Hilton Diamond: Guaranteed Suite Upgrades And Late Check-Out?

Filed Under: Hilton

My favorite thing about blogging is hearing what you guys have to say. You’ve actually chimed in over 200,000 times in the comments section of the blog. Comments range from thought provokingly insightful to complete digital garbage. But that’s part of the beauty of the internet… right? 😉

One of the most prolific commenters I’ve had the past couple of months has been DCS. What is he radically passionate about, you ask? Hello Kitty? One Direction? Hot nuts? Macadamia nuts not being served in packages?

Is this Hilton’s biggest fan?

Nope, of all things… Hilton HHonors!

His perspective really is fascinating.

Hilton apparently offers guaranteed late check-out:

(b) they don’t offer guaranteed late check-out as an elite benefit: Wrong again. Late check out has always been a HHonors benefit, not only for elites but also for ‘blue members’, i.e. those without status. The only requirement. which is universal in the industry, is that a timely request for late check out be made.

Are you Hilton Diamond and not getting suite upgrades 100% of the time? If so, you’re doing things wrong:

(a) They’re not good with suite upgrades: This is simply wrong. I am a Hilton Diamond and, unlike Gold Passport Diamond suite upgrades, Hilton HHonors Diamond suite upgrades are unlimited and good even on reward stays, depending on availability (same requirement as at GP), but availability is excellent at HHonors (100% so far for this Diamond)

And DCS has proof that he’s getting these suite upgrades:

Now for my claimed astronomical suite upgrade success rate at Hilton property, below I provide a link to a publicly accessible thread that shows — yes, shows — photos of the suites into which I was upgraded between 2012-2013. I had not planned on posting photos of my 100% suite upgrades for 2014 but I will do an update in that thread simply to have the last, bigger laughter, when I show the insides of all my 100% suite upgrades in 2014.

Here’s the link:


How do you know the photos of the suites are real? Check each property’s web site to see what is classified as a suite, and most photos show a personal item like a laptop or shoe (also I will be happy to send you the originals privately if you wish since the dates and GPS coordinates are stored for each photo).

I am right now at the LAX United club lounge, on my way to SIN and am about to board a B787-8 ‘Dreamliner’ for NRT (then NRT to SIN). So, I will have 12 hr to dig out and prepare for posting the pictures of my 2014 suite upgrades. I hope to post them when I land at NRT, at the earliest, or from SIN. I will provide the link right here, then I will have that last, bigger, laugh.. 😉

Clearly Hyatt Gold Passport is a crap loyalty program, because unlike Hilton HHonors it isn’t “mature:”

Gold Passport as a loyalty program is lacking because it is clearly still trying to find its way. If you want a mature program, go with Hilton Honors (unlimited suite upgrades for Diamonds + “Diamond Force”) or Marriott Rewards, in that order…

In terms of Hyatt Gold Passport, apparently when 22 hotels go up in cost and 48 hotels go down in cost, that’s at best a wash:

I am not sure how simply moving 70 of some 500 hotels (14%) up (~4%) or down (~10%) the categories is a “net positive”. At best, it is a wash, unless the view is that Hyatt could have increased the rates, which they did not but, then again, neither has any other major hotel program…at least not that I have seen.

Oh, and apparently Hilton Diamond is much more valuable than Hyatt Diamond. As a matter of fact, Hyatt Diamond is at best as valuable as Hilton Gold:

Wow! You should stick to writing about loyalty systems that you know something about. The notion that there is little differentiation between is HH Diamond and Gold has been debunked, ad nauseam, and yet you keep repeating it. Why is that? Also, to claim that HH Diamond is the least valuable top tier status has no basis in reality. How about this: Since the benefits of Hyatt GP Diamond are, at best, comparable to those HH Gold or Marriott Gold — clearly indicating that HH Diamond is superior to Hyatt Diamond — where do you rank the GP lifetime status?

So what the hell am I missing? I can’t get a Hilton Diamond suite upgrade for the life of me. Late check-out? Yep, maybe I get 1PM check-out if they’re feeling generous.


But really…

I’m not saying this to pick on DCS. If anything, I think he likes the attention. 😉

But I find this really, really fascinating. I don’t think DCS is a troll. I think he’s genuinely this big of a fan of Hilton HHonors.

Now, there are some things I think he simply doesn’t understand. With Hyatt and Starwood you get guarantied 4PM late check-out at all non-resorts. Guaranteed. Even if the hotel is overbooked the next night. He still argues Hilton basically offers the same benefit, which is simply not true in any way, both in terms of the rules and anecdotally.

