Vegas Resort Fees

Hidden fees are the newest casino tricks to take more of your money than you intended to give them. Find out about them here.

Monday, January 3, 2022

American Casino Guide Resort Fee Articles

The American Casino Guide is a great buy of information and coupons.
I was honored to publish a resort fee article in the 2011 edition on page 22 and expect a revised article to come out in the 2012 edition.
This is a little dated, but you can read an example of the article I write for the American Casino Guide each year.  The 2014 book has a much updated version:
http://www.americancasinoguide.com/gambling-stories/las-vegas-resort-fees.html

NOTE THAT  BECAUSE BLOGS ARE ARRANGED BY DATE, TO KEEP SOME POSTS AT THE TOP OF MY BLOG, I'VE CREATED ARTIFICIAL FUTURE DATES.  IGNORE THEM.  All 2011 dates reflect the actual date of the post.  Scroll down to those.

I have tried to organize the issues around Resort Fees in the following blog posts so that they are easy to skim and easy to use for links to just one aspect of the problem. Hope it helps to have gathered and posted this information.
Check links in the Links worth a click section on the right for other interesting gambling discussions.

Sunday, January 2, 2022

LISTs: FEES AND NO FEES

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NOTE THAT  BECAUSE BLOGS ARE ARRANGED BY DATE, TO KEEP SOME POSTS AT THE TOP OF MY BLOG, I'VE CREATED ARTIFICIAL FUTURE DATES.  IGNORE THEM. 
THIS POST OF RESORT FEE LISTS WAS LAST EDITED February 20, 2014
 
BELOW ARE LISTED SITES THAT ATTEMPT TO COLLECT AND LIST RESORT FEES AND AMENITIES
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NOTE: Very few of these lists include the Super 8 on Koval right next to Ellis Island.  There is no resort fee there and yet they have a free shuttle to the airport, free coffee, a coin laundry, free wifi, and a heated pool.  Being right next to Ellis Island, they have great access to cheap food. The Flamingo 202 RTC bus on the corner offers many options for inexpensive travel from Eastside Cannery to the Palms.  The Boyd free shuttle picks up and drops very near in the back end of Bally's and goes to the Oleans or the Gold Coast.
Also, the Super 8 is part of Wyndham rewards program;  it will let you build up points toward free rooms.  Longer bookings are cheaper.  AARP rates are offered. 
Just be careful to check the cancelation policy because some of the cheapest deals cannot be cancelled for any reason.

Ask too about early check in fees.  Some folks are arriving at places like the Rio around noon to be charged an extra $10 -$20 to check into rooms, while others will be checked in easily to places like the D if a room is ready. 

Also note that the Stratosphere will cap their resort fee after 5 nights and still give the amenity of free tower entrance for up to 4 room guests.  So, a long booking there might create the smallest resort fee possible and one of the more interesting and real amenity.

1.  This list has been continuously updated.  It includes a mention of the amount after taxes.
http://www.vegasmessageboard.com/forums/showthread.php?p=441981
I use it as my first reference and I generally do not need another.  It currently misses that Venetian and Palazzo no longer will waive the resort fee, but most of the information is up to date.

2.  This is a fine site for all things Vegas and now they are doing a great job with the issue of resort fees.  http://www.vegaschatter.com/story/2014/1/19/195044/059/vegas-travel/Las+Vegas+Resort+Fees%3A+The+2014+Guide

3.  Some casinos will not be listed in the site below because they can't be booked here. This site lacks notice of when there is taxation of the fee itself.  Most resort fees do incur taxes. So, in general, add $1.20 per $10 resort fee. A fee quoted as $10 is really $11.20.  One quoted as $20 is really $22.40. Or use one of the other lists that tries to include that information.
http://www.vegas.com/incl/resortfees.html

4.  This site has very helpful information.  It includes some places other sites ignore http://www.vegas4visitors.com/hotels/resortfees.htm

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Permission to copy parts of this blog

Just drop me a note and ask.  I am easy.  I will ask you to just add a link to the source for most material.

Friday, December 29, 2017

COULD YOU HELP GATHER THIS INFORMATION?

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 If you are reading this board, you are most likely going to be in a casino soon.  Could you take the time to ask these resort fee questions and relay the information gathered for inclusion here?


Am I being charged a resort fee with this booking?  How much?

