Parking lot
Photograph ©2023 by Brian Cohen.

Parking Recapture Fee…What?!

Is this another junk fee charged by hotel properties?

Upon checking out of a recent stay at a hotel property where I expected the total of the bill to be $99.41 — including all taxes and fees — I asked for a paper copy of the folio for my stay and noticed that the total which I was to pay was actually $103.15 because of something called a Parking Recapture Fee.

Parking Recapture Fee…What?!

a black and white line
Photograph ©2023 by Brian Cohen.

I stopped in my tracks as I exited the hotel and wondered what is a Parking Recapture Fee — as well as why it was an extra $3.87.

I walked right back into the hotel property and asked the person behind the front desk about this fee. He could not explain exactly what this fee specifically covered.

“So you charge for parking?”, I asked.

“Um…yes…” he said with a lack of confidence about his answer.

“I do not recall seeing this fee when I booked the reservation”, I replied.

“I will speak to the manager about this”, he said as he walked towards the office behind the front desk.

When he returned, he told me that the manager told him that the fee is clearly on the official Internet web site; but that they will credit $3.87 to the credit card which I used to pay for the reservation. I found that a little suspect, as I did not understand why they did not simply remove the charge from my folio.

“This hotel property is part of Marriott”, I replied. “I clicked on the button to show rates with taxes and all fees; and this Parking Recapture Fee was not included.”

His response was that he knows nothing about the web site, as he did not work on it. He was clearly annoyed with me.

“I am not upset with you. It’s not your fault. But this fee was a surprise to me.”

I started the process of booking a reservation for one night at this particular hotel property with the Show rates with taxes and all fees button selected…

a screenshot of a web page
Source: Marriott International, Incorporated.

…and the rate showed approximately $99.00.

I then clicked on the black Select button to select this rate…

a screenshot of a video
Source: Marriott International, Incorporated.

…and the total rate for the stay displayed as $99.41 — exactly what I expected to pay.

Just below that — under the heading of Additional Charges and in smaller type — are the words “On-site parking, fee: 3.87 USD daily”.

an aerial view of a parking lot
Source: Map data ©2023 Google; ©2023 CNES / Airbus, Maxar Technologies.

Taking a screen shot of the hotel property in Google Maps reveals that at least 103 parking spots — not including those for disabled people — are available.

Is the Parking Recapture Fee of this hotel property causing Marriott International, Incorporated to continue to fail to comply with disclosing mandatory fees despite agreeing to a settlement from November of 2021? As a result of failing to meet a deadline in February of 2023 to bring its disclosures into compliance by the agreed upon date and subsequent multiple extensions, the lodging company agreed to send a payment totaling $225,000.00 to the office of the attorney general of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Final Boarding Call

This hotel property — which currently will remain anonymous — is conveniently located off of an exit of a major interstate highway in a suburb of a major city in the United States, where one does not expect to pay for parking. I expect to pay for parking where parking is scarce — such as in the center of a major city.

Furthermore, I stayed at a different hotel property in the same location — but I was not charged for parking.

The purpose of a Parking Recapture Fee was never actually explained to me. What are they trying to recapture — the parking spot, or the cost of creating and maintaining a standard parking lot? Why is the amount so odd at $3.87?

$3.87 might not sound like much; but if 50 guests paid it every day for a year, the hotel property rakes in an extra $70,627.50 annually.

This is just one more useless and unjustifiable junk fee for which you should watch out when booking a reservation at a mid-range hotel property in the future, as its purpose seems to be nothing more than to have the rates appear to be less expensive than competitors in an attempt to simply grab more of your money…

Photograph ©2023 by Brian Cohen.

