Hilton Honors’ Surprising Upgrade Priority

Hilton Honors’ Surprising Upgrade Priority

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While airlines are generally pretty transparent about the order in which elite upgrades are processed, the same often isn’t true of hotels. In other words, certain elite members may be eligible for room upgrades, but there’s not much published in terms of the order in which elite members are upgraded.

Along those lines, here are some interesting insights regarding Hilton Honors elite upgrades…

Hilton upgrades award stays before elite members

Hilton Honors recently started rolling out automated elite upgrades in advance, whereby elite members can be upgraded up to 72 hours prior to arrival. This is a cool feature, especially since it’s automated, so it takes some of the guessing out of the upgrade process.

Here’s an interesting twist, though. LoyaltyLobby reports what the alleged upgrade priority is for these automated upgrades. Here’s the priority order, according to this report:

This seems to just apply to the automated upgrade process — it’s anyone’s guess the extent to which this is followed for upgrades on the day of arrival.

Those redeeming lots of points have the highest upgrade priority

Why this is so interesting and surprising

There are a couple of things about Hilton Honors’ automated upgrade priority that are noteworthy.

First of all, lifetime Diamond members are upgraded ahead of non-lifetime Diamond members. Personally I think that’s how it should be — those members are as loyal as they get, and they should be rewarded as such. Nonetheless, programs like Marriott Bonvoy and World of Hyatt don’t prioritize upgrades for lifetime elite members (at least officially), even though I think they should. Kudos to Hilton for that.

The much more interesting thing here is that those redeeming more than 100,000 Hilton Honors points are upgraded ahead of everyone else:

  • This only applies when redeeming more than 100,000 Hilton Honors points for a stay, which seems like a rather odd line to draw; so if you stay at a hotel costing 50,000 points per night, you’d be prioritized for upgrades if you stay two nights, but not one night?
  • It also seems a bit odd to upgrade a non-elite member on an award stay over a lifetime Diamond member paying cash
  • Many hotels seem to treat those redeeming points as second class guests, and that’s never a nice way to feel when redeeming your hard earned points; so I respect Hilton for the idea behind this, which is to make those redeeming their points feel rewarded and valued
  • At the same time, Hilton Honors is taking it to the extreme by upgrading non-elite members redeeming points ahead of elite members paying cash
Lifetime Diamond members have priority over other Diamond members

Bottom line

Hilton Honors recently rolled out automated elite upgrades, whereby some upgrades start to clear 72 hours before a stay. This is an awesome feature, since it takes the last minute guessing game out of upgrades.

What’s most noteworthy here is the order in which upgrades allegedly clear — not only are lifetime Diamond members upgraded ahead of other Diamond members, but those redeeming 100K+ Hilton Honors points per stay are upgraded ahead of everyone else.

What do you make of Hilton Honors’ alleged automated upgrade order?

Conversations (56)
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  1. Zack Guest

    Does anyone know if free annual nights count toward upgrade priority? As an example, we’re redeeming two certificates on the same account for a 95,000 point/night hotel (190,000 points value total). Does this mean we’d be first in line for upgrades?

  2. John Guest

    I am a new Diamond and I got an automatic upgrade at a Hampton Inn, which was my first reservation after becoming Diamond. I didn't have to do a thing.

    1. DCS Diamond

      Well, you are well ahead of many who claim in this space to have been "Diamonds" for years without getting a single suite upgrade. I suspect some of those are "fake Diamonds" just trying to disparage another program, but if they are bona fide Diamonds, then one wonders why they patronized the program for as long they claim if they weren't getting any benefits out of it. Inquiring minds wanna know!

  3. Jeff Guest

    In my US and global travels, I've been a Diamond for more than 7 years. I can count on one hand the number of times I've been upgraded. I don't even try anymore... it's a waste of time.

    1. DCS Diamond

      Your approach may be all wrong then...

      G'day!

    2. Eskimo Guest

      Can you elaborate what different approach?

      To possibly get upgraded.
      1. You have status
      2. You book a stay

      T&C didn't say you have to click this or redeem that. It's pretty straightforward. Don't blame the victim.

    3. DCS Diamond

      "Victim" of what? Suite upgrades (because a Diamond who does not even get upgraded to preferred rooms on the exec floor has a major problem) are at the discretion of properties and, I suspect by design, they are usually not proactively given unless requested, especially in the US. Despite that common knowledge, most sit back and expect suite upgrades to be delivered to them on a silver platter. Well, good luck with.

      You...

      "Victim" of what? Suite upgrades (because a Diamond who does not even get upgraded to preferred rooms on the exec floor has a major problem) are at the discretion of properties and, I suspect by design, they are usually not proactively given unless requested, especially in the US. Despite that common knowledge, most sit back and expect suite upgrades to be delivered to them on a silver platter. Well, good luck with.

      You request nothing, you get nothing. No one is a "victim" here.

      G'day.

  4. Suart H Guest

    John @ LoyaltyLobby says:

    It is an award reservation of 100,000 points or more regardless of the number of nights.

  5. azamaraal Guest

    The only problem with DFL (Diamond for Life) is that their accounting of the stays/points is totally screwed for the period 1996 - 2009. After 20 years of earned Diamond they still claim that I am hundreds of nights shy of DFL. Back in the day there was no reason to accurately track every stay especially those reward stays. When they introduced DFL I expected my DFL card in the mail. Ha! They claimed then...

    The only problem with DFL (Diamond for Life) is that their accounting of the stays/points is totally screwed for the period 1996 - 2009. After 20 years of earned Diamond they still claim that I am hundreds of nights shy of DFL. Back in the day there was no reason to accurately track every stay especially those reward stays. When they introduced DFL I expected my DFL card in the mail. Ha! They claimed then only 699 nights. And they have been miscounting ever since.

