The first time we recall encountering a "resort" or "amenity" fee at a hotel was during a disappointing stay at a Miami South Beach boutique hotel that we documented in our very first Trip Advisor review way back in 2005. The $5 resort fee we were stuck with seems surprisingly modest in retrospect, but we were annoyed at the time.
The fees often include a list of "benefits," the most laughable example of which
is "free local phone calls" in this era of almost universal cellphone
The Today Show recently ran a feature about those nuisance fees, including an account of recent government lawsuits in Washington DC and Pennsylvania designed to curb or eliminate the practice.
The video includes a couple of helpful tips but overlooks a significant one for collectors of loyalty program points, one that we make use of quite regularly.
We collect hotel points both through stays and through credit card spend. When we use our Hilton points to pay for a hotel that has a resort fee, the fee is automatically waived. Obviously, we hoard points for use at expensive properties, and that daily fee tacked on the bill is part of the calculation. We also accumulate Marriott and IHG points.
Incidentally, we discovered that Today Show feature via Christopher Elliott, who is briefly interviewed in it. We've recently subscribed to Elliott's free daily email newsletter and scan his website. He's a controversial figure in travel blogger circles (he's adamantly opposed to frequent flyer programs for one thing!), but he and his staff come up with interesting stories and they certainly help travelers out on a regular basis.