airbnb vs Hilton HHonors Diamond status

Old Apr 8, 16, 11:59 am
  #1  
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airbnb vs Hilton HHonors Diamond status

In another thread, I lamented that I would probably never see diamond again because my travels are no longer subsidized by an employer, and that I had never been overseas as a diamond. Another member suggested that achieving status on my own is reasonably doable, and that got me thinking.

Two separate sources have strongly recommended airbnb to me. I've never used it, but expect to use it for a future trip to Europe, which will probably be at least 75 days and possibly longer. A small percentage of my stays would be only one night, with well over half the nights in stays of a week or longer.

How would you compare airbnb to staying in a hotel (Hilton, presumably, in this forum) as a diamond for a string of nights, say 20? 10? 4? What is the length of stay where it becomes better to go with airbnb rather than a hotel if one has status? if one does not have status? How much effort is it worth to achieve status for a European vacation?

Thanks for your thoughts.
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Old Apr 8, 16, 12:36 pm
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It depends on whether you like hotels or not. I personally find airbnb to be a nightmare. Hosts not keeping their calendars up to date (so you apply for a stay only to be told it's not available after all). You can't really change dates after booking. Having to meet up to collect keys at a time convenient to the host and not yourself. Only getting one set of keys, which is a pain if you are with a partner and want to separately come and go as you please.

But of course I love living in hotels. Breakfast made, gym and pool right there. With a lounge you have drinks, snacks, etc. And once you add in the value of points, cashback portals, etc. it can be hard to find a price difference either. Keeping status is not really all that hard if you make a conscious effort to do so.
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Old Apr 8, 16, 1:24 pm
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You can get HH gold (providing a free breakfast, and on occasion lounge access) with a credit card for less than $100. If the free breakfast is meaningful to you and you'll stay at Hilton for 4 or 5 nights of your trip, I'd get the credit card gold.

I'm like craigthemif. I want the convenience of the hotel - a free breakfast (usually a buffet outside of the U.S.) with HH gold, check in and out when I like, usually a convenient location for public transportation and access to the city.
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Old Apr 8, 16, 1:26 pm
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Well since this is my fault, I will chime in.

In my opinion it is really about consistency vs. risk vs. reward. With international chain hotels you are mostly getting consistency. Of beds, toiletries, service more or less, loyalty program, etc. You can get a cheeseburger at a Hilton anywhere on earth. And you'll be taken care of - housekeeping, room service, whatever you want. But you pay for it, and a lot of people will say that it is sterile or homogenized.

With airbnb there is a chance for risk. The poster above touched on that. There is also the opportunity, though, for more unique experiences. If you are into living like a local then getting a place in a residential neighborhood or building is going to give you more insight. A big chain can't just drop a 500-room property between two grandma's houses in a quiet neighborhood with local cafes and markets. There's also the chance to get properties that are just flat-out more impressive: if you're at the price point of a suite in a chain hotel, you can probably get a very nice flat or house on airbnb.

The middle ground, especially in Europe, is to go with independent hotels or guest houses. They'll be priced below most global chains and above a comparable room on airbnb, but you'll be dealing with a real innkeeper, and most will come with breakfast and often the option for half or full board. You can also find properties with some real character, and there can be deals to be had as well. This is what my folks (recent retirees who have started traveling to Europe a couple times a year) do and they are really happy with it.

So really you just need to weigh what you value the most. If you're not earning points off of an employer's spend then you need to follow your own wallet and travel patterns, coupled with an idea of your risk tolerance. Generally speaking, though, if you go the non-chain route in a lot of places you can save enough to have quite a good time with the difference.
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Old Apr 8, 16, 1:48 pm
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Originally Posted by serpens View Post
How much effort is it worth to achieve status for a European vacation?
Trying to parse you inquiry, I would start with my own question:

How do you think HHonors status would materially change your experience on vacation?

If you think top status in mainstream programs from SPG/Hilton/Marriott is going to yield baths of Krug and rose petals strewn everywhere you walk, try again.

Major hotels vs. airbnb isn't apples and oranges. It's kiwi fruit vs. receiving hitches.
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Old Apr 8, 16, 2:05 pm
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Originally Posted by serpens View Post
How much effort is it worth to achieve status for a European vacation?
Not a lot. Save your money and instead book a nicer property/nicer room outright?
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Old Apr 8, 16, 2:12 pm
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Interesting thread.

I use both, and generally find that a stay of more than 5 nights makes me more likely to go with AirBnb.

I strongly recommend AirBnb, having used it many times and haven't had anything other than fantastic experience with properties and hosts. A lot of it is researching before booking. Check the host out fully, read the reviews in detail, only go with a host with 10+ reviews, etc.

Generally I feel for a longer stay I prefer the freedom of being in an apartment with a kitchen and home comforts, so I can make my own meals rather than ordering up room service, or going to a restaurant, which gets a) expensive and b) a little boring (on your own) after a few nights.
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Old Apr 8, 16, 3:22 pm
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I'd first do the math of the total cost difference, including the value of all earned points, breakfast, etc and see what the true delta is. If it's close (within $20/night, for example) I'd probably lean towards Hilton vs. AirBNB... but I suspect, in many locations, the delta will be much greater. You may want to consider a mixed approach depending on the $ delta, length of stay, and available properties in each given location. There are likely to be times along the way that you'll be glad to have a few nights at a hotel after a long residential stay, and vice versa.

