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Does Elite Status Matter Anymore?

Does Elite Status Matter Anymore?

Old May 13, 21, 9:06 am
  #91  
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Originally Posted by eponymous_coward View Post
Because Hilton doesn't think they need it to be competitive. FTR, IHG Spire Elite, which is a seventy five night status (equivalent of Marriott Titanium in nights, significantly above Hyatt Globalist)? Does not get guaranteed late checkout, guaranteed suite upgrades, suite upgrade instruments, or breakfast. Ponder that- very arguably Hilton's weaksauce top elite status isn't the most weaksauce top elite status.

Hilton isn't aiming to throw benefits at people who stay in their hotels frequently like Hyatt is (and Hyatt arguably needed to, just like SPG, because they were smaller chains). Some of that is likely due to more corporate contracts ("it doesn't matter, we have you as a customer and you WILL stay with us") and larger footprint, which may become less relevant in a post-pandemic and AirBnB world.
I think Hilton's announcement about eliminating things like room service and daily housekeeping is proving they don't care about about the US business traveler anymore and and are starting to become more like the southwest airlines type of hotel in recent years when they were a luxury brand like Emirates in the 80s.

I just hope their overseas hotels don't start following the model their US hotels do. The Lima Hilton for example will look at your activity when they check you in and gave me an amazing upgrade based on my activity with Hilton at the time (I had a lot of activity with Hilton then) on my first stay and on my stay a year later they noticed I was a repeat guest and really went out of their way. They went as far as to to send up a really nice dessert and bottle wine when I was there on my birthday one stay and gave me vouchers for two drinks in the bar and sent up a nice fruit and cheese plate the second stay thanking me for my business. Now that's appreciating loyalty.

For the OP if he is staying 60 nights a year and has his status through stays do what I do and vote with your wallet. You can get top status at Hyatt that treats you a lot better for the same stay requirement and give them their business and just get the Hilton credit card that pays you to be a diamond for necessary hilton stays and to keep the status for the lifetime ten year diamond requirement.

If the benefits aren't important to me then I stay at the best value hotel. If a 4 p.m. checkout is important to me then I stay with Hyatt.

Same when SPG was around. They had an awesome crossover program with Delta where they would give things like a guaranteed 4 p.m. checkout and free wifi and upgrades and bonus points to Delta diamonds and SPG top teirs got benefits like preferred seating on Delta and bonus Delta miles.

I would love for Hilton to do a program like that with Delta since they are both tight in bed with Am Ex like SPG was. Be great to have the bonus miles on Delta and the bonus points with Hilton since I'm diamond with both programs.
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Old May 13, 21, 9:13 am
  #92  
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Originally Posted by 8mh View Post
In theory. Unless you are staying exclusively in B locations and in the entry-level brands, Spire in practice is really being qualified for using the points threshold. It's different from programme to programme. I am quite sure the vast majority of Hyatt Globalists qualify through nights rather than points, so it's the opposite of IHG.

IHG Spire is really a 20-40 nights status in most cases. Many FTers push it down to 10-20 nights by occasionally booking elite-qualifying bonus-points package rates.
IHG status is pretty easy to get if you stay at IC's. They have promos a lot with IC's to get status with just a few stays and I think that gives you status with other IHG brands.

IHG is pretty worthless anyway for Holiday inn's but the Holiday inn type hotels are like the Southwest Airlines of hotels, they aren't catering to the business high end spenders.

Hyatt caters to a lot different crowd than Hilton and IHG does. IHG caters more to the casual traveler and now most Hilton's are starting to get away from the business travelers and trying to get any business they can.

Hyatt is still a lot more of a business class crowd and it's refected in their rates and locations. That could change if business travel doesn't increase soon.



Maybe Hilton should do what IHG does and have a different status for their higher end hotels like Conrad and Waldor's. People who stay at the higher end IC's who have status have their own program with amazing benefits.
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Old May 13, 21, 9:21 am
  #93  
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I enjoy the conversation too. It's nice to have thoughtful discussion where lots of viewpoints are represented.

