Uh Oh: Hilton Selling Upgrades To Elite Members At Check-In

Uh Oh: Hilton Selling Upgrades To Elite Members At Check-In

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Hilton Honors is increasingly trying to monetize upgrades, even for elite members who should be eligible for complimentary upgrades. This isn’t necessarily all bad news, but I have concerns.

Hilton’s new online check-in upsell feature

While most airline passengers check-in online nowadays, the concept hasn’t caught on quite as much with hotels, since it’s largely kind of pointless. You typically still have to go to the front desk, and a hotel check-in experience is generally more personalized than with an airline.

In fairness, Hilton probably has the most robust online check-in feature, as you can even select your specific room from within your assigned category. Along those lines, Hilton is rolling out a major change to online check-in for elite members, as noted by View from the Wing:

  • Hilton Honors Gold and Hilton Honors Diamond members will now be offered paid room upgrades during the online check-in process
  • Previously paid upgrades during online check-in were only offered to Hilton Honors Silver and non-elite Hilton Honors members, given that higher tier elite members are supposed to receive complimentary upgrades
  • Hilton is telling hotel owners that this change is intended to drive incremental revenue among elite members
Hilton will try to sell room upgrades to more elite members

This creates a conflict of interest for hotels

Different hotel loyalty programs have different policies when it comes to upgrades. Unlike Marriott Bonvoy and World of Hyatt, Hilton Honors doesn’t promise specific types of room upgrades to elite members:

So per the terms, a Hilton property doesn’t have to upgrade a Diamond member to a suite, even if it’s available (I know OMAAT’s most passionate commenter will be along shortly to disagree, but, um, he’s wrong, so…).

Anyway, Hilton has also introduced automated elite upgrades, whereby hotels are encouraged to confirm upgrades for elite members 72 hours in advance.

I think the conflict of interest here is obvious. Hotels are being encouraged to provide complimentary upgrades to guests in advance, but hotels are also being told they can greatly increase ancillary revenue by selling upgrades to elite members. Presumably most upgrade options that hotels will try to sell to Diamond members will be to rooms that they may in theory be eligible to be upgraded to, at the hotel’s discretion.

Following Hilton’s guidance, what property wouldn’t logically say “well maybe we shouldn’t upgrade elite members in advance, and instead should try to sell them an upgrade?”

Now, in fairness, in some cases this change might not be terrible for consumers. There are plenty of hotels that just don’t want to upgrade elite guests much, and paid upgrades at check-in can often represent significant savings over the standard cost of a premium room. So if you know a hotel isn’t going to upgrade you further, you may appreciate the opportunity to at least pay for that upgrade. I mean, ideally it wouldn’t be that way, but…

Will fewer hotels upgrade elite members in advance?

Bottom line

Hilton is rolling out its paid upgrade program during online check-in for Gold and Diamond members. Hotels are being told this is a great way to increase ancillary revenue, though that kind of seems at odds with hotels being encouraged to upgrade elite members in advance.

I’m curious to see how this situation unfolds, because on the surface it kind of seems like a slap in the face to sell an elite member an upgrade they should in theory be eligible for on a complimentary basis.

What do you make of this Hilton paid upgrade change?

Conversations (141)
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  1. GEO Traveler Guest

    FNT Delta Diamond, I do a lot of travel. 1 if you want breakfast and don't care about paper plates then book at a Hampton Inn, or if you want a free breakfast but want an omelet cooked for you, or eggs sunny side up book at the Embassy Suites. For to this if you want suite at about the same rate as a room at a standard Hilton, again book at the Embassy Suites....

    FNT Delta Diamond, I do a lot of travel. 1 if you want breakfast and don't care about paper plates then book at a Hampton Inn, or if you want a free breakfast but want an omelet cooked for you, or eggs sunny side up book at the Embassy Suites. For to this if you want suite at about the same rate as a room at a standard Hilton, again book at the Embassy Suites. Lastly if you like free drinks and some nibbles before heading out for dinner/ show or whatever again book at the Embassy Suites. I am not a Embassy Suites staff member or owner, but find out of all of the Hilton brands and there are a lot that compared to looking for upgrades, meals etc this horse in the stable may get you what you are after without looking for an upgrade. All the best.

  2. Belinda Guest

    Hm. So I saw somebody accept the $50 upgrade and then confirm with hotel this fee will not be charged. I can work with that.