Do you anticipate a date when this casino will start or stop charging a resort fee?
Are players with comped rooms through a host charged the resort fee?  Can they have the fee waived?
Are players who responded to free room postcard offers charged the fee? Can they have the fee waived?
Will how much I play affect my resort fee charge?
If I booked before you started charging resort fees, or raised the amount, will I pay what I knew at the time of booking or what I knew at the time of check in?

I will find it pretty hard to update this blog, so any information that you can send my way, would be helpful.  If there is something that seems confused about the way this issue is handled, let me know about that too.
Have you dealt with a discount broker.  How did that go relative to resort fee charges?  Did you think the charges were prominently displayed or hidden in fine print?  If you talked to a broker, did the person seem to know and be willing to share a resort fee practice with you?

If you write a letter to a discounter, casino, coupon provider, or post something on a discussion board, if you can also send that to me, it would be helpful to gather all the facts.


IMPORTANT:  If you do wish to share information with me, please add a note of clear permission to quote you and to use what you have written here on this blog and in any other places where I might write about resort fees as well as  permission for others to copy your writing and paste it on their boards or in discussion board comments. If you would like me to edit your writing for grammar and spelling include that in your permission. Tell me if you want a name attached to the writing.  Please no spam.  I am not interested in renting parts of this site to folks wanting to advertise a product or service.









Thursday, March 20, 2014

CET

Here is an interesting discussion of using the charge card to get Platinum status and the resort fee waived.

http://www.vegasmessageboard.com/forums/showthread.php?t=103648

Friday, February 21, 2014

Palms raises resort fee.

Now it is $28 fee and tax on the fee.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Petition Against Resort Fees

Here is yet another way to express distaste for this practice.

https://www.change.org/petitions/sen-harry-reid-require-the-abolition-of-resort-fees

 https://www.change.org/petitions/sen-harry-reid-require-the-abolition-of-resort-fees

I was happy to sign the petition.
The goal is to include the cost of the room in the listed price of the room with transparency.
No more wondering who pays them and who doesn't or which week they are optional and which they are not or which time they are implemented or not.
No more false advertising in emailed promotions and "sales".
No more false reporting by travel boards.
No more lies from discounters.
No more confusion about what a discounter low to high price search means.
No more wondering who is grandfathered in the resort fee price rises between booking and arriving.
No more letting newbies, inexperienced, or unsophisticated folks be tricked until check in.
No more having to have repeated phone conversations with hotel clerks who themselves are confused just to get the bottom line. The bottom line should be the top line.

The price of the room should be simple to understand with amenities all rolled up with whatever the hotel wants to call the basic booking price of the room. The buyer of the room ought to get the room for the stated price.
So let's get that to happen, if possible.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Resort fees spread and rise

El Cortez has a new one.
Venetian and Palazzo moved from optional to mandatory
Tuscany, Circus Circus, and Hooters raised fees
Boyd places downtown have the words in fine print on booking sites.  No fees yet.
Plaza raised theirs.


There have been a few articles floating around speculating that hotels are considering dropping the idea of resort fees. Some speculate that the FTC may ban them So far they have only said that the fees "might" be deceptive.
Most of this seems to be focused on the "drip pricing" bait and switch techniques rather than on fully revealed resort fees.
However, I don't see any trend anywhere in Vegas away from fees.
It is just the opposite. The fees must work to the benefit of the casinos because they are a growing trend. Those places that did market away from mandatory fees, then seem to reverse themselves, like Venetian and Palazzo recently dropping optional fees for mandatory fees.
For coupon and frugal deal followers the fees tend to erode any benefit offered, watering down what become pretend discounts.

Resort fees by themselves are generally more than I have been paying for rooms. They add a huge percentage increase to frugal bookings.
And the entire process becomes a maze when booking because each casino does something slightly different. So each booking needs to be meticulously sorted out directly with a casino on the phone and names taken both at the time of booking and at the time of confirmations. I'd also suggest making at least two confirmation calls, one a week after booking and another a couple weeks before arriving.
Double booking isn't a bad idea. Then you can do a last minute cancel on any place that gives you different information than what you expected or changes the deal after you have booked.
In each confirmation, check the amount of the fee being charged and take names.
And book directly whenever possible rather than with a discounter. That has always been a good idea.
The biggest violation in all of this is that casinos are abandoning the old idea that we will be taken care of and substituting the idea that they are out to take advantage of us even in the room deal. This was always true in the gambling area where we knew the slots were out to bleed us, but we did not think we needed used car buying skills when booking a room until now.

