This has to be one of the most baseless “junk” fees charged by any hotel in the US (and there’s a lot of competition for that title). Perhaps the most interesting part is that Marriott continues to let the hotel get away with it.
Westin in Florida charged 2% credit card fee
Several weeks ago View from the Wing flagged that the Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort was charging a 2% fee to pay by credit card. This was disclosed during the booking process, and there was a sign at the front desk indicating this.
While this is common in some countries outside the US, this isn’t an acceptable practice in the US, and I can’t think of any other hotel with a policy like this.
There’s so much that makes this ridiculous:
- A vast majority of people pay for hotel stays with credit cards, as it’s simply not realistic or practical to pay for most hotel stays with cash or checks; a hotel stay is not a pack of gum at a gas station
- Most hotels require you to have a credit card or make a large cash deposit for incidentals, etc., making charging for credit card usage even more ridiculous
- Marriott has a huge co-brand credit card agreement worth billions of dollars, and I’m sure American Express and Chase wouldn’t be happy to know that guests have to pay extra to use their credit card when staying at a Marriott hotel
- In Florida, merchants have restrictions on incentivizing cash vs. credit card payments
It’s pretty obvious that this isn’t actually about the cost of processing credit cards, but rather it’s a pure money grab by the hotel. The hotel already has a $39 daily resort fee, so the hotel probably viewed this as an easy way to get an extra 2% revenue for nothing (which can really add up, admittedly).
Did Marriott force this hotel to become compliant?
View from the Wing flagged this issue for Marriott, and was quickly told that Marriott would make sure the hotel is compliant, which presumably meant eliminating this fee. So, how did that go?
Well, the Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort is now charging a 1% fee to pay by credit card. So it was cut in half. Oh, and in the process this fee is no longer being disclosed online, but a reader who checked out a couple of days ago reported that this was still being charged.
Before we start to feel sorry for the position any hotels are in right now, keep in mind that Florida resorts are doing exceptionally well right now, better than in 2019. This is truly a mediocre looking Westin that’s charging $300+ per night during the regular season.
The Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach has been charging a fee to use credit cards, which is the only major hotel in the US I know of with such a policy. The hotel was charging a 2% fee, though after Marriott was made award of this, that was reduced to 1%, and it seems like in the process the fee is also no longer disclosed.
I think this perfectly exemplifies how little control Marriott has over its individual hotels, and why the Marriott experience is so inconsistent.