Whine Wednesdays: Marriott Hotels In Brazil Using Fake Exchange Rate For Room Rate Conversions (On-Going)

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This week the Whine Wednesdays revisits one of the pet peeves of mine for years that is a huge money maker for less honest hotels that basically want to screw their guests.

WW Marriott FX

Some hotels prefer to list their prices on other than their legal payment currency and then use some fictitious exchange rate (never beneficial for the consumer) to convert this daily rate to the payment currency of the country. Marriott properties are especially notorious for this.

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This morning when I was checking out from the Marriott Sao Paulo airport in Brazil, the folio again made very little sense. I pulled my phone and figured out that the exchange rate used was off by 4.12%.

The hotel claimed that this was rate for the previous day or some sort of “tourism exchange rate” but I wasn’t exchanging cash or paying BRL invoice in USD. Hotel was merely converting USD folio to BRL that they should do using live rate.

Didn’t get much pushback from the front desk (they must be aware of this – why wouldn’t they?) and they just adjusted the daily rate to the correct one.

Conclusion

This is easy money for hotels because most of the people appear to be unable to use calculator or to do simple calculations nowadays.

I would have been completely fine had they charged my card in USD but they cannot do that in Brazil like they do in Chile where foreigners are exempt from sales tax when staying at hotels. I wish Marriott would require that hotels post their prices on their website in local currency so that this revenue enhancements for hotels at guests expense would go away.

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