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?