    My friend worked at Conrad Tokyo. She was #1 in upgrades for all of Japan. This is a very big deal for Hilton. Let me repeat, upsells are king. She trained others at even other Hilton brands. She got lots of perks.

  3. Deborah Guest

    well we were attempting to book at the clearwater beach hampton inn and the desk clerk didnt even know the policy We were told the hotel no longer offers upgrades to diamond status regardless of availability no mention of paid upgrade upon calling Hilton Honors customer service they also were confused about the policy Seems no one at customer service or at the hotels got the Memo :{ wow really paid off staying at hilton brand for 17 years traveling for IBM lol

  4. AD Guest

    @Lucky, you called it, although admittedly it wasn't a stretch to make that call. I wish I had time to read the entire discussion about the alternate universe someone lives in.

  5. Chris Guest

    I questioned this the other day at the Hilton Rotterdam. When checking in online I opted to "upgrade" to an executive room at an additional cost (EUR50 I think). I have subsequently confirmed with the hotel that (as a Dimaond) I haven't been charged for this upgrade.

  6. Andy K Guest

    Hilton disgusts me with this nickle and diming. I hope th chain fails along with Marriott. The only reason I would stay loyal with both was to get the free breakfast when I would go on vacation. Now, I book anything but those chains when I go on vacation. I spend thousands a year on hotel stay for vacationing with family, their few pennies of savings by not including breakfast is costing them dearly.

  7. Keith Kaplan Guest

    Hilton takes about 10 nights stay to receive 1 free night. This is weak enough and now to charge for upgrades previously given but rarely available. Good bye Hilton.

  8. James Donnelly Guest

    I have been a loyal Hilton member for years and as a Diamond member have always looked forward to this gift but if a less level member can leap over me buy paying then why do I need to be loyal since they are not

  9. Randy Meyers Guest

    I have been a Diamond Member for Lifer now for 5 years. I have tried to stay more at Marriott properties this past 20 months, but end up going back to Hilton as the "free" breakfast and flexibility I get when things go sideways during my semi-heavy travel. This being said, I have noticed that I am getting automatically "upgraded" when I stay at HGI/Hilton/Conrad properties. However, the upgrades have not been noticeably better than...

    I have been a Diamond Member for Lifer now for 5 years. I have tried to stay more at Marriott properties this past 20 months, but end up going back to Hilton as the "free" breakfast and flexibility I get when things go sideways during my semi-heavy travel. This being said, I have noticed that I am getting automatically "upgraded" when I stay at HGI/Hilton/Conrad properties. However, the upgrades have not been noticeably better than a standard room. This article has me thinking that Hilton is trying to prevent me from asking for an upgrade. BTW- The automatic "upgrade" was already in place as noted in T&C's--> Space-available room upgrades
    If we have a better room available, it’s yours – up to a 1-bedroom suite.

  10. Marc Mitscher Mcvey Guest

    It's part of the trend that is coming to all "loyalty" programs. It's just like with the airlines..somebody jumps in the river first and everyone watches to see if they get eaten alive. If not, it's a rush to the river. Remember there was a time when there were no "checked bag" fees? And then there are, almost everywhere. I also think this is a function of all the status extensions. Hotel that try to...

    It's part of the trend that is coming to all "loyalty" programs. It's just like with the airlines..somebody jumps in the river first and everyone watches to see if they get eaten alive. If not, it's a rush to the river. Remember there was a time when there were no "checked bag" fees? And then there are, almost everywhere. I also think this is a function of all the status extensions. Hotel that try to honor what status means are most likely getting hammered with all the "free breakfast/ lounge access." I don't have the data, but my gut tells me there will be an overlap for about another year of rollovers and normal qulifiers. Once the overlap goes away, the associated costs will be reduced but don't look for an improved benefits environment. And with so many branded credit cards offering either immediate top tier status or a very fast pathway to top tier, hotels are going to push back because they are not seeing the benefits of someone getting status via a credit card, but instead are bearing the brunt of the costs.

    1. Jaded platinum Guest

      Oh, sorry you have to be surrounded by "those people" at your fancy Waldorf... although it seems to me that us road warriors who do so may be much more brand loyal than those who can afford to fly off to the Hamptons on the jet for the weekend and spend a weekend at a highbrow booji place like that....

  11. Larry Found Guest

    As a Lifetime Daimond I continue to be disappointed in the deterioration of Hilton status. This is just another nail in the coffin.

