Hilton Hotel Charging Guests Extra 7.5% Fee To Cover Property Taxes

Hotels, other commercial buildings, and even homes can save money by making energy-saving green investments, and there are government programs that provide subsidized loans to support these investments. The selling point is that the owner saves more money than the improvements cost, and government subsidies tip the scales even more.

The PACE program allows building owners to pay back the loans as part of property taxes. Two months ago I wrote about a Marriott hotel in Missouri charging guests a fee to cover these property taxes, and imposing the fee on award nights even though points stays are supposed to include all taxes.

It turns out that there’s a Hilton billing guests for their property taxes, too. And they’re adding a whopping 7.5% onto room rates to do it, as though it’s a tax based on the daily rate that the guest is paying. Here’s how Hilton’s Curio Collection Tulsa Club Hotel describes the fee,

The hotel is honest that they invested in the building to reduce energy use. That saves them money, and they’re imposing an add-on fee to improve revenue, too. But the hotel claims that the funds are for “a county assessement” that “was approved by the State of Oklahoma.” That makes it sound like an official tax, and is misleading (to be generous).

According to the Department of Energy, “A PACE assessment is a debt of property, meaning the debt is tied to the property” – it is not an assessment on hotel guests, or “7.5% of hotel room revenue” as this hotel suggests.

The hotel claims to have reduced their energy use by around 40%. They pocket those cost savings, and those savings are supposed to pay back subsidized loans – and they make money on the difference. So why are they imposing a fee, through drip-pricing, to charge guests for it – and mislead them about the program?

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. On one hand the owner of this hotel should be beaten down by Mike Tyson.

    On the other hand I really don’t care. Do U? Every traveler knows to expect 10-20% taxes and fees on a hotel’s nightly rate and whether these are imposed by a municipality or by a scumbag owner, it don’t f**king matter, it’s money out of your pocket either way.

    What really needs to happen is,
    1. Somebody needs to hire Mike Tyson to go face to face with EVERY hotel owner charging nonsense fees, and
    2. Mike Tyson needs to go face to face with EVERY lawmaker in the country until they agree to legislate ALL IN PRICING ON HOTEL RATES JUST LIKE AIRFARE!

  2. These properties are getting SO ridiculous…. They should have a certified PAN HANDLERS also doing the walks, others selling 50-50 like Ryan Air and offer protection too!!

  3. @ayenus: The difference is I expect the Hilton’s taxes to match the Marriott’s next door if the room rate is the same. As long as hotels do not advertise the all-in price, I should not have to compare between two of them to find out one includes their property tax and the other crafts it to make it fake “pass-through” tax.

  4. Why do people still stay at Hilton properties? They essentially ended their HHonors program, so why bother?

  5. @Tino – duh because the hotel has a good rate and is in a good location. Also not sure what you mean about ending the Hhonors program. Yes their points are worth less and no award chart but so easy to earn points. I’m Marriott Titanium, Hilton Diamond and Hyatt Explorist. I stay where I want based on price and needs for a specific trip and that often ends up being a Hilton hotel. Get the chip off your shoulder

  6. So why don’t they all just raise the basic price to include their add-ons and call it done?

    The obvious answer is so that the lower rate will look better when one calls up a comparison between lodgings. But a desk manager at a Marriott portfolio property told me more when I complained about her hotel’s destination/resort fee. She said if the amount is included in the base price, corporate (in her case Marriott) takes a cut on bookings you make through the website, and if it’s an add-on, they don’t. Is that true? And if so, would that apply to the property-tax add-on also? Either way, it’s crap.

  7. We’ll see a tax line item for property taxes, employee SS and Medicare taxes then I guess.

  8. Fraud is the new way to go. Just ask Gove Ron on how to screw people and business over. Bad for business. Rotary club hates this crap

  9. We need Congress to pass fair pricing laws that apply to hotels, airbnb, etc. Outlaw the garbage fees. Ditto for mobile phones, car rentals and every other industry that is deceptive regarding the actual final price.

  10. I really like how Australia does it: advertised prices must include *everything*. The price you see is the price you pay.

    I’m sure there are a few businesses who try various shabby practices, but the law is crystal clear.

  11. Marriott has lost a number of corporate customers by playing the hidden fee game. Hilton will face the same consequences if they don’t end fraudulent billing now.

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