But 100% suite upgrades as a Hilton Diamond — really?!?!?

Anyway, keep fighting the (not so) good fight, DCS. Your passion is impressive!

  1. I do hate to side with him, but while my upgrade numbers with Hilton are not 100% (I stayed in a few properties that simply don’t have suites to upgrade into) they are well north of 75% this year. And with 100% upgrade to Executive Lounge where available. And with 100% late check out requests granted (1800 hrs was the latest approved this year – but I’ve had 2100 hrs granted in the past).

    It’s a whole different ballgame at Hiltons in North America, but in Europe/Africa/Middle East/Asia you get treated extremely well as a HHonors Gold or Diamond.

  2. I don’t even think it’s close, but its whatever each person gets out of it. Guaranteed late check out? Yes (4 pm) for Hyatt Diamond (except Resorts and casinos), but not guaranteed at all for Hilton Diamond. (4) guaranteed suite upgrades per year? Yes for Hyatt Diamond and absolutely not guaranteed for Hilton Diamond (sometimes you absolutely know you need to have a suite ahead of time and with Hilton, you simply aren’t getting that assurance.) Very good point/award structure system? Yes for Hyatt (regardless of status) and Hilton has continually de-valued their point/award structure for several years. Lifetime status? Yes for Hyatt and just starting for Hilton (why did it take so long?)

    Again, it’s whatever you get out of it, but put side to side, Hyatt is the winner.

  3. I have another bone to pick. You’re actually trying to convince the masses that AAdvantage is superior to Free Spirit. C’mon, man…

  4. Meh… I don’t know why you are getting after the guy. At least he offers a different viewpoint.

    Typically the comment section here tends to be a gigantic echo chamber.

  5. Suite upgrades and late check-out seem to vary greatly among different Hilton properties. Some properties are exceptionally generous, while others act like they can’t be bothered.

  6. As a Diamond – sure, no problem getting Exec Lounge access. Yay.

    Suite upgrades? I’m the biggest HH homer I know (I thought), and upgrades are not happening (especially not at this high percentage).

    Late checkout – a chore, always. Should be much easier.

  7. My experiences with Hilton Diamond status are a bit more in line with DCS’s than they are with yours, Lucky. While I’m not always upgraded to a suite I’m generally always upgraded to something (Executive Floor, Ocean View, Junior Suite). In fact, in 2014 we only ended up in a “regular” room once, at the Hilton Auckland during some sort of convention or something.

    As far as the late check-out goes, when I check in they usually tell me they have me scheduled for a 3pm or 4pm checkout and then ask if that’s sufficient. It always has been sufficient but they always give me the impression that if I needed a few more hours I could get it.

    The only negative thing I can say about the program is that the service when you call the Diamond Desk is absolutely horrible. I’ve experienced much more competent agents and much shorter wait times with bottom tier status (or no status) in other hotel chains and with airlines. Hilton should be embarrassed about how long they make their top tier customers wait on hold and also embarrassed about the morons they make them talk to when they finally get through.

  8. I’ve been Diamond at both Hyatt and Hilton for many years. There’s just no comparison.

    Suite upgrades: At Hyatt, sometimes they’ve been unavailable, but otherwise I’ve been able to confirm them at booking. This is a major benefit. This year I’ve used them at the HR Century Plaza, where a nonprofit I’m on the board of was putting on an event and I confirmed a suite that other board members could rely on using as a retreat area; at Andaz Peninsula Papagayo to confirm a spectacular vacation for my husband and myself; at GH Shanghai to hold a business meeting in and impress people I wanted to impress; and at Highlands Inn for a great New Year’s Eve with friends. I’ve also gotten surprise upgrades, though usually at times when I haven’t even been able to take full advantage of the suite.

    Hilton: It’s been about five years since I got a suite upgrade–out of more than 150 stays–and of course I’ve never been able to rely on them. For part of that time I spent a week a month at Hilton Shanghai and never once got upgraded, even though I was a very frequent guest.

    Late check-out: Hyatt: When I have an evening departure, I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve relied on the late check-out in planning my day, or my entire stay, well in advance. The front desk usually asks me on check-in whether I want the 4 pm checkout. Hilton: Totally hit-or-miss. The time before last that I stayed at a Hilton I had a 6 pm departure, and the front desk made it clear that they were doing me a *great* favor by giving me a 12:30 checkout.

    Calling Hilton’s program “better” is just delusional.

