Is Hilton Honors Diamond Status Worth It?

Is Hilton Honors Diamond Status Worth It?

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Hilton is one of the largest hotel groups in the world, and Diamond status is the top tier status in the Hilton Honors program. What makes Diamond status unique is that it’s also the easiest top tier hotel status to earn with any US-issued credit cards.

In this post, I wanted to take a closer look at the benefits of Hilton Honors Diamond status, including the easiest ways to earn it.

How to earn Hilton Honors Diamond status

There are several pathways to earning Hilton Honors Diamond status — you can earn it through stays, you can earn it just for having a premium credit card, and you can earn it by putting spending on certain credit cards.

Earning Diamond status with hotel stays

If you want to achieve Hilton Honors Diamond status through hotel stays you ordinarily need to earn any of the following in a calendar year:

  • 60 nights
  • 30 stays (with each check-in and check-out counting as one stay)
  • 120,000 base points (you typically earn 10 base points per dollar at most brands, so that’s like spending $12,000 per year)

However, in 2022 Hilton Honors has reduced elite requirements, in light of the situation. So you’d only need 42 nights, 21 stays, or 84,000 base points, to earn Diamond status. Note that both award and revenue stays count towards the night and stay total.

The standard qualification requirements are in line with other top tier status programs, though fortunately there’s a much easier way to earn Diamond status if you have access to US credit cards.

Earning Diamond status with credit cards

Hilton has a suite of co-branded credit cards that can earn you status.

The easiest way to earn Hilton Honors Diamond status with a credit card is to simply have the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express (review).

The Hilton Aspire Card offers Diamond status for as long as you have the card, in addition to a slew of other amazing benefits that more than justify the annual fee. These benefits include an annual free weekend night certificate, a $250 annual Hilton resort credit, a $250 annual airline fee credit, a Priority Pass membership, and more. The Hilton Aspire card carries a $450 annual fee.

Alternatively, you can earn Hilton Honors Diamond status by spending $40,000 in a calendar year on either of the following cards:

If you’re unable to meet the $40,000 calendar year spending requirement, keep in mind that both the Hilton Surpass Card and Hilton Business Card come with Hilton Honors Gold status for as long you are a cardmember.

There are several credit cards that offer Hilton Honors elite status

Hilton Honors Diamond status benefits

With the requirements to earn status out of the way, what are the benefits of Hilton Honors Diamond status? Here are the benefits, roughly in the order that I value them:

Executive lounge access

For Hilton-family properties with executive lounges, Diamond members receive access. This applies regardless of whether or not there’s availability to upgrade the Diamond member to an executive room.

Executive lounges offer complimentary breakfast, evening snacks, and a place to grab a coffee or drink during the day. You can generally expect that executive lounges outside the United States (in particular in Asia) will be significantly better than domestic ones.

Hilton Diamond members receive executive lounge access

Complimentary continental breakfast or hotel credit

For properties outside of the United States without executive lounges, Honors Diamond members are entitled to complimentary continental breakfast. At a minimum, this is a choice you can select at all properties in eligible regions.

There are a couple of things to note:

  • While the benefit is technically only for continental breakfast, in practice many hotels will offer Diamond members full breakfast
  • Technically this benefit only applies at properties without executive lounges, though there are also hotels that will give Diamond members the option of dining either in the restaurant or in the lounge

For properties in the United States, Honors Diamond members receive a hotel credit in lieu of complimentary breakfast. This is technically temporary — it was introduced in 2021, but has been extended into 2022.

The amount of the credit ranges from $10-25 per person per night, and depends on the brand and location. For full service and lifestyle brands, high-cost markets include Boston, Chicago, the District of Columbia, Key Largo, Key West, New York City, San Francisco, the county of Los Angeles, and the state of Hawaii.

When it comes to breakfast benefits at major hotel chains, I’d say World of Hyatt wins (Globalist members receive a hot breakfast at all properties globally), Hilton Honors is second (Diamond members receive a continental breakfast or hotel credit at all brands), and then Marriott Bonvoy is third (Platinum members receive continental breakfast at some brands, while EDITION, Ritz-Carlton, etc., are excluded).

Hilton Diamond members receive complimentary breakfast outside the United States

Room upgrades

Hilton Honors Diamond members are entitled to room upgrades, though individual hotels have a lot of discretion. As the terms explain, Hilton Honors Diamond members may receive upgrades to preferred rooms, and that may include upgrades to junior, standard, or one-bedroom suites.

All of these upgrades are at the discretion of the hotel, and are granted on a space-available basis for the entire duration of the stay at the time of check-in (though at some hotels upgrades are starting to clear in advance on an automated basis).

This language is a bit different than what you’ll find with Marriott Bonvoy and World of Hyatt, which promise suite upgrades for top tier elite members subject to availability, rather than at the discretion of the hotel.

As a Hilton Honors Diamond member, I don’t expect (or ask for) suite upgrades, and that way I’m not disappointed. However, I do find that I’m upgraded to suites fairly often. It doesn’t happen much within the US, while I’d say outside the US I get a suite upgrade about 50% of the time.

I get suite upgrades fairly often as a Hilton Diamond member

100% bonus points

Hilton Honors Diamond members receive a 100% points bonus on Hilton Honors stays. Members ordinarily earn 10 base points per dollar spent, so Diamond members earn an additional 10 points per dollar spent.

Hilton Honors also often has global promotions to earn more points, and Hilton’s co-branded credit cards offer an excellent rate of return for Hilton spending.

When you combine all of these factors, racking up Hilton Honors points for hotel stays is quite easy.

Hilton Honors points rack up really quickly as a Diamond member

Hilton MyWay Benefits

Diamond members receive what’s known as a “MyWay” benefit with each stay, which varies by brand:

  • At Waldorf Astoria choose two of the following: 1,000 Honors bonus points, one in-room movie, or a spa, golf or restaurant discount
  • At Canopy, Conrad, Curio Collection, DoubleTree, and Hilton: receive 1,000 Honors bonus points
  • At Hilton Grand Vacations: receive 2,000 Honors bonus points
  • At Embassy Suites choose one of the following: 1,000 Honors bonus points or three snacks/refreshments
  • At Hilton Garden Inn choose one of the following: 750 Honors bonus points or a hot breakfast for up to two guests
  • At Hampton by Hilton choose one of the following: 250 Honors bonus points or your choice of a snack and non-alcoholic beverage
  • At Homewood Suites by Hilton choose one of the following: 250 Honors bonus points or two bottles of water and a sweet snack
  • At Home2 Suites by Hilton choose one of the following: 100 Honors bonus points or your choice of a snack and bottled water
Receive bonus points at DoubleTree hotels

Premium Wi-Fi

As a Hilton Honors Diamond member, you receive premium lobby and in-room Wi-Fi at Hilton brands. Interestingly Hilton doesn’t offer premium internet to mid-tier elite members, unlike some other programs.

Fifth night free on awards stays

While this is a perk for all Hilton Honors elite tiers, I still consider it to be extremely valuable. Hilton Honors elite members receive a fifth night free on award redemptions, which can stretch your Hilton Honors points further.

Receive a fifth night free on award redemptions as a Hilton elite member

Late check-out, subject to availability

This is an area where Hilton Honors lags. Technically all Hilton Honors members receive late check-out subject to availability. However, this is entirely at the hotel’s discretion. Unlike at Hyatt and Marriott, Hilton’s top tier members don’t get guaranteed 4PM check-out.

Two bottles of water

Again, this is a benefit of all elite tiers — you receive two complimentary bottles of water per stay.

Guaranteed room availability

Hilton Honors Diamond members can receive guaranteed room availability when booking at least 48 hours in advance. There are a couple of reasons this isn’t particularly valuable to me, though:

  • When taking advantage of this benefit you can expect to pay the highest possible rate, so you’re not going to get a discounted rate with this deal
  • There are limits to this benefit, like when a hotel is overbooked, so don’t expect this to work during major conventions, sporting events, etc.
Receive guaranteed room availability at least 48 hours out

Elite status gifting

Hilton Honors Diamond members can gift elite status to others, but only if they actually earn a certain number of elite nights (in other words, you don’t get this if you earn status through a credit card):

  • If you achieve 60 elite nights, gift Gold status to another member
  • If you achieve 100 elite nights, gift Diamond status to another member

Diamond status extension

Honors Diamond members have a one-time opportunity to extend Diamond status if they didn’t qualify in a particular year. This isn’t available to those who earn Diamond status through a credit card, but rather only applies to those who earn it via nights, stays, or base points.

