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Huge itemized charge for Breakfast in Sheraton Frankfurt Airport

Huge itemized charge for Breakfast in Sheraton Frankfurt Airport

 
Old Mar 14, 17, 3:13 am
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Huge itemized charge for Breakfast in Sheraton Frankfurt Airport

Hi all,

I recently stayed at the Sheraton Hotel Airport Frankfurt and booked the fully flexible rate of 237 euros which included breakfast. The rate details (attached) said I would be charged a 7% tax on the room and all looked good.

At checkout I get a bill with breakfast itemized separately at 100 euros with 13% tax and a room rate of 137 at 7% tax. How can they do this if the rate I was given says nothing about that?

My big issue is my company does not pay for breakfast, they pay for room rates. Now I'm paying 500 euros on 5 days of breakfast

Is this legal? To me it seems they changed the terms of the rate at checkout.
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Last edited by mperci; Mar 14, 17 at 3:16 am Reason: mistypes
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Old Mar 14, 17, 3:35 am
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Last edited by raunow; Mar 14, 17 at 4:14 am Reason: misunderstood the question
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Old Mar 14, 17, 4:12 am
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It is. Because of the different VAT rates for lodging and restaurants, a breakfast-inclusive room rate (and also half-board and full-board rates) has to be split into two for tax purposes using a pro rata formula.
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Old Mar 14, 17, 4:36 am
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I think the issue here is that in Germany they have to put the breakfast seperate because of different VAT. So they put a (random) price for the BF, and reduce the lodging rate by this amount. Because your company will not pay the BF, you could aks the hotel if they could make you a seperate special invoice showing only the total.
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Old Mar 14, 17, 4:48 am
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Originally Posted by thomasito View Post
I think the issue here is that in Germany they have to put the breakfast seperate because of different VAT. So they put a (random) price for the BF, and reduce the lodging rate by this amount. Because your company will not pay the BF, you could aks the hotel if they could make you a seperate special invoice showing only the total.
Yes, but many hotels that have breakfast included in rates (or even for all guests) don't do this kind of thing in localities where the VAT for lodging services is a distinct rate from the VAT for food/beverage services.

This kind of itemization for VAT reasons benefits whom (beside perhaps the taxation authorities)? The hotel? It doesn't do me a whole lot of good as a hotel customer.
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Old Mar 14, 17, 4:52 am
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Yes, but many hotels that have breakfast included in rates (or even for all guests) don't do this kind of thing in localities where the VAT for lodging services is a distinct rate from the VAT for food/beverage services.
I'm sure its not great for the hotel either, but there is the complicated German law... I know many other countries with different VAT for food vs. lodging where they keep that together; but in Germany I always had it shown seperatly on my bill, no matter which hotel I was.
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Old Mar 14, 17, 5:52 am
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Originally Posted by thomasito View Post
I think the issue here is that in Germany they have to put the breakfast seperate because of different VAT. So they put a (random) price for the BF, and reduce the lodging rate by this amount. Because your company will not pay the BF, you could aks the hotel if they could make you a seperate special invoice showing only the total.
I asked the girl at the counter and then eventually her manger, both stated they could not prepare any other kind of invoice.

My biggest problem is that the bill contradicts the terms in the quoted rate. Nowhere does the rate state the taxes or price of breakfast.
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Old Mar 14, 17, 6:03 am
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Originally Posted by mperci View Post
I asked the girl at the counter and then eventually her manger, both stated they could not prepare any other kind of invoice.

My biggest problem is that the bill contradicts the terms in the quoted rate. Nowhere does the rate state the taxes or price of breakfast.
If you booked a breakfast-included rate for this property on Hotels.com, you would not have had this problem as hotels.com produces invoices that work pretty well for RBE/TE reports. The downside of this approach would be that the Starwood SPG benefits don't apply as a matter of policy. The upside of the approach is that it's possible to get around 10-20% rebated back via the combination of cashback portal use and the hotels.com reward program.

When this property is booked with breakfast included and paid for on hotels.com, it's possible to get the invoice to show being charged just the room rate and the taxes without any separate charge and tax for the breakfast.
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Old Mar 14, 17, 6:17 am
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Unfortunately you are stuck.