    1. DCS Diamond

      It must be truly disheartening to patronize a program for so long that you reach its most exclusive elite status and then to realize that it was all for nothing...

      FYI: Nothing in this announcement devalues or deteriorates Hilton status because Hilton has been upselling upgrades to elites, like, forever.

      My suspicion is that you and other "Diamonds" are blaming the program for your own inability to make the status work for you, like it has worked for me.

      G'day.

  12. croozn Guest

    Agree with Uldguy re: Marriott. I am a Lifetime Titanium Elite and the program is a sad joke in terms of benefits. Spend a couple of thousand nights sleeping in Marriott hotels and...get almost nothing for it.

  13. David Guest

    This definitely a conflict with current benefits for Hilton Diamond members who elect complimentary upgrades as a benefit. If the are going to do this, maybe offer a different benefit?

  14. Kellie Linder Guest

    As a 100% loyal Hilton Diamond Member it is very discouraging to see this and I can say I have felt it in the sentiment of the hotels. I have not been upgraded, been asked to pay $50 for early check in and 50% + of the time you have to go remind the FD that your F&B credit is not showing on your bill. I travel a ton and think that next year may be the year I give Marriott a try!!

    1. josh Guest

      i have Hilton Diamond and marriott titianium. In europe Marriott is very far ahead of Hilton and the other programs.
      Much more generous on upgrades (easy to get suites) and the exec lounges usually have excellent dinner while Hilton lounges offer just evening snacks.
      Hilton also devalued their points significantly a few years ago. Marriott at least gave plenty of warning and i imagine their points will still be worth much more than...

      i have Hilton Diamond and marriott titianium. In europe Marriott is very far ahead of Hilton and the other programs.
      Much more generous on upgrades (easy to get suites) and the exec lounges usually have excellent dinner while Hilton lounges offer just evening snacks.
      Hilton also devalued their points significantly a few years ago. Marriott at least gave plenty of warning and i imagine their points will still be worth much more than hilton even after deval.
      That said Hilton stilol much better than accor, ihg or radisson

  15. James Guest

    This is a terrible idea and is a slap in the face of elite members. This is another attempt to devalue you elite state similar to increasing the points needed for a free room after saving for a year. Time to take my 70 nights a year to Marriot Bonvoy.

  16. John Guest

    Honestly, it’s a pretty lousy way to treat Diamond tier members. I have been a Diamond member for over 6 years and selling me an upgrade doesn’t do a whole lot to entice me to keep my loyalty toward Hilton.

    1. Andre Guest

      Same here. I seldon ever get an upgrade, they are allways "sold out", unless I first check if a bigger room is available before check in, I than ask for the room when I'm checking-in, before they know who I am, but than proceed to tell them to just give me it as an upgrade.

  17. Alice Keeler Guest

    I literally have switched to Marriott over it. Marriott let's me check in even for 6am. Hilton app doesn't offer earlier than 3pm (although if I show up at whatever time if the room is available they give it to me). Marriott auto upgrades and I have had many amazing rooms. Hilton, I have never been upgraded once.

  18. Nevsky Member

    This is among other reasons why, as a Hilton Diamond and Marriott Titanium, I rarely stay at Hilton. Also, Hilton does not provide for a 4:00 p.m. checkout, which is often very valuable to me.

    Anyway, if a hotel disappoints, your can always give feedback (especially in the rating) on Trip Advisor and Google Maps.

    1. DCS Diamond

      Also, Hilton does not provide for a 4:00 p.m. checkout, which is often very valuable to me.

      Scary how folks regurgitate dubious travel blogosphere dogma without thinking, confident of their universal value and wisdom.

      Here's a different perspective to factor in: Hilton has never denied me a late checkout request in 12 years as a HH Diamond, while it's approved my checkout requests for as late as 6pm, multiple times.
      For those who have...

      Also, Hilton does not provide for a 4:00 p.m. checkout, which is often very valuable to me.

      Scary how folks regurgitate dubious travel blogosphere dogma without thinking, confident of their universal value and wisdom.

      Here's a different perspective to factor in: Hilton has never denied me a late checkout request in 12 years as a HH Diamond, while it's approved my checkout requests for as late as 6pm, multiple times.
      For those who have "guaranteed" 4pm checkout, requests for 6pm checkout would be easily and justly denied: "Sorry, the guarantee is only to 4pm". Just another viewpoint to think about.

