Diamond satus - what am I missing?

Old May 31, 10, 5:43 pm
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Diamond satus - what am I missing?

After spending the past five years "mid-tier" with just about every major hotel program I decided to make a run at Hilton Diamond this year. Between a network of hotels with corporate contracts, a few coworkers who are devoted to Hilton that I often travel with, and a honeymoon in MLE this August, focusing on Hilton just made sense to me.

I achieved Diamond and after three stays at full service properties (1 Tree Tree and 2 Hiltons) I have to ask myself if Diamond status is really worth anything.

Case in point: Stayed at the Hilton FLL Marina last night. Gorgeous property, convenient location, and except for the raping on the self-park, a very nice hotel. But what did Diamond get me? Seemingly nothing. My rate included breakfast so the front desk agent told me "next time, don't pre-buy breakfast." Thanks.

My room was on a floor that had "HHonors" outside the elevator. Whoopdie freaking do. There was no lounge that I could find. The room itself was a standard room. No free internet. I did however enjoy my free bottle of wine from Hyatt out on my balcony.

I called down this morning to inquire about a late check-out and was told "sure. We can extend your room until 1p." I asked if I could hold the room until 4p, as I'm accustomed to from SPG and was told there would be a charge equivalent to half my room rate. I politely mentioned that I'm Diamond and I thought, if available (which obviously it was) a late check-out was supposed to be extended to me, gratis. The response was "yes, we've offered to let you keep your room until 1p. That is a late check-out. We offer this to all guests who ask." Fair enough but a big load of .

At the other Hilton I received my comp. breakfast (after asking for my chits) but no upgrade in the room or lounge access. At the Tree Tree, I got a load of nothing.

When I try and access my "my way" preferences I get stuck in a loopty loop of being asked to login. Although I'm not really sure what I'd change them to. I try and avoid snack foods / sodas / candy and I have an air-card for places with wifi for a charge. And I think I'd rather invest in Zimbabwe dollars rather than hoarding HHonors points.

So, I have to ask -- what am I missing? Is Hilton Diamond worth anything besides the occasional free bagel?

Or is the real value in the easy comp. over to SPG?

Last edited by Canarsie; Jul 25, 10 at 1:41 am Reason: Removed attempt to bypass profanity filter.
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Old May 31, 10, 6:08 pm
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I got my Diamond about 2 months ago, but I have had the same experience. Actually seemed to get more upgrades as a Gold.
Stayed at the Skirvin OKC last night and other than breakfast (had to ask for it), no upgrades or anything else. I'll post more on the Skirvin thread.
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Old May 31, 10, 6:10 pm
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Forgot to say we do get more points and this "Force" thing I have not had to use yet.
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Old May 31, 10, 6:30 pm
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Welcome to Diamond at Hilton.

As you will probably find more often then not, it doesn't mean much at all. The double points is a given, and that's a constant thing. Everything else, well sometimes you get great benefits, other times you get nothing.

It's the only thing predictable thing about stays at Hilton, the randomess of benefits you receive.
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Old May 31, 10, 6:50 pm
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Diamond satus - what am I missing?
well for a start you are missing a "T"

but Diamond status is fantastic i just did 2 nights in Wharf Melbourne Australia and received a 2 bedroom suite with club access and the rate was only $150 pnon the buy 1 get 1 free deal for a few months ago.

i love Hilton diamond.
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Old May 31, 10, 7:34 pm
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The perks are definitely inconsistent, but generally seem to be considerably better in overseas properties. Even then, upgrades are by no means guaranteed.
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Old May 31, 10, 7:53 pm
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Originally Posted by belynch View Post
...and a honeymoon in MLE this August, focusing on Hilton just made sense to me.
That is the key goal IMO, one which too many FT'ers don't have. Hopefully your Diamond status will pay dividends for you on your honeymoon. If you don't have enough points or $ for your MLE res, I'd be getting as many free night certs as possible during the promo period.

Sad that there appears to be such a number of "what's the big deal about Diamond" type threads. I was hoping things had changed at Hilton.
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Old May 31, 10, 8:17 pm
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Originally Posted by belynch View Post
After spending the past five years "mid-tier" with just about every major hotel program I decided to make a run at Hilton Diamond this year. Between a network of hotels with corporate contracts, a few coworkers who are devoted to Hilton that I often travel with, and a honeymoon in MLE this August, focusing on Hilton just made sense to me.