You have simply run into an unhelpful local staff. That may be understandable at an airport property at an international hub where travelers face all manner of local issues in their home jurisdictions.

A more helpful property would prepare an invoice for you simply showing the total rate and then total VAT, all totalling what you owe at the end of the week. Stores in China, by way of example, do the opposite, generally only preparing tax invoices for those who request them. Who does all of this benefit? Unimportant because the property is required by local German law to produce the invoice the way it does.

My only suggestion is to speak with your travel / accounts payable / CFO people and determine what works best. Perhaps a copy of the booking along with the invoice to show that the rate is EUR 237 and that how the rate is broken down is a matter of local tax law? Presuming that you work for a business with a lot of international travelers, what you are encountering is hardly uncommon.
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Old Mar 14, 17, 6:42 am
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post

My only suggestion is to speak with your travel / accounts payable / CFO people and determine what works best. Perhaps a copy of the booking along with the invoice to show that the rate is EUR 237 and that how the rate is broken down is a matter of local tax law? Presuming that you work for a business with a lot of international travelers, what you are encountering is hardly uncommon.
This was my first thought as well. I do find it curious that it is OK to book a room rate that includes breakfast even though there is a policy against paying for breakfast......
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Old Mar 14, 17, 7:03 am
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Originally Posted by mcgahat View Post
This was my first thought as well. I do find it curious that it is OK to book a room rate that includes breakfast even though there is a policy against paying for breakfast......
It's not all that unusual to have a policy against reimbursing specific meal expenses while reimbursing hotel rate plans that include a specific benefit that would otherwise be a separate incidental expense.

There are hotels that include meals in some or all rate plans because it makes sense for an important segment of their customer base that wants simplified expense reporting or that is trying to comply with corporate or home governmental authorities' requirements on expenses.

Originally Posted by Often1
Who does all of this benefit? Unimportant because the property is required by local German law to produce the invoice the way it does.
Oh, but it is important who benefits from arrangements like this.

Which specific local German law requires hotels to itemize out breakfast charges for bookings that have rate plans inclusive of breakfast for some guests?
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Old Mar 14, 17, 7:09 am
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Originally Posted by mcgahat View Post
This was my first thought as well. I do find it curious that it is OK to book a room rate that includes breakfast even though there is a policy against paying for breakfast......
If that is the case, OP ought to just leave it alone and call it a lesson learned.

If OP's employer provides a per diem for meals, the expectation may be that employees book rooms which do not include meals or where there is no upcharge for meals. Thus, if there is a lower room rate which does not include breakfast, the expectation may be that employees book that rate.

That is all internal rules and perhaps more important than rules: expectations.
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Old Mar 14, 17, 7:12 am
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Who does this benefit ? Looking at the breakdown :

breakfast 100 euros with 13% tax and a room rate of 137 at 7% tax

....it's the German taxman : it appears that more tax then strictly necessary was levied. If it had been split at, say, breakfast Eur20 at 13% and room Eur217 at 7%, then less tax would be due and the hotel would have kept more of the OPs money.

Originally Posted by FozBoy View Post
Because of the different VAT rates for lodging and restaurants, a breakfast-inclusive room rate (and also half-board and full-board rates) has to be split into two for tax purposes using a pro rata formula.
Aren't there any rules that require the pro-rata formula to reflect the actual value of the goods and services in each tax category ?
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Old Mar 14, 17, 7:16 am
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Sorry - This responds to GUWONDER, missed the box.

I have no idea. It was rhetorical.

But, few German employers use a per diem concept for food reimbursement and US employers are met with stiff resistance by German employees when attempting this even when the per diem allowances are more than generous. Thus, cultural issues sometimes overtake the rational.
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Old Mar 14, 17, 7:17 am
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Originally Posted by Oxon Flyer View Post
Aren't there any rules that require the pro-rata formula to reflect the actual value of the goods and services in each tax category ?
I thought there were, otherwise it opens the door for all sorts of shenanigans, including perhaps criminal tax violations.

Does a rate plan with lounge access -- where breakfast at this property is perhaps still available in the lounge -- include an invoice itemization out for meals? That would be completely new to me.
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