How To Get Resort Fees Waived at Las Vegas Hotels

By |2019-01-23T20:20:37+00:00January 12th, 2019|Categories: Case Studies, How To Travel Hack, Internal, Travel Hack Las Vegas|

Two out of the three hotels I stayed at during my Las Vegas trip charged resort fees. Most hotels in Vegas charge resort fees, which is also becoming a trend in non-traditional resort markets as well.

Here’s a look at the resort fees for the hotels I stayed in, and detailed examples of how I got them waived, and how you can too, but first, some classic memes:

Resort Fees on my Las Vegas Trip

The Marriott Grand Chateau, Las Vegas – No Resort Fee, $0 USD per night!

The Marriott Grand Chateau didn’t charge a resort fee and was one of the many reasons I would stay at that property again. I booked on points through Marriott Rewards, and at the time of booking, it stated there was no resort fee. Win! When booking on points through Marriott Rewards, the room tax IS included, however, the resort fee is NOT (if applicable).

It’s always important to check at the time of booking if your hotel charges a resort fee, as sometimes those fees can sneak up on you and they can be an additional charge that you might not spot if you’re not paying attention.

Nothing to do here, we’re at $0 for resort fees so far during our stay.

The MGM Grand, Las Vegas, $41.95 USD per night resort fee

Resort fees just recently went up (again) in Las Vegas as of January 2019 from $35 USD to $39 USD plus tax. At the time of writing this article, that’s $55.64 CAD per night! That really stings!

The Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas, $41.95 USD per night resort fee

Since the Cosmopolitan is a Marriott property, I was able to book my room for 50,000 Marriott Rewards per night. That ended up being incredible value since the going rate on one of the busiest nights of the year in Vegas (the eve of tech conference, CES 2019). However, points stays don’t cover resort fees, so I was still on the hook for a $41.95 USD per night resort fee.

So how can we ethically get these outrageous fees taken off our bill? You have two options:

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1. How To Get Resort Fees Waived With Hotel Loyalty Status

Giving your loyalty status to a particular hotel brand comes with many perks, and getting resort fees waived is one of them. Once you’re perceived as a valuable customer and have moved up the ladder with some hotel stays under your belt, you’ll be in a much better position to negotiate to get those resort fees waived.

Here’s an example of what the resort fee at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas includes:

  • Property-wide high-speed internet access (public spaces and in-room)
  • Unlimited local and toll-free calls
  • Airline boarding pass printing
  • Notary service
  • Fitness center access for guests 18+

Those services are pretty underwhelming, especially for a hotel guest with loyalty status.

High-speed Internet access: Firstly, high-speed internet access is generally one of the first perks you’ll receive when you gain any kind of hotel loyalty status, so you’ve already essentially paid for this “perk” with previous stays. This is not an added benefit.

Unlimited local and toll-free calls: Really? When does anyone get charged for making a local call anywhere? And toll-free calls…well, the name speaks for itself, they’re already free calls! This is also not an added benefit.

Airline boarding pass printing: Oh geez. Personally, I use the phone app for the airline I’m flying to display my boarding pass. If you’re an old-school traveller who prefers a paper copy, then consider having this printed ahead of time. This is one of those “services” that if you don’t use, you can have an easier time getting the resort fee waived.

Notary service: This is an interesting one. Never have I ever checked into a hotel and thought “gee, I need to get this document notarized, looks like I came to the right place!”. If I need something notarized, I visit a notary, or sometimes banks will do this for free. This is not a service I would ever use at a hotel, and as a result, don’t feel it’s necessary to pay for it.

Fitness center access: I have a problem with this one. I am paying a room rate to not only use the room, but the facilities on the property including the gym, and pool. The fitness center is not a spa. You’re not receiving any customized service, or treatments, you’re simply being charged for access to the equipment whether you use it or not. This one can be argued that it should be included in the room rate itself if you used the fitness center. If you did not use the fitness center during your stay, then you should certainly argue that you didn’t use that service, and therefore shouldn’t be charged.

If you have loyalty status with the hotel you’re staying at, feel free to phone the front desk and bring up your concerns about the services offered with the resort fee. You can explain to them that these services were of no use to you, and as a loyal customer, you’d like to kindly request they remove the fee, and you look forward to your next visit.

2. How To Get Resort Fees Waived in Vegas Hotel Rooms That Have Quality Issues

If there are quality issues with the room or service, I most certainly take note of them. Here are a few things I look for and will bring up in an effort to get the resort fee waived. This isn’t done in an effort to trick the hotel or be deceitful, it just comes down to the fact that I’m paying for a product and expect a certain standard.

