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Anybody here switch to Diamond from Bonvoy Plat?

Anybody here switch to Diamond from Bonvoy Plat?

Old Jan 20, 20, 12:46 pm
  #1  
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Anybody here switch to Diamond from Bonvoy Plat?

I've had Marriott Platiunim for the last three years. Over the last year, Platinum has been pretty underwhelming for the type of traveling I do (mostly business). When I've stayed at actual Marriotts, the lounges have been putting out cheaper food and getting more crowded. On the lower end, Courtyards and Residence Inns have been inferior to Hilton Garden Inns and Homewoods in almost every way. I rarely get the suite upgrades, and those are use-or-lose each year. And when I do redeem for vacations, it seems like everywhere I go has a hefty "resort fee" or destination fee.

I usually stay 30-40 nights a year-- and my Marriott credit card boosts me another 15 nights. That puts me right on the edge of qualification level. I also have Hilton Gold thanks to my AMEX Platinum card. So far, that Hilton Gold hasn't meant much to me other than a "free" breakfast-- which is usually comparable to what I find in Marriott lounges. I really don't care much about breakfast since I'm not into that meal and have a generous expense account. What I DO care about are:

1. Access to decent lounges, especially outside of the US.
2. Hassle-free redemptions when I take vacations
3. Late checkouts-- Rarely later than 2:00 PM. Here's where Marriott has been good. During my few Hilton stays last year, getting a 2 PM checkout as a Gold was no problem-- but I've heard that even Diamonds often have to beg and plead for even 2 PM. And 4:00 is out of the question, at least that's what I've heard. Once or twice a year 4 PM is nice when I have late flights, but it's not a deal-breaker.
4. Finally-- I sometimes come up about 3-4 nights short of Platinum qualification at the end of the year and end up doing "mattress runs." With Hilton, I could just get an Aspire card and be done chasing status.

So do my priorities make Diamond worth ditching Marriott for? I'd appreciate hearing from some Bonvoy ex-Plats on this!
Alohashirt is offline  
Old Jan 20, 20, 12:51 pm
  #2  
 
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Given your priorities, stay where you are IMO.
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Old Jan 20, 20, 1:43 pm
  #3  
 
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You've stayed at Marriotts outside of the US?
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Old Jan 20, 20, 2:05 pm
  #4  
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You've stayed at Marriotts outside of the US?
Yes... In London and Paris. The lounges in both are much nicer than US lounges, especially in the UK.
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Old Jan 20, 20, 8:17 pm
  #5  
 
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Originally Posted by Alohashirt View Post
Yes... In London and Paris. The lounges in both are much nicer than US lounges, especially in the UK.
I mean, when you said lounge offerings were worse were you talking about in or outside the US
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Old Jan 21, 20, 5:52 am
  #6  
 
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I am both Honors Diamond and MR Ambassador. Domestically and internationally I get treated about the same across those status levels, to be honest. When I was MR Plat I was basically nothing, so HH Diamond was better for me at that time.

Generally speaking, I feel that Hilton properties try harder. MR properties have been inundated with former SPG elites hungry for benefits and a lot have thrown up their hands. I almost never receive any recognition from MR properties, even internationally. And let’s not forget that MR punishes its elites for staying at its nicest properties - basically nothing when at Ritz locations.

The late checkout benefit I have found to be at parity. I have almost always gotten 1 or 2 PM as HH Diamond when asked. People will carry on about the MR “guaranteed” late check out; my experience is that it is the same as any other “guarantee” in the loyalty world - “subject to availability” i.e. if the property feels like it.

In the end it will come down to what your specific travel patterns are but my experience with HHD was always better than as MR plat and roughly equal to MR AMB.
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Old Jan 21, 20, 6:13 am
  #7  
 
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Originally Posted by arlflyer View Post
I am both Honors Diamond and MR Ambassador. Domestically and internationally I get treated about the same across those status levels, to be honest. When I was MR Plat I was basically nothing, so HH Diamond was better for me at that time.

Generally speaking, I feel that Hilton properties try harder. MR properties have been inundated with former SPG elites hungry for benefits and a lot have thrown up their hands. I almost never receive any recognition from MR properties, even internationally. And let’s not forget that MR punishes its elites for staying at its nicest properties - basically nothing when at Ritz locations.

The late checkout benefit I have found to be at parity. I have almost always gotten 1 or 2 PM as HH Diamond when asked. People will carry on about the MR “guaranteed” late check out; my experience is that it is the same as any other “guarantee” in the loyalty world - “subject to availability” i.e. if the property feels like it.

In the end it will come down to what your specific travel patterns are but my experience with HHD was always better than as MR plat and roughly equal to MR AMB.
Cannot believe this, really. I am HH diamond and travelling quite a bit with a friend who is Bonvoy Ambassador and when He books at Marriott chain, the upgrades and pampering is always overwhelming while my bookings at Hilton score just barely the small print and nothing more.
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Old Jan 21, 20, 6:19 am
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Originally Posted by FFlash View Post
Cannot believe this, really. I am HH diamond and travelling quite a bit with a friend who is Bonvoy Ambassador and when He books at Marriott chain, the upgrades and pampering is always overwhelming while my bookings at Hilton score just barely the small print and nothing more.
Well, I used the first person and didn’t claim to be your specific friend. Just giving my experience over 5+ years, 20+ countries, about 80-100 nights/year per chain and about $25k per chain annually.

From your writing it sounds like maybe you are outside the US, perhaps SE Asia or India, so perhaps that is it, though I have always been treated very well by Hilton in Asia.