      G'day!

    2. Alice Keeler Guest

      I have been denied 4pm checkout with Hilton.

    3. DCS Diamond

      So have some who purport to have "guaranteed" 4pm checkout...

    4. Nevsky Member

      Not regurgitation. I do not remember every getting a 4:00 p.m. checkout at Hilton. The latest I think I have ever gotten was 2:00 p.m. and I have had to push for that. At Marriott it is almost never an issue other than at resorts.

    5. DCS Diamond

      Well, you must be doing something wrong because I cannot reconcile my never having been denied a late checkout request or getting checkout requests approved for as late as 5pm (e.g., The Drake Chicago, twice) or 6pm (e.g., Hilton Buenos Aires, 4 times) with your claim of getting no 4pm checkout at Hilton.

      Try requesting your late checkouts at check-in...

      G'day.

  19. Chris Guest

    Had this happened to me at the DoubleTree Montreal just last weekend upon checking in I asked about an upgrade and for a fee of 50 Canadian dollars they were going to upgrade me to a sweet wall before a lot of times it was free I'm wondering if the upgrade charge on the app is now rolling over to in person check ins asking for upgrades. I am diamond.

  20. John Guest

    I really wonder if the people who complain about breakfast options at a hotel believe the hotel is a restaurant. A complimentary breakfast is provided as a benefit, it is not intended to be a full selection of your favorite breakfast foods prepared the way we would expect if paying at a restaurant for breakfast. Items are selected on the ability to cook them reasonably quickly and waste as minimal as possible. If people would...

    I really wonder if the people who complain about breakfast options at a hotel believe the hotel is a restaurant. A complimentary breakfast is provided as a benefit, it is not intended to be a full selection of your favorite breakfast foods prepared the way we would expect if paying at a restaurant for breakfast. Items are selected on the ability to cook them reasonably quickly and waste as minimal as possible. If people would think about it for a moment I am sure most would agree that while staying at a hotel they do not want to take an hour at breakfast so the meal is prepared as they order, nor would they want their bill to increase substantially because of the increased labor cost and loss of business that decision would cause by those that would stay a a focused service hotel so they could just grab a bagel and juice, and head to work. Personally I do not care who is footing the tab, I do not like to see uncontrolled and unnecessary waste. If I want a quick pancake or waffle and cup of coffee then any complimentary hotel's breakfast is fine. If I want to make a full meal of it and/or treat myself, my significant other or a colleague to a full breakfast, it simply would never enter my mind that the average hotel would be the way to go. Obviously there are luxury hotels that do this very well, I am referring to the "average" mid-priced hotel. As for the subject of this article, the option to purchase an upgrade removes the decision from the hotel and places it squarely in my hands and I happen to think it is a great idea. I could still call the hotel and ask for an upgrade prior to purchasing one, then purchase the upgrade if nothing is being offered that I need or want by the hotel.

    1. Nevsky Member

      A hotel or chain that behaved like that would lose my loyalty very quickly.

    2. Lily Guest

      What's with no housekeeping? I think they are running with the "covid clause". 9ne of the best things about staying and paying at a hotel is service. Why pay for an upgrade when the guests are now leaving bags of trash and dirty towels in the hallway. If I wanted to stay in the projects I wouldn't be paying over 200 or more a night.

  21. Eric Guest

    This happened to me last week at the Embassy suites in Washington DC. What’s worse is that I declined the upgrade at checking but the desk agent put it through and charged me anyhow. didn’t see until getting the folio in my email.

  22. DCS Diamond

    Screen captures of (top to bottom, click images to zoom)
    1. Summary of HH Diamond benefits (otherwise accessible only to those with HH accounts)
    2. Zoomed in image of the statement that "If we have a better room available it is yours...etc..."
    3. Image of a sample global automated upgrade email notification
    4. Evidence of my global automated upgrade to a studio suite...in the U.S.!

    https://bit.ly/3EQdoSC

    Information is power...

    1. reddargon Diamond

      Lol, typical. Of course, pointing out that this doesn't in any way contradict what he wrote in his post is pointless since you don't care (or don't understand how logical arguments work).

    2. DCS Diamond

      It does contradict the claim, but please humor us and point out how it does not...