Room cleanliness: Is the room clean? Sometimes at a glance the room might seem clean, but if you take a closer look, you’ll see that housekeeping may have skimmed over the room, and not given it a deep clean it deserved. If you notice the room is dusty, there are stains on the sheets (yuck), or there is debris in the room left from a previous guest, you most certainly have the right to bring this up.

Room functionality: Does everything work in the room as intended? My stay at the Cosmopolitan, albeit a wonderful room with a million dollar view of the Bellagio fountains, didn’t have a working TV in the bedroom. The living room lamp also didn’t work, as well as the “Guest Services” portion on the in room iPad control center. I was not willing to phone down to the front desk, and explain the situation and then wait around for maintenance to show up, and come in the room and fix the issue at 2am after a long day. This is something that needs to be working from the start, especially considering the going rate for my room that night was over $1,700 CAD a night.

Instead of having maintenance come up and fix the issue, which they would have happily done, I decided to wait because that wasn’t convenient for me, and instead brought it up before I checked out.

Service issues: Did you request room service or amenities be brought up to the room but they were delayed or worse, never came? Did you email the hotel in advance with your expectations, but they weren’t met? For example, if I’m staying in a room without a fridge, I will email ahead of time and ask for one to be in the room. If it’s not there upon my arrival, I will bring this concern up.

How To Get Room Upgrade Fees Waived for Las Vegas Hotel Rooms

Did you get upsold on a room upgrade? It’s Vegas baby, why not?! Especially if you made out great at the blackjack table. But what if the room isn’t what you had in mind? Getting a room upgrade fee waived is exactly the same practice as getting the resort fee waived. And in some cases, if there was a major screw up by the hotel and you feel entitled to get more than the resort fee waived, you can also request to get the room upgrade fee waived.

Generally the higher-class hotel you are staying in, the more willing the hotel will be to reimburse you if things aren’t up to standard. I paid for room upgrades at both the MGM Grand and The Cosmopolitan, $50 USD each per night.

At the MGM Grand, we upgraded from a West Wing King Room, the very base room, to a much bigger Executive Queen Suite for $50 USD a night. At the time of writing this article, the Executive Queen Suite retails for $170.80 USD per night.

The West Wing King Room was provided for free by redeeming MyVegas reward points, a Facebook slots game that gives you Vegas perks like free rooms, food, and show tickets. As a side note, I had these points from several years ago and wanted to get rid of them, so this was a great trip to use them up on. Going into it, I knew the West Wing King Room was going to be very small and planned to upgrade upon arrival.

When we arrived there were a few issues with the room.

The bathroom light above the toilet was not working so we had to leave it off. It was actually quite comical, it kept aggressively flickering and making noises and reminded me of some scene out of a horror movie. My friend made me go in and shut it off because she was scared! We laughed about it and moved on.

The bathroom door stopper was no longer one with the wall. It fell out after looking at it the wrong way, and left an ugly hole in the wall. It briefly found a new home on the floor before we set it aside so no one would step on the exposed screw.

And lastly, the two main USB chargers in the room had been damaged/partially removed which was the biggest inconvenience.

At the MGM Grand, I only have entry level MLife loyalty status, and my room complaints were minor on an originally free stay, so they were only willing to waive the resort fee, not the room upgrade fee. I was ok with this, and found it to be a fair compensation.

At the Cosmopolitan, not only was I able to get the resort fee waived, but the room upgrade fee as well. Not having the TV work was a let down, but the Cosmopolitan offered exceptional service recovery, and waived the fee when I brought this to their attention.

I want to note that despite the minor issues with the MGM Grand and Cosmopolitan, we had an excellent stay, and would most certainly return. I’ve stayed at the property several times before and always have a good time there. I just wanted to point out the type of concerns with the room that would be appropriate to bring up in an effort to get the room upgrade fee waived.

I’d also highly recommend upgrading to the Executive Queen (or King) Suite, instead of going with the base MyVegas Rewards room if you took that route. I think you’ll be quite happy you did for a modest fee (assuming you have to pay it).

Bonus: How To Not Pay Resort Fees at Caesars Entertainment Properties

Diamond and Seven Stars members with Total Rewards get resort fees waived with their status. If you’d like to fast track your way to Diamond status without gambling, checkout my step by step guide for how to status match with Total Rewards, and get lots of other Total Rewards perks as well!

How To Get Pet Fees Waived at a Hotel

Plenty of hotels will charge a pet fee if you’re travelling with your furry companions. I have brought my two German Shepherds to countless luxury hotels, especially in the Vancouver and Whistler, BC area so I am prepared for them to charge me a fee.