  1. Shocking! And like front desk was aware! They have little ability to make things better. Talk to GM and get it fixed!

    1. The manager apparently knew of the issue while I was still at the front desk, Hugh — but that manager never came out.

  2. Glad you got the fee credited. In California, hotels under the Marriott brands have been charging for parking in suburbia, in rural places, and in locations that are wide open, that used to be orchards in decades past. The fees can be $4-8 in places that no one would expect to pay for parking. I will choose a competitor. My friends who travel notice these unexpected parking fees too. I try to take public transportation as much as possible, as smash and grabs are common.

    1. The person behind the front desk said that my credit card would be credited, Sara J.

      The actual credit of $3.87 still has not appeared on my credit card account…

  3. Why not name and shame, or at least give the rest of us a heads-up to avoid such a dishonest establishment.
    You allow it to continue!

  4. think how many people just throw their room card on the bed, close the door and drive off without actually checking out… This is nonsense..

    1. I agree, UrbaneGorilla.

      This is the main reason why I usually do a formal check-out rather than just leave.

      I saved a lot of money this way.

      Your comment had me wondering: do some hotel properties actually promote not checking out or digital check-out for the purpose of sneaking fees onto the folios of unsuspecting guests?

  5. Ever since Marriott bought Starwood and became the dominate player in the hotel field they have made many changes, none of which are good for the consumer. They have raised prices, dropped out of consortiums which provided discounted rates, dramatically reduced availability of travel agent rates, imposed parking fees, added resort fees, etc. They should have been stopped from purchasing Starwood.

  6. You are doing a disservice to your readers by not naming the hotel. Regardless if they remove the fake fee or not.

  7. I’m sorry, but you are totally in the wrong here. The website says there is a fee for parking. I’ve never stayed in a hotel where parking is included in the “total stay” cost because people often don’t need parking. Perhaps they usually do for hotels on interstates, but not for city hotels, not for multi-room stays for families (parking then is only needed for one room), etc. The Marriott site is standardized and I would actually be upset if they listed the “total stay” price as including things like parking that I don’t need because then I might not book there when I do a price comparison. The Total Stay cost is what you have to pay without optional extras. Do you complain if they charge for breakfast? If an airline charges extra for early boarding or a preferred seat?

    1. You lost me at “I’ve never stayed in a hotel where parking is included in the ‘total stay’ cost because people often don’t need parking.”

      Sorry, Jeff; but I disagree with you on this.

  8. I agree with Jeff above. A portion of guests just use Ubers/Lyfts or have others drop them off. Parking (or driving for that matter) is not necessary and just incentivizes a car dependent society.

    1. Sometimes renting a vehicle is less expensive overall than ride sharing options, Sam.

      Also, I would think that ride sharing would be more common within the city limits and even the immediate suburbs — but with this specific experience, this was not necessarily the case.

  9. I agree that it’s an oddball name of a fee, and maybe that is what has gotten your goat. Curious, how did they know you used parking? As others have said, the fee was on the website. Parking is optional, and unless they say free self park, I think most of us assume there will be a charge.

    I’m wondering what you see as so heroic about withholding the property name. You said you want to see if you receive the refund. At this point, assume it won’t happen. If you felt cheated, why does it matter? And again, other than the inane name of the fee, don’t see what you are up in arms about. Hardly a violation of disclosure if you found it on the website.

    1. I am not trying to be “heroic” at all, Snuggs5500; but you bring up a great point: how did they even know that I used the parking? Was it merely an automatic assumption on their part for all of their guests unless the guests state otherwise — assuming that they carefully reviewed their folio?

      I never did give any information about the vehicle that I parked there — or that I even parked a vehicle there…

  10. It is easier to swindle Marriott International guests with a bogus fee called “Parking Recapture Fee” instead of “Executive Management and franchise owner Retirement Fee,” or “Just because we can, let’s rip off this Marriott guest fee.”

    1. “Executive Management and franchise owner Retirement Fee”.

      I completely agree with you, Ken A — and thank you for the laugh with the name of that fee…

  11. Had this same charge happen recently at Marriott Residence Inn Indianapolis Northwest when I had no car. Rip off.

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