  23. Eskimo Guest

    I feel like I made the right choice not reading this yesterday and let the comments blow up first. ;)

    PSA: The next level of blog entertainment, reading this while listening to M.C. Hammer (feat. DCS?)

    1. DCS Diamond

      Nah. Mine would be "Scherzo-Tarantelle, Op. 16" by Wieniawski :-)

  24. Lane Guest

    I have had this happen on point stays, and it's really tempting... however when you say yes all the fee's like resort fees get added (from my experiencing) really de-value the upgrade with the added cost vs. point stay.

  25. Frank Guest

    I have also decided to quit using my anex/hilton branded card and gaff off my diamond status as the benefits are not worth it when you also factor in the degradation of hilton services such as cleaning and breakfast etc

    1. DCS Diamond

      Don't let the door hit you on your way out!

    2. KT Guest

      What are you, like three years old or something close? What a DF.

  26. iamhere Guest

    When you talk about such upgrades what immediately comes to mind is club access. If I am not an elite member or even if I am depending on the brand, I can often pay for club access at the hotel cheaper than including it in the room (e.g. paying for a room that includes the lounge) and often times at check in they will try to upsell it for less than paying separately or including it in the room price. Sometimes they offer sometimes have to ask.

    1. Paul T Guest

      I have seen this recently and thought why are they asking me to pay for something I am in theory supposed to get and as a Diamond with Hilton I can count on one hand the amount of upgrades I have received in the last year. I am going to turn that around and when I see that notice I am going to notify the front desk when I check in that I know they...

      I have seen this recently and thought why are they asking me to pay for something I am in theory supposed to get and as a Diamond with Hilton I can count on one hand the amount of upgrades I have received in the last year. I am going to turn that around and when I see that notice I am going to notify the front desk when I check in that I know they have upgrade rooms and would like one.

      If Hilton want you to check in online, then offer the upgraded room there, the fact they don't is why I roll up to the front desk. I spend enough time and money in a hotel away from my family, they can at least live up to their end of the bargain, otherwise why have different tiers.

    2. John Guest

      One of the reasons is there are several different types of rooms. As a Diamond Member you are given a free upgrade when available, although it is not automatic and does have to be requested. Lets say you are staying at a Hilton. At the Hilton you are staying at they have King Rooms, Deluxe King Rooms, King Suites, King Executive Rooms, and King Rooms with Balcony. You have booked a King Room, the Next...

      One of the reasons is there are several different types of rooms. As a Diamond Member you are given a free upgrade when available, although it is not automatic and does have to be requested. Lets say you are staying at a Hilton. At the Hilton you are staying at they have King Rooms, Deluxe King Rooms, King Suites, King Executive Rooms, and King Rooms with Balcony. You have booked a King Room, the Next Level would be a Deluxe King room and the hotel is sold out of them. There is no promise, or statement that you will automatically be upgraded to the following tier of King room(s), in this example that would be to the King Suite. That is when you would have the option to purchase an upgrade to the King Suite or higher. You should also realize that although Hilton has over 4600 hotels, they manage less than 300 and all of the others are franchises. Franchise owners do not benefit by giving away their most expensive rooms at no additional cost. This latest effort is to bridge the gap between what Hilton wants to offer Gold and Diamond members and what Franchisees are willing to give. Time will tell if it is successful.

  27. Aviv Guest

    Further dilution of the Hilton elite status. I mean we don't even get a real plastic card anymore...

  28. ArnoldB Guest

    Reading the comments, I really pity the US. Gold Member here and received an upgrade from the base room category every single time (including 2x Executive Rooms and 1x Suite) in Europe/Middle East/Latin America/Asia (with the exception of a fully booked Garden Inn once), combined with full breakfast.

    Maybe the problem is not so much Hilton itself, but the insane "race to the bottom" market of the US, where service levels have become almost non-existant...

    Reading the comments, I really pity the US. Gold Member here and received an upgrade from the base room category every single time (including 2x Executive Rooms and 1x Suite) in Europe/Middle East/Latin America/Asia (with the exception of a fully booked Garden Inn once), combined with full breakfast.

    Maybe the problem is not so much Hilton itself, but the insane "race to the bottom" market of the US, where service levels have become almost non-existant (while still being charged with service charges and ridiculous tips) yet somehow prices still skyrocket.