In order to be eligible you need:

  • At least three total years of Diamond status (they don’t have to be consecutive)
  • At least 250 elite nights or 500,000+ earned base points

Earn lifetime Diamond status

Hilton Honors offers lifetime Diamond status, which has the following requirements:

  • Members must have maintained Hilton Honors Diamond status for 10 years (the years don’t need to be consecutive)
  • Members must have stayed a total of at least 1,000 nights (either paid or award) OR must have accumulated at least two million base points since joining the Hilton Honors program

What are the differences between Hilton Diamond & Gold status?

Gold is Hilton Honors’ mid-tier status, so what are the major differences between Gold and Diamond? I’d say there are a few most significant differences:

  • Diamond members receive a 100% points bonus, where Gold members receive an 80% points bonus
  • Diamond member upgrades include standard suites (at the discretion of the hotel), and Gold member upgrades exclude standard suites
  • Diamond members get executive lounge access regardless of the room they’re in, whereas Gold members only get executive lounge access when upgraded to an executive room
  • Diamond members receive complimentary premium Wi-Fi, while Gold members receive free standard Wi-Fi

The differences between the two elite tiers aren’t huge, though you’ll definitely notice some differences if you stay at Hilton properties often, especially outside the United States, where treatment is more differentiated.

Hilton Gold members also receive free breakfast

Is Hilton Honors Diamond status worth it?

Is earning Hilton Honors Diamond status worth it? It depends on how you’re earning it, what the opportunity cost is, and what you’re hoping to gain from status.

Let me put it this way — if earning Hilton Diamond status through actual stays, I’d say:

  • It might not be worth the incremental nights compared to Gold status
  • Personally I like that Marriott Bonvoy Platinum and World of Hyatt Globalist offer more guaranteed benefits, at least on paper (this applies to suite upgrades and late check-out)

That being said, I think Hilton Honors Diamond elite status is the all-around best value top tier status you can earn, when you consider that you can get the status just by having the Hilton Honors Aspire Card.

You’re paying $450 per year for a card that not only gets you top tier Diamond status, but also gets you up to $500 in credits, a free night certificate, and more. Personally I value the perks of the card at more than $450 not even factoring in the Diamond status, so I basically consider the Diamond status to be “free.”

I used my free night certificate at the Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos

If you have a similar valuation, then yes, Diamond status is oh-so-worth-it. I think Diamond status is worth it if you’re earning it through a co-branded credit card. However:

  • For actual stays I’d probably prefer going for status with Hyatt or Marriott
  • Hilton Honors Gold status is great as well, for someone who only stays at Hiltons every once in a while

Bottom line

Diamond is Hilton Honors’ top tier status, and comes with perks like free breakfast (or a food & beverage credit in the United States), lounge access, bonus points, and room upgrades. While the benefits of Diamond status aren’t quite as “guaranteed” as they are with other programs, I’ve consistently gotten great value with my status.

Getting Diamond status with the Hilton Honors Aspire Card is a phenomenal value, in my opinion, as this is no doubt the easiest way to get top tier status with any major hotel program.

If you’re a Hilton Honors Diamond member, what has your experience been like?

The following links will direct you to the rates and fees for mentioned American Express Cards. These include: The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card (Rates & Fees), and Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card (Rates & Fees).

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  1. Lan Sluder Guest

    I’m a longtime Hilton Diamond. My wife and I like all the Hilton brands but typically stay most frequently at mid-tier chains including Hampton Inn & Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, Homewood Suites and Embassy Suites. In the official Hilton website, those are among the Hilton brands that as corporate policy apparently no longer offer upgrades, if space is available, even for elite members. This is a fairly recent and very significant DOWNGRADE to the entire...

    I’m a longtime Hilton Diamond. My wife and I like all the Hilton brands but typically stay most frequently at mid-tier chains including Hampton Inn & Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, Homewood Suites and Embassy Suites. In the official Hilton website, those are among the Hilton brands that as corporate policy apparently no longer offer upgrades, if space is available, even for elite members. This is a fairly recent and very significant DOWNGRADE to the entire Hilton Honors program.

    We did recently stay at a Hampton Inn & Suites, asked for an upgrade and were told by the front desk person on duty we would have to pay for any upgrade at regular rates. He said that the change to “no upgrades for elite Honors members” was corporate-wide and not this particular property’s policy. Because my wife wanted an ocean-view room we did pay about $40 extra for the room location, a regular room, not a suite.

    When I received the standard Hilton survey following the stay I responded in part by criticizing the policy and said I thought this showed Hilton in some cases no longer valued its Diamond members.

    A few days later I received a “Hilton case incident opened” email message, and today I received $40 credit on my Amex.

    I’m unclear whether because individual property operators control their own inventory that some Hampton, Embassy and Garden Inn operators still offer Diamond and Gold members a space-available upgrade, or if that is now rarely if ever done. What has been your experience?

  2. John Guest

    I've made Diamond 14 times in the last 25 years and it's frankly a mixed bag the last 10 years. Before the last few devaluations, it was the best hotel benefit to have, particularly on how far the points would go (the old Going Global available to Diamond and Gold level). If you travel internationally, it's still worth it for the room upgrades and executive lounges. Domestically it's not worth it. Room upgrades are barely...

    I've made Diamond 14 times in the last 25 years and it's frankly a mixed bag the last 10 years. Before the last few devaluations, it was the best hotel benefit to have, particularly on how far the points would go (the old Going Global available to Diamond and Gold level). If you travel internationally, it's still worth it for the room upgrades and executive lounges. Domestically it's not worth it. Room upgrades are barely noticeable (I've been told I was "upgraded" but couldn't spot any difference between the upgraded room and what I booked). Executive lounges, the few that remain domestically, are a shadow of their former glory. The treatment you get as a Diamond is also a mixed bag. I was treated like royalty in Cairo and London. In Brooklyn I thought they were going to knife me if I asked a question about check out time.

    1. Jon Guest

      Amex offends on the Aspire had been better than all my other Amex cards combined

  3. David Lipschultz Guest

    In a European capitol city, with our Amex Hilton aspire card we were upgraded at the last moment to the Presidential suite…full kitchen, designer appliances, “safe-room”, dining room for 12, and a full length balcony that overlooked the great view! That sold me on the Card’s value!

    1. Eskimo Guest

      I'm guessing Podgorica?

      Not going to see that happen ever in a North American capitol city.

  4. jeffyk99 Guest

    Everyone talks about there being too many diamond members but in my opinion, the reason why diamond benefit is not as good as the other loyalty programs I think is Hilton gold status. Only Hilton gives free breakfast for a mid tier program so I think the upgrades and all the free breakfast given out to gold is hurting people with diamond status more than other diamond members.
    I’m in Korea and even a...

    Everyone talks about there being too many diamond members but in my opinion, the reason why diamond benefit is not as good as the other loyalty programs I think is Hilton gold status. Only Hilton gives free breakfast for a mid tier program so I think the upgrades and all the free breakfast given out to gold is hurting people with diamond status more than other diamond members.
    I’m in Korea and even a small country like South Korea is rumored to have more than 100,000 gold members (as there are credit cards/programs here you can easily get gold) but not that many diamonds. And of course it’s even much easier to get gold status in the US with so many credit cards offering the status for under $100 annual fee.
    If gold wasn’t offered free breakfast, I really think in the US they would never have started these ridiculous low $$ breakfast credits that was rolled out last year and continuing now in the first place. We still get full breakfast buffet here in Korea.
    So with Hilton, too many golds are hurting diamond members more than too many other diamond members. What do you guys think?? Agree or disagree with me?!

    1. DCS Diamond

      See just below my comment in response to a similar comment. I will rinse and repeat:
      If free breakfast is the only perk that you care about, then, sure, HH Gold, the best and most affordable mid-tier elite status of any program, is great. You're deluding yourself and have drunk too much kool-aid if you think that there is even a remotely meaningful comparison between HH Diamond and HH Gold (no suite upgrades, exec...

