This Marriott Hotel Charges A $30 Resort Fee – But Only If They’re Redeeming Points For The Stay

The Renaissance La Concha Resort in Puerto Rico charges a resort fee that’s a percentage (18%) of the room rate. For award guests, then, the resort fee should be zero – since 18% of zero is zero.

Not wanting to lose out on hidden fee revenue from points guests, they charge Marriott Bonvoy members redeeming points a $30 resort fee for each night of their stay.

18pct resort fee added to room rate incl casino coupon and more. Guests using Bonvoy points will be billed US30 per day.

Marriott allows hotels to charge points guests a resort fee, whereas both Hilton and Hyatt include this in their award stays since points are supposed to cover the cost of a room. (Hyatt waives resort fees entirely for top tier elites, even on paid stays.) But here the hotel is charging award guests a $30 fee that doesn’t exist on paid stays.

What’s more the hotel is charging each guest a different resort fee. Marriott maintains the fiction that resort fees paid for a specific bundle of amenities. So the Renaissance La Concha is charging each guest a different price for the same on-property amenities – the price for in-room internet and towels and chairs at the beach varies depending on your room rate. It’s reminiscent of an affirmative action bake sale. Here ‘the rich’ paying higher room rates spend more for internet.

Credit: Renaissance La Concha Resort

Nevermind of course that Marriott Bonvoy terms require a hotel including internet in their resort fee to offer an alternative amenity to elites that are entitled to free internet, but I’ve yet to hear of a hotel doing this.

I’ve reached out to Marriott to learn whether the practice of charging different resort fees to different guests (percentage of room rate) is acceptable to them, and whether award guests can be charged a flat amount when the percentage of room rate resort fee set by the property would imply charging them zero?

This is another in a string of properties that seem to skirt the line of chain rules, like the JW Marriott Los Cabos charging ‘service fees’ to award guests and the Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort charging guests a 2% add-on to pay by credit card.

It seems to me, though, the all of these complications are a function of Marriott increasingly allowing properties to run amok rather than enforcing the consistency that they’ve built a decades-long reputation on.

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. This is precisely what happens with a company or brand licenses its name without adequate enforcing compliance with applicable rules, standards and policies.

    The vast majority of all Marriott hotels across all brands are no longer owned or managed by Marriott. Instead, they are owned independently and managed either by the licensee/franchisee or a third-party management company.

    Just ask Tommy Hilfiger what happens when you license your name and don’t ensure strict compliance. Eventually, a brand known for quality or consistency becomes worthless. That’s the situation facing Marriott today.

    It also doesn’t help when Marriott’s hotel management and hotel development divisions undercut the loyalty program division by coming up with creative ways to violate the spirit if not the letter of Marriott’s standards and loyalty program terms and conditions. Like, claiming toast and coffee are a compliant breakfast benefit for elite status customers. This practice is no longer limited to rogue franchisees like the Scrub Island, Autograph Collection property. It’s been happening at Marriott-managed properties.

    On a side note, I’m surprised a state attorney general or state consumer protection office hasn’t sued Marriott over all the properties that fail to give a replacement benefit when the required complimentary internet is part of the resort or destination fee.

  2. As far as individual properties skirting the rules or outright failing to comply with promised program benefits, do you think the problem is getting worse since the Starwood merger? It seems to me it is, but not sure if it really is more widespread, or just the same number of complaints getting louder.

  3. Also the Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino look at their reservations. $15 fee only on award reservations.

  4. It’s an apples and oranges comparison to Hyatt because Hyatt manages the majority of its properties. So, it’s easier for Hyatt to enforce compliance with standards thereby ensuring consistency. The apple to apples comparison for Marriott is with IHG and Hilton since they are predominantly rely upon franchisees managing their own properties or using the services of a third-party management company.

  5. @FNT Delta Diamond – you do understand, I assume, that ALL major chains basically franchise their properties right? Not only doesn’t Marriott own many (if any) of their hotel properties but neither does Hilton, IHG, Hyatt, Wyndham, Choice, etc. Ownership isn’t the issue since this is the accepted business model in the hotel industry (as it is for many chain restaurants). The issue is having strict franchise agreement with respect to areas like charges, benefits, etc. and then oversight to ensure consistency. McDonalds and Chick Fil A also follow a franchise model but you would be hard pressed to find much, if any, variance in their offerings and services (outside of local option specials) across the US. It is all about oversight and having teeth in the franchise agreement.