  29. Yo Guest

    I've been a Hilton diamond for some time, it's only worth it overseas and never in the USA. It definitely has something to do with the customer service culture in the USA. For instance, my recent visit in the Philippines was excellent with Hilton; the bellman acknowledged my status, they're given a list on who checks in for the day, escorted me to the executive lounge and made sure my belongings was safe and secure. Different level of service and hospitality.

    1. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

      Internationally in many countries and cultures, working in a hotel (let alone an international chain hotel) is prestigious and considered a career. Think about it. The guest-facing staff all have to be fluent in a second language.

      In the US, working in a hotel isn't anywhere as prestigious and often seen just as a "job" and not a "career." How many Americans working at a hotel can speak a second language fluently? I'd never expect...

      Internationally in many countries and cultures, working in a hotel (let alone an international chain hotel) is prestigious and considered a career. Think about it. The guest-facing staff all have to be fluent in a second language.

      In the US, working in a hotel isn't anywhere as prestigious and often seen just as a "job" and not a "career." How many Americans working at a hotel can speak a second language fluently? I'd never expect to an American front desk clerk to speak French or German.

    2. SwimBikeFly Guest

      Ignorant comment. I’d argue at least 99% of the cleaning staff can speak English as a second language.

  30. Alonzo Diamond

    It is truly amazing how many "diamond members" I see in the comments bitching about how they've never gotten an upgrade lmao. Then take your loyalty and BOUNCE!! Stop giving your business to companies where you feel like the treatment isn't fair. Nobody gives a flying F about your Globalist, lifetime Titanium, Diamond member since 1998 dogshit. You know where loyalty pays off? Vegas. Gamble millions and you'll be rewarded.

    1. Anthony Diamond

      Many of these "Diamond" members are

      1) Credit card elites
      2) Road warrior elites that still get fine value after staying 75 nights at Hilton Garden Inn / Hampton Inn, and redeeming at nice Waldorf Astoria / etc on vacation, regardless of non-issues like breakfast and upgrades

  31. James Davis Guest

    Hardly ever been upgraded. Need Diamonds for years. Spend half of every year in a Hilton bed!!!!

  32. Kai Guest

    After reading this post, I checked in to Hilton Frankfurt Airport. And already see this practice. I shall pay 55 Euro to ulgrade to an exec room. Same room but on exec level. As Diamond, this is nonsense.

    Consequence: I will never do online checkin again. And wait and hope that I get upgraded at on site checkin. If they don‘t upgrade at all, then whay stay all the time at Hilton?

    Really bad news for Diamond members.

  33. PM1 Member

    I have had several top tier statuses for years at airlines and hotels. Slowly dismantling that hamster wheel and turning into a free agent. After business travel went down to almost zero, I calculated the numbers and it's cheaper for me to be a free agent. That doesn't mean giving up on miles, just on status.

  34. Al Bering Guest

    I read a lot of these comments incredulously. I've been diamond since 2009 and lifetime diamond since 2019. While the pandemic has greatly reduced my business travel, I have had zero issues getting free upgrades on check-in even at upscale hotels like London House Chicago on reward nights awards just last weekend. I do not understand how this article and most of these comments are valid. It hasn't been my experience. Sure, I've seen the...

    I read a lot of these comments incredulously. I've been diamond since 2009 and lifetime diamond since 2019. While the pandemic has greatly reduced my business travel, I have had zero issues getting free upgrades on check-in even at upscale hotels like London House Chicago on reward nights awards just last weekend. I do not understand how this article and most of these comments are valid. It hasn't been my experience. Sure, I've seen the emails to pay for upgrades but I never fall for that. I just wait it out and at check-in and we normally get upgraded over 90% of the time. I think the 10% we were at simply had no better rooms than the standard Hampton Inn or DoubleTree can provide. But keep that in mind when booking hotels Not all have rooms to upgrade to.

  35. EK_engineer Guest

    How is this newsworthy when it's been an entirely regular feature for at least the past five (5) years? Maybe it's new in the States. But outside of the U.S.A. this is truly OLD NEWS. Hilton have long been selling me upgrades on every single booking I made. Upgrade offers flood in via email, app and online member account portals since at least 2018, if not earlier....

  36. Peter Guest

    I have been Diamond for the last 6 years and started noticing the up charge to upgrade. I am a business traveller and will not be able to expense the upgrade even if it is a great deal. So this begs the question, why should I continue to be loyal? What do I get out of it?