      See just below my comment in response to a similar comment. I will rinse and repeat:
      If free breakfast is the only perk that you care about, then, sure, HH Gold, the best and most affordable mid-tier elite status of any program, is great. You're deluding yourself and have drunk too much kool-aid if you think that there is even a remotely meaningful comparison between HH Diamond and HH Gold (no suite upgrades, exec lounge access only if (big IF) upgraded to the exec floor, at least 20% fewer points earned for the same spend, no premium internet access, etc, etc, etc. I won't yet again post the entire canonical list). Really. Unlike self-anointed "travel gurus" who made up the claim, I know better because I held the HH Gold status for a good before reaching HH Diamond, which I have held continuously for 11 years...

  5. Ethan Guest

    Considering even outside US, in many countries you can get Hilton Gold from localized version of AMEX Platinum, no, not worth to get Diamond by any method other than Aspire.
    I stayed 10+ nights in Hilton in 2021, all for convenience reasons.
    Oh and hotels all said they had more Diamond than Gold.

    1. DCS Diamond

      What is the point of this post? You are just a lowly HH Gold, with not nearly enough stays to be able to pontificate one way or the other on differences between HH Diamonds and Golds (no suite upgrades, exec lounge access only if (big IF) upgraded to the exec floor, at least 20% fewer points earned for the same spend, no premium internet access, etc, etc, etc. I won't yet again post the entire...

      What is the point of this post? You are just a lowly HH Gold, with not nearly enough stays to be able to pontificate one way or the other on differences between HH Diamonds and Golds (no suite upgrades, exec lounge access only if (big IF) upgraded to the exec floor, at least 20% fewer points earned for the same spend, no premium internet access, etc, etc, etc. I won't yet again post the entire canonical list). Most people, if not all, who earn Diamond the "hard way" also have the Aspire, y'know. They (we) just got a way off the hamster wheel of endless status chasing, which is a Great Thing.

      If free breakfast is the only perk that you care about, then, sure, HH Gold, the best and most affordable mid-tier elite status of any program, is great. You're deluding yourself and have drunk too much kool-aid if you think that there is even a remotely meaningful comparison between HH Diamond and HH Gold. Really. Unlike self-anointed "travel gurus" who made up the claim, I know better because I held the HH Gold status for a good before reaching HH Diamond, which I have held continuously for 11 years...

      G'day.

    2. Ethan Guest

      And gets angry at gold members who get similar benefits as his diamond lol.

  6. Stuart Guest

    I don't even try to be Diamond and I am Diamond. Go figure. It's worthless. Could care less. Oh, but there are those nifty parking spots at some properties for "Diamond Members Only." LOL.

    Upgrades and Perks: None
    Redemptions: Horrid
    Properties: Some of the worst

    Have absolutely no clue why anyone would chase Diamond other than as an accidental guest like me that spends maybe 25 nights a year at a Hilton...

    I don't even try to be Diamond and I am Diamond. Go figure. It's worthless. Could care less. Oh, but there are those nifty parking spots at some properties for "Diamond Members Only." LOL.

    Upgrades and Perks: None
    Redemptions: Horrid
    Properties: Some of the worst

    Have absolutely no clue why anyone would chase Diamond other than as an accidental guest like me that spends maybe 25 nights a year at a Hilton property as I'm forced to - but still seems to keep getting Diamond anyway.

    1. DCS Guest

      "Upgrades and Perks: None
      Redemptions: Horrid
      Properties: Some of the worst"

      LOL indeed...

      So what exactly are you doing pontificating on a site like this instead watching TV or whatever else it is that you like to do? It is clear to me that anyone with such a horrendous record and negative view of loyalty is completely clueless about how the game is played.

    2. Stuart Guest

      @DCS, Goodness, defensive much? I am more than aware of how the game is played. And as a Hyatt Lifetime and Annual Globalist, Marriott Ambassador (and Lifetime Titanium), Hilton Diamond, And Four Seasons Elite I can assure you that I know how to navigate the systems and am quite adept at weighing out the difference in programs. In my opinion, and based on years of holding the same levels with all, Hilton is the absolute...

      @DCS, Goodness, defensive much? I am more than aware of how the game is played. And as a Hyatt Lifetime and Annual Globalist, Marriott Ambassador (and Lifetime Titanium), Hilton Diamond, And Four Seasons Elite I can assure you that I know how to navigate the systems and am quite adept at weighing out the difference in programs. In my opinion, and based on years of holding the same levels with all, Hilton is the absolute worst at providing any tangible benefits, as well with terrible redemptions at the very few properties that are aspirational.

      Any other questions?

    3. DCS Guest

      Yes, just one. I have been a Hilton Diamond continuously for 11 years, why then is the following true for you...

      "Upgrades and Perks: None
      Redemptions: Horrid
      Properties: Some of the worst"

      when...
      - I have cleared overall about 80% of all my suite upgrades since 2012;
      - from 2011-2019, continuously, I have gotten great redemption values yearly, including whopping 4 cents/HH point on a 5-night award stay at Hilton's most...

      Yes, just one. I have been a Hilton Diamond continuously for 11 years, why then is the following true for you...

      "Upgrades and Perks: None
      Redemptions: Horrid
      Properties: Some of the worst"

      when...
      - I have cleared overall about 80% of all my suite upgrades since 2012;
      - from 2011-2019, continuously, I have gotten great redemption values yearly, including whopping 4 cents/HH point on a 5-night award stay at Hilton's most aspirational property, Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi.
      - though highly subjective so meaningless, how can Hilton properties be "some of the worst", when any place you look the chain has been opening new cutting-edge hotels and rapidly increasing its portfolio of luxury hotels ?

      See why anyone would call you a "fake" HH Diamond, or one who is clueless about how the game is played? (The question is rhetorical).

      G'day.

    4. Stuart Guest

      @DCS My personal email address is [email protected] Feel free to send me any email, a burner is fine, I will be happy to forward screen shots of my accounts and nights for you. After, you can apologize here for insinuating, "faking."

      Perhaps you are not in the U.S. and that's affecting your perceptions of Hilton. I have no idea. But if you want to get defensive with me and question my experience with these things,...

      @DCS My personal email address is [email protected] Feel free to send me any email, a burner is fine, I will be happy to forward screen shots of my accounts and nights for you. After, you can apologize here for insinuating, "faking."

      Perhaps you are not in the U.S. and that's affecting your perceptions of Hilton. I have no idea. But if you want to get defensive with me and question my experience with these things, game on.

      G'day to you and I await your email.

    5. Stuart Guest

      @DCS I sent here in comments my non work email to have you send me yours. That way I can forward you screenshots of my accounts and history. Unfortunately it has been placed in moderation for now. When it posts please do. I don't appreciate your insinuating, "fake." You have no idea my level and years in this game.

      You are clearly a Hilton fan boy. And have been trolling all the comments attacking anyone...

      @DCS I sent here in comments my non work email to have you send me yours. That way I can forward you screenshots of my accounts and history. Unfortunately it has been placed in moderation for now. When it posts please do. I don't appreciate your insinuating, "fake." You have no idea my level and years in this game.

      You are clearly a Hilton fan boy. And have been trolling all the comments attacking anyone who dares from their experience to find it to be one of the least useful programs. Despite the fact that the majority here agree that it's pretty lame at best. Perhaps you are not from the U.S.?

      You are entitled to an opinion. But you are not entitled to attack and insult people for having their own. That's where I draw the line.

    6. DCS Guest

      It is not particularly prudent to post one's email publicly, even non-work, and I have no intention of continuing this "debate" with you as I stand by my initial comment that anyone who claims

      "Upgrades and Perks: None
      Redemptions: Horrid
      Properties: Some of the worst"

      has no clue how the game is played, especially if the person claims to be a Diamond.

      We're done here.

    7. Joes Guest

      @Stuart
      Why are you forced to stay at a Hilton?

    8. Stuart Guest

      @joes. On occasion I have to for conferences or events (sometimes as a requirement and other times because of schedule and the need to be on property). Other times because of no other particular choice that works due to lack of availability in other brands or the only real option above a Holiday Inn Express or Comfort Inn.

  7. Mark Guest

    How is anyone using points to book the Waldorf in Cabo? Every time I check, it is always well over 500,000 points per night.