    I think the problem is that I often book a long stay night-by-night to allow flexibility. Invariably foreign properties get the number of nights wrong and it takes hard work to get the points and nights updated. I suspect that the original incorrect nights enter the DFL accounting, not the correction. The numbers to confirm this.

    I have no complaint about DFL (diamond for life) receiving higher priority than Diamonds.

    I think that credit card Diamonds should receive LOWER priority than EARNED Diamonds (especially since the Aspire (or equivalent) card is only available in the US and the rest of us have to earn status through strong purchasing. (Thank goodness the closest Hilton is now only 3km away instead of 200 miles for mattress runs).

  6. Exhausted Traveler Guest

    Loyalty has become a one way street, if I set low expectations it is harder to get disappointed!

  7. Euro Gold

    There are VERY few Hilton properties that have base level rooms where it costs more than 100K points per night, if not just the Waldorf Astoria Maldives. The only way to pay more than 100K per night at other hotels is to book a non-base-level room, so what Hilton is allegedly doing then is prioritizing upgrading those who are already upgraded. That and it'll fast-track upgrades at those hotels that are already priced higher pointswise...

    There are VERY few Hilton properties that have base level rooms where it costs more than 100K points per night, if not just the Waldorf Astoria Maldives. The only way to pay more than 100K per night at other hotels is to book a non-base-level room, so what Hilton is allegedly doing then is prioritizing upgrading those who are already upgraded. That and it'll fast-track upgrades at those hotels that are already priced higher pointswise for those redeeming non-base-level rooms.

    Hilton is already stingy with upgrades, and as a Gold Honors member I'm just conditioned to deal with it. Wasn't upgraded with either of my two Hilton award stays in Rome this past month. I've even had better luck with getting room upgrades as a Discoverist Hyatt or a Gold Bonvoy member. But then again those aforementioned statuses don't get you free breakfast. Pick and choose your priorities.

    1. DCS Guest

      @Euro - If there are folks stupid enough to spend their hard earned points on "premium" awards then more power to them. Let them have the upgrades priority!

      And your claim that Hilton is stingy with awards is bogus. It simply means that you do not know how to make the most of your status. I too was just in Rome, where I scored an upgrade to a junior suite for 5 nights of a...

      @Euro - If there are folks stupid enough to spend their hard earned points on "premium" awards then more power to them. Let them have the upgrades priority!

      And your claim that Hilton is stingy with awards is bogus. It simply means that you do not know how to make the most of your status. I too was just in Rome, where I scored an upgrade to a junior suite for 5 nights of a 7-night revenue stay. In fact, I am sure that I have seen the insides of more suites than most elites of other programs... I once publicly document it too!

      G'day

  8. Stanley Guest

    In some regards, I think this is fair assuming that the award redemption is over 100K per night. Elite members should have higher upgrade priority in the correct order. I still remember a stay that I had a while back where someone with Gold status was given a junior suite upgrade over me who had and still have Diamond status. Also, I remember reading on Loyalty Lobby that you can still opt out of the...

    In some regards, I think this is fair assuming that the award redemption is over 100K per night. Elite members should have higher upgrade priority in the correct order. I still remember a stay that I had a while back where someone with Gold status was given a junior suite upgrade over me who had and still have Diamond status. Also, I remember reading on Loyalty Lobby that you can still opt out of the automatic upgrade by not checking in on the app and hope for better manual upgrade at the hotel. That would also be good in giving options to its elite members.

    1. DCS Guest

      This is a muchado about nothin'. Diamonds that actively patronize HH are the ones that have the earning ability to derive the most benefit out of this. Case in point is the current HH Q4 promo from which I am earning 54x in redeemable HH points. By the time I am through I would have done the following revenue stays and raked loads of points:

      - DT Rome Monti (7 nites)
      - Hampton Inn...

      This is a muchado about nothin'. Diamonds that actively patronize HH are the ones that have the earning ability to derive the most benefit out of this. Case in point is the current HH Q4 promo from which I am earning 54x in redeemable HH points. By the time I am through I would have done the following revenue stays and raked loads of points:

      - DT Rome Monti (7 nites)
      - Hampton Inn Georgetown, TX (2 nites)
      - Hilton Playa de Carmen (7 nites)
      - Home2 Suites Urbana (3 nites)
      - The Drake Chicago (5 nites)

      That will also put me in the milestones territory when I will start earning 10k points on additional revenue or award stays, with several of the latter planned for my year-end holiday, likely in Eastern Europe this year, rather than in Asian where many of my favorite destinations still have quarantine requirements.

      In short, I will have the points to be able to compete if the 100k points rule comes to be. I doubt that Golds or 'credit card' Diamonds that do not activately patronize HH would have the points to compete. Ergo, this actually works to the benefit of the most engaged HH Diamonds!

      I say, bring it on!

  9. Andrew Guest

    DCS, I hear what you're saying. If it makes you feel better, Ben has an opinion that Hyatt kicks butt, but it doesn't influence rational readers. I see Hyatt as the best available historically, but rapidly approaching Marriott. My concierge is completely helpless when operators go AWOL on benefits. (Upgrade delivery, breakfast benefits, etc.) The only thing they can correct is when hotels try to fudge by delivering fewer points than they're supposed to on...