I achieved Diamond and after three stays at full service properties (1 Tree Tree and 2 Hiltons) I have to ask myself if Diamond status is really worth anything.

Case in point: Stayed at the Hilton FLL Marina last night. Gorgeous property, convenient location, and except for the raping on the self-park, a very nice hotel. But what did Diamond get me? Seemingly nothing. My rate included breakfast so the front desk agent told me "next time, don't pre-buy breakfast." Thanks.

My room was on a floor that had "HHonors" outside the elevator. Whoopdie freaking do. There was no lounge that I could find. The room itself was a standard room. No free internet. I did however enjoy my free bottle of wine from Hyatt out on my balcony.

I called down this morning to inquire about a late check-out and was told "sure. We can extend your room until 1p." I asked if I could hold the room until 4p, as I'm accustomed to from SPG and was told there would be a charge equivalent to half my room rate. I politely mentioned that I'm Diamond and I thought, if available (which obviously it was) a late check-out was supposed to be extended to me, gratis. The response was "yes, we've offered to let you keep your room until 1p. That is a late check-out. We offer this to all guests who ask." Fair enough but a big load of .

At the other Hilton I received my comp. breakfast (after asking for my chits) but no upgrade in the room or lounge access. At the Tree Tree, I got a load of nothing.

When I try and access my "my way" preferences I get stuck in a loopty loop of being asked to login. Although I'm not really sure what I'd change them to. I try and avoid snack foods / sodas / candy and I have an air-card for places with wifi for a charge. And I think I'd rather invest in Zimbabwe dollars rather than hoarding HHonors points.

So, I have to ask -- what am I missing? Is Hilton Diamond worth anything besides the occasional free bagel?

Or is the real value in the easy comp. over to SPG?
Diamond means much more if you are an Intl traveler.

I stayed at Hilton Frankfurt on an award at the beginning of May. After partying all night, I stopped at the front desk in the wee hours of the morning of the check out day and asked if I could sleep until 3 pm, as my flight back to the US was not until later evening. I was told "No problem, sir", and that was it. I had my free breakfast, which was already being served when arrived back at the hotel, before going to bed and woke up at 3 pm. No annoying calls, nothing. Of course, I had been upgraded without asking and had access to all my on-property perks even though this was an award stay. As a HHonors D, I have stayed at Hilton Shanghai (see my recent trip report: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/13857298-post177.html), Hilton Stockholm Slussen, and am heading over to Hilton Singapore and Hilton Budapest in June and July, respectively. But so far, it's been great being Diamond...but then again, I might not be as demanding as you might be...

Last edited by Canarsie; Jul 25, 10 at 1:42 am Reason: Removed attempt to bypass profanity filter in quoted content.
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Old May 31, 10, 10:06 pm
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Originally Posted by belynch View Post
I think I'd rather invest in Zimbabwe dollars rather than hoarding HHonors points.
Thanks for making me laugh - thought this was hysterical and I needed to smile today
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Old Jun 1, 10, 6:34 am
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Originally Posted by belynch View Post
...
Case in point: Stayed at the Hilton FLL Marina last night. Gorgeous property, convenient location, and except for the raping on the self-park, a very nice hotel. But what did Diamond get me? Seemingly nothing. My rate included breakfast so the front desk agent told me "next time, don't pre-buy breakfast." Thanks.

My room was on a floor that had "HHonors" outside the elevator. Whoopdie freaking do. There was no lounge that I could find. The room itself was a standard room. No free internet. I did however enjoy my free bottle of wine from Hyatt out on my balcony. ...
I don't believe this property has an executive lounge. If it had you would have had access.

However, the front desk agent is incorrect about breakfast, see here from www.HHonors.com:
At hotels without Executive Floor lounges ... Diamond VIPs will receive complimentary Continental breakfast for themselves and up to one additional registered hotel guest each day. If breakfast is included in the room rate, you'll receive an alternate welcome amenity that varies by hotel.
This amenity is generally negotiable and can be things like HHonors points bonus, a bottle of wine etc.

