Hotel Minibar Usage is Down Plus 31 Days of Giveaways – Day 6

Screen Shot 2015-11-29 at 4.15.42 PM

Please note that I receive compensation for many links on this blog. American Express and other banks are advertising partners of this site. Read my Advertiser Disclosure policy to learn more.

The world’s first minibar was reportedly put in all the rooms at the Hilton in Hong Kong back in 1974, which skyrocketed drink sales by 500%.

Over the years though, the number of guests willing to overpay for a soda or chocolate bar has steadily dwindled. A study earlier this year by Go Airport Express and The Go Group showed that 70 percent of travelers say they never use the hotel minibar. Never.

Less than 4% of those surveyed said they always get something from the minibar.

I can’t stand weighted minibars, those with sensors that charge automatically if something is removed or even jostled hard enough. I simply leave those minibars alone.

One of the perks of being Platinum (or even just a Preferred Guest) with Starwood gets me free bottled water in the room. I can’t always stay at a Starwood property though, and if I’m in staying somewhere else and get thirsty I’ll take a bottle of water from the minibar as a last resort, such as when I’ve arrived late and am too tired to go anywhere else.

If I arrive at a decent hour I’ll push any items in the minibar to the side and add in my own bottled waters bought at a nearby convenience store. If there isn’t a separate empty fridge I’ll tuck food in amongst the minibar items to keep it cold as well.

To enter today’s giveaway contest for a free goodie bag, leave a comment on this post about hotel minibars. Do you use them? Think they are obsolete? Wish they offered healthier snacks at reasonable prices?

The contest ends at 9pm PST, and you can click here to read more details about the prizes, etc.

Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed or endorsed by any bank, card issuer, or other company including (but not limited to) American Express unless otherwise stated. Comments made in response to posts are not provided or commissioned, and they have not been reviewed or endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of any advertiser to make sure that questions are answered.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material on this site without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

  1. Linda

    Have never used a hotel minibar- often the room-service prices are comparable, and much better quality!

  2. mandy

    I have not used a mini-bar in years (except to store my own stuff) …

  3. JH

    Glad to see usage is down. On the rare occasion I even glance at the prices it makes me feel like the hotel sees me as a mark.

  4. Lynn

    Rarely use them on normal travel. Way too expensive. Did use one a lot when I was living in a hotel for a month in Delhi. But I don’t think they charged me for everything as they knew I was going to be there for a month and my coworker I hung out in the lounge with a lot had been there for 5 months and the staff loved her.

  5. Jonathan


  6. Amanda

    I don’t use them.0

  7. marcus

    I am always amazed by the extreme prices in the mini-bar. I don’t expect the prices to be like the supermarket or to even 7/11, however, 3 or 4 times the normal price is ridiculous.

  8. JR

    They are obsolete because the prices are outrageous. At the convenience next door to the hotel you can get six bottles of water for the price of the one in the minibar.

  9. elizabeth

    don’t use em, however I would if the prices were half of current.

  10. Lively

    I stayed at the Park Hyatt Toronto a few days ago. I checked out of the hotel and everything was fine. When I get home and looked at my credit card, they charged me $56 CAD for the mini bar! I was furious. I called and had them remove the charge (we never touch a mini bar). Then I said it’s annoying that I have to babysit my Hyatt bill after I get back home to make sure I’m not overcharged….and she gave me an additional $30 off my bill. I was happy with that.

  11. Dave Z

    I only use the mini bar at Kimpton properties (where you can usually get one or two things for free) OR at international destinations where the currently-strong dollar exchange rate brings the price down to a manageable level.

  12. TJ

    Never touch the minibar UNLESS I’m staying at an Andaz where everything is free and I make it my personal mission to empty that thing no matter how long my stay is

  13. James

    Never use em, easy enough to run round to a corner shop

  14. Guest

    I used it once on a cruise. I had major heartburn at night and needed something to down the medicine quickly. The prices weren’t super crazy [for being stuck in the middle of the ocean with no other options], but I think that mini-bottle of water was around $3. The price of relief!

  15. Laura

    Never use them! Wayyyyy too pricy and yes, I hate the weighted ones too.

  16. Geri J.

    I only use the minibar to store my own things or to occasionally grab a water if we arrive late.

  17. Darlene

    I have used the mini bar once and that was out to give the kids something. There is such a huge mark up on each item, it doesn’t make sense. It’s less expensive to buy a case of water and donate it to the staff. Though funny enough the mini bar was a topic of conversation on The Middle episode this week.

  18. Robin

    I have never and will never purchase from a minibar. I do love the empty mini fridges that done hotels provide though. Perfect for leftovers!