For those wishing to avoid the entire confusion:
Super 8 there on Koval near the strip still offers all the amenities and no resort fees. Boyd shuttles leave from just across the street and a short distance away.
Eastside Cannery out Boulder has great rooms, no resort fees, most amenities including wifi and some of the best VP in Vegas. Seniors there can get $10 off rack rates, so many nights rooms can be had for $40 for seniors with just a phone call.
So far 4 Queens has not even rumored they will charge resort fees downtown.
And Laughlin is pretty much resort fee free and cheap.

Monday, January 20, 2014

More fees More increases

El Cortez is getting a fee on all rooms as of February 1.

Boyd downtown has the fine print include the words resort fee.  No fee quite yet, but its coming.

Other rate rises at Hooters, Circus Circus, and Tuscany.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

American Casino Guide 2014

The updated and much revised article on resort fees will be included in the next American Casino Guide book, due out sometime in November.  Some may think that the issue is over, but there are plenty of interesting issues and nuances to this annoyance, and some may surprise you.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

2013 American Casino Guide

And updated version of my resort fee article is in the new 2013 American Casino Guide.  Plenty of changes this year.
.


 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

My resort fee article now on American Casino Guide site

My article on resort fees, first published in the 2011 American Casino Guide and then updated for the 2012 edition is now printed on line at the American Casino Guide site.

http://www.americancasinoguide.com/gambling-stories/las-vegas-resort-fees.html

This is up to date and really summarizes all I know. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Cosmopolitan joins the dark side

Just a couple years ago, Cosmopolitan was taking the Harrah's marketing attitude and precluding resort fees out of respect for customers

http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2011/jan/01/aiming-avoid-irritating-guests-cosmo-wont-charge-r/

However, they will soon charge $25 a night resort fee.
Guess irritating cusomers is no longer a priority.
 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Resort fees on comped rooms

There is so much good information on the discussion boards, I don't post here anymore, but this thread trying to collect information on comped rooms charging resort fees is worth a look if there are any blog followers out there

http://www.vegasmessageboard.com/forums/showthread.php?p=712056&posted=1#post712056

Friday, October 14, 2011

Answering, "What is all the fuss"


Well, here is some of where my fuss comes from:

One of the annoying bits that comes with the resort fees is that they destroy two good booking tools.  First, there is that booking tool that allows you to set a price at a discounter and then get offered a deal based on what you say you would like to pay.  Their search for the deal does not include resort fees.  So it is now a useless tool.
Second, if you search any discounter for a low to high price ranking of offers, resort fees is not figured into the software, so the entire value of such a ranking is useless.

It is even worse when media reports and ranks hotel charges or trends in some article that  ignores resort fees so that the entire article is bogus.  This happened for quite a while in LVA newsletters, even though they are supposed to be a great resource for the gambler.  How would the average reader know?

Finally, it is fine to say, "Oh, look, you just have to be as smart and savy as I am, and you won't be tricked by the fine print."  But why should we applaud the tricksters just because we are smart enough not to get duped, when our inexperienced and unsavy fellow travelers get tricked.   
That is the purpose of these fees, to sort us out and trick some of us who are vulnerable. 
Should we not worry about our sidewalks if they are filled with holes and uneven pavement because we know to walk around the difficulties so we don't trip?
 
If that is our attitude, why have a board like this at all?   Why not just let everyone find out everything for themselves, the tricks and the strategies and everything.  Shouldn't we expect everyone to just know what we know?

I'm not a purist.  I pay resort fees and figure them in my final totals just as you do. I like them better when they are right in the booking (like the Gold Spike) and not hidden in the fine print and added on as I check out.  But I know there are newbies who don't have a clue and that this whole system is set up to trick them. 
And I'm annoyed that there has to be a list on this board and we all have to check it everytime we plan out trips to see just where the resort fee happens to have risen to today.
Just this week  on Facebook I went into a Riviera conversation where they were advertising $23 a night and a woman was confused just because the tax made her quoted price higher than that $23.  

I asked about the resort fee because it was not being discussed at all.  
Of course it was not included in the $23 price that was being celebrated on the bogus informative Facebook page.  
"So, "I said," $30 is the new $23" 
And then they came out with the full amount of the rooms on sale.
They were baiting with the $23.
They would have preferred to switch the offer at checkout.
I made them switch before booking.

And when I taught propaganda techniques, half truth was one of them, and not considered a thing to celebrate.