I won’t argue the fee IF the following requirements are met:

The room is clean upon arrival. This sounds like an obvious one, but when you’re travelling with pets, some hotels have designated pet-friendly rooms. Translated, that means the rooms can sometimes be worn out, and not as clean as they should be. If the hotel tells me that the pet fee, (sometimes $25-$50) per stay is for an extra cleaning fee, I get that, my dogs shed, but I’m not ok paying an extra cleaning fee for an already dirty room!

My email requests that I would have sent before arrival have been met: For example, I’ll mention that I’ll be bringing my two big dogs, so please make sure to include a large dog bed, and/or a fridge for their raw food upon arrival).

Pet amenities are included: If the hotel is pet-friendly and they state they include pet amenities (water/food bowls, poop bags, treats, dog beds, walking maps etc) then they need to remember them and have them ready for our arrival. When travelling with the dogs, I don’t want interruptions with staff bringing amenities in after we’ve settled in. Chances are, we just completed a long road trip and just want to relax. Having to hurriedly put the dogs away quickly to allow staff to enter, when the amenities should be there in the first place is something I’m not ok with if I’m paying for it.

If all these conditions are met, then I’m a happy customer because the hotel provided a service for a fee I agreed to pay. However, if all of them aren’t met, (usually something slips by even at luxury hotels), I will bring it up before I check out, and explain my concerns in an effort to get the pet fee waived. These aren’t unreasonable requests, and if explained in a polite manner, I’m sure you’ll find the hotel is willing to compensate you.

Oh Hi, I’d Like To Speak To A Manager…

“I’d like to speak to a manager”.

The dreaded line every front desk representative must hate.

If you have legitimate concerns with the room or service, it’s best to wait before you checkout to phone the front desk. I prefer to bring up my concerns over the phone because it’s easier for the hotel to deal with them and not have to feel pressured that other guests are watching and waiting to see the outcome.

I will often just phone and say:

“Hi, I’m just wondering if it would be possible to speak with a supervisor about a few concerns I had with the room during my stay?”

The front desk rep will most likely apologize and bring up your account details. They’ll also be able to see how much money you’ve spent during your stay. If you’ve visited the spa, ordered room service, or most importantly, gambled, the hotel will see this, and probably be delighted to waive the fee since they still got your money, just in a different sense.

Once they’ve brought up your account details, and apologized for the inconvenience, chances are they will ask what was wrong with the room so they can direct you to the right supervisor.

So here’s your chance to politely list your concerns.

You probably won’t even need to speak with a manager, as I’ve found most front desk reps are empowered to waive the resort fee for legitimate complaints without you having to talk to a supervisor. If you’ve been a good guest and are polite, it’s in their best interest to take care of you. They want you back again, and genuinely want you to have a good time on the property.

This is where it’s incredibly important, and just common sense to be polite. Be a classy guest and treat the staff with respect. Your concerns about the room are not a ticket to be rude and demeaning. You simply need to be firm, but polite. You’re not entitled to have the resort fee waived, but it’s a bonus if you do. Staff have to listen to complaints all day long from guests, and like everyone else, if they are respected, they are a lot more willing to help. Always make sure to thank the staff, even it wasn’t the outcome you were hoping for. Good luck!

How To Avoid Resort Fees, In Closing

I want to make it clear that I’m not purposely looking for things to go wrong during a hotel stay, and you shouldn’t either. But the reality is, there are a lot of moving parts involved with hotel stays, and things do get missed.

All you’re doing in an attempt to get the resort fees waived is negotiating a lower rate. The worst a hotel can say is no, and you’ll have practiced your negotiating skills at the very least. Hotels are running a business, and I look at negotiating with them as a business move. If things aren’t quite right with a room I’m staying in, I focus more on what a hotel will do in terms of service recovery. And if they come through, which they almost always do, I will happily return and leave a positive review.

I hope some of the above examples will give you an idea of what you should expect during your stay, and know that you are entitled to negotiate the resort fee or room upgrade fees to be waived if things aren’t up to standard.

And if things really aren’t right with your room, don’t take these issues too seriously and let them ruin your stay. It helps to have a light-hearted approach, so having a good attitude and being reasonable will go a long way to getting these fees waived.

I really enjoyed my stays at all three properties during this Vegas trip, and would happily recommend The Marriott Grand Chateau, The MGM Grand, and the Cosmopolitan!

What’s Your Experience With Getting Hotel Resort Fees Waived?

What’s your experience with getting resort fees waived in Las Vegas? Do you find the hotels friendly and willing to waive them? Let us know your success rate in the comments below!

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About the Author:

With a passion for tech startups, Britt has always loved being hands on with designing and developing websites. When she’s not at the computer, she’s probably enjoying time with her German Shepherds, Trevor and Stacy. From rustic cabins, to five star hotels, Britt is always ready for the next adventure.

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