Hilton to add suite upgrades for Diamond members

In other news, there’s a flying pig outside my window. Mark this story as “developing.” It’s more than a rumor, but the verdict is still out there on some details.

Savvy points aficionados have long flocked to Hyatt and Starwood because they generally have the most rewarding hotel loyalty programs. Historically Hilton hasn’t had very exciting promotions, and their top tier elite benefits weren’t great. Actually, one of their biggest problems (from my perspective) is that they don’t do enough to distinguish between top tier and mid tier elites. Despite a substantial difference in the number of nights required to achieve status (60 nights vs. 36 nights), the benefits are almost identical on paper. The major distinction is that Diamond members (top tier elites) are guaranteed access to the executive lounge, while Gold members (mid tier elites) get it on a space available basis. Still, in all the years I’ve been a Gold member, I’ve always received club access.

That being said, it seems like Hilton is finally doing something to distinguish between the two tiers, by offering Diamond members suite upgrades on a space available basis at Hilton, Conrad, Doubletree, and Waldorf Astoria properties. Furthermore, Diamond members will receive all MyWay benefits when staying at Hilton, Conrad, and Doubletree hotels, instead of having to choose between them (meaning they’ll earn a points bonus, free internet, and lounge access/breakfast).

While some suggest the program is supposed to kick in on January 18, there are no firsthand reports yet. There’s more on the topic in this FlyerTalk thread, and you can even see a picture an employee snapped of the new program here.

If this is all true, Hilton has quickly entered the “big leagues” of awesome top tier hotel elite status, along with Hyatt and Starwood.

The other really interesting thing about Hilton is that you can earn Diamond status just by spending $40,000 annually on their Surpass credit card. So if you’re not a super-frequent hotel guest but want those stays that you do make to be special, it makes more sense than ever to switch over some spend to the Hilton Surpass American Express credit card.

Anyway, as soon as I see a formal announcement I’ll be sure to post again. But way to go, Hilton!

Would anyone switch to Hilton as a result of this? Put $40,000 of spend onto their credit card? Upgrade from Gold to Diamond?

Comments

  1. And about time too! With the points+points+credit card bonuses, it’s always been a very easy source of points that I have then use at waldorfs as well as surprisingly cheap points rewards in London. Also, the option to renew on base points has always been great, typically meaning the number of nights needed is much less than published. I hope this is true, I might consider giving them some nights again this year.

  2. This still doesn’t take into account the value of Hilton points. In general, Hilton points seem to be worth much less than SPG points.

  3. From personal experience, Hilton has been doing this for at least two years. I’ve been put in a suite a few times as part of my upgrade

  4. @Phil, I’ve managed a 25-50% rate of upgrades to suites as _Gold_ over the last year — usually by asking nicely if an upgrade is available. I’m actually afraid that by formalizing this as a Diamond benefit, it will cease to be available as an unofficial (and far-from-guaranteed) perk for Golds.

  5. The Times Square Hilton presidential suite (aka hookers & blow suite) has been a frequent upgrade as a Diamond. This is nothing new.

  6. I was recently surprised to have been upgraded to Gold after only 4 nights this calendar year. I was previously silver but only got that status for free through a promo link (I think) from this blog. Anybody have a similar experience? I’m thinking it’s a glitch.

  7. In the past I have been upgraded to suites in Hiltons in USA and abroad as Diamnod member although not as often as SPG PLT. I think getting suite upgrades into the official policy is the right move for HHonors as the Diamond status will be more valuable. At the same time, I believe that SPG will be left with little choice but to add breakfast as PLT benefit in the near future. If both HHonors and SPG benefit upgrades will materialized, I will be having a hard time to decide between maintaining SPG PLT or HHonors Diamond … unless I can re-qualify for both!

  8. While some may have decent experiences getting upgraded as gold or Diamond, let me assure you that is not the norm.

    @Rob – I agree that Hilton points are not worth as much. Usually between .5 and 1 cent per point. However, they are much easier to get, especially if you have the credit card. I earn an average of about 4 points per dollar spent with that card. The spg card only earns 1 right? And I’ve heard of people getting 4 cents/point on spg award stays but I doubt that’s the norm. So, while spg points are probably a little better option, it’s not as big a difference as most people make it out to be. Especially given how many more hotels Hilton has.

  9. I like this move on Hilton’s part, it makes Diamond better, but HHonors should bring back the Daimond force. I do not think the suite upgrades are valid at Waldorfs? At least from what we see on the picture. Can anyone confirm this?

  10. @Chitownflyer
    This fall I had two different one-night stays at the NY WA, both times I was upgraded to a Junior Suite. Diamonds are treated very well there, including a separate room with sit-down check in.

  11. Well, I’ll certainly be pleased if this pans out. I managed to put 40K on my Surpass last year (by the skin of my teeth) and am now Diamond. I was underwhelmed by the old benefits, but the new terms will put them in the running. I mainly got the Surpass card for the signup and grocery store earn (6ppd), but this might motivate me to keep it.

  12. Diamond Force is still active. I just did it for Valentines day in Singapore for onlky 40k points. You just need to wait until the hotel is sold out to use it.

  13. Yawn. I rarely stay at a Hilton that has suites available as an upgrade and there are usually way more Diamonds checking in than there are suites so I don’t expect to get one. I never was able to use a suite upgrade on Hyatt. I am sick of various programs advertising benefits that are increasingly near impossible to get.

  14. @dmodemd
    I agree. I also found Hilton upgrades tough, particularly in London or elsewhere in Europe. Just got back from London today and got the usual “sorry, but nothing available” when requesting an upgrade. This was the case at two London properties this week. Maybe it is because I am Gold, but got the same routine as a Diamond. I may have been upgraded in London once in the past 12 trips. So I have switched more spend to Hyatt. All in all I don’t attach much importance to hotel elite status anymore.The benefits are too hard to realize and use, or just not available. That is why I find myself at Kimpton and independent properties a lot these days.

  15. 40 large in spending is quite a number to hit. Although I would greatly consider it if I was getting suites for 90% of my stays at a Hilton.

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