Originally Posted by WasKnown View Post
I really appreciate your posts in this thread and agree with what you have to say. One note I would like to make is that Marriott chose to massively improve upon Marriott Rewards while it simultaneously became the biggest hotel chain. It was clearly worse than SPG but not as much worse in concept as many assumed (in practice is a different story). Marriott became bigger than IHG and Hilton but chose to create a much better loyalty program.
Is it though? Hilton's running promos every quarter. Marriott for now? Dial tone. The breakfast benefit is confusing and doesn't happen in a decent number of properties. And Marriott got an entire customer complaint site playing off their rebrand. That doesn't strike me as a "much better loyalty program". I'd say their senior elite levels are better in what's offered, but what's on paper doesn't match the actual customer experience, and the customer experience is degraded from the SPG merger (and SPG, like Hyatt, was a "we're smaller with not as much footprint, so we have to try harder to get loyal customers" program).

Sometimes it's better to promise less and reliably deliver what is promised...

Originally Posted by 8mh View Post
In theory. Unless you are staying exclusively in B locations and in the entry-level brands, Spire in practice is really being qualified for using the points threshold. It's different from programme to programme. I am quite sure the vast majority of Hyatt Globalists qualify through nights rather than points, so it's the opposite of IHG.

IHG Spire is really a 20-40 nights status in most cases. Many FTers push it down to 10-20 nights by occasionally booking elite-qualifying bonus-points package rates.
I would argue that this makes it even more comparable to Hilton, in that the top status is cheap and easy, and not that rewarding (or imposing costs on franchisees like handing out suites). I've gotten Hilton Gold for a couple of years at a time by 4 stays/4 nights in 90 days on an MVP challenge. Plus the ubiquitous credit card everyone likes to about.

IHG and Hilton are more on the "shovel points on rewards" side of things and Hyatt is more "shovel recognition and benefits", and Marriott is a hybrid thanks to their history and the SPG merger.

Last edited by eponymous_coward; May 13, 21 at 9:30 am
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Old May 13, 21, 9:49 am
  #94  
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Originally Posted by eponymous_coward View Post
IHG and Hilton are more on the "shovel points on rewards" side of things and Hyatt is more "shovel recognition and benefits", and Marriott is a hybrid thanks to their history and the SPG merger.
I would mostly agree.

Although brand portfolio explains some of the differences. Hyatt is concentrating on luxury and upper-upscale, IHG on midscale, Choice on economy. Hence Hyatt is in a better position to provide recognition than the others. Recognition is hardly possible at the midscale cookie-cutter brands. They're not set up for it.
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Old May 13, 21, 10:27 am
  #95  
 
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Originally Posted by eponymous_coward View Post
Is it though? Hilton's running promos every quarter. Marriott for now? Dial tone. The breakfast benefit is confusing and doesn't happen in a decent number of properties. And Marriott got an entire customer complaint site playing off their rebrand. That doesn't strike me as a "much better loyalty program". I'd say their senior elite levels are better in what's offered, but what's on paper doesn't match the actual customer experience, and the customer experience is degraded from the SPG merger (and SPG, like Hyatt, was a "we're smaller with not as much footprint, so we have to try harder to get loyal customers" program).
I meant better for recognition, not reward. Sorry about that. Hilton definitely has a better rebate even without the promos. The generous promos just further cement Hiltonís lead.

Bonvoy is definitely not a perfect program. Your criticisms of the confusing breakfast benefit and IT issues are fair. In fact, I joined FlyerTalk because the Bonvoy Twitter account was giving me incorrect information repeatedly :P. However, I do think the soft aspects of the program (suite upgrades, welcome recognition, late check-out, etc) are meaningfully better than what is offered by Hilton. For example, my friends and I recently traveled to Bangkok. The Waldorf Astoria and St. Regis were very close to each other so we decided to each stay at one. Two people stayed at the Waldorf Astoria as Diamond and two at the St. Regis as Titanium. The WA group got upgraded to a studio suite and was told that is the highest they can get upgraded to. That was honestly a fine upgrade but, supposedly, the WA was full of Diamonds/Golds at the breakfast (according to FT). Other than the upgrade, it was a normal and pleasant stay at the WA. At the STR, we were upgraded to the best one bedroom suite in the hotel. The check-in team knew me by name the second I walked into the lobby. There was a wonderful welcome surprise in our room. The butler somehow knew my preferences for housekeeping service time and alcohol (despite having never stayed at that hotel previously).