Finally, take a look at the ridiculous way hotels.com and expedia handle Gold Spike bookings.  They take the resort fee upfront, refuse to admit it, call it a service charge, state in the fine print that the Gold Spike will take it on check out, ignore that the Gold Spike won't take it, and even a half dozen emails and a few phone calls can't get them to make that clear to me or anyone.
  
And I know a very savy board posting traveler who has offered tons of inside information about Vegas, but  who got confused by not getting charged at check out and thought he had beat the resort fee because he had not payed attention to paying it when he first booked.

Whether it is the casinos selling rooms or the banks selling mortgages, transparency in the marketplace is honest, fair, consumer friendly and saves a lot of hassle.
This list is just a fix of a diseased marketing system, like chemo for cancer. 


COMPARISON WITH AIRLINE FEES

Let me just comment on the analogy to baggage fees on airlines that is often made when resort fees are discussed because both have the same annoyance factor.

They are not the same.
There may be some similarity in the desire to make cost comparison a mathematical puzzle and a challenge to some travelers.
But there are huge differences.
First, the traveler can choose to pay the baggage fee or not.  So those travelers who get the service of transporting lots of weight, pay for that added expense of transporting that weight.

Second, the resort fee offers for the most part useless amenities that are just there so they can't be sued for misquoting rates, or there again to trick the newbies who may not know that the pool and parking are normal free amenities everywhere.  In a few cases wifi, fitness rooms, or free water has some value, but use of the pool and free parking is just a sham.
Were the fees like those of the airline, those folks who did not use the amenities, would not pay the fees.  
Folks who check no bags, pay no fees; folks who don't use wifi, fitness, etc. still have to pay.

Imagine getting to your destination and the airline stops you and says,
"We are adding a baggage fee to your flight, sir, to better serve you."
"Well, I did not check any bags," you answer.
"Just the same, sir, if you check the fine print on your boarding pass, you will see that at the end of your flight, we add on a baggage fee.  The service was offered and whether you used it or not, the fee is required."

That would be more like a resort fee.

Also the airline charges the fee to encourage people to pack less because less weight saves money in fuel cost. A baggage fee is a real fee for a real service and an attempt to charge folks just for what they use. A resort fee is at best a way to make some customers pay for services only a few will use or perhaps a way to get the low bankrolled to pay for the amenities of the high rollers as the fees are often waived on comped rooms.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Resort fee quote

"I'm a peaceful man. But I'd like to see the bean counter who came up with "Resort Fees" be dragged out into the street, poisoned, stabbed, shot, hanged, stretched, disemboweled, drawn and quartered,and finally decapitated. "
quote of the month from TheShah, another frugal Vegas traveler.


The full thread tells his story of early check-in.


full thread is here


http://www.vegasmessageboard.com/forums/showthread.php?t=69336

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Do resort fees ever have benefits?

Here is a good discussion of that question:
http://www.vegasmessageboard.com/forums/showthread.php?p=484515#post484515

Interesting to me is that in some places when people paid a fee for ala carte fitness, the spa was included in the fee.  The resort fee generally only includes the fitness center so they are not the same value.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Station Casinos not as easy as once reported

So, it seems we now need to have a printout of our comped room details in order to be certain the resort fee is waived and we need to draw that to the attention of the clerks at check in so we are not caught in a line, hung over, and late for the plane when the issue comes up.  Some great discussion of this can be found here:

http://lvadvice.com/forum/index.php?topic=705.msg9020#new

Monday, January 31, 2011

NYNY update

One fellow board member reports that NYNY did drop the resort fee when asked.  However, he attributes it not to his argument that he did not use the amenities, but to the fact that he gave them good play over the time of his visit.
It is always worthwhile to ask about dropping resort fees.  Now it is like any other food or hotel bill, a carrot to encourage more play, a comp for the high stakes gambler.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Blogger makes fun of one resort fee

http://www.vegastripping.com/news/news.php?news_id=3841

You know, when something takes this much humorous heat, you would think that it would be something casinos might want to avoid.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Costmopolitan

Not only can Cosmopolitan be added to the list of casinos that DOES NOT  charge resort fees, but this article suggests the trend has run its course and will start to melt away.

http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2011/jan/01/aiming-avoid-irritating-guests-cosmo-wont-charge-r/"]http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2011/jan/01/aiming-avoid-irritating-guests-cosmo-wont-charge-r/

Monday, December 13, 2010

Mirage raises resort fee

As of January 3, the fee will be $22.40 ( with taxes).