    1. Joes Guest

      @Mark
      That’s a deal go for it

    2. LSP New Member

      500k points per night at 0.5 cents/point works out to $2500/night, which is definitely not a good deal. Mark - I've had the same issue, and I think the only solution is to book extremely last minute, so have another hotel booked that you cancel last minute. It kind of defeats the purpose of a property bookable on points (or free night certificate) if you can't ever plan on actually booking it on points.

    3. DCS Guest

      Hilton has no standard awards that cost 500K per night.

  8. Alan Guest

    The key issue is that the Hilton credit card is only available in the USA - everyone else has no choice but to earn it the hard way. I really hope they recognise this before rolling out the breakfast credit 'enhancement' to everyone else who doesn't have easy access to status via credit card! (it's a bit of a no-brainer if you're in the US)

    1. Florian Guest

      Nope - I am in Germany, there is a Hilton Visa at 48 EUR per year coming with Gold status, and Diamond after spending 20k EUR p.a. Alternatively, you can use the Amex Platinum perks to get Gold.

  9. Mike Guest

    6 years diamond thru business travel and staying around 120 nights a year.
    Very rarely do I ever get an upgrade even when I ask.
    Everyone is diamond status with CC’s now a days. Hilton should make an elite level above diamond that only by actual nights stayed you earn and then reward these members accordingly. Covid times and I’m still travelling and hotel capacity around 30-40% still no upgrades. Shouldn’t have to...

    6 years diamond thru business travel and staying around 120 nights a year.
    Very rarely do I ever get an upgrade even when I ask.
    Everyone is diamond status with CC’s now a days. Hilton should make an elite level above diamond that only by actual nights stayed you earn and then reward these members accordingly. Covid times and I’m still travelling and hotel capacity around 30-40% still no upgrades. Shouldn’t have to ask when you have spent a $100k or more. Also a lot of Hilton properties are getting dated and run down. This year I think I’ll stay with Marriot more there properties are very nice. By the way these thought are shared by colleagues at work as well as many of them have already migrated to Marriot.
    Hilton your on notice from your loyal customers, we will see if your listening.

    1. Joes Guest

      @Mike
      It seems you should be at lifetime Diamond with that spend per year with Hilton

    2. DCS Diamond

      LF HH Diamond requires at least 10 years (not necessarily consecutive) as a Diamond.

    3. DCS Diamond

      6 years diamond thru business travel and staying around 120 nights a year.
      Very rarely do I ever get an upgrade even when I ask.
      Blah... blah...blah...

      This responds to purported HH "Diamonds" that make statements like one quoted. One wonders why people like that do not simply quit a program that's given them so little...in this case, for 6 years as a Diamond, likely longer overall.

      Everyone is diamond status with...

      6 years diamond thru business travel and staying around 120 nights a year.
      Very rarely do I ever get an upgrade even when I ask.
      Blah... blah...blah...

      This responds to purported HH "Diamonds" that make statements like one quoted. One wonders why people like that do not simply quit a program that's given them so little...in this case, for 6 years as a Diamond, likely longer overall.

      Everyone is diamond status with CC’s now a days. Hilton should make an elite level above diamond that only by actual nights stayed you earn and then reward these members accordingly.

      Let me address that as one who both "earns" and "buys" the Diamond status, and will soon have an elite status that's considered to be above Diamond: Lifetime (LF) Diamond.

      Every HH Diamond that knows the first thing about how the game is played and earns the status the "hard way" by directing their business to Hilton now also gets the Diamond status through the incredible Aspire card, as I've done every year since the card was introduced (241K base points this year!), because it makes no sense not to since one is already spending the money anyway. Why leave loads of points on the table by paying one's revenue or award stay folios with a card that earns less than the Aspire's industry-leading 14x? Therefore, the purported dichotomy about "earning" vs. "buying" the status is completely bogus, especially since most, if not all, who "earn" the status also "buy" it so that they (we) are one and the same , and, importantly, anyone who simply "buys" the Diamond status but does not spend any paid nights at Hilton properties is largely inconsequential because (a) they offer no competition for upgrades and (b) they do not earn enough points to offer a significant competition for quality reward stays. On the other hand, if anyone that "buys" the status directs some their business to Hilton as a result, then Hilton's long-standing philosophy that "if you give them status, they'll come" is fully justified or vindicated - a win-win for the program and its members that know how to take advantage of the benefits that are offered, as well as for the company.

      Lastly, I will not repeat in details a point I made recently, which should really be self-evident: the Aspire card has enhanced and not diluted the HH Diamond status. Anyone who thinks otherwise isn't playing the game with a "full deck" and ought to hang it up.

  10. AC Guest

    Longtime Diamond member (years ago through stays and now w $40,000 spend (in categories that I don't get bonuses through other cards) on my Surpass card. Tend to agree chasing through nights isn't worth it. Better to be Gold and then focus on another chain to get at least mid-level status. I'm lifetime Titanium and generally find I get more recognition from Marriott than Hilton although I have been surprised with upgrades and other recognition....

    Longtime Diamond member (years ago through stays and now w $40,000 spend (in categories that I don't get bonuses through other cards) on my Surpass card. Tend to agree chasing through nights isn't worth it. Better to be Gold and then focus on another chain to get at least mid-level status. I'm lifetime Titanium and generally find I get more recognition from Marriott than Hilton although I have been surprised with upgrades and other recognition. I'm one of the people is glad for whatever I get and don't assume I'm "owed" a suite upgrade or other amenity since I fully understand hotels don't want to give away a room they may be able to sell and shouldn't be under any obligation to do so.

    My upgrade to Aspire but may Bonvoy Brilliant Amex card so already paying premium for that one and will have to see if I can justify the Aspire based on additional perks I get already on Surpass.

    1. Joes Guest

      I would downgrade Surpass
      Use Lucky link for the Aspire card

  11. DCS Diamond

    Joes, you must realize that the hotel loyalty programs and the property owners are your adversaries. Time has shown that they continually find ways to deny members benefits. Some properties remove all suites from network inventory and market them via AirBnb, etc. -- as such, there are no suites available for upgrade, whether as a benefit or as an award redemption. Some properties have closed their in-house restaurant for breakfast because they can simply give...

    Joes, you must realize that the hotel loyalty programs and the property owners are your adversaries. Time has shown that they continually find ways to deny members benefits. Some properties remove all suites from network inventory and market them via AirBnb, etc. -- as such, there are no suites available for upgrade, whether as a benefit or as an award redemption. Some properties have closed their in-house restaurant for breakfast because they can simply give the member 1000 points in substitution. This list goes on. Don't drink the Kool-aid.

    We must live in different universes because my outlook on hotel loyalty is not as bleak as in that comment, which I want to address separately from the muck where it was made.

    - I had 7 eligible stays in 2021, 3 at properties that offered suite upgrades (DT Rome Monti, Hilton Playa del Carmen, Hilton Buenos Aires) and I got a suite upgrade at each (upgrade to a higher suite at PdC).

    - Exec lounges have been closed across the board because of the pandemic, a move I applaud; therefore, I prefer to wait before rendering judgement

    - Breakfast outside the US continues to be free and full.

    - Hilton is not saving money by handing out vouchers instead of free breakfast in the US, as vouchers represent REAL money that they give to everyone (even encouraging members to claim extra room occupancy to double it) whether or not they care to eat breakfast. By contrast, free breakfast, which some members often skip thus decreasing the cost of providing it, represents a regular cost of doing business. The cost to hotels for providing free breakfast is actually much lower than its perceived value to members - this is called reward leverage, a principle that underlies the move to dynamic award pricing. On the other hand, the value of vouchers is real: there is forgone revenue in every $15 voucher that is handed out; not necessarily so with free breakfast. I suspect that vouchers are being given out because of the current tight labor market and that breakfast in the US will resume after the pandemic, especially with the reopening of exec lounges.

    I do not know programs that offer points instead of breakfast. Hilton honors generally offers both (now vouchers + points in the US), though the number of points may vary by property.

    G'day.