I have read the troubles that others have had with Bonvoy and acknowledge that they are common. My experience has been nothing short of delightful however. Obviously my experience has been especially great in Asia (my dadís Ritz Carlton Lujiazui suite upgrade in college is what inspired my interest in this) and the Middle East (the Abu Dhabi EDITION just confirmed a suite upgrade before check-in in the middle of EID). However, I have also had great experience with recognition at US luxury hotels too. For example, JW Marriott Essex House and the New York EDITION have all created wonderful experiences for me. I hope (not expect) to have a similarly delightful experience at the St Regis New York too. Even the Park Hyatt One57 has failed to treat Globalists the way I have been treated in luxury NYC Bonvoy properties! My experience at US upscale hotels (and below) is much more mixed. I think that is a huge area for Bonvoy to improve.

There are definitely way more Titaniums than Globalists but I suspect there are way more Diamonds than Titaniums. I just donít know if my experiences are possible in a program where any US resident can reach top status if they want to get a specific credit card. My experiences with Hilton as a Diamond are much more limited but, so far, have been much more standard. I am curious to see how things go at the Waldorf Astoria NYC after it reopens from renovations. I have not had any negative experiences at Hiltonís but I have never been delighted either. If Iím being honest, I feel more recognized as a mid-tier Hyatt Explorist than as a Hilton Diamond. In my opinion, the mass proliferation of Diamond status is the driver for this.

But, I still truly believe that Hilton knows this and doesnít care. As noted in my previous post, it seems they want to differentiate more on the reward side rather than the recognition side. Hyatt seems to have an opposite view. Marriottís middle of the road approach causes variability that can definitely be frustrating for some.

Last edited by WasKnown; May 13, 21 at 10:35 am
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Old May 13, 21, 10:42 am
  #96  
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Originally Posted by WasKnown View Post
I meant better for recognition, not reward. Sorry about that. Hilton definitely has a better rebate even without the promos. The generous promos just further cement Hilton’s lead.

Bonvoy is definitely not a perfect program. I joined FlyerTalk because the Bonvoy Twitter account was giving me incorrect information repeatedly :P. However, I do think the soft aspects of the program (suite upgrades, welcome recognition, late check-out, etc) are meaningfully better than what is offered by Hilton. For example, my friends and I recently traveled to Bangkok. The Waldorf Astoria and St. Regis were very close to each other so we decided to each stay at one. Two people stayed at the Waldorf Astoria as Diamond and two at the St. Regis as Titanium. The WA group got upgraded to a studio suite and was told that is the highest they can get upgraded to. That was honestly a fine upgrade but, supposedly, the WA was full of Diamonds/Golds at the breakfast (according to FT). Other than the upgrade, it was a normal and pleasant stay at the WA. At the STR, we were upgraded to the best one bedroom suite in the hotel. The check-in team knew me by name the second I walked into the lobby. There was a wonderful welcome surprise in our room. The butler somehow knew my preferences for housekeeping service time and alcohol (despite having never stayed at that hotel previously).

Like I said before, people need to do what I do and vote with their wallets. Especially with Hilton seeing how easy it is to get diamond status. Just get it for free with the Am Ex and use the benefits and use Hilton when necessary and spend the higher rate business stays at another chain and get status there. In fact a lot of chains will status match and do fast tracks to status for a year, just have to send them proof of status and a statement showing your stays and activity.