  19. Jennifer

    Don’t use ’em. My Mom once invited a friend to travel with her and had to stop herself from freaking out when the friend told her how tasty all the “free” snacks and drinks were in her room. The bill was as bad as she imagined it would be.

  20. Denise L

    I haven’t use a minibar is years…..way too expensive.

  21. David

    I never use a minibar!

  22. Ryan K

    I never use them as they are a ripoff, but once I accidentally drank the NOT free water. OOPS!

  23. Kijo

    I think/hope that mini bars are on their way to being obsolete, which is fine with me. I hate having to monitor my bill for mini bar charges. Or, sometimes when you get in your room you notice that something is missing from the minibar. You know that when the attendant replaces the item the charge will likely go on your bill and then you will have to have the front desk remove.

  24. Susan H

    Never used them other than for keeping my own things cold. I think hotels that still have them should just remove their items and leave the fridge for the guests to use free of any additional charges.

  25. Nathan

    I never use them. I’m too cheap.

  26. Lois

    I do not use the mini bar, in fact my local liquor store stocks my favorite libations and i have carried them with me for years.

  27. Eddy

    Always tempted but can never justify the high costs.

  28. VX_Flier

    Never use the minibar. There’s no reason to.

    I’ll just head down to the bar.

  29. Bill G

    I don’t use them. Even room service is less expensive in some places! One tip: Often they can be locked upon request. If you aren’t using it to keep your own things cold, ask to have it locked. Much easier to get bogus charges off your bill that way!

  30. Paul

    I hate minibars….so thats a nice way to say I never use them. Worse though, are places in Vegas that have weighted items for sale on top of dressers, etc. you are literally afraid to touch anything!!!

  31. Teddy H

    I would only touch the minibar for 2 reasons: to put my own food/drinks in the fridge, and if I get some minibar items for free. If I was too tired to get something else outside of the hotel, I’ll just order room service. Even if the prices are the same (more often than not it’s cheaper), the quality of food/drinks is better than the ones they have in the minibar.

  32. Dwi

    Never. The prices they’re trying to charge you is outrageous (unless it’s free, of course). I don’t mind paying something extra to the hotel for foods/drinks, but the price should be reasonable.

  33. Ben

    Never used a hotel minibar – always better to find a local bar and spend the money there!

  34. Luke US

    Never use them! 🙂

  35. Anita

    I hate those weighted minibars too! The only time I use them are at Andaz properties because it’s free and their snacks/drinks are usually local and interesting! Either empty out the fridge so I can put my leftovers or put in some healthy options.

  36. Rob

    Guilty here! I only do occasionally when my sugar levels drop suddenly so I reach for an overpriced candy bar.

  37. JRG

    Never used one, never will.

  38. Dan

    The only time is when I stay at an “at-cost” minibar. I’ll spend $1.50 on a mini or beer or 75 cents on a bottle of water.

  39. Nathan

    The only time I use the minibar is when I allowed a free water bottle. Usually I don’t even bother to open it.

  40. Daniel

    So at a property in South Korea, the mini bar wasnt ‘weighted’, but I was able to find the exact items at the Korean grocery across the street. So I would just restock it. Ever since then, I wait a day, and If I’m in a similar situation I re-buy the item out in town if I see it by chance.

  41. Joe C

    Really, 4% use the minibar, number seems high by about 4%. Never used and never know anyone to use.

  42. r Hirsch

    convenient….but ju$t not worth it!

  43. Michael H.(oldfox)

    I don’t use minibars, except to keep my own food and water cold. Minibars are too expensive, so many people simply refuse to buy from them. Obsolete….. in my opinion.

  44. CT

    I never use them. I buy bottled water and bring it with me.

  45. Dee

    Would be happy to see them go the way of the dinosaurs! Better just to pay to rent a fridge if needed.

  46. iamalighthouse

    I don’t use them…I don’t know that I’d use them if they offered snacks, even, since they are so outrageously pricey!

  47. Martin

    I prefer the minibars in some Asian hotels where either
    a. the prices are only slightly above convenience store prices or better
    b. are FREE – thats right NO charge.

  48. Marilyn B

    Never use the minibar. But we just returned from traveling to London & Dublin, staying in Radisson Blu properties in both cities. In addition to complimentary water each day (we are Club Carlson Gold), both hotels had EMPTY mini-fridges for personal use! How great was that! We made good use of them to chill the water bottles and store leftover sandwiches from lunch, fruits and other snacks. .

  49. Rich

    Only in a dire emergency !

  50. dotti cahill

    i try to never ever use the overpriced mini bars and absolutely hate the weighted ones..they are evil esp when they take up 1/2 of the top of the bureau(hyatt regency-atl)

  51. Marcia

    I don’t drink alcohol so they don’t bother me one bit.

  52. nbdona


  53. bldona


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *