Hilton makes suite upgrades official for Diamond members

Last week I wrote about the rumor that Hilton would be adding suite upgrades to the terms and conditions of their program for HHonors Diamond members. This was long overdue, given that:

a) Hilton’s top tier status hasn’t been competitive with Hyatt and Starwood for a long time now
b) There was virtually no difference in elite benefits between Gold (mid tier) and Diamond (top tier) members

Well, Hilton now officially has the benefit listed on their website.

The benefit is listed as follows:

Conrad® Hotels & Resorts, Hilton Hotels & Resorts and DoubleTree by Hilton™ Benefits

All Hilton HHonors Diamond guests will receive each of the following:

Upgrades to Preferred Rooms.
Diamond HHonors guests will receive upgrades to preferred rooms, based on availability for the entire stay at the time of check-in. Upgrades for Diamond HHonors guests may include the next-best available room from the room type booked. Upgrades may also be rooms with desirable views, corner rooms, rooms on high floors, rooms with special amenities, rooms on Executive Floors**, or suites, as identified by each property. Some exclusions based on rate and room type may apply. See Terms & Conditions for details.

It’s interesting to note that the suite upgrades only apply at Conrad, Hilton, Doubletree, and Waldorf Astoria hotels. But what’s interesting, and concerning to many, is how they phrase the benefit. They say that upgrades “may include” the next-best available room, rooms on high floors, rooms with special amenities, suites, etc. Compare that to Starwood, which promises an upgrade “to the best room at check-in including standard suites.”

Now I don’t know if Hilton’s verbiage is intentional or not, but it certainly seems to give hotels the right to deny suite upgrades, even if they’re available. Compare that to Starwood, where you might have to fight at the front desk for ten minutes, but you’ll get your suite upgrade if they’re still selling that suite. So I don’t think there’s any reason to be alarmed, though it’s definitely interesting.

The other good news, as expected, is that Diamond members no longer have to choose between the 1,000 point bonus and an upgrade/breakfast. They now get all the benefits at Conrad, Hilton, and Doubletree hotels. This was also long overdue, given that Hyatt and Starwood both offer their members a welcome amenity in addition to upgrades, etc.

It will be interesting to see if Hyatt and Starwood react to this news. It has been rumored that Starwood will start offering Platinum members free breakfast as of March 1, so I think now more than ever it’s pretty certain this will happen. It will be interesting to see if Hyatt reacts, since I’m not sure they need to. They offer Diamond members four confirmed suite upgrades a year, which I think is an awesome benefit, since you can lock in upgrades on the stays you really want. It would be nice to get space available suite upgrades in addition to that, though I’m not even sure I’d want unlimited space available suite upgrades to replace the four annual confirmed suite upgrades. I think it’s more likely that they would start counting award stays towards elite status, allow suite upgrades to be applied on award stays, etc.

Hilton Diamond members, how ya feeling? Excited? Worried about how they’re phrasing the benefit? Indifferent?

Comments

  1. I’m quite worried. SanDiego1K reported a Conrad offering an upgrade “one level up from what you have booked” initially with Executive rooms available.

  2. I am diamond and plat w spg. However, I have been staying at mostly since Hilton made all the changes to their program.I hate to be negative, but this change isn’t enough to me excited about Hilton again.

  3. doesn’t sound like good news to be at all. most people book a king or double and the next category up is usually a corner room or a “deluxe” room. The wording just incentivizes the properties to not upgrade to suite level. 🙁

  4. Concerned at the phrasing which promises nothing and reads like something Written to put “suite” in the official terms without changing anything or introducing any new requirements for hotels to recognize diamonds. Hotels were already free to put diamonds in suites.

  5. Unfortunately, the words do concern me. Have a feeling that Executiive Floor rooms and possibly lounge access will become restricted.. Also where does it say that W-‘A hotels will provide suite upgrades? Last time at WA in NY they refused to upgrade , in fact as a Diamond got awful room. They did later apologize for the room.

  6. Thanks. W-A NY will not upgrade to Towers or provide Towers Lounge access. Does this change this policy? Read web site. Looks like a strategy to restrict Executive Floor rooms. Could be a double talk enhancement like their recent devaluation which was positioned as enhanced benefits. Only time will tell.

  7. The benefits page for gold members has the exact same wording.

    All Hilton HHonors Gold guests will receive the following:

    Upgrades to Preferred Rooms..

    Gold HHonors guests will receive upgrades to preferred rooms, based on availability for the entire stay at the time of check-in. Upgrades for Gold HHonors guests may include the next-best available room from the room type booked. Upgrades may also be rooms with desirable views, corner rooms, rooms on high floors, rooms with special amenities or rooms on Executive Floors**, as identified by each property. Some exclusions based on rate and room type may apply. See Terms & Conditions for details.