    DCS, I hear what you're saying. If it makes you feel better, Ben has an opinion that Hyatt kicks butt, but it doesn't influence rational readers. I see Hyatt as the best available historically, but rapidly approaching Marriott. My concierge is completely helpless when operators go AWOL on benefits. (Upgrade delivery, breakfast benefits, etc.) The only thing they can correct is when hotels try to fudge by delivering fewer points than they're supposed to on stays. News about them buying all-inclusive operators and divesting of operating properties reenforces that they really want to be Marriott underneath it all.

    So perhaps their best equivalent is AA. They were the last to adopt dynamic awards so they were the best for a while, but now everybody is crap on loyalty and I buy whoever offers me first class for cheapest. Similarly, FHR will probably be my best long-term friend in the hotel space. Hyatt better get more properties into that mix if they want to stay relevant.

    1. DCS Diamond

      I see Hyatt as the best available historically...

      -- Andrew

      You "see Hyatt as the best available historically" based on what? On claims like the one on complimentary suite upgrades I just debunked below or other such bogus claims of 'superiority' based on self-serving standards concocted and peddled ad nauseam by self-anointed 'travel gurus"? And please don't get me started on the fact that so-called "best" top elite status in hotel loyalty does...

      I see Hyatt as the best available historically...

      -- Andrew

      You "see Hyatt as the best available historically" based on what? On claims like the one on complimentary suite upgrades I just debunked below or other such bogus claims of 'superiority' based on self-serving standards concocted and peddled ad nauseam by self-anointed 'travel gurus"? And please don't get me started on the fact that so-called "best" top elite status in hotel loyalty does not get the single most valuable perk in hotel loyalty: the 5th award night free!

      So perhaps their best equivalent is AA. They were the last to adopt dynamic awards so they were the best for a while, but now everybody is crap on loyalty...

      You claim that rational readers (I guess like you) are not influenced and, yet, nearly every one of your claims is simply echoing bogus claims heard repeatedly in the travel blogosphere echo chamber.

      Not "everybody is crap." Dynamic award pricing is "crap" simply because you drank the kool-aid that claimed it was. It has not affected me one damned bit. Just the other day, I documented how UA is currently the towering FF program among the US "Big Three", especially with the introduction of their highly innovative and flexible PlusPoint cabin upgrade instrument, which, just yesterday, allowed two of my friends to be upgraded from United Economy to United Polaris Business on a long-haul flight from EWR to BOM -- two upgrades I sponsored. The beauty of it is that by the end of the year, I will have enough PlusPoints (over 800!) to be able to request 20 more of such long-haul cabin upgrades (or 40 domestic/short-haul Economy to United First cabin upgrades.) Try that with the outdated and anachronistic AA SWU or DL GUC!

      'Nuff said.

    2. Andrew Guest

      My only claim was that it was historically better, and I wasn't exhaustive about reasons why.

      Everyone's travel experience is different. As Hyatt was better for me personally than Hilton elite status, United moved to dynamic awards and all of *my* patterns of redemption cost 10% more. So you can get to India and get more upgrades, it doesn't change my experience trying to redeem miles at less value.

      I didn't actually reply to disagree...

      My only claim was that it was historically better, and I wasn't exhaustive about reasons why.

      Everyone's travel experience is different. As Hyatt was better for me personally than Hilton elite status, United moved to dynamic awards and all of *my* patterns of redemption cost 10% more. So you can get to India and get more upgrades, it doesn't change my experience trying to redeem miles at less value.

      I didn't actually reply to disagree with any of your points, but it's apparent you require absolute alignment with the fact that UA and HH are the best for everyone, even if it's based solely on your experience.

      I hope you find Internet commenting cathartic, at least.

    3. DCS Guest

      Well, when you make claims, you need to back them up or they are meaningless. The one about "Hyatt being historically better" was just a 'conditioned reflex' due to drinking too much of the "Hyatt is best" kool-aid.

      When I boast about one aspect or another of HH or UA, I back it up. You are free to challenge my evidence but you cannot claim that I simply make the claims. About the PlusPoints claims...

      Well, when you make claims, you need to back them up or they are meaningless. The one about "Hyatt being historically better" was just a 'conditioned reflex' due to drinking too much of the "Hyatt is best" kool-aid.

      When I boast about one aspect or another of HH or UA, I back it up. You are free to challenge my evidence but you cannot claim that I simply make the claims. About the PlusPoints claims that I have been making, I will post a link to the definitive evidence that support everything I've stated.

      So, no, UA or HH does not have to be the best for everyone, but neither is the subpar program that self-anointed "travel gurus" have often depicted, while putting clearly lacking programs like SPG or WoH or AA on undeserved and self-serving pedestals.

      G'day!

    4. Andrew Guest

      Got it. Hyatt is historically better for me because:

      1. Consistent breakfast benefits. I've been Hilton Gold in several properties (San Francisco Hilton Financial district, Los Angeles Hilton Checkers downtown, even Conrad NYC back right after they opened for business) and I got a frigging croissant and coffee. That was my carb and stimulus which was supposed to last until the lunching hour. Inferior quantity and quality of food. I won't compare Marriott since they...

      Got it. Hyatt is historically better for me because:

      1. Consistent breakfast benefits. I've been Hilton Gold in several properties (San Francisco Hilton Financial district, Los Angeles Hilton Checkers downtown, even Conrad NYC back right after they opened for business) and I got a frigging croissant and coffee. That was my carb and stimulus which was supposed to last until the lunching hour. Inferior quantity and quality of food. I won't compare Marriott since they don't even offer consistent benefits across brands... they're not even in competition.

      Hyatt used to be good in this space until owners could close restaurants for Covid and never reopen them.