I have read the troubles that others have had with Bonvoy and acknowledge that they are common. My experience has been nothing short of delightful however. Obviously my experience has been especially great in Asia (my dad’s Ritz Carlton Lujiazui suite upgrade in college is what inspired my interest in this) and the Middle East (the Abu Dhabi EDITION just confirmed a suite upgrade before check-in in the middle of EID). However, I have also had great experience with recognition at US luxury hotels too. For example, JW Marriott Essex House and the New York EDITION have all created wonderful experiences for me. I hope (not expect) to have a similarly delightful experience at the St Regis New York too. Even the Park Hyatt One57 has failed to treat Globalists the way I have been treated in luxury NYC Bonvoy properties! My experience at US upscale hotels (and below) is much more mixed. I think that is a huge area for Bonvoy to improve.

There are definitely way more Titaniums than Globalists but I suspect there are way more Diamonds than Titaniums. I just don’t know if my experiences are possible in a program where any US resident can reach top status if they want to get a specific credit card. My experiences with Hilton as a Diamond are much more limited but, so far, have been much more standard. I have not had any negative experiences at Hilton’s but I have never been delighted either. If I’m being honest, I feel more recognized as a mid-tier Hyatt Explorist than as a Hilton Diamond.
I find Hilton points not that valuable. Back when Diamond was a decent program and they had the diamond force for standard rates they were pretty valuable to me. Now I'm lucky if I can get a half penny a point. Points keep getting devlued and program really went down hill when Hilton quit capping number of poitns for a reservation. The poitns are a lot easier to earn than with other programs but are worth a lot less.

I'm sure there are a lot more Titaniums than globalists and wouldn't be surprised if there were a lot more Hilton Diamonds ahnd Globalists and and Titaniums combined. Hilton pays people to be diamonds if they use the credit card right. Even if they didn't they have more properties than Hyatt or Marriott and cater to a different crowd. Marriott has a lot more properties than Hyatt and caters to a different crowd as well, they cater to a higher end customer base (wth the exception of maybe fairfield) than a lot of Hilton brands and Hyatt caters to a higher end customer base than Marriott or Hilton.

If Hilton would just add another teir that would even give out a guaranteed 4 p.m. checkout or offer it to people who spend 60+ nights a year and lifetime diamodns I'd be happy. I really don't care too much about upgrades or a breakfast on a business trip (but I know those benefits are more important to some other people than a late checkout).
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Last edited by jamesteroh; May 13, 21 at 10:48 am
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Old May 13, 21, 11:09 am
  #97  
 
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Originally Posted by jamesteroh View Post
Maybe Hilton should do what IHG does and have a different status for their higher end hotels like Conrad and Waldor's. People who stay at the higher end IC's who have status have their own program with amazing benefits.
I disagree. As much as I love staying at IC, Conrad, and Waldorfs, loyalty to one chain's brand is so limiting. At that point, I might as well go Hyatt. I did two years as an Ambassador, and I really did enjoy my IC stays. I actually miss them. Unfortunately, it doesn't work out enough. Even if there was one, there were instances like New Orleans where it wasn't my first choice. Now that I do mostly Hilton, I try to jump on Waldorf when I can. Again, it's not always an option. When it isn't, I'm glad that I can flex my benefits to what brands there are available. IHG could benefit from expanding their luxury loyalty in some form.
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Old May 13, 21, 11:30 am
  #98  
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Originally Posted by Super Mario View Post
I disagree. As much as I love staying at IC, Conrad, and Waldorfs, loyalty to one chain's brand is so limiting. At that point, I might as well go Hyatt. I did two years as an Ambassador, and I really did enjoy my IC stays. I actually miss them. Unfortunately, it doesn't work out enough. Even if there was one, there were instances like New Orleans where it wasn't my first choice. Now that I do mostly Hilton, I try to jump on Waldorf when I can. Again, it's not always an option. When it isn't, I'm glad that I can flex my benefits to what brands there are available. IHG could benefit from expanding their luxury loyalty in some form.
That's the nice thing about Hilton, you can get diamond with a credit card that has a negative annual fee if you use the benefits right. I can be diamond with Hilton (not that it matters much, benefits aren't that great) on stays I need to stay them, give majority of my stays to Hyatt to keep globalist where the benefits are great and I get marriott gold for free as a perk with my am ex card for when I use them (and gold is fine since they are generous with the checkouts and give a 2 p.m. guaranteed checkout and I really don't care about free breakfast on my marriott stays and it is included in the AAA rate at the courtyard I stay at in Toronto anyway). Nice having the perks with three chains. I don't stay at IHG so really don't care about status with them.
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Old May 13, 21, 3:09 pm
  #99  
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Originally Posted by WasKnown View Post
There are definitely way more Titaniums than Globalists but I suspect there are way more Diamonds than Titaniums.
That would make sense even if Hilton wasn't handing it out with a $450 AF credit card.