    1. DCS Diamond

      Correction - I also stayed at Hilton SF Financial District, my first Hilton stay since the start of the pandemic, which has suites but I did get upgraded to one. I did, however, get upgraded to a better room than the one I'd booked, with a stunning view of iconic SF Bay - check it out:

      https://bit.ly/3sRDPRJ

    2. DCS Diamond

      Another correction because my record is even better than I'd stated off the top of my head. I also stayed at the Drake in Chicago, which has has suites, right after Thanksgiving and I was upgraded to one as I reported at time in this space!

      So, out of 7 eligible stays, 4 suites upgrades (one ineligible stay - Grand Islander by Hilton Grand Vacations in HNL, an all-suites property for which paid a...

      Another correction because my record is even better than I'd stated off the top of my head. I also stayed at the Drake in Chicago, which has has suites, right after Thanksgiving and I was upgraded to one as I reported at time in this space!

      So, out of 7 eligible stays, 4 suites upgrades (one ineligible stay - Grand Islander by Hilton Grand Vacations in HNL, an all-suites property for which paid a greatly discounted rate to attend a presentation on timeshares I had no intention of purchasing...)

    3. Eskimo Guest

      The $15 is also a reward leverage. You can't cash out that $15.
      If a guest normally never spends extra money on the property, there is no revenue forgone.
      I can't predict the future, but I'm not going to be surprised if the credits will become permanent.

      And since you also brought up perceived value, any guest who perceived a comparable breakfast to cost more than the voucher feels devalued, any guest...

      The $15 is also a reward leverage. You can't cash out that $15.
      If a guest normally never spends extra money on the property, there is no revenue forgone.
      I can't predict the future, but I'm not going to be surprised if the credits will become permanent.

      And since you also brought up perceived value, any guest who perceived a comparable breakfast to cost more than the voucher feels devalued, any guest who doesn't eat breakfast, it's extra hotel credits. So just because you hate it or like it, doesn't everyone else should feel the same.

      On a side note, it would be interesting to learn your personal strategy to fend off the timeshare sales pitch. Seeing how you see things against the consensus, it might be a good strategy for timeshare presentations. Not only that, these people got away with my several of my 'getaway gifts' because I can't redeem them during Covid and it's all expired.

    4. DCS Diamond

      The $15 is also a reward leverage. You can't cash out that $15.

      I stopped reading after that nonsense, as I have no time to waste here trying in vain to edify you yet again.

      The $15 is not "reward leverage", therefore, you have no clue what "reward leverage" means . The value of the vouchers for an entire stay is real money that is directly deducted from one's folio at checkout, which is exactly...

      The $15 is also a reward leverage. You can't cash out that $15.

      I stopped reading after that nonsense, as I have no time to waste here trying in vain to edify you yet again.

      The $15 is not "reward leverage", therefore, you have no clue what "reward leverage" means . The value of the vouchers for an entire stay is real money that is directly deducted from one's folio at checkout, which is exactly the same as cashing out the vouchers. I will show it to you on actual folio if you are still confused.

      G'day and good luck.

    5. Eskimo Guest

      Maybe try read the full post, I know you hardly do that. But try.

      Deducting from folio that have no incidentals doesn't get your money back. So no cash out if you don't use it. Cash out literally means cash "out". I don't care if you think it's a reward leverage or not. I just want to see cash "out".
      Show me a folio that you incurred no extra charges and actually get $15 back on your credit card.

    6. DCS Guest

      I will respond, including to your queries related your timeshares "misadventures", but then please drop your nonsense about cash vouchers being 'reward leverage'. You have no leg to stand on that.

      There is no question that you have no idea what "reward leverage" means. Whether or not the folio has incidentals is immaterial. It's a matter of cash vs. non-cash rewards.

      I will just quote from an authoritative source and leave it at that: If...

      I will respond, including to your queries related your timeshares "misadventures", but then please drop your nonsense about cash vouchers being 'reward leverage'. You have no leg to stand on that.

      There is no question that you have no idea what "reward leverage" means. Whether or not the folio has incidentals is immaterial. It's a matter of cash vs. non-cash rewards.

      I will just quote from an authoritative source and leave it at that: If a reward is in the form of cash [DCS sez: rather than, e.g., breakfast or points], then there is no reward leverage – a $15 reward costs the company $15 in foregone revenue. Period.

      See my folio from Hilton SF Financial District at the link below: a $60 credit is clearly listed as a cash pay out to me.

      https://bit.ly/3FU87qL

      Re: Timeshares

      How do I fend off timeshare predators?
      It's very simple and straightforward. I listen attentively to the presentation, then I tell the presenter that at this point in my life, as a HH Diamond who earns loads of HH points from business-related Hilton stays (scientific conferences and other such professional travels) for which I get reimbursed, a timeshare is not compatible with that lifestyle. It would be a step down and too limiting for me. I can see a timeshare being of great value to me when I no longer earn loads of HH points that cost me little out of pocket money.

      I go prepared with photos of places around the world where I have redeemed HH points, just in case I run into a presenter who is particularly aggressive. It works every time, including the one time I went to a Marriott timeshare presentation at St-Regis Los Cabos.

      They got away with several of your "getaway gifts" because you could not redeem them due to the pandemic and they expired.

      I had two packages to redeem that were affected by the pandemic: a small one for Myrtle Beach, and larger one for Honolulu. The pandemic hit and I could not redeem either. Then when travel sort of resumed, HGV contacted me and urged me to redeem the Myrtle Beach package with the promise to get 25K HH points after I attended the presentation. After they contacted me a second time, I decided to go for and I called to make a reservation. All of sudden, I was told that (a) the Myrtle package had expired and (b) they saw that I had another package for HNL at the same time, which was not allowed. So, they urged me instead to redeem the HNL package and I refused because I was not ready for it and they'd already told me that the HNL package would be good for another 9 months. I tried to make the case that expiring the Myrtle Beach package when I had no opportunity to redeem it during the worst months of the pandemic was just nonsensical. They would not budge and refused to honor or reimburse for the package.

      Then called several months later to redeem the HNL package, I brought the 'confiscated' Myrtle Beach with the agent, who told me that no one should have confiscated the package since I did do my best to try to redeem it as soon as it became possible. She then put me on hold to speak with her supervisor. When she returned, she said that I could get reimbursed for the confiscated package that'd cost $329, but that there would be a cancellation fee of $75. At that point, the sounded pretty good to me, I agreed and the difference was credited back to my Aspire card.

      Voila. No comments on 'reward leverage'!

    7. Andrew Gold

      DCS, thank you for sharing "timeshare defense" tactics. I've yet to do one, but that will be helpful in the future.

  12. crosscourt Guest

    Hilton Honors in the USA is pathetic. In hindsight I wish I had not given them my loyalty. I am a lifetime diamond member by actually staying the nights not with some credit card from the USA. The business of these pathetic credits is ridiculous and i cannot remember when i was at a property in the USA with an executive lounge. If they have to make these changes do it for the lower tiers. Don't frustrate those that have been loyal, like lifetime diamond members.

  13. Another Lump Guest

    Worth it if you're US based and can get Aspire? Sure. But considering Gold is easily attainable by other methods, and the Diamond ranks are flooded such that upgrades are much more rare, and breakfast benefit downgraded, you're a sucker to go out of your way to get Diamond via stays. Hilton has positioned themselves to be a backup program at best. Only the most brainwashed Hilton fanboy could argue otherwise with a straight face.

  14. dander Guest

    Been Diamond and Have been treated way better as a Gold internationally than I have been treated as a Diamond in the states. Also Rumor has it that there is a status above Diamond something like Diamond MVP. Anyone ever hear about it? Had a coworker that had it. Once a hotel manager didn't believe him until she pulled his account up and all of a sudden she got really really nice.

  15. Tahsin Guest

    I have the Aspire card, and stayed 60 nights with Hilton properties this past year. Overseas properties are generous with upgrades, and that's where Diamond status shines. In the US the Aspire/Diamond combo allows for you to rack up a lot of points quickly, and because of the breakfast cutbacks I find myself staying in the free breakfast properties nowadays.
    I also qualified for Bonvoy Platinum/Titanium, and aside from a few properties (Fairfield Inn...