      2. Guaranteed suites. I have a reservation for Hyatt Regency Tokyo September 2022 for the Ambassador Suite. It costs me $226 and 9,000 points per night. Look up the hotel and room. That's an objectively good deal. I've read many your posts saying that you always get cleared for suites because you know the secret words to say like a pickup artist. Not my experience. I managed it once as Hilton Gold when my room smelled like sewage (again Conrad NYC), so out of pity they gave me a suite. Marriott will happily tell you you're getting a suite and then inventory would evaporate 24 hours prior to your arrival. My wife used to call me "room fighter" because I would argue at the check in desk at 2am to find the window when I could get them to grant me the suite proactively on my 3rd day of stay.

      I also put this into the 'former' Hyatt camp because nearly all of their portfolio growth has been properties that somehow suite upgrades don't apply to. (Place, House, Miraval, Zila, Zilara, Alila, SLH, etc. I'm sure Apple will be same story, different brand.) Nice carve-out, guys.

      Again, my experiences. Has nothing to do with Lucky, Gary, Matthew or anyone else.

    5. Andrew Guest

      Correction on my post: San Francisco gave me the 'cold buffet' which was right next to the 'hot buffet' (and was very small in comparison.) Same thing at the Marriott Palace Hotel.

      The former was for HHonor elites.

    6. DCS Diamond

      Do you even know what Hyatt Globalists, since it is the only elite status that matters in the program, are promised as their breakfast benefit? They get full restaurant breakfast only when there is no club lounge. Moreover, Hyatt should be able to afford to give better breakfast because only the program's very top elites get the benefit! Importantly, you must travel only within the US if you believe Hyatt's breakfast is such a big...

      Do you even know what Hyatt Globalists, since it is the only elite status that matters in the program, are promised as their breakfast benefit? They get full restaurant breakfast only when there is no club lounge. Moreover, Hyatt should be able to afford to give better breakfast because only the program's very top elites get the benefit! Importantly, you must travel only within the US if you believe Hyatt's breakfast is such a big deal. For some of us who travel mainly overseas, Hilton Honors breakfast is almost invariably like a royal feast, both in Europe and in Asia, and it is always optional, whether members (including Golds upgraded to the exec floor) can have it in the restaurant or in the exec lounge. At Hyatt, it is either in the club lounge first or, when there isn't one, in the restaurant. So, tell me again why Hyatt's breakfast is so much better?

      No program 'guarantees' suite upgrades!!! Even so-called "confirmed" suite upgrades are subject to availability. You are aware of that, right? And, yes, I have cleared better than 80% of suite upgrades I've requested since 2012 (one year, I believe 2014, I cleared 100% or 12 of 12, as I documented on MilePoint, a public forum, with photos of the insides of every suite), because I know how the game is played and I take full advantage of it. The Hilton Gold status is nothing like Hilton Diamond, really. And if you have to fight for upgrades, then you have already lost. Easy does it.

      The thing is, everything that you regurgitate, like how Hyatt's breakfast is tops and their upgrades are "guaranteed", is concocted by self-anointed "travel gurus" and then it is repeated ad nauseam in the travel blogospghere echo chamber, even if it is pure bunk. Make a bogus claim real through sheer recitation and repetition!

      G'day.

    7. Andrew Guest

      I don't doubt royal feast describes your experience in Asia. I've had a royal feast at Marriott Tokyo, Centric Tokyo and many others. Heck, Stockholm Courtyard had a feast (plebeian, but a feast regardless). It's more the geography and cultural expectation than loyalty program.

      I've had zero rejected suite upgrades in 8 years of ~30 nights/year confirmations *** when it was confirmed in advance ***, which I think is the crux of your argument. Realizing...

      I don't doubt royal feast describes your experience in Asia. I've had a royal feast at Marriott Tokyo, Centric Tokyo and many others. Heck, Stockholm Courtyard had a feast (plebeian, but a feast regardless). It's more the geography and cultural expectation than loyalty program.

      I've had zero rejected suite upgrades in 8 years of ~30 nights/year confirmations *** when it was confirmed in advance ***, which I think is the crux of your argument. Realizing nothing in life is truly guaranteed, Covid wiped out several of my reservations, but I've yet to have a single rejection for a suite upgrade post-confirmation. Do you have contrary experience with Hyatt? Not a feeling or passion about blog rhetoric. Actual experience.

      Good to know that Diamond is so much better than Gold; I'll likely shop the circuit again after Hyatt further devalues their program another notch or three.

    8. DCS Diamond

      Then what is your point about breakfast? It has been known, like, forever, that elite recognition and benefits in the US are shitty compared to those overseas. All you can say is, perhaps, that Hyatt's breakfast in the US is not as shitty as Hilton's, but that ain't saying much at all, especially to an "internationalist" like me. The Lore about the purported "greatness" of Hyatt's free breakfast started with a benefit (optional at Hilton)...

      Then what is your point about breakfast? It has been known, like, forever, that elite recognition and benefits in the US are shitty compared to those overseas. All you can say is, perhaps, that Hyatt's breakfast in the US is not as shitty as Hilton's, but that ain't saying much at all, especially to an "internationalist" like me. The Lore about the purported "greatness" of Hyatt's free breakfast started with a benefit (optional at Hilton) that is available only at properties without a club lounge, where members are allowed to use the restaurant on the property (if there is one) to have free full breakfast. Self-anointed "travel gurus" took that spotty benefit and made it into a dogma: Hyatt offers free full breakfast that is the best there has ever been in the history of hotel loyalty! Sort of pathetic, really.

      BTW, if free breakfast is a primary differentiating perk for you, I suggest you try Embassy Suites by Hilton's full and FREE "Make-it-yourself" breakfast!

