Everyone loves a great deal. There’s nothing quite like that thrill of excitement of seeing a $39 airline ticket, or $99/night for a 5-star hotel. Oh sure, there’s bound to be taxes, but nothing too drastic, right? Wrong. If you travel often, you’ve seen the dreaded two words on your bill receipts: ancillary fees.
What are ancillary fees?
Any cost or other expense involved in a transaction, but not directly related to it. For example, you may see a concert ticket advertised for $15. As you go through the steps of purchasing your ticket, you notice your total has now become $35. What happened to your great rate? The website selling you the ticket has tacked on convenience and processing fees. These fees fall under the definition of ancillary charges. And just like that, your “great deal” became a pricey purchase.
Here are the three businesses most likely to tack on ancillary fees during your travels and some of their most common charges.
Airlines are notorious for advertising low prices on tickets, but then they try to get you to spend more money through upgrading to business class, early check-in, pre-boarding accommodation, etc. If you manage to bypass all that and stick with your original purchase price, buyers beware once you get on the plan! To make your flight more comfortable, airlines may offer you drinks, headsets, movies to watch, or even full meals. But they can come with ancillary fees, so ask what they are before you hand over your corporate credit card.
Typical airline ancillary fee examples:
● Ticket changes
● Overweight Luggage
● Travel insurance
● Priority boarding
● Food and drink
● Seat selection
2. Car rentals
Your plane has landed at your destination and you’re eager to get the car you reserved in advance—for a great price! As you look over the contract, red flags start to pop up: fees for using toll roads, fees for one-way drop offs, fees for returning the rental late or without the exact amount of gas you received it in. It’s an added stress you weren’t accounting for and now you need to remain vigilant to avoid all the expensive pitfalls.
Typical car rental ancillary fee examples:
● GPS Service
● Mileage limits
● Adding a second driver
● Fuel charges
● Satellite radio
● Toll road charges
● Accidental insurance
● Late return fee
Finally, you’re on your way to your hotel. As you check in, it’s a relief not to have to sign anything as you hand over your credit card and ID. A few days later you checkout, and as they hand over the hotel invoice for your stay, you once again face sticker shock: A $25 fee for every day you used hotel parking for your car rental. A $10 fee for every time you signed into the hotel Wi-Fi. A convenience fee has even been tacked onto the breakfast you ordered from room service! Now that you’re more knowledgeable about ancillary fees, be sure to keep them in mind as you book your next stay. The more expensive hotel you turned down that included all the above items for free may have been the cheaper deal after all.
Typical hotel ancillary fee examples:
● Room service
● Mini bar
● Late checkout
● Early check-in
Ancillary fees aren’t going anywhere. In fact, they are becoming more popular and showing up in places you least expect. Find out who includes them and who doesn’t. You might be surprised the more expensive choice could be the better deal.
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