  9. Btw, has anyone ever had any success using the “Diamond Force” on a reward booking? I called the Diamond Line (multiple times) to try to “force” open a standard room at the Hilton Molino Stucky Venice so I could use one of the Citibank Certs. No one I spoke too had any idea what a “force” was and they essentially all told me that it wasn’t a real thing, and kept trying to get us to use our free certs on the $100/night HGI in Mestre instead.

  10. I’ve had good upgrades when I flew through Dubai and stayed at Hilton properties. They do treat their Gold status members way better than they do in North America. I got upgraded from a standard King to an Executive room with a view of downtown Dubai easily. I even got super early checkout (530 am!) And late check out 11pm. It does vary of course from property to property and depending on whether hotel has events and such.

  11. Hilton Diamond since 2000 and I rarely get upgraded to a suite. In fact 2 nights ago at the LAX Hilton the girl put me in a handicap room. Really lady? Went back down and then she put me in a suite. To be fair I never ask for a suite but 90% of the time I am put on the executive floor.

  12. Yeah the only time I got an upgrade as a Diamond from Hilton was when I tweeted the HH account to complain that I was given the worst room on the property on an award night. No suite upgrades on several stays this year. With regard to upgrades I would say its weaker than Marriott Platinum which is really saying something. Not that I’m really complaining, I’m not that loyal to them. Maybe one day I will be surprised…

  13. So I’m a Diamond, Hyatt homer. I live and breath Hyatt. I am also a Hilton gold (through a card). Now while I would rather stay at a Hyatt place than any Hilton in the U.S. I think a lot of the times the country the hotel is in makes all the difference in the world. I LOVE Hilton in Europe. As a Gold on points and cash stays I was upgraded 100% of the time. In fact they even have special signs in the elevator designating whole floors as Hilton Honors floors. And at one hotel I had TWO concierges email me asking if I needed any help the week before my stay. Now that’s service. I think in the U.S. Hilton has way more individuals with status than Hyatt so they aren’t treated as well.

  14. My experiences are 110% in line with you @lucky, although I am only a lowly Gold. However, I haven’t ever actually stayed at a Hilton outside the US because of the lackluster treatment here, so maybe there is something to be said for trying it in Europe next month.

  15. DCS is absolutely full of crap. As an angry diamond member I am so fed up with the lack of upgrade amongst all the hilton hotels. As a matter of fact, I just had big fight with the front desk manager at Conrad Chicago, because they would not do any upgrade for diamond members unless I pay some ridiculous co-pays, and they do have upgraded room types available, but they just cannot “give them out for free”. Then I complained about it to the ‘allegedly helpful” diamond desk, but all I got was a extremely rude response “We are in the business to make money instead of doing charity.” Such speech is extremely rude and hurt me so much – as a diamond member I contributed lots of nights to Hilton and at the end of the day that’s all I got. HHonors is growing into a horrifying transactional program now, instead of a true loyalty program to reward cutomers’ loyalty. So for DCS, I don’t know what kind of wonderland hiltons you have been staying at, but for me, a three-year diamond, I have only been upgraded to a suite for twice, which constitutes only 5% of all my stays. As for late check-out, I have never wish for anything over 2pm, let alone 6pm or even 9pm like you suggested. HHonors is really going down, with devalued points and not appreciated elite members. I am seriously considering moving my stays to SPG, and keeping my Hyatt Dimaond, where I consistently get better treatments than at those horrible Hiltons.

  16. @Matt,

    We have had the exact same experience with the Hilton Molino Stucky Venice.

    Love that hotel, for my wife and mother’s stays prior to a Greek cruise.

    And yes, Hilton didn’t know anything about the “force.”

    We ended up renting a condo in the same building (of the Hilton Molino Stuck) from a private owner!

  17. I’m not disputing DCS’s experience, but mine is in no way comparable. In perhaps 10 years of Diamond status at Hilton, I’ve received suite upgrades at only 2 properties. I consistently received them on paid — but not award — stays at the Colombo Hilton in Sri Lanka. And I got a really nice suite upgrade at the Chicago Conrad about 10 years ago when they had to walk me for the first night of my stay.

  18. Switched from HH to SPG (Platinum) Jan 1st and haven’t looked back. Still have those 250K HH points though…

  19. I’ve been treated better as a Gold HH member in Europe than as a Diamond in North America.

    Recently stayed at the Hilton Vancouver Metrotown. Requested late check out the night prior and was told to call back in the morning. Called at 07:00 and was firmly denied.