I wouldn't worry all that much about acquiring Diamond UNLESS you're really going after suite upgrades, and then you'd need to earn it ahead of your trip or early on in your trip to take advantage later. Gold will get you a long way and, as others have mentioned, is easy to acquire from a CC, challenge, etc.
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Old Apr 8, 16, 6:59 pm
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Depends in part on the city. In Paris, for example, where hotels are horribly overpriced, an apartment rental is in most respects a much better call IMO. Although I'm not sure airbnb is the best source for a Paris rental.
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Old Apr 8, 16, 7:12 pm
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
Depends in part on the city. In Paris, for example, where hotels are horribly overpriced, an apartment rental is in most respects a much better call IMO. Although I'm not sure airbnb is the best source for a Paris rental.
You mention Paris. Airbnb and similar operators are having an increasingly difficult time because so many rent in contravention of the regulations and thus reduce the opportunity for the permanent population to rent. It will get increasingly difficult to find an airbnb property in Paris I feel. http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB121473...58032330315292

Last edited by turtlemichael; Apr 8, 16 at 7:27 pm
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Old Apr 8, 16, 7:17 pm
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Originally Posted by serpens View Post
How would you compare airbnb to staying in a hotel (Hilton, presumably, in this forum) as a diamond for a string of nights, say 20? 10? 4?
Thanks for your thoughts.
I compare AirBNB as a Silicon Valley organization operated by a bundle of rotten punks that should be Federally raided by every government known to man. They only exist by printed seed money, willfully thumbing noses to illegally bypass regulations and safety checks that every licensed hotel, especially Hilton Worldwide, has to go through.

Your money is best with Hilton.
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Old Apr 8, 16, 7:42 pm
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I travel alone for work or with my wife. I like hotels. If I had a larger family I would consider renting a house or apartment , not necessarily through AirBNB. I value the consistency of hotels and don't need the space of a whole house or apartment. I am not a B&B type of person that wants to socialize with professional B&B hosts (no offense to those who do or to B&B proprietors) let alone renting a room in someone's private house. Its a matter of preference.

You can always try it and see if you like it. If not, it's pretty easy to get a credit card with HH Gold or find a Taste of Gold challenge.
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Old Apr 8, 16, 8:36 pm
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Thank you for your thoughts.

Originally Posted by jbeckett View Post
You can get HH gold (providing a free breakfast, and on occasion lounge access) with a credit card for less than $100. If the free breakfast is meaningful to you and you'll stay at Hilton for 4 or 5 nights of your trip, I'd get the credit card gold.
Breakfast at no extra cost is meaningful to me. My travel companion has Gold status by credit card, so that base is covered.

Originally Posted by 3Cforme View Post
How do you think HHonors status would materially change your experience on vacation?
I had the impression that Gold status did not always provide breakfast, especially in Europe. Did I misunderstand that? Breakfast is worth more to me than a suite upgrade, but is breakfast always included even without lounge access? Put another way, are there some hotels where the complimentary breakfast is only in the lounge, where access is not assured by Gold status?

Originally Posted by jeffers View Post
I use both, and generally find that a stay of more than 5 nights makes me more likely to go with AirBnb.
...
Generally I feel for a longer stay I prefer the freedom of being in an apartment with a kitchen and home comforts, so I can make my own meals rather than ordering up room service, or going to a restaurant, which gets a) expensive and b) a little boring (on your own) after a few nights.
That was the way I was leaning, but without having a number for the dividing line between an apartment from AirBnB and a hotel. On the contemplated trip, I expect to be at least three weeks in at least one city, and I do intend to look for an apartment in such a case. Recommended alternatives to AirBnB are welcome.

Thanks again for your insights.
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Old Apr 8, 16, 9:10 pm
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Originally Posted by serpens View Post
I had the impression that Gold status did not always provide breakfast, especially in Europe. Did I misunderstand that?
I think you'll find the reverse to be true. As a generalization, Gold breakfast benefit is weakest in US, solid in Europe, best in Asia.

Originally Posted by serpens View Post
Recommended alternatives to AirBnB are welcome.
In Paris, All Paris Apartments.

Originally Posted by turtlemichael View Post
You mention Paris. Airbnb and similar operators are having an increasingly difficult time because so many rent in contravention of the regulations and thus reduce the opportunity for the permanent population to rent.
It's a problem. If you look at listings, it appears that the entire Marais now consists exclusively of vacation rentals.

I partly blame the hotels for charging such high prices for such crappy products.
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Old Apr 9, 16, 11:22 am
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Originally Posted by serpens View Post
I had the impression that Gold status did not always provide breakfast, especially in Europe. Did I misunderstand that?
Yes, breakfast is always included for the Gold member and one guest in the same room. In a Hilton or Doubletree, it will be usually be in the main restaurant and will be a full breakfast or buffet with no restrictions. If you are upgraded to an executive room, it is possible that you will be required to eat in the executive lounge. In my opinion, the free breakfast is the primary benefit of Gold.

There is a sticky thread for breakfasts with Gold/Diamond, have a look at the wiki in that thread.

Last edited by jbeckett; Apr 9, 16 at 11:42 am
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