An interesting discussion of this change can be found here:

http://www.vegasmessageboard.com/forums/showthread.php?t=60881

Monte Carlo

Reported that at the Monte Carlo the resort fee was comped on a booked room on the way out after play.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The fee might be collected upfront but who could know?


Some folks are reporting not being charged a resort fee at the counter and thinking they got away without paying it because they did not notice how high the tax and fee charge was at the broker.
Others, like me, actually skipped using hotel.com last time I planned a trip because I thought they had a hidden booking fee.
While it is nice to have the cost "upfront," who would know that charge was taxes and the resort fee? 
I just took a look on hotels.com to book the Gold Spike. It is confusing. Only the mathematics reveals that the resort fee is collected by the broker at the time of booking. 
Directly under the mathematics is:

The following mandatory hotel-imposed fees are charged and collected by the hotel either at check-in or check-out.
Resort fee: US$ 7.95 per room, per day
Hotel resort fee inclusions:
Use of pool
Use of fitness center or health club
Internet access
Self parking
The above list may not be comprehensive. Mandatory hotel-imposed fees may not include tax and are subject to change.
The following fees and deposits are charged by the property at time of service, check-in, or check-out.
Deposit: US$ 100 per stay


Then if we hit book, we again get it:
The following mandatory hotel-imposed fees are charged and collected by the hotel either at check-in or check-out.
Resort fee: US$ 7.95 per room, per day

Hotel resort fee inclusions:
Internet access in guestroom
Use of pool



UPDATE:  I am talking with Hotels.com and they get the contradiction.  They will look into the details of it.  According to them there is no way they can collect a resort fee upfront or pass it on to the Gold Spike. Keep reading and I'll post as I know something more definitive.
Use of fitness center or health club
Self parking



Expedia is even more ridiculous. If that is the resort fee buried in the "tax recovery" fee area, then they are cutting their throat as well. For a $39 room that tax and fee charge comes up at $12 a night. And yet the popup resort fee box says that the resort fee will be collected by the hotel at check-in or check-out.
Amazing!

It is commendable that hotels.com wants the information clearly included on the booking form, but why cut their own throat by not including it in the price that is used to rank hotels from low to high? And why not at least put the word "resort" in the fee category? 

It is simply amazing to me how confusing this whole practice has made the simple act of booking a room.

Oh, Bellagio joins the resort fee hotels in January.




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Added thoughts after a poster talked about booking directly


If the hotel is up front on the phone, then there is less confusion.  Another reason perhaps to book directly with the hotel.
Did you get the room charges comped on your play as well?
Can you share with us the level of your level of play that prompted this resort fee comp?
This reads like you did not have a host.  Is that right?
One of the things that the resort fee strategy can be for casinos is a new carrot on the stick to encourage play, so it is helpful for folks to get a feel for how much play generates resort fees waived.
I am very curious as to where it fits in the comped check out list of possible freebies.  Is it easier to waive than food?  Do you have to ask?  Who do you ask?
Clearly that is a direction that the conversation needs to take as more places charge the fee and more people will just be forced to pay it if they are going to stay where they want.

Quite a few people see the value of the resort fee in the internet amenity.  And it is a great value if it is comped.
If you need it in your room every day, that can be a wash.
However, as we do the math, it is good to decide how much internet we need.  I went with my wife to Harrah's last time and the internet charge for 24 hours was, as I remember, about $12.  This compares well with the Monte Carlo resort fee, but at Harrah's the internet fee  could be activated for any 24 hours on demand from the room. 
 My wife thought she wanted to have it, but as it turned out, she never activated it.  We were too busy and her new phone let her check email with wifi.  So some folks with computer may find the resort fee still adds to the actual bill by giving them a mandatory amenity that they don-t need every day instead of the choice to pay or not which does not need to be made at check in, but can be made right in the room when wifi is really determined to be needed.
Also, more and more fee places are popping up to comfortably use a computer over coffee.  Orleans has the Seattle coffee and Thebeat coffee house and record store downtown has a very relaxed area and free wifi just steps from the El Cortez, reducing in my mind the value of the Gold 
Spike free wifi because I can get breakfast and wifi for the price of the resort fee.
I tend to write up my emails and Vegas trip reports every night in my room, but I can do that on the word processor and just cut and paste when I get free access over breakfast every few days.
My buddy Bill who handicaps horses daily needs access every day in the room, so that Monte Carlo deal would be a value for him but not for me.
Of course, both Bill and I bipassed the entire process of balancing resort fee with amenity value and booked at the Super 8 where we had the free internet, 24 hour pool access, a laundromat where the wifi worked, a free shuttle to and from the airport, coffee maker, decent HBO and TCM on the tele and a short walk to the main desk with free flavored coffees in the lobby to take along, as well as free bingo next door at Ellis Island and great frugal food and microbrews available there as well.  The rooms are not much beyond clean and cozy, but all those amenities all come with no resort fee.  None can be comped, but then we don't get encouraged to play over are frugal limits and we are not restricted to play where we stay.