    On the bright side, they DID give me a suite upgrade and let me into the room even though I arrived at 09:30.

  20. DCS is getting suite upgrades 100% of the time because he’s one of only 7 diamonds left in the Hilton program, so unless they all show up at the same hotel on the same night, no problem! 😉

  21. HH Diamond past 3 years. NEVER upgraded in US. Once in IST after begging and once in BKK but the upgrade wasnt material. Space available rules = >>>>>>>ssssssss. Thats the sound of #HHDiamondSux #HHCrap

  22. I have never received a suite upgrade at Hilton as a Diamond. For several years I was a Diamond, lapsed to Gold and been back as Diamond since June. Always an Executive Floor Room – never a suite.
    Hyatt lets me pre-book my suite upgrades (most of the time) and often I get an unexpected super upgrade from a property.
    Hilton remains very much my second choice.

  23. I also have better experiences with Hyatt that with Hilton, although I am Diamond at both… But my problem is lack of Hyatt properties outside (and in some parts also inside) of US, so still dont have an option to abandon Hilton… other global chain hotels options (with more than one/two properties per country) beside Hilton are even worse in my opinion (Marriott, IHG)…

  24. Could it be that you got your status from the credit card and not actually from pure loyalty to Hilton?
    Maybe this information is in the system and puts you at a lower priority

  25. @ Jeff — I absolutely do get it that way, but know for a fact they don’t differentiate between those earning Diamond through stays vs. credit card.

  26. @ Jeff — I get my Diamond status by stays, and go years without a suite upgrade. While most of my stays are in the U.S. now, I had gone years without a suite upgrade anywhere, in the U.S. as well as China, Thailand, and the U.K. …

    … until last night, when I got a suite upgrade for my one mattress-run night of the year–the one paid night when I didn’t actually sleep in the room.

  27. I am late to this party because I am not only a “prolific commenter”, but also a tireless traveler — an activity that informs my comments. Here’s an example of the type of Big-Time mile/point redemption that I have been doing yearly since 2011:


    As for that 100% suite upgrade record as a HHonors Diamond, here are photos that show the inside of each suite into which I was upgraded in 2014:


    Cheers from a suite upgrade at HYATT Regency Manila! 😉

  28. @Pablo said on December 19, 2014 at 6:18 pm: “DCS is absolutely full of crap…. So for DCS, I don’t know what kind of wonderland hiltons you have been staying at, but for me, a three-year diamond, I have only been upgraded to a suite for twice, which constitutes only 5% of all my stays.”

    To Pablo and others with comments such as his, I feel for you. Crap? Check out my facts at the link below and wonder why your experience is so different:

    I should also add that before you call my comments “crap”, you may want to know something about what informs them, and the post at the following link provides a pretty good idea:

    Lastly, with respect to late checkout, I am surprised that anyone thinks that a top elite in any of the major programs would have this denied if they make timely request. Just a few days ago, I was in an executive suite upgrade at Hilton Singapore. Remembering how @Lucky thinks that late checkout is a big deal, I went to the front desk the day before my departure and asked about late checkout if I needed it. The answer was short and to the point: you are one of our Diamond members and although normal checkout is by noon, we’ll be pleased to extend it for you until 4 pm. I said I would check my flight time and get back to them if necessary. I then went out all day and when I returned to my suite, there was message waiting for me: “Hello Mr. DCS. This is the executive lounge. We notice that you would be checking out tomorrow. Please let us know if you desire LATE CHECKOUT or anything else to make your departure as smooth as we can.” My flight out of SIN was at 2:30 pm so I did not need the late checkout. However, with UA’s daily flight out of Buenos Aires departing at 9 pm, 3 years in a row when I traveled there I’d requested a 6pm checkout at Hilton Buenos Aires and got it without a fuss each time. I therefore fail to see why anyone would think this to be a big deal. It is not and shouldn’t be for a top elite in any of the major hotel loyalty programs…

  29. HHonors Diamond? I’ve never received a Suite upgrade – apart from one time when the air-conditioning wasn’t working. Late check-out was maximum 3:00 pm.

    It looks pretty sick compared to Intercontinental Royal Ambassador.

  30. HH Diamond isn’t what it used to be; “suite” upgrade? Rarely. HHonors/Executive Level? Often (50-60%) except at the LAX Hilton.
    Service and upgrades are FAR superior at international Hiltons than at the domestic properties.
    All that said, I am changing loyalties due to the severe devaluation of HHonors points.

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