      Lastly, of course, in all but very few exceptional cases, upgrades won't be rejected after they have been confirmed, either ahead of time or at check-in!!! The real problem that those who push the "guaranteed suite upgrades" meme wish to ignore is that upgrades must first be available, ahead of time or at check-in, and properties must must be willing to give them out !!! With that stark contingency squarely in place in every program, how can any intellectually honest person push the "guaranteed suite upgrades" meme ?!!!

      I am done here.

  10. NYGuy24 New Member

    I totally agree that people paying with points should not be treated as second class guests. If they have the status they have the status. That being said if someone is paying cash for a room over someone with points I wouldn't have an issue with the person who is actually paying money getting priority for upgrades assuming both are at the same status level.

    1. Eskimo Guest

      Wait, you said paying with points should not be treated as second class guests, but person who is actually paying money getting priority?
      Isn't that giving preferential treatment to money, which by definition means non money (aka points) is second class?

      If points is a form of payment, why should it be different unless you do treat it as second class.
      Should guests paying with USD get priority for upgrades over guest paying...

      Wait, you said paying with points should not be treated as second class guests, but person who is actually paying money getting priority?
      Isn't that giving preferential treatment to money, which by definition means non money (aka points) is second class?

      If points is a form of payment, why should it be different unless you do treat it as second class.
      Should guests paying with USD get priority for upgrades over guest paying with EUR?

      You should run for office. Your logic fits well with politicians, especially among RINO or DINO.

  11. Reno Joe Guest

    What EVERYONE is missing is that property owners are allowed to "manage" the amount of room inventory available for award stays. No one is going to get a suite upgrade if there is no suite inventory available for award stays. We've heard about this occurring at each of the big three chains. But, certain Marriott property owners have taken it a step further (see below). And, who's to say it won't happen at Hilton and...

    What EVERYONE is missing is that property owners are allowed to "manage" the amount of room inventory available for award stays. No one is going to get a suite upgrade if there is no suite inventory available for award stays. We've heard about this occurring at each of the big three chains. But, certain Marriott property owners have taken it a step further (see below). And, who's to say it won't happen at Hilton and Hyatt?

    It has been recently discovered that certain ownership groups under Marriott have removed all suite inventory from the Marriott reservation system. Those ownership groups sell those rooms only via AirBNB. Because these properties no longer have any suite inventory available via Marriott, suite upgrades are not possible for elites or award stays or SNAs. Via this practice, the suite upgrade benefit is denied and meaningless.

    Earning elite status in a hotel loyalty program is a fool's errand. Earning lifetime elite status makes one a fool for life.

    1. DCS Diamond

      What EVERYONE is missing is that property owners are allowed to "manage" the amount of room inventory available for award stays.

      The assertion that "what EVERYONE is missing is that property owners are allowed to "manage" the amount of room inventory available for award stay" is totally false, at least to anyone who plays the game with a "full deck" and chuckles whenever a self-anointed "travel guru" or purported "thought leader in travel" claims that...

      What EVERYONE is missing is that property owners are allowed to "manage" the amount of room inventory available for award stays.

      The assertion that "what EVERYONE is missing is that property owners are allowed to "manage" the amount of room inventory available for award stay" is totally false, at least to anyone who plays the game with a "full deck" and chuckles whenever a self-anointed "travel guru" or purported "thought leader in travel" claims that elite members in their preferred program(s) are "guaranteed" or "entitled to" room or suite upgrades. EVERYONE should know that no one is "guaranteed" or "entitled to" anything because every program's T&C on award availability or room upgrades, without exception, make it absolutely clear that individual properties, and not programs have the final say on what is considered a "preferred" or "enhanced" or "best available" room in a property and on the size the inventory and availability of such rooms for award booking or for complimentary room upgrades.

      Here are, verbatim, the T&C on room upgrades for three of the major hotel loyalty programs:

      Marriott BonVoy:

      Enhanced Room Upgrade
      We’ll do our best to upgrade your room (including Select Suites), based on availability at check-in. Upgrades are subject to availability [as] identified by each hotel and limited to your personal guest room.

      See terms and conditions for details.[I did and here is what they say:]

      Complimentary Enhanced Room Upgrade for Platinum Elite Members.
      Platinum Elite Members and above receive a complimentary upgrade to the best available room, subject to availability on the day of arrival, for the entire length of stay. Complimentary upgrade includes suites, rooms with desirable views, rooms on high floors, corner rooms, rooms with special amenities or rooms on Executive Floors. At The Ritz-Carlton, suites are only included for Titanium Elite and Ambassador Elite Members and rooms with direct Club access are excluded. Enhanced Room Upgrades are subject to availability and are identified by each Participating Property.

      World of Hyatt:

      Best Room Available
      Globalists will receive the best room available at the time of check-in at Hyatt hotels and resorts, including Standard Suites and rooms with Club lounge-access. The best room available will be determined by the applicable hotel or resort in its sole discretion and may vary from stay-to-stay. The “best room” may, but will not necessarily be, of a room type/category higher than that booked by the Member. Best-room-available benefit includes only Standard Suites (where available), which are defined as rooms within each participating hotel’s or resort’s introductory suite category. Premium, Specialty, Premier, Presidential, Diplomatic, and other suites other than Standard Suites are not included in this benefit.

      Hilton Honors:

      Diamond Elite Members will receive the following during stays as a registered Diamond Elite Member: [long list of properties where terms apply, then...]
      Diamond Hilton Honors Members may receive upgrades to preferred rooms, based on availability at the time of arrival. Upgrades for Diamond Hilton Honors Members may include upgrades up to “junior”, “standard” or “one-bedroom” suites. Upgrades exclude executive suites, villas and specialty accommodations/floors/towers (which may include, but not limited to, "Vista," "Villa," or “Club” accommodation types), subject to the discretion of the hotel.