  37. Jj Guest

    I booked a 3 night stay in The Royal Hawaiian (Mariott property).
    I am platinum elite. They asked me if i wanted an upgrate for $150 per night to their "upgraded view"

  38. Endre Guest

    What do you expect from a hotel chain that offers elite status for just having a co-branded cc?

    1. DCS Diamond

      LOL. Don't they all?

      Cahn't make this stuff up!

  39. DCS Diamond

    The Big, Fact-based Debunking - A Must Read

    Different hotel loyalty programs have different policies when it comes to upgrades. Unlike Marriott Bonvoy and World of Hyatt, Hilton Honors doesn’t promise specific types of room upgrades to elite members:

    - Hilton Honors Gold members may receive upgrades to preferred rooms, and those upgrades may be all the way to executive rooms
    - Hilton Honors Diamond members may receive upgrades to preferred rooms, and those...

    The Big, Fact-based Debunking - A Must Read

    Different hotel loyalty programs have different policies when it comes to upgrades. Unlike Marriott Bonvoy and World of Hyatt, Hilton Honors doesn’t promise specific types of room upgrades to elite members:

    - Hilton Honors Gold members may receive upgrades to preferred rooms, and those upgrades may be all the way to executive rooms
    - Hilton Honors Diamond members may receive upgrades to preferred rooms, and those upgrades may be all the way to standard suites

    So per the terms, a Hilton property doesn’t have to upgrade a Diamond member to a suite, even if it’s available (I know OMAAT’s most passionate commenter will be along shortly to disagree, but, um, he’s wrong, so…).

    Here’s he goes again, repeating the very same old, discredited and willfully biased re-interpretation of T&Cs on upgrades, tailored to make his favored program(s)’ garden variety benefits seem like the very essence of nirvana.

    Please update that recycled canard (duck), which I’ve shot down countless times, factoring in the following verified facts and developments:

    While, by simple logic, no program can possibly “guarantee” suite upgrades when every type of upgrade (a) depends on availability and (b) is at the sole discretion of each property, Hilton Honors recently introduced a highly innovative and exciting room upgrade scheme, including to suites (demonstrated in this very space), which automates room upgrades globally, to potentially and for the first time ever take individual properties out of the equation. The new upgrades are prioritized by elite status and administered just like airline cabin upgrades (Golds < Diamonds < Lifetime Diamonds), after the program made sure to clearly differentiate the three elite levels.

    Do not take my word for it. Here's how a Hilton loyalty executive described the new upgrades scheme:

    “With space-available upgrades being one of our program’s most important perks, we launched this benefit enhancement to celebrate our Gold and Diamond members. Hilton Honors elite members are eligible to receive a complimentary upgrade based on a mix of criteria, including their membership status, room inventory at the hotel and length of stay, to name a few. These factors help us award upgrades to make elite members’ stays more meaningful. Gold, Diamond and Lifetime Diamond members are eligible to receive a guaranteed room upgrade 72 hours prior to their arrival based on hotel availability, and member status/tier is the first criteria considered.

    Hotels cannot opt out of providing this benefit, which is currently available at the Hilton brands where space-available complimentary upgrades are currently offered as a Hilton Honors member benefit.”

    Did you see the “G” word (guaranteed) in there — it’s the first time to my knowledge that any program has ever used it explicitly — and that hotels cannot opt out of providing [the new global automated upgrades] benefit?

    In addition, this is how Hilton Honors summarizes its space-available room upgrades benefit for Diamonds (the following is from each program’s website):

    If we have a better room available, it’s yours – up to a 1-bedroom suite.

    BOOM !

    That's the sound a 'tactical' nuke going off and obliterating the utterly bogus claim about Hilton Honors upgrades policy that this site and others have been recycling for so many years that they fell for their own propaganda (the paradox of propaganda is that it ends up brainwashing those who set out to brainwash others!)

    Here’s how Marriott BONVoY summarizes what it refers to as Enhanced Room Upgrade (Based on availability):

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

    And here’s how World of Hyatt defines what it calls "preferred room upgrades based on availability at check-in at participating locations":

    Preferred rooms are determined by each hotel or resort and include rooms on higher floors, corner rooms, rooms with more appealing views, or Standard Suites [for globalists only]. Preferred rooms are rooms within the same room type booked by the member; they are not a “price point” upgrade in room type or category.