    I have the Aspire card, and stayed 60 nights with Hilton properties this past year. Overseas properties are generous with upgrades, and that's where Diamond status shines. In the US the Aspire/Diamond combo allows for you to rack up a lot of points quickly, and because of the breakfast cutbacks I find myself staying in the free breakfast properties nowadays.
    I also qualified for Bonvoy Platinum/Titanium, and aside from a few properties (Fairfield Inn Plymouth, MA, Mystic Marriott, CT, and Renaissance Hotel Schaumburg, IL), most other places I didn't get treated like a Platinum/Titanium elite - which was disappointing; asking for a suite resulted in a response, "oh we already gave you a room on a higher floor" etc. So I choose Marriott when I know I will need a late checkout and Hyatt property isn't around, I was able to get so many nights cuz of business travel.
    Lastly I racked up 60+ nights with Hyatt, most properties offered the upgrade before I even got a chance to ask regardless of location. I felt valued as a Globalist (earned after 30 nights this year). My only problem with the program is slow earning compared to Marriott or Hilton especially.

  16. ethnicluxurytraveller Guest

    After maintaining top tiers with Hilton and airlines, what I have learned it the topmost tier is almost as equal as the mid tier. Much easier to achieve and the sweet spot.

    I live in Europe so used to getting suite upgrades more than 50% of the time in EU, Asia and middle East. Since the automated upgrade rules, no suite upgrades. Literally 0 upgrades over the last 15 stays in different hotels. With mist...

    After maintaining top tiers with Hilton and airlines, what I have learned it the topmost tier is almost as equal as the mid tier. Much easier to achieve and the sweet spot.

    I live in Europe so used to getting suite upgrades more than 50% of the time in EU, Asia and middle East. Since the automated upgrade rules, no suite upgrades. Literally 0 upgrades over the last 15 stays in different hotels. With mist of the lounges are closed anyway, diamond tier is pointless for me anymore.

  17. Mike Guest

    Quick thoughts ….
    I’ve been Hilton diamond for the last 6 years as I travel for work and spend roughly 120 nights a year in a hotel.
    Very rarely do I get upgraded for being a diamond member, seems like everyone is diamond these days through CC’s. Even with Covid my travel hasn’t stopped and even with properties near empty still no upgrade?
    Sometimes I ask and still nothing so why try....

    Quick thoughts ….
    I’ve been Hilton diamond for the last 6 years as I travel for work and spend roughly 120 nights a year in a hotel.
    Very rarely do I get upgraded for being a diamond member, seems like everyone is diamond these days through CC’s. Even with Covid my travel hasn’t stopped and even with properties near empty still no upgrade?
    Sometimes I ask and still nothing so why try. Shouldn’t need to ask with roughly $100,000+ spent.
    Hilton should create a elite level for those who actually stay and spend the money annually.
    Also several Hilton properties I’ve stayed at are getting very dated and showing there age.
    I will be spending more money with Marriot this year as I don’t feel Hilton values the money I spend with them or even cares.
    Business clients have a choice
    What’s it going to be Hilton? Are you going to step up for you loyal business travellers or are we going to take our money to the competition?

    1. Andrew Guest

      No snarky response from DCS here when it’s a very valid problem..

  18. Mike Guest

    Quick thoughts ….
    I’ve been Hilton diamond for the last 6 years as I travel for work and spend roughly 120 nights a year in a hotel.
    Very rarely do I get upgraded for being a diamond member, seems like everyone is diamond these days through CC’s. Even with Covid my travel hasn’t stopped and even when properties are near empty still no upgrade?
    Sometimes I ask and still nothing so why...

    Quick thoughts ….
    I’ve been Hilton diamond for the last 6 years as I travel for work and spend roughly 120 nights a year in a hotel.
    Very rarely do I get upgraded for being a diamond member, seems like everyone is diamond these days through CC’s. Even with Covid my travel hasn’t stopped and even when properties are near empty still no upgrade?
    Sometimes I ask and still nothing so why try.
    Hilton should create a elite level for those who actually stay and spend the money annually.
    Also several Hilton properties I’ve stayed at are getting very dated and showing there age.
    I will be spending more money with Marriot this year as I don’t feel Hilton values the money I spend with them or even cares.
    Business clients have a choice
    What’s it going to be Hilton? Are you going to step up for you loyal business travellers or are we going to take our money to the competition?

  19. derek Guest

    The biggest benefit is hot breakfast. Ok, added points is nice.

    The worse two things to happen recently are:
    end of individual shampoo

    flea infested pets now ok at all Hilton Garden Inn and Embassy Suites.

  20. Billy Bob Guest

    Seriously thinking about dropping Aspire for a few years as the restrictions on travel aren't going to end any time soon and the mania will continue for another four to five years. More variants are coming, some of those will be more serious than a cold, and governments everywhere are ready to sic to dogs on anyone who protests lockdowns and non-stop boosters, et al.
    It's not going away folks, and travel isn't going to suck any less for the foreseeable future.

  21. Billy Bob Guest

    In the three years I have been Diamond via credit card, I have not once been upgraded to a suite, ever, upon check in. I am told, "Suites are all sold out, sorry" but they are bookable that night on the website.

    1. Reno Joe Guest

      Billy Bob, if you can imagine, it's actually worse that what you relate. On another blog, one commenter related the following story. He checks in. The front desk person asks if he'd like to pay for an upgrade to a suite. The guy mentions his elite status and that he should get an upgrade if available as a elite benefit . . . and if you're offering for sale, then it's available. We're not going...

      Billy Bob, if you can imagine, it's actually worse that what you relate. On another blog, one commenter related the following story. He checks in. The front desk person asks if he'd like to pay for an upgrade to a suite. The guy mentions his elite status and that he should get an upgrade if available as a elite benefit . . . and if you're offering for sale, then it's available. We're not going to upgrade you unless you pay for it. Dad gum!

      With only one exception, my experience is the same as yours. In fact, I've had a property GM expressly say to me that they simply weren't going to give me a suite for seven days . . . not that it wasn't available because it was available . . . he just wasn't going to do it. As I've said repeatedly, hotel loyalty program elite status is a mug's game . . . and we're the mugs. I've gone a different direction.

  22. x Member

    With the changes to the breakfast benefit in the USA, the answer is simply "no" here - it is not worth it.

    1. JoePro Guest

      Not too shabby.
      I'd note that "being a regular" kinda just sounds like a different kind of loyalty. Not to a brand, but to a specific hotel. Sounds like it works pretty well in your situation, but I wouldn't say it's gonna be the best option for the majority of people.

      I do agree that hotel programs are becoming more and more adversarial. I've been fighting with Marriott for 2 months trying to get...

      Not too shabby.
      I'd note that "being a regular" kinda just sounds like a different kind of loyalty. Not to a brand, but to a specific hotel. Sounds like it works pretty well in your situation, but I wouldn't say it's gonna be the best option for the majority of people.

      I do agree that hotel programs are becoming more and more adversarial. I've been fighting with Marriott for 2 months trying to get points I legitimately earned.

      Meanwhile Hyatt properties seem to be all joining in the game room blocking (via requiring minimum stays all over the place)

    2. Reno Joe Guest

      You hit the nail on the head -- you drove it in with one strike. The ONLY loyalty that property owners care about is loyalty to their own property and NOT TO THE LOYALTY PROGRAM NETWORK. I was (technically, still am) a Marriott Ambassador. I had a confirmed reservation (still have the email) for a paid suite at a top-category hotel. The Ambassador team acknowledged the confirmed reservation for a paid suite. The property GM...

      You hit the nail on the head -- you drove it in with one strike. The ONLY loyalty that property owners care about is loyalty to their own property and NOT TO THE LOYALTY PROGRAM NETWORK. I was (technically, still am) a Marriott Ambassador. I had a confirmed reservation (still have the email) for a paid suite at a top-category hotel. The Ambassador team acknowledged the confirmed reservation for a paid suite. The property GM acknowledged my confirmed paid suite, said that he confused by it, and said I was being given a non-suite room. Room type guarantee was not going to be honored. I then said that if I was going to be given a non-suite room, I should be charged the non-suite room rate. The GM then said -- get this -- that I would be charged the rate on my reservation. But, that's for a suite. But, you're not getting a suite, you're getting a non-suite room. Exactly, fair is fair, I should be paying the non-suite rate. But, your reservation provides your rate. Either the guy was stupid or a crook. The Ambassador team would NOT step in. That was the last straw. Adios.

