In the past few weeks, there has been chatter that some hotels, especially in the United States, are trying to fatten their bottom line by having undisclosed credit card and other surcharges added to the bill.
Suppose you ever travel to Australia or New Zealand. In that case, it is not uncommon for the hotels to charge credit card fees that greatly exceed what they pay to their bank or financial institution that captures the transaction (and surely split this extra with the hotel).
You can access Marriott here.
Here’s the statement that Marriott has released:
We are happy to report that we recently instituted a brand standard for the U.S. And Canada that prohibits our hotels from imposing surcharges when guests pay with a credit card.
Hotels have tried to introduce all kinds of fees and charges on top of the base rate (let’s not talk about destination and resort fees).
I wish that they would require hotels to use a correct conversion rate when converting the displayed rate on Marriott’s website to the local payment currency:
These are often inflated by anywhere from 5% to 15%. You cannot and are not allowed to pay using the booked currency.
Here are some of my experiences fighting this practice:
Merchant fees for accepting credit cards are relatively low, and I just spoke with a friend here in Europe that pays much less than a percent. For example, when I had a merchant account in Finland back in the late 1990s, my business’s fee was 0.8%.
There are always risks involved when dealing with cash (employee theft), and banks usually charge for dealing with this type of deposit.
It is better for ALL parties when guests pay using a credit card. Hotels and other establishments with credit card fees do this to either skirt taxes (don’t report the sale) or fatten their bottom line.
I hope that Marriott can police this rule better than their brand standards, elite guarantees, and breakfasts for elite members. They should all be in place per corporate communication, yet many properties in the United States are not following them.