The Curious Case of Extra Points Charges For 2 Guests on Hilton Award Nights

Hilton promises that two guests always cost the single occupancy rate if you’re a Hilton Honors member. So why are they charging extra points for two guests at the Cavalieri in Rome?

Searching for one night I can get the Cavalieri Hilton, now a Waldorf-Astoria, for 65,000 points.

However if I search the same dates with two guests occupying the room instead of just one the rate goes up to 66,000 points. (HT: Joe Brancatelli)

The paid rate doesn’t change for two guests. The room type is exactly the same. But there’s a second person charge of 1000 points.

The extra 1000 points only applies when the hotel is priced at less than 80,000 points per night. Hilton doesn’t have fixed points pricing for its hotels, they have ranges and maximums. And 80,000 points per night is the current maximum for this hotel.

Cavalieri, Credit: Hilton

Charging extra for two guests would seem to violate the Hilton Honors ‘second guest stays free‘ benefit just for being a member.

A second guest stays free in the Member’s room on qualifying stays at hotels when there are additional charges for double occupancy. This benefit excludes stays at any hotel when the rate includes additional components (e.g., meals, activities, parking), or specialized rates (e.g. package rates, bed & breakfast rates) that are quoted as a per person or per room charge.

Hilton explains,

  • There’s a 7 euro per person occupancy tax that applies [the tax is 4 euros for 2 and 3 star hotels, 6 euros for 4 star hotels, and 7 euros for 5 star hotels]
  • The hotel pays this tax on reward nights, and Honors pays them more to cover it
  • So they charge the guest more. They argue it’s not a higher rate, just more tax.
  • But the cost of the hotel is never more than the 80,000 point current redemption rate maximum for the property.

While descriptions of the tax I’ve seen suggest that this tax must be collected from the guest upon checkout, and is not included even on prepaid hotel rates, Hilton tells me that it is not charged to the guest on reward stays and so the incremental points are charged to cover the extra tax for the second room occupant.

If there was ever any doubt though about whether Hilton Honors had become a full revenue-based program, charging 1000 extra points because of an incremental additional fee for a second guest should help disabuse that.

You should probably just search with the default one guest staying in a room if booking a redemption night at the Cavalieri.

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, 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. The reason is because that hotel is a ripoff. Every single thing is a nickel-and-dime opportunity. They charge for just about everything (e.g. use of fitness facilities) that other five-stars include in the rate, and the charges are very high even for a top-end hotel. And I find the interior totally gauche – trying to be something it’s not. And the location – so far away from everything that makes Rome special – sucks.

  2. This hotel has been scamming Hilton Honors members for decades
    This same hotel back in the 90s (then a Hilton Not a Waldorf
    had a points redemption tax upon check out that was undisclosed
    At the time they said the Italian government demanded it
    It was a battle that went to corporate upon our return
    They never stop (roll eyes)

  3. We found this to be true for the Curio in Siena. 49k vs 50k when booking 1 person vs 2. If paying, it changes by 30 euros! Seems a bit outrageous for an additional guest.

  4. Sadly, touristy parts of Italy are a big ripoff. When Americans book with points, they just see suckers.

  5. Honors explanation holds no water. I was just there a week ago and I paid that 7 euro per person per day city tax.
    Please follow up with Honors and if they still insist on this explanation, then I guess I should ask the Hotel to refund my tax that is double-paid.

  6. Thank you for uncovering this scam; but since you value Hilton points at $0.004 each, this could save the typical American tourist only $4.00 per night. You’re the industry leader. I’d rather you mount a crusade about credit cards that insult us with 1x points for hotel stays when all their ads claim hotels we get 5x or more. I’m tired of hearing “Oh, duh, the hotel coded the charge wrong. We’re innocent.” Make some waves, Gary!

  7. In your article you report, “there’s a 7 euro per person occupancy tax that applies [the tax is 4 euros for 2 and 3-star hotels, 6 euros for 4-star hotels, and 7 euros for 5-star hotels].” This appears to be just another unusual or bogus Hilton tax. Governments do not assign a “star” rating to a hotel which is then used to determine the occupancy tax collected,

    I was billed a bogus tax when staying as a guest at the Hilton Garden Inn at the Albuquerque, New Mexico airport. My Hilton hotel was billing all guests an extra “hospitality surcharge” that was listed as a mandatory tax. Read more:

  8. I also paid 7 Euros tax on an award stay. Their explanation does not hold water

  9. Same thing for Hilton Auckland. It costs more for 2 guests versus one. Reservations told me to book it as one guest.

  10. Has the HHonors T&C for Diamonds changed ? Though I hesitate to point it out (because doing so will urge them to change it) Diamonds were explicitly allowed to pay the single rate for double occupancy for years. I still book it that way.

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