What is reported in this thread, Auggie, is a bit different than your experience because it is not a confusion when booking directly with the hotel, but when booking at some of the discounters.  Hotels.com is charging a fifty percent tax recovery and fee  at the time of booking and still indicating in the language of the agreement that we will pay the resort fee at the hotel as we check in or out.  Guests report that they are not being charged it at the Gold Spike after prepaying it to the discounter, but that is not what folks agree to when they book. It is not a question of paying the fee, but of who we pay it  to and when as well as whether  some folks may be double billed (which was a big concern to Hotels.com after I called them).

Thanks for posting your experience and any details you would be willing to share, would help us.  For folks needing an upscale Vegas experience (and not the small Super 8,) booking is not going to get simpler to understand any time soon, so the more information we have, the better prepared we are to get good value for our money.  At the frugal end of the mathematics it is difficult to get value out of the resort fee.  My last seventeen night stay in Vegas had me paying twenty two dollars on average a night.  If I were paying resort fees on top of that, it would double my cost and over seventeen nights that adds up.  A twenty here, a twenty there and pretty soon  after seventeen twenties we are talking about real money.
By the way, once I had hotel.com attention I pointed out to hotels.com that the ranking of low to high prices was an absolutely useless part of their website while resort fees were not computed in the ranked nightly costs.  I think folks who buy through discounters ought to complain more to them about the loss of this comparison shopping tool, so they do the work of programing into the reported nightly charge the real cost of the room. Some of the sites that make comparison quotes on products to buy online have begun to do that in order to accurately compare a supplier who charges no shipping with one who disingenuously deflates the price and inflates the shipping charges so that a comparison is accurate.  Discount brokers need to do the same as well as newspaper reporters who report trends in room charges in their articles and rank examples incorrectly by ignoring the mathematics.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Another interesting discussion

I don't think there is too much new being said on this thread, but it does warm the heart to know that this issue is alive and well.  For some it has been discussed too much.  I like to see folks waking up to it and responding.  I did not add my two cents.  Most of what was said I agree with.  I'll reproduce my remarks under the link.

http://www.vegasmessageboard.com/forums/showthread.php?t=59782&highlight=resort+fees

There is not much left to be said, and I respect that folks are perhaps getting tired of kicking the dead horse. Perhaps it is becoming more like the $20 trick threads.
I agree with most everyone, actually.
I admire the purist stance that started this thread. I am not so principled. 
I agree with those who would do the math and let that decide and it seems their position is strengthened by those who suggest the fees be easy to see so the math is easier on the customer, and comps and deals spelled out so the math is possible.
I liked very much Ken's summary of all the sorts of folks who make all sorts of choices, although I think he overestimates how many travelers are informed. I personally talk to folks everyday who have not heard of resort fees, so more exposure for infrequent and travelers not so savy as regulars on this board seems valuable.
My guess is that as wearisome as it might be for regulars on the board to have encountered this discussion again, there are some newbies who are looking at it for the first time.
Are there any topics that do not repeat themselves?
And, no rudeness intended, but if the topic is wearisome and clearly indicated in the title, can't overburdened readers just skip the thread? I skip many threads here everyday.

I understand that Harrah's does not offer good gambling in many areas and that offsets their attraction as a no resort fee hotel. However, in live poker Harrah's casinos offer some of the best gambling available because they comp free rooms for live poker play, something no other casino in the world does, as well as the hourly regular comp (Imperial Palace is $2 an hour)
On the strip they offer a one-of-a-kind in Vegas frugal low spread limit game at O'Shea's with very small blinds and good drink service.