It's a shame you and the desk agent did not seem to have known this (see below for more on this aspect).
Originally Posted by belynch View Post
... I called down this morning to inquire about a late check-out and was told "sure. We can extend your room until 1p." I asked if I could hold the room until 4p, as I'm accustomed to from SPG and was told there would be a charge equivalent to half my room rate. I politely mentioned that I'm Diamond and I thought, if available (which obviously it was) a late check-out was supposed to be extended to me, gratis. The response was "yes, we've offered to let you keep your room until 1p. That is a late check-out. We offer this to all guests who ask." Fair enough but a big load of . ...
Late Check Out is available to ALL HHonors members, regardless of status. It must be requested and is subject to availability. In reality, it's a pretty weak benefit, but it can be had whether you are HHonors Blue, Silver, Gold or Diamond.

Yes, SPG's late check-out is supposedly guaranteed (as long as it's not a confernece or resort hotel), but even there application is quite spotty (http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/starw...ml#post5299437).

Originally Posted by belynch View Post
... At the other Hilton I received my comp. breakfast (after asking for my chits) but no upgrade in the room or lounge access. At the Tree Tree, I got a load of nothing. ...
Tree Tree? Is that "the other Hilton"? Does it have an executive lounge? Was it open? If so, as a Diamond, you were entitled to Lounge access, upgrade or no upgrade. This contrasts with Gold who only get access if they are upgraded to (or book) an Executive room.

On checkin you obviously had your wits about you somewhat in asking for the breakfast chits. Why did you not also ask about an executive lounge and diamond access?

Originally Posted by belynch View Post
... When I try and access my "my way" preferences I get stuck in a loopty loop of being asked to login. Although I'm not really sure what I'd change them to. I try and avoid snack foods / sodas / candy and I have an air-card for places with wifi for a charge. ...
I would call HHonors and check out your VIP selection. All the above I have posted assumes you have requested upgrades as your VIP option for Hilton and Conrad.

If you don't wish for snack foods / sodas / candy or complimntary internet there are HHonors bonus point option for all categories.
Originally Posted by belynch View Post
... So, I have to ask -- what am I missing? ...
What you are missing is knowing your full entitlements.

It PAYS to know your T&C's; it's amazing how often I find I seem to know more about HHonors and its benefits than front line hotel staff.

Also, you need ask polity if you don't think you are getting the guaranteed benefits you are entitled to. Do this at check in - do not head to your room wondering.

For example at a stay I had last weekend I had selected Upgrade, but no mention was made in the initial stages of the check-in process. At the point when the desk clerk was about to hand me room keys I politely asked about the upgrade. His answer was that there were no rooms left to upgrade to. Since I had a breakfast inclusive rate (January Sale) I was then able to negotiate complimentary internet.

Simple, easy and efficient.

Last edited by serfty; Jun 1, 10 at 6:41 am
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Old Jun 1, 10, 8:17 am
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To add to serfty's response, check to see if the hotel has an EL. Not all DT, Conrads, and Hiltons have them. It sounds like you are assuming all have them.

As serfty stated, if you have your MyWay set to upgrade, you should get EL access whether or not you get an ER. If you know the hotel has one and you don't get offered access right away, you should ask. However, if your MyWay is not set to upgrade, you are NOT entitled to access without an ER. But again, all Hiltons, Conrads, and DT do NOT have Exectuive Lounges.
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Old Jun 1, 10, 8:51 am
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I have to say that I have had very good results with upgrades this year. Last week I was upgraded to the Presidential Suite (my first presidential suite upgrade with Hilton and I suspect my last).

A few weeks ago I had a 2 night stay and, on the second day, decided to go home. Came back to the hotel at about 1:30 and asked if I could go without charge and there was no problem at all.

Bobette
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Old Jun 1, 10, 9:02 am
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Thanks everyone for your replies.

Originally Posted by cordelli View Post
It's the only thing predictable thing about stays at Hilton, the randomess of benefits you receive.
Does anyone honestly like a loyalty program where the benefits are random? I don't profess to know a lot about anything, but that seems to defy the logic behind loyalty marketing.

