Watch for new hotel 'gotchas' in 2015

Many of us are now starting to plan our spring vacations.  If so, we have caution about booking a hotel room. More and more hotels are finding ways to keep that initial quote down, and hit you with extra fees at check out. In addition, Marriott and Hilton are making it harder to cancel at the last minute, as of January 1st, 2015.

Families watching their travel dollar, search for hotel rooms below a certain price point, such as $99 or $150. Hotels know that, and have come up with all sorts of  ways to keep that initial quote down, according to the federal trade commission. So the FTC has begun a crackdown on undisclosed fees, especially that disingenuous little charge called a "resort fee." It can be as much as $30 a day for use of the pool and facilities. The FTC is warning hotels the fee must be disclosed at time of booking.

Doesn't that stink?
And from the "doesn't that stink" file, the other little fees hotels will hit you with. The website  says some major chain hotels now add a hidden fee for the room safe. It shows up as "safe with limited warranty" at check out. Mouseprint says look over the registration form carefully before you give your credit card at check in.

No more last minute cancelations
And as of January 2015, say goodbye to being able to cancel the day of your trip at most Marriott and Hilton hotels. The two big chains have changed their policies, requiring you to cancel by Midnight the night before in most cases, or face a penalty, according to the New York Times. Previously, you could cancel without penalty until 6 p.m. the day of your reservation. Many of their more upscale hotels and resorts, however, have had earlier cancelation times for several years, so this change is not expected to affect too many people.

Ask questions
Bottom line:  Ask questions before you book, or certainly at check in time, about any extra fees for newspapers, Wi-fi, even room safes. And unless you are about to pass out from hunger, your best bet is to avoid those pricey mini bar snacks, so you don't waste your money.


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