Harrah's does rake a bit more, but if we consider table selection part of our live poker play strategy, we want to be away from the Vegas regulars who do the rake math (and so can do the pot odds math, and figure the tells, and know how their buds at the table play) and we want to be playing with tourists who say, "Hey, it's only money." 
One extra loose player will more than pay the added rake. 
So I would argue that for live poker players, Harrah's properties offer player advantage. They do for me.

I'd also like to plow some frugal middle ground between the boycotting purists and those who just pay the fees. 
Take a look at the Orleans and the Gold Coast and the Palms. They have very low resort fees when those fees are charged at all. 
Consider this math: the entire resort fee at the Gold Coast ($3) is almost equal to just the added tax generated by the resort fee at Red Rock. 
Gold Coast offers good gambling too. And while it is slightly "off strip," the free shuttle or quick cab ride or city bus makes it very accessible. 

Most people who do the math and offset one cab ride home each night (after the shuttles quit at midnight) against the difference in room rates, can find the GC or Orleans ($5 resort fee) a very frugal alternative. 
And if you are riding the SDX (new name for ACE) or Deuce during the day, a ride back to the Orleans on the bus is just another free bus ride added to your 24 hour pass.
(The Flamingo bus is going to be more limited as of Nov 7 in early morning hours, running only once every hour)

These hotels offer a compromise to the pure resort fee stance. However, when the newly imposed fees at hotels are now coming out at $20 a night, those small fees seem like a bargain.
And as Ken says, a note to those places indicating that you chose them or are considering them because they kept their fees low is more effective than any board discussion. That may help keep them from raising fees.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Tropicana

Tropicana adds a resort fee to their booking, but recently a board friend reported that she booked a room  and the resort fee was dropped even without her asking.  Good news.  It might be good to ask when booking or getting comped if the fee can be dropped.

It must fit with this policy

http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2010/aug/19/tropicana-says-renovations-show-signs-paying/

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Name your own Price and then pay more

http://www.elliott.org/the-troubleshooter/resort-fee-folly/

This is not a new article, but I like the way it spells out this problem.
(See some update on this issue in the next post.)

To be careful, if you name your own price, deduct $20 that you expect to pay in resort fees.  That will cover most places.  If you happen to catch a hotel that does not have one, well, you got even a better deal than you bargained for.

Booking blind (almost)

Both Hotwire and Priceline have a mechanism for booking based on price rather than the name of the hotel.
As far as I can tell Priceline does not say anything about resort fees.  That will be a surprise.
Hotwire however estimates the resort fee and tells us upfront that it will be charged by the hotel before we book it.
Also hotwire lists amenities so we can see if there is a casino offered by the hotel.
So searching for a deal and finding one downtown with a $6 estimated resort fee means that we have found the Goldspike.  No other hotel downtown charges a resort fee.
And while the estimated resort fee might not be total clue as to the hotel in question, it should narrow the choices.  I doubt a hotel with a $20 fee would be noted as having a $10 estimated fee.  Looking at amenities might also be a clue.  Some have wifi and some do not and some might have unique amenities like a paper.

Monday, September 27, 2010

New suggestion for protest

Cheapolasvegas is now on the anti resort fee band wagon.

http://www.cheapovegas.com/resort_fees.php

They offer to send loads of free faxes to you while you are in Vegas if you get that service free at your resort fee hotel.  Cool protest.

Monday, September 13, 2010

My rant against the "just do the math" argument

I liked this.  Mostly I stay calm, but somehow.  I don't know.  I guess that I wonder how long I'm going to have to say the same thing until someone takes notice.
Anyway, thought I'd cut and paste it here:

From this thread if you want the whole conversation:
http://www.vegasmessageboard.com/forums/showthread.php?p=441680#post441680
No one here in this thread has been arguing much that doing the math isn't wise. Sometimes purists do make that argument. They made it to M and M backed off the resort fee. 
No one can predict what angry protest might accomplish.
But I don't hear a lot of it lately.
I am pragmatic as you suggest and know many others who are as well.
However, to suggest this is easy math because all the sites offer this information is just wrong. Many sites don't offer it. Many casinos offer very confusing information even when you call them. I was caught by the Gold Spike raising the resort fee in between booking and arrival. I would not have known had I been average tourist. I caught it because I am alert to all the changes around resort fees. Had I been an average tourist, I would not have known until check in.
It would be nice if the math were just 1+1 = 2, but then there would be no need for resort fees at all. The point of the fine print trick and confuse strategy is to lie about what it costs to rent the room. 
Many, many people book on discount broker sites. Those don't give this information in their figures.
Many people read the news when it lists the rates of places. These don't report resort fees.
This year in two month reports from a paid gambling site there were articles ranking casino rates that put El Cortez fifth when they should have been first.