  23. Jonathan Maer Guest

    The Aspire card is totally worth it. Got well over $1500 in value this year. One thing he didn't cover is that if you book multiple rooms as a diamond the benefits apply for the other rooms. So we just stayed at a Hilton resort and booked two rooms and got continental breakfast for 4 people. At this resort that was $20 per person ($80/day). And when you redeem at some resorts the resort fee is waived.

  24. Sam Guest

    I earned lifetime Diamond Honors 4 years ago. I can count the number of stays I’ve had at Hiltons on 2 hands since then. It’s too easy to achieve Diamond. Many hotels don’t differentiate Diamond v Lifetime Diamond although the new upgrade priority may mean something.

    I’ve found being a 3 year Marriott Ambassador with lifetime Titanium status to be somewhat more rewarding. We like to go to Greece and Italy. Marriott’s footprint in those...

    I earned lifetime Diamond Honors 4 years ago. I can count the number of stays I’ve had at Hiltons on 2 hands since then. It’s too easy to achieve Diamond. Many hotels don’t differentiate Diamond v Lifetime Diamond although the new upgrade priority may mean something.

    I’ve found being a 3 year Marriott Ambassador with lifetime Titanium status to be somewhat more rewarding. We like to go to Greece and Italy. Marriott’s footprint in those two countries are better for us.

  25. Andrew Gold

    Ben: on the Aspire card, are those airline credits as hard to use as the ones on the AmEx Platinum?

    I ended 2021 used about $180/200 only because I intentionally spent them on AA lounge entry, but otherwise I found it extremely hard to use on any airline I have status with. If it's just as hard, I'd give that dollar valuation a hefty discount.

  26. Reno Joe Guest

    After all of the articles about the hotel loyalty programs and the property owners, one must accept that elite benefits are elusive at best. After endless disappointments as a multi-year top-tier, I left the hotel loyalty program game and have negotiated directly with hotels. In those negotiations, I receive more than all of the benefits offered in the loyalty programs and my discount is greater than the value of loyalty program points. Admittedly, my circumstances...

    After all of the articles about the hotel loyalty programs and the property owners, one must accept that elite benefits are elusive at best. After endless disappointments as a multi-year top-tier, I left the hotel loyalty program game and have negotiated directly with hotels. In those negotiations, I receive more than all of the benefits offered in the loyalty programs and my discount is greater than the value of loyalty program points. Admittedly, my circumstances are different from most but it is worth noting that there is an alternative.

    1. Andrew Gold

      Hi Joe - curious how that works. You reach out to a GM and settle on some rate? Do you have long-term stays or other circumstances? I'm definitely interested in this.

      FWIW, I had nice benefits using Prive and STARS, but that was more like "pay the standard rate" than a negotiation.

    2. Reno Joe Guest

      Happy to share. Each year, we spend about 45 days in LA, 30 days in NY, and 80 days in London. Other destinations are of shorter duration and are excluded from this discussion. Being no longer tied to network hotels, we were free to choose . . . and we did . . . top-top-notch hotels. We establishing ourselves as "regulars." We got to know the various hotel team members by name and they got...

      Happy to share. Each year, we spend about 45 days in LA, 30 days in NY, and 80 days in London. Other destinations are of shorter duration and are excluded from this discussion. Being no longer tied to network hotels, we were free to choose . . . and we did . . . top-top-notch hotels. We establishing ourselves as "regulars." We got to know the various hotel team members by name and they got to know us by name. After establishing a history, we then spoke directly with the director of sales -- that's the person you want. The negotiated side of things includes an average of about 20 percent price discount, (anything we want) full breakfast, a welcome amenity well in excess of that received under Amex FHR, etc. The non-negotiated side of things includes includes the occasional pool cabana and other unexpected treats. And (sometimes insane) room upgrades. Always be thankful and gracious. Express your gratitude and tip the team. It's not a bribe and they know it's not a bribe -- it's helping hard working people make ends meet and put food on their tables. It's "being a regular" that's the key.

    3. Andrew Gold

      Awesome! Thank you for sharing, Joe! That process makes sense, and agreed on best behavior / tipping / being a good guest helping sustain this.

      That's a lot of hotel nights, though! I see why you say it's a unique circumstance. It may be a retirement holiday type arrangement for me then. :)

      Thank you again!

    4. Reno Joe Guest

      You're welcome. Now, go get 'em!

    5. JoePro Guest

      What types of benefits?
      Personally I still indulge Hyatt because of their option to upgrade with 6,000/9,000 points a night.
      But I have in the past negotiated directly with the hotels for cheap (relatively) cash upgrades to high-tier suites.
      I also consider free breakfast to be a double edge sword, since often we feel obligated to wake up early to make sure we take advantage.

    6. Reno Joe Guest

      The key is being a regular. In my reply to Andrew, I mentioned that part of the negotiated package includes (anything we want) full breakfast . . . in the room. We receive a welcome gift that includes a bottle of wine / champagne, fruit bowl (replenished during the stay), chocolate / candy arrangement, and a charcuterie platter -- well in excess of what we received under Amex FHR. We average a 20 percent discount...

      The key is being a regular. In my reply to Andrew, I mentioned that part of the negotiated package includes (anything we want) full breakfast . . . in the room. We receive a welcome gift that includes a bottle of wine / champagne, fruit bowl (replenished during the stay), chocolate / candy arrangement, and a charcuterie platter -- well in excess of what we received under Amex FHR. We average a 20 percent discount to "best available rate," which exceeds the (non-credit card) value of loyalty program points. Non-stated perks include upgrades -- the most notable being a $1500 per day upgrade. The occasional pool cabana. Other thoughtful treats. And, as regulars, the service is highly attentive. Even the valets, bellmen, and room service team know us by name. Best of luck to all.

    7. Reno Joe Guest

      Forgot to mention . . . always late check-out. At one property, even 8pm . . . offered without even asking.

    8. Joes Guest

      @Reno Joe
      Your absolutely right being regulars help out a lot
      I used to frequent Ritz Carlton Hong Kong
      They always gave me upgrades and club access etc. during pre Covid years
      Even in the USA travels I always try to repeat at the same hotel over and over again if I am in that particular city

  27. JoePro Guest

    Release the Kraken, why don't ya?
    When considering you just have to spend 450 bucks, and you get a free night, $250 resort credit, and free breakfast... sure seems worth it to me.

    1. Joes Guest

      @JoePro
      What’s wrong with that and DCS spends a lot on that card to earn lifetime points

  28. Joes Guest

    @DCS
    Ben, is stating Marriott Bonvoy & Hyatt Globalist are more valuable then Hilton Diamond?
    What’s your take on that?

    1. JoePro Guest

      Why are you asking, why do you care? Do you expect anything less than a 20 page rambling manifesto wherin his personal experience with Hilton is worth more than anybody else's experience anywhere?

      You already know the answer, so asking the question seems redundant.

      Less you're simply trolling.

    2. Joes Guest

      @JoePro
      You have seriously problems

      I consider @DCS
      A true expert for Hilton

      @DCS why don’t you like talking about United as much as you do about Hilton?

    3. JoePro Guest

      @Joes
      You said "@JoePro
      You have seriously problems

      I consider @DCS
      A true expert for Hilton"

      Notice my "problems" are with DCS. (and you can check a few other posts to see that I'm clearly not the only one) DCS's problems are with half the folks in here. Including the guy who runs the whole website.

      I don't think DCS knowledge of Hilton is up for debate. I was simply wondering why...

      @Joes
      You said "@JoePro
      You have seriously problems

      I consider @DCS
      A true expert for Hilton"

      Notice my "problems" are with DCS. (and you can check a few other posts to see that I'm clearly not the only one) DCS's problems are with half the folks in here. Including the guy who runs the whole website.

      I don't think DCS knowledge of Hilton is up for debate. I was simply wondering why you'd want his take on the Hyatt vs Marriott vs Hilton discussion, when he has already plastered his take on dozens of posts.

      In other words, by the time you figure out that DCS is a Hilton expert, it should be obvious what his stance on Marriott/Hyatt is -since he spends more time on this site defending Hilton against assertions that Marriott/Hyatt are better than he does actually putting his Hilton expertise to use helping people.