      There is no material difference among the T&C on upgrades of those 3 programs or of those of programs not included above. NONE. The next time you read claims about how Hyatt or Marriott elite members are "entitled to" or "guaranteed" suite upgrades whereas Hilton elites are not, you just need to chuckle as I invariably do. The terms are not new and were also true of the now-defunct SPG program.

      Bottom line: "property owners are allowed to "manage" the amount of room inventory available for award stays [and room upgrades]". The T&C of every program make that point loud and clear.

      G'day.

    2. azamaraal Guest

      I have received 'many' executive floor suite upgrades around the world with my Diamond status. This is the first time that executive suites have been excluded (as well as villas). I guess this is a major change that has happened recently that I missed, sad to say.

      Pricing on Hilton resort properties seems to have exploded this winter as things open up. I the past I have vacationed at the PVR Resort for a week...

      I have received 'many' executive floor suite upgrades around the world with my Diamond status. This is the first time that executive suites have been excluded (as well as villas). I guess this is a major change that has happened recently that I missed, sad to say.

      Pricing on Hilton resort properties seems to have exploded this winter as things open up. I the past I have vacationed at the PVR Resort for a week or two and the highest cash rate I have paid was $242 USD (VIP rate). This year the rate started at $265 in the summer and is now in the $500-$600 range for the same time period. Not likely to get the terrace spa suite upgrade this year as I had to use a third party booking to even get a low end room.

      Will be truing the new PVR Riviera Hilton for a week as well to test the waters. Closer to home but am a bit concerned that they have a liquor list at an all inclusive that puts a price on Havana Club (probably north of $50) as an example. On of the least expensive Rum brands here in Canada. At the Resort it is the house brand among others.

    3. DCS Diamond

      I have received 'many' executive floor suite upgrades around the world with my Diamond status. This is the first time that executive suites have been excluded (as well as villas). I guess this is a major change that has happened recently that I missed, sad to say.

      The HH T&C on suite upgrades have been same since suite upgrades because a Diamonds perk in 2012. Just a few points to show that anomalies that you...

      I have received 'many' executive floor suite upgrades around the world with my Diamond status. This is the first time that executive suites have been excluded (as well as villas). I guess this is a major change that has happened recently that I missed, sad to say.

      The HH T&C on suite upgrades have been same since suite upgrades because a Diamonds perk in 2012. Just a few points to show that anomalies that you think have happened while you were not looking are not anomalies at all:

      - Properties are free to upgrade members to suites that the T&C exclude (e.g., I was upgraded to a presidential suite at Embassy Suites Montreal, an all-suites brand where suite upgrades are verboten).

      - Just because a suite in on the executive floor does not make it an "executive suite", especially if it is a junior or a one-bedroom suite. It can still be designed as a standard suite for the purpose of upgrades or award booking. The junior suite I was upgraded into last month at TD by Hilton Rome Monti was on the executive floor.

      - Some properties, like Hilton Singapore, do not have standard suites. Every suite in Hilton SIN, located at the ends and spanning the width of every floor, is designated as an "executive Suite" into one which I have been upgraded multiple times over the year.

      I cannot speak to your price "explosion" observations at resorts, especially at a time when travel is beginning to "explode" back to normal and demand is extremely high, which econ-101 says should jack up prices...

      G'day.

    4. DCS Diamond

      Oops! Way too early and auto-completion can sneak up on you. Make that:

      "The HH T&C on suite upgrades have been the same since suite upgrades became a Diamonds perk in 2012."

  12. Jack Guest

    Theatre should upgrade in the following order:
    Lifetime Diamond
    Diamond
    Diamond & Gold on Rewards stay (100k + points)
    Gold
    Non Elite on Rewards stay (100k + points)
    Silver

    1. Reno Joe Guest

      Jack, see my comment on award inventory management. Owners continually find ways to deny upgrades. As a multi-year Ambassador at Marriott (and a Globalist at Hyatt), on multiple occasions when suites were available upon arrival, I have had hotel managers say to me point blank, "We're simply not going to give you an upgrade to a suite." But, this is a stated benefit. Oh, but the program terms and conditions say "at the discretion of...

      Jack, see my comment on award inventory management. Owners continually find ways to deny upgrades. As a multi-year Ambassador at Marriott (and a Globalist at Hyatt), on multiple occasions when suites were available upon arrival, I have had hotel managers say to me point blank, "We're simply not going to give you an upgrade to a suite." But, this is a stated benefit. Oh, but the program terms and conditions say "at the discretion of the property." But, if I wanted to pay for the upgrade, that was fine. It's all a lie. After years of this, I wised up and now follow a completely counter-intuitive hotel strategy.

  13. Jerry Gold

    An upgrade at a Hilton? Ha! You’re funny.

    1. azamaraal Guest

      I cannot remember a time that I WAS NOT upgraded except for a couple of low end Hamptons that didn't have anything better than standard room.

  14. Art_Czar New Member

    Makes me wish I had earned lifetime elite status HHonors in lieu of MBonvoy.

    1. Reno Joe Guest

      Art, don't believe it for one second. Don't compound one mistake with another. Property owners are all the same, irrespective of chain. See my comment on award inventory management.

  15. DCS Diamond

    The rumored Hilton Honors' automated room upgrades priority, about which there are no details and which I have seen reported only on one travel blog, makes no sense to me.
    It sounds like a joke designed to troll how moneys that programs derive from selling points through credit cards have become of big determinant of airlines' and hotels' bottom line.