    BTW, lifetime Titanium as well at Diamond Hilton (Platinum IHG and Explorist Hyatt). All have pluses and minuses. Maybe I’m just not very demanding but don’t sweat the small stuff and roll with the punches. Even in this case if I am charged $30 for an award night I wouldn’t make a Federal case out of it – it is a small rounding error in the scheme of things and there is a lot more to get upset about than that. Don’t get me wrong – I enjoy the upgrades, lounges, etc (free breakfast IMHO is way overrated by this blog) but also accept reality and don’t pitch a fit if I don’t get what I feel is “due” me. Please don’t be a “Karen” people!

  6. @Ryan: The Courtyard San Juan Miramar has a “resort” fee of 9% on cash stays and $15 on points. At the Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino, there is a “service” fee of 16% on cash stays and $15 on points. Across town at the Sheraton Old San Juan, there is a $27.31 “service” fee plus taxes of $16.92 on a one-night rate of $160.65 but ZERO taxes and ZERO fees on a points stay. Meanwhile, the San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino on imposes NO taxes and NO fees for reservations made with points. But if I select the lowest cash rate of $244, a “resort fee” of $46.36 appears buried in the payment page on

  7. @AC: I understand the model. I said, ownership and management. Hyatt manages the majority of its properties in the upscale brands. Marriott does not manage the majority of its properties across any brand. Marriott does, however, manage a significant number of upscale branded hotels outside North America. But this is far from a majority of its brands. Unlike Hilton, IHG or Marriott, Hyatt’s model still relies on more direct management of properties.

    There is a reason why Starbucks is so consistent. It does not franchise, outside of some licensed locations in airports and grocery stores.

  8. The trick with this property is to book through the casino. Can often get $100-150 cash rates, no need to use points.

  9. @FNT Diamond Delta. There is a lawsuit and it’s soon going to be argued after Marriott was refused by a judge to have it thrown out. I even think Gary has written about it here. It’s coming from the DC Court and is specifically about resort and other deceptive fees.

  10. @AC While essentially you are correct, there is a reason that Hyatt is the more consistent brand. First off I believe they own a much higher percentage of properties in comparison to other Hotel Brands. As well, they properly manage the hotels to adhere to their rules. I have never had issues with breakfast, benefits, fees, or recognition at any Hyatt property, even ones under the partnerships like Destination hotels, etc. So, no, this is not across the board. Hyatt is a model that the others could follow if they really wanted.

  11. @Stuart: Two things.

    1) I would be shocked if the District of Columbia Attorney General is including Marriott’s failure to provide a replacement benefit, as required under its own terms and conditions, for complimentary internet access at properties including internet in resort or destination fees. As I understand it, the lawsuit is entirely about undisclosed resort fees.

    2) In addition to Hyatt managing a majority of its full-service brands (not sure about ownership percentage), Hyatt’s terms and conditions are wrote in such a way that it’s almost impossible for a rogue franchisee or third-party management company to screw customers. For breakfast, Hyatt’s terms are very specific. It defines breakfast at Hyatt Place as the “standard breakfast buffet (with coffee, juice, and/or milk), as well as tax and gratuity.” That’s pretty specific. Likewise, the provision referring to breakfast for top-tier globalists is specific: “Globalists will receive daily complimentary full breakfast (which includes one entrée or standard breakfast buffet, juice, and coffee, as well as tax, gratuity and service charges) for each registered guest in the room, up to a maximum of two (2) adults and two (2) children.” Marriott isn’t specific. Marriott’s terms refer to a vague “continental breakfast” in club, executive, concierge, and M Club lounges at certain brands and “breakfast in restaurant” at other brands or in certain geographic regions. This allows a property like the Morrison House Old Town Alexandria, Autograph Collection to provide eligible elite status customers with a voucher for the in-hotel restaurant that doesn’t even cover the cost of oatmeal with coffee, tip and tax. All Marriott has to do is define breakfast either a club lounge breakfast at properties with an open club lounge or a restaurant breakfast consisting of one hot entree or buffet plus coffee, tip, and taxes.

  12. I believe that’s what I said. I was not alluring to the idea that it was about no breakfast lol.

  13. It’s Marriott for the love of god. It’s not like could care less if their customers are getting hosed unless the hosing becomes too public. It’s the Arne effect, which is a major comedown from the quality Marriott delivered a decade ago.

  14. Ugh, I miss SPG! I have an August trip to Corfu and Athens all on points. I cashed in. I hope to avoid this mess. I’m paying for 2 rooms on points for 7 days. That’s an extra $60/day. That’s an additional $420! I understand that the travel industry took a huge hit, but extra fees like that don’t work.

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