Originally Posted by aussielori View Post
Diamond satus - what am I missing?
well for a start you are missing a "T"
HAH. Well played.

BTW - just noticed you're on the Gold Coast. I used to live in BNE and miss it terribly.

Originally Posted by Sweet Willie View Post
That is the key goal IMO, one which too many FT'ers don't have. Hopefully your Diamond status will pay dividends for you on your honeymoon.
Yup. I've been playing the mileage game (mainly with airlines) for some time and the hotel thing is admittedly relatively new to me. Thankfully I have enough flexibility in my professional travel that, to a point, I can align my business based on a personal goal. A very compelling factor for my business going to Hilton this year was the fact that the Conrad MLE is 50,000 points/night and the W MLE is 90,000. When you factor that SPG awards 1 point / $1 spent (more or less) a 9 night stay at the W would require the GNP of a small country in the form of points.

I was honestly curious what "top tier" at Hilton would be like and was more or less committed for the reasons I put in my OP to stay with the program (I average 100/nights year in hotels) if I found some value to it.

The reason for my post was that, to date, I've found little/no value.

Originally Posted by serfty View Post
It's a shame you and the desk agent did not seem to have known this ...

Simple, easy and efficient.
First, thank you very much for your very helpful post.

You're correct, I didn't do my research before the stay(s) to determine what benefits I should have received. Although the onus is on me to know what I'm "entitled" to, I honestly have better things to do than keep track of things like which properties have lounges, what comparable benefits are in lieu of "free" breakfasts, etc.

In my mind "simple easy and efficient" is a program that is clearly laid out and consistently applied. Something that HHonors is apparently not. While you may disagree, the litmus test, in my mind - is the fact that the employees don't eve know how it works.

At the end of the day I'm really a very passive person. I'll stand-up for myself if I know something is wrong, but I don't like to be assertive if I'm not clear on something. Given the huge number of variables to the HHonors program, and how its applied property to property, I don't think I'll ever be sure of anything.

Originally Posted by travelinfoo View Post
However, if your MyWay is not set to upgrade, you are NOT entitled to access without an ER. But again, all Hiltons, Conrads, and DT do NOT have Exectuive Lounges.
I suppose I'm biased by SPG and Hyatt. Their branding and application of the program(s) is relatively straight-forward in comparison to Hilton.

I'm sure I'll love my stay at the Conard MLE and I do sincerely appreciate the loads of free nights I've accumulated this year to date, but I think my jury is coming back with a verdict on how uncompetitive the HHonors program is, based on my travel needs/habits, in comparison to SPG and Hyatt.

Last edited by belynch; Jun 1, 10 at 9:35 am
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Old Jun 1, 10, 9:40 am
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I've been a Diamond for a number of years, until about 5 years ago, when I got comp'd to SPG and I never looked back. Since then, I do my very best to stay at SPG to keep my Plat Level and just enough to keep my Gold Level with HH

HH is very inconsistent with it's higher tier members, specially in North America (NA), where SPG is very good treating their high tier member in NA.

The difference is less evident as soon as you're out of NA. I can only speak of Europe (since I don't travel in Asia), but Gold with HH and Plat with SPG are well recognized in Europe (at least it has been the case for me).

Always got upgraded at both chains without ever asking. Late check-out were never a problem and more than once, we had wine in the room, compliments of the GM with a nice word thanking us for our constant loyalty.

So, in a nut shell, if you're traveling mostly in NA, Hilton is like playing roulette (1 chance of 37), so you're better off with SPG. Outside of NA, you can't go wrong one way or the other!
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Old Jun 1, 10, 10:15 am
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For everyone playing the at home game, I'm on the phone with HHonors redeeming my points, QF3N's, R2D2's, and everything else for the 9 nights at the Conrad MLE.

While the agent sent off to NASA to calculate something I asked her about the whole pre-paid breakfast while my My Way was set for free brekkie. She said "yup. You negated your Diamond benefit by pre-paying for breakfast. The hotel did not have to provide you with a Diamond benefit."

As was mentioned up-thread, according to the language on Hilton.com that is not true. But, further validates my assertion that the HHonors program is way too complex and that even a call center "Diamond" agent doesn't understand the program.
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