Whole New Level Of Deceptive Fee: One Hyatt Has Mandatory Charge For Free Breakfast

The Hyatt Place Salt Lake City Airport charges a mandatory food and restaurant fee equal to 8.75% of your room rate. This is literally a fee for your free breakfast, and to pay for a restaurant that does not exist.

Mandatory add-on fees that aren’t included in a hotel’s ‘price’ are deceptive practice. While hotels stretch the list of amenities included in resort fees, like the Hyatt which claimed it gave you access to the bathroom mirror or the Hilton which included use of the in-room TV, I’ve never seen a mandatory food and restaurant fee before. The President may be calling for an end to add-on fees but they haven’t heard the call out in Utah.

The Hyatt Place Salt Lake City airport specifically advertises free breakfast. Free breakfast of some kind is a Hyatt Place brand standard in North America. Only at this hotel, breakfast isn’t actually free because guests are required to pay for the ‘restaurant’.

  • Usually a hotel restaurant makes money by selling food and beverages to guests. They charge a price for their meals. This one charges a fee for the restaurant’s very existence.

  • You see mandatory dinner charges at some resorts over peak times like New Year’s Eve, not at the Hyatt Place Salt Lake City airport. And there you at least get a meal for the mandatory charge. This fee merely gets you a restaurant that you can then spend money at.

  • Except you don’t actually get a restaurant for your food and restaurant fee. At Hyatt Place Allentown / Lehigh Valley there’s an actual, real separate restaurant. At Hyatt Place Salt Lake City airport there’s merely the grab and go at the check-in desk (“The Market”), menu where you can order from that same check-in agent (“The Placery”), and the ostensibly free breakfast buffet (“Breakfast Bar”).

A mandatory restaurant fee appears to charge an add-on for the hotel’s facilities and services, so seems identical in kind to a resort fee or destination fee. And Hyatt properties cannot charge resort or destination fees simply by a different name to its top tier elite members. So I’ve reached out to Hyatt for comment on the restaurant fee, and also to see whether Globalist members should be charged this fee on paid stays (indeed, if they have been, whether they’re entitled to a refund).

(HT: @RossBinkley)

Update: It appears that after I inquired with Hyatt about this charge they’ve stopped quoting it for new bookings on their website. I still await their formal response.

Update 2: Hyatt offers,

Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We looked into this, and we understand this was inadvertently added to the hotel’s website by previous hotel leadership. We believe guests were never actually charged this fee, and we had it removed from the hotel’s website immediately.

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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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Comments

  1. Stayed there the night of 12-1-22 and had two rooms reserved. The folios show a “State Tax” and a “Hotel Tax” only. No other taxes. The date on the bill shown in this article is Tuesday May 23? How old is this bill?

  2. @theebigjuan screen shot is how the hotel currently quotes pricing on the hyatt website

  3. When “free” isn’t free is the time to contact the Utah Attorney General’s office and file a fraud complaint.

  4. This Hyatt Place has been awful from the very beginning. I stayed there shortly after opening and it was awful. Same for a stay a year later.

  5. @Gary – I just tried a booking for May 23 for 1 night and the charges do not show any food and restaurant on the booking. Also, the Hyatt Place Salt Lake City Airport does have a restaurant called The Placery with the menu available on the property’s website. Something about this post seems fishy.

  6. @controller1 – It is an extreme stretch to call “The Placery” at any Hyatt Place a “restaurant.”

    And it does appear that while Hyatt hasn’t given me a statement yet (they let me know they’d be working on it), they’ve taken some action and removed this unacceptable charge from prices being quoted.

  7. tinstaafb. you are paying for that “free” breakfast, whether its a separate line item or roolled into the daily rate

  8. These fees are 100% ridiculous at best, outright fraud at worst. Hold them smelly feet to the fire. Call it out often and loud.

  9. Yes, fraud. That should be prosecutable. This whole “resort fee”/”destination fee” game is one big ripoff. Don’t stay at such places and tell them why. Thanks, Gary, for getting this dishonesty fixed.

  10. I’ve had breakfast at this SLC hotel during ski season. It’s nothing special for a Hyatt Place and the breakfast area was pretty tight at that.

    Seems a greedy money grab and the equivalent of a “resort” fee scam to do this. What if skipping breakfast? Still the charge?

  11. Thanks for looking into this, Gary. I also contacted Hyatt yesterday afternoon and then saw that they had removed the charge from Hyatt’s website some time between about 2:30 and 3:30 Central yesterday afternoon, though I had not yet heard back from them on how the charge came about. Glad to hear that they don’t think anyone was actually charged the fee. Hopefully that’s correct.

  12. It feels like Ticketmaster is now running the hotel industry. Every $199 room somehow ends up costing $374.

  13. Gary is mainstream Media style now. Probably a one off , did not fit th we research and write this article.

  14. So I actually stayed at this property twice in the last two weeks. I noticed the fee while booking but just took a look at my bills and the fee was not on there.

  15. Gary,

    Just wait until people start claiming that your blog is a knock-off of ChatGPT when trying to pick apart your contributions for “accuracy” or trying to be dismissive of your contributions but being inaccurate in their accusations about the useful content you provide online.

    I am informed that some on FT think that I’m ChatGPTing content and that FT needs a policy about ChatGPT. Some people with a supposedly convoluted imagination are looking for excuses to try to ban me there, but using — or hoping to use — ChatGPT as an excuse to ban content and FTerw would be a rather novel “use” of ChatGPT.

    Maybe by ChatGPT-X, they will get what they want: more accuracy than our knowledge, experience and network provide to us and to readers of content made the traditional way. Not everyone is appreciative that there isn’t equality of outcomes in terms of knowledge and content acquired and shared. And not everyone is tolerant of those who dare to criticize their sacred cows (be it a favorite airline, hotel group, industry, government or whatever) while staying within the rules and boundaries of public decorum.

  16. John,

    Last I stayed at this property was before the pandemic. Back then, I don’t recall seeing this fee at the time of booking nor later on my invoices.

    Could it be the hotel was setting up to try to do this surcharge thing but backed off from doing so (at least for now)?

  17. No different than the “resort” fee I’ve encountered at a hotel that did not have a pool nor exercise room in the middle of Manhattan. Just a revenue enhancement fee that floats to directly to the top management.

  18. When some hotel in Manhattan started charging me for pool use as a guest, it was just the start of this unbundling junk hitting me at US hotels, even as that was more easily avoided than the “mandatory” — resort fee inspired — “destination” fees that are a plague across more and more urban city center hotels across the country. It’s only gotten worse over time. And despite this current USG Administration claiming to want to take on “junk fees” and prohibit them, they and Congress are slow to move against them.

    Just wait until the business lobby and self-professed libertarians lobby on behalf of these junk fees at hotels and even try to hide under cover of “there is a pending commercial real estate and related mortgage crisis on the horizon” as an excuse to keep government regulation out of the picture of creating a level playing field for consumers to make informed decisions.

  19. Last summer, I noticed a similar charge at the N. Scottsdale Hyatt House/Place. I assumed it was a bar ticket charged to the wrong room.
    The charge was removed but I now wonder if they were trying to charge for the free breakfast.

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