Even the list we have the link to here does not give all the information, nor of the four I have on my site is any single list accurate and complete.
The math is fuzzy math because no one really knows the numbers, and if the rooms are comped the issue becomes even more unclear.

I asked about the resort fee. The clerk asked me how I was booked. I explained I had not booked yet, I was just trying to understand the resort fee. Well, it really depended on how I booked she explained. Well, I said, just tell me two ways to book in which a fella might avoid the resort fee. No, she said, she could not do that.
When I got caught in the Gold Spike business, I was booked and the fee was raised. I asked if I was grandfathered in and she said if I had booked using"Hotmail" that I was. Well I had booked using another discounter (sorry the name escapes me, maybe hotel.com) so I figured I wasn't grandfathered. I changed bookings only to find out here on the board that the other discounter was owned by hotmail and so another fellow in my situation was grandfathered in and did not have to pay the resort fee.
Had either of us booked directly with Gold Spike, then we would be charged the fee.
well... that is what the girl said, but some here had booked that was and were not.
When Circus Circus came up on the Vegas.com site as having a resort fee, I called. The clerk said that there was no fee. I said that Vegas.com said there was. She said no. I wrote Vegas.com and they said they had information that there was and so it was like that in their chart. I called back to Circus Circus and no there was no fee she said. Well, I asked if a fee was instated would I be grandfathered in if I booked that day. No, the clerk said, I'd have to pay it. And would they tell me? No, she said.
In thread after thread I hear this 1+1=2 argument. Sometimes it indicates that folks who are angry at this fine print shuffle deception are somehow too stupid to do simple math and if they would just wise up, why the whole issue would not be worth thinking about. 
Tax means that it is never 1+1, but at the best 1+ 1 and maybe another 12 or 13 percent of the second 1, we don't know for sure. 
I called Venetian, for example, researching this issue. 
Listen, the math is too fuzzy to pin down to do. So it needs to be done on the phone when we book, and again when we get written confirmation and again when we confirm well ahead of time so there are still deals out there, and again just before we go, and even then there may very well be a new resort fee or a raised fee to contend with when we arrive.

Or maybe there won't be any fee when we expect one.
My last trip the math said that a $5 resort fee at Orleans and a $3 f ee at the Gold Coast still made free and cheap sense in room bargains. 
So I booked. 
But No fee was charged. None at either place in spite of the math telling me in all their publication that there would be a fee. In spite of me being reminded when I confirmed at the Orleans.
I did not want to make a stink about not being charged a fee, but I did ask at the Gold Coast just to try and understand how I might do the same thing again. Well, she told me that the person who took my reservation made a mistake. 
Hmmm. 
I made the reservation on line at B Connected. No person took it.
So in that case 1+1 was equal to..... well.... 1. New math.

For those of you angry enough about this to just book somewhere else, I admire your idealism, i think that you ought to be admired. Perhaps you will change the tide.
I have to say that the Spike raising the resort fee put a bad taste in my mouth and that was all part of the utility of my decision to cancel and not book there. I just did not like being charged more than what I had contracted for, math or no math.
And I don't like fine print bullies. Charge me the price! Figure out what it is and let me know upfront what the math is, clearly and not hidden in some fine print. the new Rumor Suites does that right on the booking sheet just like Amazon does with shipping charges, before I commit.
And quit tricking the newbies! I want to be able to say to people that Vegas is a fine place to visit where they'll be taken care of and just to watch the gambling as that is mostly rigged against them. I'm tired of telling them first about the resort fees and then about how to check the room for bed bugs. By the time I'm done, a lot of them decide just to stay home. Most of them don't want a vacation that annoys them and makes them work through a series of mathematical puzzles delivered at odd times in fine print. They can stay home and figure out their bills and tax strategies if they want to do that and save the airfare. 
I heard a show on NPR this week that said that in Massachusettes some grocery stores were fined heavily because they did not follow the law and put a clear price on every bit of canned goods sold. Seems those folks in Massachusettes figure that they ought to be able to see how much the beans cost before they stand in the check out line. 
All I want from Vegas hotels is that same respect they give the folks who buy beans in Massachusttes. Transparency up front. No tricks.
In the meantime I find I gotta call the casino repeatedly just to find out what the price is