Tricky: Hyatt Hotel Adds ‘Historical Commitment Fee’ That Is Really A Resort Fee, Does Nothing Historical

The Hyatt Centric Sacramento adds $17.43 per night for an “historical commitment fee.” This fee does not cover anything related to historic preservation. It’s just a resort fee, re-named, so that it sounds more reasonable and so they can charge Hyatt elite members who would otherwise be exempt from this fee.

As Live and Let’s Fly relates, the $15 plus tax charge is part of the hotel’s “commitment to preserving the property’s historical identity” but actually covers nothing at all related to the property’s history. Instead you get,

  • A welcome drink
  • A package of discounts that won’t be valuable to most guests, and simply drive incremental business for the hotel and other retailers: 20% Disc Crocker Art Museum Admission; BOGO Admission Sac History Museum; Beach Hut Deli 10% off or free chips & fountain drink (purchase of large sandwich); Medici Pizza 10% off; 2 Free Games- Flat Stick Pub; Free App- Punch Bowl Social; Tru Spa $30 off treatment of $120 or more; $5 off Dry Cleaning

And while the hotel actually describes it on the Hyatt site as a particular kind of destination fee, that they cannot bill guests on award stays and Globalists on paid stays, at the front desk they reportedly… disagree.

They tried to argue that this did not qualify for globalist benefit as it’s not a resort or destination fee but rather to assure the historic preservation of the building. I asked if this is imposed by the city as a tax and they said no. I pushed that given this fact it is nothing more than a resort fee disguised. She wouldn’t take it off until calling a manager who relented.

In this case at least the destination fee itself isn’t like when Hyatt’s Motif in Seattle claimed their charge included among other things the “Iron and ironing board, In-room safe, Hairdryer and vanity mirror” along with the bath products in the bathroom and the desk in the room.

However it was only last month that I confirmed with Hyatt that a hotel cannot simply change the name of a resort or destination fee in order to bill top tier elites who are exempt from the charges. While Hyatt reimburses hotels for this elite benefit, they do so at a discount. There was no ambiguity:

[R]esort/destination fees that are occasionally called by another name (e.g., facility fees) get waived for all award stays and for a Globalist’s eligible paid stays.

This is not the first hotel to impose a historical preservation fund charge as part of a resort fee. Hilton’s Hotel del Coronado and the chain itself wouldn’t even answer questions about their fee – which appears to reference a government program which receives tax dollars, and it is not clear that the hotel is adding additional funds from each room night to support the effort (though perhaps the hotel must make payments to a fund as part of zoning or permitting negotiations).

Several hotels in the Hilton and Marriott chains now now add sustainability or green energy fees that are really contributions to each hotel’s property tax payments.

Like Marx’s The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, resort fees were first introduced as tragedy but have proceeded to farce.

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. Thanks Gary, for letting us know that we will get Bonvoyed when staying at.a Hyatt Hotels Corporation property.

  2. Yeah, no thank you. So glad I booked the Hyatt Regency Sacramento next week. What I didn’t like when I looked at that Hyatt Centric was the mandatory valet parking. And now there’s this note: “Valet Parking is temporarily unavailable.”

  3. Well, they cannot call it “destination fee” in Sacramento, it’s may not be Detroit yet, but getting close.

    But hey, now instead of Survivor, Gary’s citing Karl Marx, and when talking about hotel in California capital city no less. I see what you did here 🙂

    If Locke or Voltaire is next, maybe not everything is lost after all (crossing fingers). Heck, I will even settle for Mises.

  4. the entire travel industry in the us is racing to come up with money grabbing facades rather than thinking how to improve themselves, results of gov supported oligarchy

  5. Historical commitment, what a joke. They would have torn the original building down but no doubt the city made them keep the historic facade as a condition to redevelop the property.

  6. It is time for the Biden Administration to focus on Hyatt like they did Marriott. From a Hyatt Globalist perspective, these fees are getting ridiculous and are destroying the Hyatt brand.

  7. All the more reason why I avoid hotel loyalty programs. Most are useless. I book based on convenience & location, property upkeep and price. I was top tier on two programs and finally punted. Now a feee agent!

  8. When will consumer protection agencies put an end to this farce that seems to get worse all the time? Sick and tired of these weasels. At the least, write them a terrible review and call them out publicly by name (as Gary does here).

  9. Today, the Hyatt Centric Sacramento hotel continues screwing their guests by changing the name of their “Historical Commitment Fee” as a destination fee, plus additional tax.

  10. My worst Hyatt experience was at the Centric Sacramento. Absolutely made me feel unwelcome. I’ve been back at the Regency a few blocks away ever since. I knew before reading the article precisely which Hyatt you were talking about…

  11. Hmm charging fees for something other than they claim. This sounds a whole lot like fraud.

  12. The Motif in Seattle is now a Hilton. Maybe the Motif and Hyatt fell out over the ridiculous destination fee: Daily Mandatory Destination Charge will be added to the room rate and includes: Premium WiFi; daily $10 food & beverage credit for use in all hotel outlets; daily Pacific Northwest beer/wine, hot apple cider (fall & winter) or fruit infused water (spring & summer), and fruit offerings; Press Reader.

    By the way, the Motif advertises “Free WiFi” – there is got to be some law prohibiting this kind of false advertising in the State of Washington.

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