Best ways to avoid resort fees in Hawaii

I remember the good old days when it was rare for a hotel to charge a resort fees. Now, it’s difficult to find a resort that doesn’t charge a resort fee.

I recall paying our first daily resort fee at a Hawaii hotel back in 2007. It was $15, which I thought was expensive at the time. Nowadays, Hawaii hotels are far more likely to charge a resort fee of $35 to $50 per night. Ouch! On top of that base fee, tack on another 17.962% in taxes. These daily charges quickly add up to hundreds of dollars for a weeklong stay.

From our experience, we’ve gotten very little value out of these ever-increasing resort fees. So, how can we avoid paying resort fees on our Hawaii vacations? Let’s take a look at these helpful methods.

Look for deals on Costco Travel

Over the years, we’ve found some amazing hotel and car packages through Costco Travel. One reason their deals are so good is that resort fees are waived for the vast majority of their vacation packages. This link takes you to Costco Travel’s Hawaii page.

Important notes about Costco Travel packages:

  • Most Costco Travel vacation packages include daily breakfast and car rental or transportation to and from the airport. Sometimes there are more inclusions. Therefore, the overall cost will be more than just pricing out the hotel only so bear that in mind as you are comparison shopping.
  • Costco Travel tends to have vacation packages for 4 and 5-star hotels. So, the costs may be on the higher range, but for a higher quality hotel.
  • Overall, Costco Travel’s Hawaii vacation packages offer a very good value for some of Hawaii’s better hotels. We have personally booked several Costco Travel Hawaii vacation packages and our friends have, too. One time we found a Hawaii vacation package on the Big Island that included hotel, daily breakfasts at the hotel’s fancy breakfast buffet and a full-size rental car for less than we could find the hotel-only rate anywhere else.

As an example of Costco hotel and transportation packages that don’t require resort fees, take a look at the following screenshot from their Hawaii page that we captured as we wrote this article in 2023. Notice the phrases like, “daily resort fee included,” “no daily resort fee,” and “waived daily resort fee” that I’ve added a box around.

Look for Hawaii hotel deals on Travelzoo

Just like Costco, some of the Travelzoo hotel deals waive resort fees. It seems like at least once a month Travelzoo has a Hawaii hotel deal in their weekly top 20 deals. Check these links to find vacation deals:

Stay in a vacation condo or villa

Most vacation rentals don’t have resort fees. We’ve rented several condos over our many Hawaii vacations. There’s only been one occasion that we’ve had to pay a resort fee and it was only a one-time fee of about $30.

We almost always rent vacation condos through VRBO. From our recent check, they’ve got quite an inventory of Hawaii vacation rentals – 25,790, to be exact.

Please note that even though VRBOs don’t charge a daily resort fee, they do charge other fees, like one-time cleaning and booking fees.

Stay at a hotel that doesn’t charge resort fees

Of course, the most obvious way to avoid resort charges is to stay at a hotel that doesn’t charge them in the first place. Those hotels are very rare finds. Another common trait of these hotels is that they tend to be the ultra-luxury resorts, so they will come with a large price tag at the outset.

Here’s a current list of Hawaii hotels that don’t charge resort fees as of the time of publishing this article:

Please note that the list of hotels that don’t charge resort fees are dwindling. As we were compiling this short list, there were resorts that we know we’ve not had to pay resort fees in the past that are now charging resort fees.

Check loyalty programs and credit card perks

If you are a frequent traveler and tend to stay at the same hotel brands, check to see whether their loyalty programs offer perks to avoid resort fees. Here are a couple of examples:

Additionally, some credit cards may offer benefits to waive or cover a portion of resort fees.

Are there any other ways you’ve successfully avoided resort fees on your Hawaii vacations?

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