    4. Reno Joe Guest

      Joes, you must realize that the hotel loyalty programs and the property owners are your adversaries. Time has shown that they continually find ways to deny members benefits. Some properties remove all suites from network inventory and market them via AirBnb, etc. -- as such, there are no suites available for upgrade, whether as a benefit or as an award redemption. Some properties have closed their in-house restaurant for breakfast because they can simply give...

      Joes, you must realize that the hotel loyalty programs and the property owners are your adversaries. Time has shown that they continually find ways to deny members benefits. Some properties remove all suites from network inventory and market them via AirBnb, etc. -- as such, there are no suites available for upgrade, whether as a benefit or as an award redemption. Some properties have closed their in-house restaurant for breakfast because they can simply give the member 1000 points in substitution. This list goes on. Don't drink the Kool-aid.

    5. Joes Guest

      @RenoJoe
      Thank You Reno Joe but I don’t mind drinking some nice Kool-aid

    6. Joes Guest

      @Brutus
      You’re jealous of DCS knowledge & wisdom

    7. JoePro Guest

      "@Brutus
      You’re jealous of DCS knowledge & wisdom"

      No.

      The only thing to be jealous of is that narcissism and condescension towards others is rewarded with praise and attention. If it had been that way when I was a child, I'd be President by now. Instead, (thankfully) I was guided to the point where I figured out that like everyone else in the world, I'm flawed.

    8. DCS Guest

      @JoePro - Address the content of the narcissist's comments and you might have a leg to stand on. Now, you are just a troll with nothing to contribute, except puerile name-calling and insults.

      I study minds like yours and the psychopathology is unmistakable. You will fizzle just like many others before you. Henceforth, you're getting the "silent treatment" unless or until you somehow surprise this audience by posting something, anything, that is not a name-calling...

      @JoePro - Address the content of the narcissist's comments and you might have a leg to stand on. Now, you are just a troll with nothing to contribute, except puerile name-calling and insults.

      I study minds like yours and the psychopathology is unmistakable. You will fizzle just like many others before you. Henceforth, you're getting the "silent treatment" unless or until you somehow surprise this audience by posting something, anything, that is not a name-calling taunt or an insult.

      G'day.

    9. JoePro Guest

      "Address the content and you might have a leg to stand on."

      My leg to stand on....

      "because I am 100% certain that I have gotten and continue to get more out my HH Diamond status - soon to get even more as a LF Diamond - and my UA 1K/1MM/LF*G status than @Ben or anyone else has gotten out any status or program"

      ---this is it, this is what says it all. You, out...

      "Address the content and you might have a leg to stand on."

      My leg to stand on....

      "because I am 100% certain that I have gotten and continue to get more out my HH Diamond status - soon to get even more as a LF Diamond - and my UA 1K/1MM/LF*G status than @Ben or anyone else has gotten out any status or program"

      ---this is it, this is what says it all. You, out of everybody in the entire planet... you have gotten more out of your status with Hilton than anyone anywhere has gotten with any status. And you are 100% certain.

      You have put yourself and your experiences above millions of other people, and there simply isn't enough time for one person to peruse the experiences of more than a few hundred. Your 'certainty' leaves no margin of error, which means no matter what anybody anywhere says to you, you've predetermined their voice is of less value than yours.

      If your world is academia and you can't see the pitiful arrogance in such a thing. then I feel sorry for the world of academia- cause it's royally failing. You thought *my* psychopathology was unmistakable . I'd suggest turning your "studies" to your own mind.

      At the end of the day, addressing whether Hilton/Hyatt/Marriott is best... that's all relative. If you abandoned Hilton and then put all your efforts/stays/money into one of the other programs, you'd still be on here claiming that nobody has gotten more out of any other program than you.

      What's so fascinating is your never-ending crusade to convince people that it's not relative, that Hilton is definitively the best. Hey, props to getting a couple people to eat from that hand, though.

      Please do shower me with the silent treatment, if you're capable!
      A true academic wouldn't engage with someone they consider a "troll" to begin with.

    10. DCS Diamond

      @Joes - Thanks for asking and driving @JoePro up the wall.

      @Ben is still as confused as he was when I first stumbled on this site a few years back and he wrote a whole post ridiculing me for my "passion" for Hilton - a post he apparently got embarrassed about and subsequently took down because the link to it I'd saved now points to something else (though I'd retrieved and saved its content that...

      @Joes - Thanks for asking and driving @JoePro up the wall.

      @Ben is still as confused as he was when I first stumbled on this site a few years back and he wrote a whole post ridiculing me for my "passion" for Hilton - a post he apparently got embarrassed about and subsequently took down because the link to it I'd saved now points to something else (though I'd retrieved and saved its content that had been cached and can post it to show how silly it would sound now a few years later, but I will spare him because I too like his "passion" for claiming that the ordinary is actually extraordinary - like "World of Hyatt has been the most generous program during the pandemic". Seriously.) That post is down, but he's continued to recycle the same outdated, debunked or demonstrably bogus claims.

      Anyone who claims that BonVoy is a better or more rewarding program than Hilton Honors, or that the WoH Globalist status that does not get the single most valuable perk in hotel loyalty - the 4th or 5th night award free - is tops despite being the most expensive status to attain, or does not understand the simple concept that all hotel points currencies are worth exactly the same (though this is a universal misunderstanding), cannot be taken seriously.

      I will, however, say that he's come a long way since that post ridiculing me...

      That being said, I think Hilton Honors Diamond elite status is the all-around best value top tier status you can earn, when you consider that you can get the status just by having the Hilton Honors Aspire Card.

      ...and leave it at that, because I am 100% certain that I have gotten and continue to get more out my HH Diamond status - soon to get even more as a LF Diamond - and my UA 1K/1MM/LF*G status than @Ben or anyone else has gotten out any status or program (SPG, R.I.P, included) that they've inexplicably put on a pedestal. I play the game with a "full deck" to derive and maximize real benefits that each program I patronize offers, rather than parse various programmatic T&Cs to claim bogus superiority or nonexistent benefits (and don't get me started on the general outcry that followed the realization that SPG suite upgrades were not "guaranteed" as they'd led themselves to believe by, yes, parsing the T&C to claim a nonexistent benefit, just like now. You'd think that they'd learn!).

      G'day.

    11. Jill Guest

      @DCS
      Wait doesn’t Marriott Bonvoy also offer the 4th or 5th night free on points redemptions as well

      Also wait a minute Lucky did a blog post about you

    12. DCS Diamond

      @Jill - Yes, Marriott & IHG do, but Hyatt does not, which was the point.
      Yes, he did, just over 7 years ago.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Mark Guest

How is anyone using points to book the Waldorf in Cabo? Every time I check, it is always well over 500,000 points per night.

1
Reno Joe Guest

After all of the articles about the hotel loyalty programs and the property owners, one must accept that elite benefits are elusive at best. After endless disappointments as a multi-year top-tier, I left the hotel loyalty program game and have negotiated directly with hotels. In those negotiations, I receive more than all of the benefits offered in the loyalty programs and my discount is greater than the value of loyalty program points. Admittedly, my circumstances are different from most but it is worth noting that there is an alternative.

1
Lan Sluder Guest

I’m a longtime Hilton Diamond. My wife and I like all the Hilton brands but typically stay most frequently at mid-tier chains including Hampton Inn & Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, Homewood Suites and Embassy Suites. In the official Hilton website, those are among the Hilton brands that as corporate policy apparently no longer offer upgrades, if space is available, even for elite members. This is a fairly recent and very significant DOWNGRADE to the entire Hilton Honors program. We did recently stay at a Hampton Inn & Suites, asked for an upgrade and were told by the front desk person on duty we would have to pay for any upgrade at regular rates. He said that the change to “no upgrades for elite Honors members” was corporate-wide and not this particular property’s policy. Because my wife wanted an ocean-view room we did pay about $40 extra for the room location, a regular room, not a suite. When I received the standard Hilton survey following the stay I responded in part by criticizing the policy and said I thought this showed Hilton in some cases no longer valued its Diamond members. A few days later I received a “Hilton case incident opened” email message, and today I received $40 credit on my Amex. I’m unclear whether because individual property operators control their own inventory that some Hampton, Embassy and Garden Inn operators still offer Diamond and Gold members a space-available upgrade, or if that is now rarely if ever done. What has been your experience?

0
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