Originally Posted by WasKnown View Post
If I’m being honest, I feel more recognized as a mid-tier Hyatt Explorist than as a Hilton Diamond. In my opinion, the mass proliferation of Diamond status is the driver for this.
I actually agree with you on this. Two recent Hyatt House award stays with Hyatt as an Explorist, via MGM Mlife tick-tock status match back and forth and I got two upgrades to studios from base rooms.

I actually think I like Hyatt House/Hyatt Place as my favorite midlevel, limited service property types in the US- the build quality of recent Hyatt Houses is very good IMO. Way nicer than some of the older Marriott Residence Inns I've stayed at, or even more recent HGIs or Candlewood Suites.

Did I mention that I do a fair amount of time in limited service properties?

Originally Posted by WasKnown View Post
But, I still truly believe that Hilton knows this and doesn’t care. As noted in my previous post, it seems they want to differentiate more on the reward side rather than the recognition side. Hyatt seems to have an opposite view. Marriott’s middle of the road approach causes variability that can definitely be frustrating for some.
Agree on all counts, though Hyatt does just fine on the reward side IMO, because they haven't torched their award charts as badly as everyone else (though that is coming to an end with variable peak/standard/off-peak pricing and category inflation- not TOO long ago it was very nice to spend an long weekend in Phoenix at a Hyatt Place during baseball spring training for 5k points a night, at a time when room nights at anyplace decent were $200-300 in cash). I'm very willing to consider Hyatt promos because they can be $20-30 in rebate value on a night's stay.
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Old May 13, 21, 4:23 pm
  #100  
 
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My $0.02. I went all in with HH 15 years ago based on my then current work travel patterns. Previously I had been with IHG as an AMB/RA, but the RA quals were too nebulous at the time and the non IC properties generally poor to dreadful so I switched. Some epic Diamond upgrades along the way- yes mostly international but some domestic too. Other considerations are breakfast and extra points for 2-3 rooms, and not published or guaranteed but i cannot remember the last time i had to eat a reservation that i couldn't make, up to date of arrival. Call the property, explain i cant make it, no problem thank you for being a Diamond member, no charge. Pre and post covid, on rates that should have attracted at least 1 night cancellation. I don't need to worry about requalifying anymore but i still hew to HH whenever possible for these reasons.
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Old May 13, 21, 6:09 pm
  #101  
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Originally Posted by pauleeepaul View Post
My $0.02. I went all in with HH 15 years ago based on my then current work travel patterns. Previously I had been with IHG as an AMB/RA, but the RA quals were too nebulous at the time and the non IC properties generally poor to dreadful so I switched. Some epic Diamond upgrades along the way- yes mostly international but some domestic too. Other considerations are breakfast and extra points for 2-3 rooms, and not published or guaranteed but i cannot remember the last time i had to eat a reservation that i couldn't make, up to date of arrival. Call the property, explain i cant make it, no problem thank you for being a Diamond member, no charge. Pre and post covid, on rates that should have attracted at least 1 night cancellation. I don't need to worry about requalifying anymore but i still hew to HH whenever possible for these reasons.
The diamond desk agents are good and I haven't encountered much of a wait during covid when I had to call.

They've been good about cancel reservatiosn for me also when a flight has cancelled due to IROPS and if it's more than one night on the reservation they will change it to arrive the next day. I had a reservation in South Beach the last week of March when all the Chaos happened and just called when I heard about the curfew and they cancelled.

