Real Cost of Sleeping
You’ve done your research and found the nicest hotel that meets your family’s budget for the upcoming vacation. You’re excited to stay at the resort and are excited to have found such a fantastic deal. But, when your bill comes at the end of your stay, you may be surprised at the actual cost of sleeping in your special rate hotel room. The extra fees tacked on to the room may even bring you above budget.
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Here’s the lowdown of those extra costs so you know what to look out for on your next hotel stay so you can ensure your family remains within budget.
In the room
You get to your room and start to settle in, raiding the mini fridge, loading your valuables in the safe, connecting your laptop to the internet, making some phone calls to make restaurant reservations, and the kids run to the pool. Those six simple activities may have just added an extra $10, $15 or $20 to your bill.
There are many reception services that we expect to be part of our room rate. However, with costs on the rise not only for consumers but also for hotels, service fees are being passed on to hotel guests. These fees are sometimes a flat rate passed on to all at the hotel and others are a per service charge. Keep this in mind before asking reception to do an extra service, like receiving or sending packages, holding your luggage or letting you do a late check-in or check-out.
When you make your hotel reservations, you will also want to inquire about the cancellation policy. Many hotels will charge you a hefty fee if you don’t cancel your room more than 48 hours before your scheduled stay.
Other fees that hotel guests are now incurring include airport shuttles and parking, surcharges and resort fees. These fees can really add up and can catch a guest off guard. Remember to keep cash in your pocket so you can pay for an airport shuttle or for valet parking.
You may also want to ask the hotel about surcharges and resort fees before you book your stay. These additional charges could add $25 or more to the daily rate. This can be quite a bit of extra money, especially if you are staying for a week and don’t plan on utilizing the services covered by the resort fee (business center, gym, local phone calls, daily newspaper delivery).
Ways to save
As more and more hotels introduce additional charges to cover their increasing business costs, you may find it difficult to find a hotel that is fee-free. Thankfully, consumers can help deflect the costs of these fees by taking advantage of a hotel rewards card. These credit cards allow cardholders to accumulate rewards points that can be redeemed toward hotel stays.
When choosing a hotel rewards card, you will want to keep in mind that not all rewards cards are made the same. Take the time to review the benefits of the cards that you are considering. You will want to watch out for cards that have blackout dates and will want to know if the rewards can only be used at certain hotel chains.
Once you find a card that meets your needs, you will be able to redeem your points not only for the cost of your hotel room but also for the incidental costs you incur.
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Meghan C is a contributing writer at CreditDonkey, a credit card comparison and financial education website. Our data-driven analysis has been recognized by major news outlets across the country and has helped families make savvy financial and lifestyle decisions.