    For one thing, I do not see how "non-elite" members get to be upgraded...

    The rumored Hilton Honors' automated room upgrades priority, about which there are no details and which I have seen reported only on one travel blog, makes no sense to me.
    It sounds like a joke designed to troll how moneys that programs derive from selling points through credit cards have become of big determinant of airlines' and hotels' bottom line.

    For one thing, I do not see how "non-elite" members get to be upgraded when that is not even their benefit in the official HH T&C. One thing that I am nearly certain of is that the "over 100,000 points" rule, if it is for real, would not apply generally to suite upgrades, unless the T&C are changed to make those a general perk, which is unlikely to happen.

    In short, I will reserve further judgment until this scheme is confirmed and the details are officially published.

  16. Beachfan Guest

    Nor1 upgrades ahead of them all I guess.

  17. Matthew Guest

    I can’t imagine there’s that many people redeeming 100k per night. That’s a special class of its own. The room rate should be at least $500. Hilton is prioritizing that class as I’m sure the points program is the most profitable part of the corporation. I’m guessing a rack rate of $500+ a night goes mostly to the hotel, but Hilton pays a lot less than $500 for a 100k per night redemption. Most cases...

    I can’t imagine there’s that many people redeeming 100k per night. That’s a special class of its own. The room rate should be at least $500. Hilton is prioritizing that class as I’m sure the points program is the most profitable part of the corporation. I’m guessing a rack rate of $500+ a night goes mostly to the hotel, but Hilton pays a lot less than $500 for a 100k per night redemption. Most cases the hotel is probably not full enough to require Hilton to pay the top end. As a result those who likely buy points to stay at high end properties are likely the most profitable customer for Hilton corporate but not the hotel owner. I’m guessing those who are able to redeem free night awards are probably treated the same since Hilton always shows the points cost in the confirmation.

  18. James Guest

    Great idea. Real elites > credit card elites is how it should be

    1. DCS Diamond

      I think you meant for the inequality sign to be the other way around: Real elites < credit card elites because that is the implication of the rumored scheme, although 'credit card' elites would have to do more than just carry the status and the card around to get any benefits out of this. They would have to actively patronize HH after they have spent their signup bonuses (i.e., "shot their wad") for the benefit...

      I think you meant for the inequality sign to be the other way around: Real elites < credit card elites because that is the implication of the rumored scheme, although 'credit card' elites would have to do more than just carry the status and the card around to get any benefits out of this. They would have to actively patronize HH after they have spent their signup bonuses (i.e., "shot their wad") for the benefit to be sustainable.

      By contrast, some 'credit card' elites, like yours truly, who actively patronize HH, will benefit from this because we have the ability and opportunities to earn gobs of points effortlessly that we can spend at high-end properties costing more than 100,000 points, be it per night or per stay (right now, I have 1,172,963 HH points with many more to come, thanks to Hilton's generous Q4 promo, from 4 already-booked revenue stays ).

    2. Joe1293 Guest

      @DCS
      I thought you would have more HH points

    3. DCS Diamond

      Not when I redeem my points every year down to nearly "grass level", which I did just before the pandemic. So, the astonishment should be that I would have so many points just a year later (hint and "shhh": I got a huge boost when in January 2020, WA Maldives generously and inexplicably [though I think it was because I was a great guest] awarded me 95K base points, on a folio of 'just' $2.98K,...

      Not when I redeem my points every year down to nearly "grass level", which I did just before the pandemic. So, the astonishment should be that I would have so many points just a year later (hint and "shhh": I got a huge boost when in January 2020, WA Maldives generously and inexplicably [though I think it was because I was a great guest] awarded me 95K base points, on a folio of 'just' $2.98K, in the middle of a promo like the current Q4 promo that awarded me 44x ('cause the Aspire bonus was on the $2.98K of the folio) , meaning I paid almost no points at all on that WA Maldives stay! :-)

      Earn and burn, baby!

  19. Greg Guest

    Maybe it’s gold and diamond on 100k redemptions, not everyone. The formal Honors communication has been explicit this is a Gold and Diamond benefit.

    Would be like higher fare class trumping elite rank for airline upgrades.

    1. Greg Guest

      Gary got confirmation from Hilton that my theory is close - status trumps - non elites aren’t part of this. Some award stays within tiers may be part of the priority.

    2. DCS Diamond

      Let's wait and see if this will be officially confirmed, but using award costs just as a tiebreaker among same-level elites would make more sense than the prioritization scheme whereby award costs would trump elite status level, as initially rumored.

  20. Drew Guest

    I didn't see on the Loyalty Lobby post anything explicitly stating that the top priority is for 100K per night redemptions, as opposed to 100K total for the stay. If it's 100K per night, it makes more sense since that should exclude most standard redemptions. But does this mean that a redemption for a higher room category at 100K plus per night would be eligible for an additional upgrade (as opposed to a standard room at 100K plus)?

  21. TP Guest

    LoyaltyLobby actual states that it is more than 100k points per stay, not night. Sounds crazy to me and not the first time I have seen that site missreporting regarding Hilton.

  22. Never In Doubt Guest

    I don’t find this order surprising at all.

  23. Alonzo Gold

    So we're taking Loyalty Lobby's word based on what exactly? There's zero proof that any of this is true.

    1. Eskimo Guest

      And all those compensation miles or cash they get from one hair in the sink, to a broken overhead light.
      I can't get away with anything when the non essentials stuff is broken or slightly dirty except an apology. Those bloggers get free rooms, flight vouchers, and insane amount of points or miles.