But I've had similar luck with Hyatt. I think most chains will work with their top tier as long as they don't absue it. I've had Delta's diamonds agents also allow me to postpone flights with no penalty on non-refundable tickets, just have to take a credit to use within twelve months
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Old May 13, 21, 11:08 pm
  #102  
 
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Originally Posted by jamesteroh View Post
The diamond desk agents are good and I haven't encountered much of a wait during covid when I had to call.

They've been good about cancel reservatiosn for me also when a flight has cancelled due to IROPS and if it's more than one night on the reservation they will change it to arrive the next day. I had a reservation in South Beach the last week of March when all the Chaos happened and just called when I heard about the curfew and they cancelled.

But I've had similar luck with Hyatt. I think most chains will work with their top tier as long as they don't absue it. I've had Delta's diamonds agents also allow me to postpone flights with no penalty on non-refundable tickets, just have to take a credit to use within twelve months
Iím a United Global Services companion and have been unable to get them to extend 2 vouchers from flight cancellations. Sounds like any elite program (hotel, airplane, or otherwise) has better treatment than United does lol
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Old May 14, 21, 2:26 am
  #103  
 
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Given Hiltonís footprint I feel like they could do much better in terms of Diamond Benefits.

One for example would be youíre guaranteed a ďContinental BreakfastĒ and Iíve seen some of the hotels up-charge up to $20 to have an ďAmerican BreakfastĒ. Making that benefit in many places moot. For Golds sure, but Diamond, it shouldn't be that way. Of course there are others who will grant you that benefit and then some, those who actually want return Elite business and value loyalty rather than going by the bare program minimum.

Iím not referring to during the pandemic because I know much has changed and practices have been different. These practices have gone on long before and will likely continue long after the pandemic.

I feel like for the Breakfast Benefit Hilton should ensure guests have an enjoyable experience.

The points booster is nice but when I check rates it seems like the points pricing gets further and further away from the $.

Just checked a DT for an upcoming stay cash rate $96 points price 40k. I can usually find $80-$90 stays for 20-23k points so seeing 40k or $96 is just insane.
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Old May 14, 21, 8:25 am
  #104  
 
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This thread has helped push me over the edge on a decision I have been musing for a long while now. I am going to cancel my Hilton Amex, and possibly look at Hyatt card or no card at all.

It's not an emotional thing, really very transactional. I am sure less business travel didn't help, but it is still the same decision.

Whenever people ask what's the use of Diamond, the only answer has ever been for me: more points. But the difficulty in using those points at the higher end (limited to no availability, booking a year in advance, limited 4-person in a standard room) has made "rewards" a hassle. Maximizing your benefits shouldn't be this much work.

It's possible grass isn't greener on the other side, but I can't help but think I am not going to "miss" the Hilton side.
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Old May 14, 21, 8:43 am
  #105  
 
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It seems like HHonors Diamond benefits fall victim to "jack of all trades, master of none".

Some type of breakfast credit is supposedly a guaranteed, but breakfasts vary so much from property to property that this benefit has little-to-no value. Free continental breakfast at a WA is nice, but the WAs we visit offer $15 per person towards a breakfast that is minimum $30 per person. Embassy Suites and other properties give free/discounted breakfast to everyone anyways.

Upgrades vary from outright falsehoods at check-in (being told no rooms available despite being able to book on the app) to high-level suites on a 2-double-bed reservation. Always appreciated, never expected, but always a struggle. I've had 350+ stays in the last 8 years of being a Diamond member and have had 9 true upgrades, 5 of which came in the last year.

Award points earning bonuses are nice, but the devaluations are insane. 80k points per night for a 2Q non-view room is becoming standard at most DoubleTrees and above in my area.

I stand by my assertion that Diamond members who earn it by head-in-bed or spending (not credit card holders) should be granted one best-available-at-booking upgrade per year. There should be caveats depending on class of hotel, pay in advance, no cancellations, length of stay, etc. They gave something like this a trial run a year or two ago and it was awesome.

Edit to add: I'd be happy if they just fixed the website back to how it was about 3 years ago.
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