All things considered I’ve grown much fonder of the Hilton Honors program over the years. One downside to the program is their top tier elite recognition. While Honors Diamond status is easy to earn, they don’t do much to differentiate the status from mid-tier Gold status:
- Hilton Honors Diamond members don’t receive guaranteed late check-out, but rather it’s subject to availability
- Hilton Honors Diamond members don’t receive suite upgrades as a guaranteed benefit, either in advance or as a benefit subject to availability; rather hotels can upgrade Diamond members to suites if they want to, but don’t have to, even if they’re empty
We know that Hilton has been working on improving their Diamond benefits, and it looks like we’re finally seeing the first sign of that.
Hilton testing confirmed Diamond suite upgrades
Brendan Dorsey reports that Hilton is allegedly testing out confirmed Diamond suite upgrades. Here’s what we know so far:
- As of now this is just in a test phase, with select “high value members” having been given a confirmed suite upgrade; the plan is for this to be extended to more members later this year
- Those members in this pilot program have been given one confirmed suite upgrade that can be used to confirm an upgrade at the time of booking for a stay of up to seven nights
- This confirmed suite upgrade is valid for both points stays and cash stays, so it works similarly to the World of Hyatt Globalist confirmed suite upgrades
- The upgrade certificates in this pilot program have to be redeemed by March 2019, though can be used for a stay on a subsequent date, through March 2020
This is just a pilot program as of now, so they’ll decide what the suite upgrade benefit should look like in the future based on the feedback they get. So if they do end up following through with this, it could be that they issue suite upgrades valid on a per stay basis, or a per night basis, and it could be that other aspects of these change as well.
Regardless, it’s exciting that Hilton is trying this out… I think.
Downside to Hilton confirmed suite upgrades?
One of the reasons I think Hilton Honors is such a sweet spot for many of us is because of how awesome the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card. This card has a $450 annual fee (Rates & Fees) and offers:
- Hilton Honors Diamond status for as long as you have the card
- An annual weekend night reward
- A $250 Hilton resort credit every cardmember year
- A $250 airline fee credit every calendar year
I value the two credits at more than the card’s $450 annual fee, so really they’re throwing in Diamond status and the annual weekend night reward for nothing, by my valuation. That’s pretty incredible.
So here’s the thing — if Hilton does introduce any sort of confirmed suite upgrades, I would expect that they’d only do so for members who earn the status the “hard” way (through elite qualifying nights, stays, or points)… and I wouldn’t blame them for that.
Still, when it comes to suite upgrades that would put those earning status through credit cards at a disadvantage. Like I said, I don’t think that’s unfair, but it’s also not necessarily good for everyone.
Or I could be wrong, and they’d offer these to all Diamond members, though that seems too good to be true.
It’s great to see Hilton catching up with the competition when it comes to suite upgrades, and I’m curious to see what kind of a benefit they eventually introduce. The fact that they seem to be considering suite upgrades at the time of booking rather than only confirming them a few days in advance is great.
However, if I were a betting man I’d assume that any confirmed suite upgrade benefit would be limited to those earning Diamond status the hard way, and not those earning it through credit cards.
What do you make of Hilton potentially introducing confirmed suite upgrades?
The following links will direct you to the rates and fees for mentioned American Express Cards. These include: Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card (Rates & Fees).