is no breakfast. Instead, the property is giving a brown bag with breakfast snacks away to ALL guests even though some guests pay extra for rates that specifically include breakfast.

Credit: Holiday Inn and Suites, Rochester

In practice I guess it’s the same thing as hotel owners who were asking guests to make a donation to the multi-national conglomerate who owned the property.

Hotels may load their own rates, but I wonder, shouldn’t IHG bear some responsibility for making sure that the advertised inclusions in the rates are actually delivered?

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. Got burned with that with Hyatt. Paid extra for a breakfast included rate.
    Got a granola bar.

  2. In the era of COVID/Post-COVID travel, it helps to lower expectations. Hotels are understaffed. The few new employees they are able to hire may not be trained adequately and may not be well-versed in policies and rates. Combine that with a surge in “revenge travel” and spot shortages in various supplies including food. The bottom line is that breakfast and amenities may not be what they used to be.

    Some hotels are adapting the best they can, while others seem to be using the situation as an excuse to squeeze a few extra dollars out of leisure travelers who do not know better. Breakfast presents a fine opportunity to screw over guests– particularly because it’s so important to families on road trips.

    It’s sad to see IHG and Marriott turning a blind eye to what some of their property owners are doing.

  3. These games are why I prefer either the lower-end brands that include breakfast in all rates, or suite-style/ airbnb that have a mini-fridge and toaster. Even when the “normal” breakfast benefit is provided, the buy-up to a breakfast-included rate is often enough to make you question the benefit.

  4. I was upset a couple weeks ago when a hotel in the Miami area advertised free breakfast on its listing but did not have breakfast. They claimed that it was banned because of Covid (not all the hotel staff were wearing masks, so they didn’t seem that worried about Covid relating to other things). I am not sure what the rules are about hotel breakfasts in the hotel’s vicinity, but it seems like false advertising that it was listed on the booking site.

    I am now in Central America, where I have had no issue getting breakfast when advertised. The Wyndham in Tamarindo had some of the best hotel breakfasts I have had in a long time.

  5. I stayed at this property in 2018 while undergoing heavy construction, they gave everyone buffet breakfast for free. The staff were nice and rooms were clean.

  6. Hyatt Regency clubs in the US still closed, despite the location’s states reopening. And they won’t let you use a Club Access upgrade cert for eg $10 at the marketplace. (I suppose they figure those who care will stay at Hyatts anyway in order to get Globalist so as to have even more alleged access to the closed Clubs).

  7. If a hotel is flagged as a certain brand it’s incumbent on that hotel to adhere to the brand standard. I’d be more disappointed but it’s IHG so I don’t expect much.

  8. Even a chain that includes breakfast at any rate, the chain you make a Choice to frequent, they do not mention the breakfast bag at check in and you have to come back to the front desk in the morning to pick up your granola bar and warm bottle of 8oz water.

  9. Similarly, I have encountered full-service hotels selling executive rooms at a premium despite continued closure of executive lounge. The rooms themselves are otherwise identical, of course, with the possible exception of bathrobes or other soft amenities that should be included in all rooms in a full-service property anyway.

  10. And people continue to take this crap and give them money… guess those people get what they deserve….

  11. Who the heck wants to stay in a dying Rust Belt dump like Rochester, NY anyway. The whole State of New York is not worth a brass farthing.

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