  8. It doesn’t exactly sound like suite upgrades. It sounds like if you booked a view of the AC unit, you now get a view of the alley. One step up, if available.

  9. @Kevin
    I’m a Diamond and stayed at the NYC W=A in October and was upgraded to a pretty nice Junior Suite. No Towers EL access, but free cocktails in the lounge during the evening.

  10. After what Hilton did to me last month, Hilton is DEAD to me! So I couldnt care less what they do. (I’ve been HHonors member for 15 years, about half of which were as Diamond.) One of their hotels charged my credit card 4x the nightly rate as a no show when I had in fact checked in that very night, and the “Diamond Desk” and “Guest Assistance” declined any effective assistance in resolving this with the hotel, telling me I had to call the hotel during ‘business hours’ and deal directly with the hotel. As a result of this hotel’s mistake, I faced several downstream impacts, not getting credit for the stay, and then subsequently not being awarded a free night certificate that was due because that stay was the 4th of the 4 stays required for a free night in their Q4 promo. I’ve had to spend many hours on the phone with the hotel at times/days that were inconvenient to me to get them to fix all of these problems that they caused. I was offered some points as compensation for the grief 3 weeks ago, but no points have appeared in my account.

    Bye bye so long Hilton – Marriott and SPG will be getting my 200 nights plus of hotel stays this year!

  11. I think Hilton is wording this policy so there is leeway with regards to the upgrade they make available depending upon capacity. If a hotel is near capacity and all of their suites are sold out, then a Diamond might not get a suite upgrade. If there are plenty of suites available, then a Diamond should get a suite upgrade.

    I hope upgrades to the Executive floor continue as they have for Golds, as it is one of the main benefits of Hilton’s Gold status.

    A final note is that international Hilton branded hotels seem to do a much better job of recognizing and rewarding loyalty whether Gold or Diamond status. I have received suite upgrades at overseas Hiltons even as a Gold, due to being a frequent and repeat customer. The advantage of Hilton HHonors is the number of their hotel locations around the world. Compare the number of Hyatts in London with the number of Hiltons. Hyatt ought to bring back FFN as an incentive to gain increased customer loyalty.

  12. This change constitutes nothing. The best written contracts say little to nothing at all, such as this. It’s a shame that Hilton would try to add another benifit to their top elites, yet write the verbiage to have no teeth behind the benifit. This is a waste as I see it and will not change my sleeping habits.

  13. Chitownflyer – SPG’s “best available room, including select suites” gives the same leeway to only provide upgrades when available, but provides stronger language.

    It’s certainly possible that they wanted to add the benefit, but have hotel contracts in-place that would be obstacles to phrasing things more strongly. Underpromising and overdelivering isn’t a bad thing, if they can pull it off. I do fear a lack of consistency, though.

  14. I agree. This is no change, why the fuss? People SOMETIMES got suite upgrades before but most of the time you get “upgraded” to the executive floor, which is the same room, different floor.

  15. The executive floor is no longer promised, either – merely suggested as one of many possible options. All that’s promised is something beyond the worst room in the house. There does not appear to be any real commitment to provide premium rooms to elites, even over just leaving them empty.

    I’m sure generous properties will remain so, but what about stingy ones?

  16. In my experience, Hilton’s international locations provide good rooms and Executive floor rooms to Gold members, adnt they also allocate rooms as high as suites to Diamond members even before the formal announcement of suites for Diamonds. If the new terms of HHonors are used to provide minimal upgrades, HHonors members will revolt and bolt for other programs. I tend to be on the cautiously optimistic side that hotels will allocate good upgrades.

  17. @Kevin @BrewerSEA
    I have 3 nights booked at the WA in NYC this April.

    I called the Diamond special services desk at HHonors (not the property) to ask them how this new benefit worked in conjunction with eStandby upgrades. The rep said she had never heard of eStandby and that they have always had a policy of upgrading diamond members. (???) She transfered me to the ‘Diamond desk’ for help with that.

    The agent at the ‘Diamond desk’ (again not at the property) said she had heard of the recent changes because her husband is a diamond member and they saw some changes in his MyWay perfs. (???)

    How the heck can Hilton not inform their agents with this information?? Also, how can a diamond services agent never have heard of eStandby? I very often find their special diamond line useless. Oh and I heard a dog barking very loudly in the background when I was speaking with the agent from the ‘Diamond desk’. How unprofessional can you get?

    So this is my question:
    How does eStandby work with this new benefit? If someone puts in a request via eStandby (lets say they’re a Gold member), will they get the upgrade before me if I just show up at the property?

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