Marriott does also have more high end brands and locations so if it isn’t an apples to apples comparison, then that is that as well.
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Old Jan 21, 20, 8:33 am
  #9  
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I mean, when you said lounge offerings were worse were you talking about in or outside the US
I can only speak about London and Paris. Lounges in both of those cities are still great. I was talking mostly about lounges in the US, which is where I travel most of the time. @arlflyer-- thanks for the very useful insights. I don't ever see myself having enough nights to make Ambassador. If I did, I'd chase Hyatt Globalist status. But your observation that Hilton tries harder is very interesting. I have personally observed lots of former SPG elites complaining at Marriott front desks-- and complaining in lounges. That might account for what I perceive as an overall downgrading. My current game plan is to enjoy my Platinum benefits wherever I can, but start trying a few more Hiltons in 2020.
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Old Jan 21, 20, 9:45 am
  #10  
 
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I'm titanium and HH Diamond (through status match back in fall '18). For where I was travelling to (western Canada), the only Hilton offerings were HGIs and Hamptons so I didn't actually stay much at all at Hilton. I've only been doing it more often now since the promotion at Marriott was almost non existent for Q4 and there currently isn't one and I did not get a targeted offer. So now I just take advantage of the Hilton bonus and hop around for the 2k stay bonus.

I can only speak for the Marriott that we stayed at that the lounge offerings slowly got smaller over the year to the point that my coworker complained to the staff. Still adequate but used to be better.

Stayed at the Westin Tokyo last year and wasn't given an upgrade even though I tried to use my SNA but overall was a good hotel. Lounge was decent and so was breakfast offered in the other two restaurants.

I'll be staying at the Hilton Tokyo this year and that'll help me decide which chain I want to stay at more.
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Old Jan 21, 20, 10:38 am
  #11  
 
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Originally Posted by FlyingPizza View Post
Stayed at the Westin Tokyo last year and wasn't given an upgrade even though I tried to use my SNA but overall was a good hotel. Lounge was decent and so was breakfast offered in the other two restaurants.
Ironically I got an upgrade there even without using a SNA. It obviously depends on availability. Also got an early check-in (like 9 or 10am). As Marriott titanium.

I have never had good experiences with Hilton Diamond, even at the Conrad in Bangkok. I just don't view Hilton as the type to try very hard to reward elites.
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Old Jan 21, 20, 11:01 am
  #12  
 
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Here's my datapoint. Lifetime Titanium, did the Hilton Diamond match beginning of last year and managed to keep Diamond until 2021. I am now staying at Hilton properties 9 times out of 10, all domestic (USA).
I have found Hilton properties to be comparable to Marriott portfolio, with the Hilton properties generally more modern and up to date from experience. Overall, my main reason for staying with Hilton for now is that they have been more rewarding. I get more points per stay leading to more 'free stays'.
I haven't experienced Hilton internationally, but that will change as I have some bookings in Asia and Europe later this year. I have found International Marriott properties to be great from experience, and have been treated well, so am curious to see how Hilton stacks up.

Keep in mind that Hilton is doing away with concierge lounges at most if not all of it's properties. That being said, I prefer a credit to their in-house restaurant for a fresh made to order breakfast than a usual buffet of sad eggs and stale bread any day of the week, so this change is no a devaluation IMHO.

As for the 4pm check out, I rarely used with at Marriots, but when I did it was a lifesaver, so I will miss this benefit when the situation comes up in the future.

I have the luxury of having lifetime status at marriott so am now able to play the field, and am happy to give Marriott my undivided loyalty once again if they become more rewarding to their most loyal customers in the near future, although am not holding my breath.
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Old Jan 21, 20, 11:28 am
  #13  
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I'm mainly interested in experiences in the USA.

I'll be spending about 30-40 nights in US hotels for business travel each year. That's not enough to make the top tier or demand celebrity treatment. But I'm hoping it's enough to occasionally get better rooms, late checkouts without a negotiating session, and access to decent lounges. Since most of my trips are to NYC, LA, and other major cities with high prices, I build up points very quickly. My company lets me keep the points, but does not authorize stays at higher end brands like Ritz or Conrads.

I tend to use my redemptions for vacations at the high end brands. It annoys me that I don't get any of my Platinum benefits at these hotels and am often paying resort fees. This is one of the reasons I'm considering switching to Hilton.
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Old Jan 21, 20, 11:48 am
  #14  
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For me it depends on whether I'm staying at FS (and higher) or limited service brands. I generally prefer Hilton's limited service hotels (i.e. HGI, HI) over Marriott's (i.e. CY, FFI). But if I'm going to be staying mostly at FS and above hotels, I generally prefer Marriott over Hilton. I reached Hilton Diamond last year because I had a choice between Marriott's FFIs and RIs or stay at a Hilton HGI. I chose HGI.

BTW, I have free breakfast as my choice for HGI stays and when I checked in this week, I was offered daily breakfast coupons that I could use for free breakfast each morning or $10 for the market or toward dinner if I chose (and they are stackable if I want to combine them for a big dinner one night.)
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Old Jan 21, 20, 2:46 pm
  #15  
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Keep in mind that Hilton is doing away with concierge lounges at most if not all of it's properties.
Marriott-branded hotels are still decent, but I'm also traveling to places where more of their brands have either breakfast-only lounges or none at all (W and Westin). I was not aware that Hilton was doing away with lounges-- that's definitely a minus in my comparison. Breakfast vouchers in a hotel restaurant are generally worth nothing to me, since my company's per deum is more than enough to cover breakfast.

It might be good on a vacation redemption, but that's maybe ten nights a year compared to the 30-40 business nights I spend. In reading all of the helpful comments on this thread, I'm realizing that my priorities focus on business trips and the things my company will NOT pay for. (Lounge access, suite upgrades, and late checkouts).
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