      But if it's on the internet, it must be true :)
      But if there is a picture, it must be...

      And all those compensation miles or cash they get from one hair in the sink, to a broken overhead light.
      I can't get away with anything when the non essentials stuff is broken or slightly dirty except an apology. Those bloggers get free rooms, flight vouchers, and insane amount of points or miles.

      But if it's on the internet, it must be true :)
      But if there is a picture, it must be true :)
      But if there is a video, it must be true :)
      But if it's from Hollywood, it must be fake.
      But if it's from CNN or FOX, it must be fake.

  24. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

    This is what irks me about Marriott’s upgrades or even Delta’s new global upgrade certificate policy. It’s opaque. Why not be transparent and disclose the order or any tiebreakers?

    Marriott’s biggest flaw in upgrades isn’t lack of enforcement. It’s reality in 2021 vs. terms and conditions/program rules.

    In 2021, you can check-in about 48 hours before physical arrive using the Marriott mobile app. Depending on the property, you’ve actually checked in and can go right...

    This is what irks me about Marriott’s upgrades or even Delta’s new global upgrade certificate policy. It’s opaque. Why not be transparent and disclose the order or any tiebreakers?

    Marriott’s biggest flaw in upgrades isn’t lack of enforcement. It’s reality in 2021 vs. terms and conditions/program rules.

    In 2021, you can check-in about 48 hours before physical arrive using the Marriott mobile app. Depending on the property, you’ve actually checked in and can go right to a room without stopping by the front desk. At other properties, the online check-in is smoke and mirrors. You still have to go through some or all formalities at the front desk.

    The terms and conditions say an eligible elite is entitled to the best available room or suite at the time of check-in, however, many properties interpret this to mean physical arrive — not check-in on the app.

    Thus, you get a situation in which a platinum arrives right at 3 or 4 p.m. and gets the suite because the rooms director or guest relations manager didn’t pre-block upgrades. Meanwhile, an ambassador shows up at 5 p.m. and gets nothing.

    Supposedly, Marriott is sending an email every day to general managers at certain full-service brands with a list of customers to upgrade. At least that’s what the GM at a franchisee-operated Renaissance told me. I haven’t, however, heard this from anyone else nor has it been confirmed.

    1. Eskimo Guest

      The problem is it will never be transparent. They can disclose as many rule as they want, they will never disclose personal information. Hence you wont be able to audit or verify the rules either.

      You think the airline upgrade list is transparent?
      How can you tell that the person above you on the upgrade list is suppose to be above you.
      How can you argue if they upgrade the person below you...

      The problem is it will never be transparent. They can disclose as many rule as they want, they will never disclose personal information. Hence you wont be able to audit or verify the rules either.

      You think the airline upgrade list is transparent?
      How can you tell that the person above you on the upgrade list is suppose to be above you.
      How can you argue if they upgrade the person below you and cites that person should be above you and it's an IT glitch.

      "Thus, you get a situation in which a platinum arrives right at 3 or 4 p.m. and gets the suite because the rooms director or guest relations manager didn’t pre-block upgrades. Meanwhile, an ambassador shows up at 5 p.m. and gets nothing."
      -Can you prove it? And that's the whole point. It's your words against the hotel who can see full details.
      If they wanted to block a room for you, they could have done it anytime. I have received suite upgrades even before check-in time up until the day of arrival before checking in. (Not that it happens often)

      By the way, Platinum getting upgrades before Ambassador, makes it look unfair. However, the rules actually never define a different upgrade hierarchy, so in a way they are actually following procedures.

    2. Reno Joe Guest

      FNT Delta Diamond, hello again. Property owners are all the same, irrespective of chain. See my comment on award inventory management.

    3. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

      Except owners do not manage properties at all chains. Hyatt is better because Hyatt manages a majority of its hotels. Marriott manages less than 30%. The problem is increasingly the franchisee is also the management. Look at Highgate, for example. Or Hersha. It’s easy to screw guests if you are both the owner and the manager, especially when IHG and Marriott basically have no meaningful enforcement of rules. Worse yet, at Marriott the hotel development...

      Except owners do not manage properties at all chains. Hyatt is better because Hyatt manages a majority of its hotels. Marriott manages less than 30%. The problem is increasingly the franchisee is also the management. Look at Highgate, for example. Or Hersha. It’s easy to screw guests if you are both the owner and the manager, especially when IHG and Marriott basically have no meaningful enforcement of rules. Worse yet, at Marriott the hotel development and property management divisions actively work against Bonvoy, which is under the loyalty division.

      Marriott can prove themselves by taking swift and real action against the properties exposed by View from the Wing for selling rooms on competitor Airbnb. I hope Marriott audits each and every Airbnb-listed property to see if they cheated corporate out of revenue.

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Eskimo Guest

And all those compensation miles or cash they get from one hair in the sink, to a broken overhead light. I can't get away with anything when the non essentials stuff is broken or slightly dirty except an apology. Those bloggers get free rooms, flight vouchers, and insane amount of points or miles. But if it's on the internet, it must be true :) But if there is a picture, it must be true :) But if there is a video, it must be true :) But if it's from Hollywood, it must be fake. But if it's from CNN or FOX, it must be fake.

1
DCS Diamond

Let's wait and see if this will be officially confirmed, but using award costs just as a tiebreaker among same-level elites would make more sense than the prioritization scheme whereby award costs would trump elite status level, as initially <b>rumored</b>.

0
Greg Guest

Gary got confirmation from Hilton that my theory is close - status trumps - non elites aren’t part of this. Some award stays within tiers may be part of the priority.

0
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