    Now, what precisely is this site’s basis for continuing to recycle the bogus claim that “Unlike Marriott Bonvoy and World of Hyatt, Hilton Honors doesn’t promise specific types of room upgrades to elite members” or that "per the terms, a Hilton property doesn’t have to upgrade a Diamond member to a suite, even if it’s available (I know OMAAT’s most passionate commenter will be along shortly to disagree, but, um, he’s wrong, so…)" when, until the introduction of its highly innovative global automated upgrades that dwarf all others, Hilton’s policy has always been virtually identical to those of other programs?(The question is rhetorical).

    There should no longer be any doubt about who is "wrong" on this, the recycled propaganda notwithstanding.

    G'day.

    1. Sel, D. Guest

      This is a dated policy as far as I know. Show me the "If we have a better room available, it’s yours – up to a 1-bedroom suite" with a link. The current language reads:

      "Upgrades for Diamond Hilton Honors Members may include upgrades up to “junior”, “standard” or “one-bedroom” suites...." It says more after that, but no use of the "g" word. Looks like they clawed back what was outlined in their press release...

      This is a dated policy as far as I know. Show me the "If we have a better room available, it’s yours – up to a 1-bedroom suite" with a link. The current language reads:

      "Upgrades for Diamond Hilton Honors Members may include upgrades up to “junior”, “standard” or “one-bedroom” suites...." It says more after that, but no use of the "g" word. Looks like they clawed back what was outlined in their press release for the global automated upgrades.

      Link it or you're wrong.

    2. platy Guest

      @ Sel, D.

      Refer to Frequent Miler website (update 11/9/21) in the article:

      "(Update From Hilton) Here’s Hilton’s Auto-Upgrade Policy Order & Eligible Brands"

      TPG tested the system and reported the outcome in article (11/16/21):

      "We tested Hilton confirmed upgrades — here's what you need to know"

      Customers' real world experiences will undoubtedly vary (quite simply individuals won't know where they sit in the upgrade priority line at -72 hours) - the members' T&Cs appear...

      @ Sel, D.

      Refer to Frequent Miler website (update 11/9/21) in the article:

      "(Update From Hilton) Here’s Hilton’s Auto-Upgrade Policy Order & Eligible Brands"

      TPG tested the system and reported the outcome in article (11/16/21):

      "We tested Hilton confirmed upgrades — here's what you need to know"

      Customers' real world experiences will undoubtedly vary (quite simply individuals won't know where they sit in the upgrade priority line at -72 hours) - the members' T&Cs appear to be worded to describe the real world experience: it's not a policy document.

      IME HH has been emailing offers (and presenting them aside the online reservation) to pay for an upgrade having made a paid reservation for some time - that's nothing new - offering paid upgrades again at check in may simply be an extension of such.

      Seems that the customer has three opportunities to upgrade:

      - After booking (paid)
      - At 72 hours (subject to availability and ranking in upgrade hierarchy, assuming a participating property by brand and room types) (automatic and complimentary)
      - At check in (paid)

      Also note that it was also reported that the roll out of the policy would be gradual (not all hotels deploying such immediately), so I'm not clear what you are expecting to read in the T&Cs.

    3. DCS Diamond

      This is a dated policy as far as I know. Show me the "If we have a better room available, it’s yours – up to a 1-bedroom suite" with a link.

      Well, you know wrong. The policy summary is not dated. Au contraire!

      If you are lucky enough to be a HH Diamond, just log into your account online,/b>, look under your status tracker tab and you'll find the "Diamond Benefits" link. Click...

      This is a dated policy as far as I know. Show me the "If we have a better room available, it’s yours – up to a 1-bedroom suite" with a link.

      Well, you know wrong. The policy summary is not dated. Au contraire!

      If you are lucky enough to be a HH Diamond, just log into your account online,/b>, look under your status tracker tab and you'll find the "Diamond Benefits" link. Click it and you will see the summary of Diamond benefits that has that unequivocal promise.

      Alternatively, the forum host is an "Aspire" Diamond. He has a HH Diamond and can confirm that statement of Diamond upgrade benefit. I like such summaries because they state the benefits without all the fluff that self-anointed "travel gurus" have used to willfully (mis)interpret policies so that they would seem to support their propaganda, like the one I just debunked above. When Marriott tells its Plats and up, without flourish, "We’ll do our best to upgrade your room...", that is precisely how they feel about providing that benefit!

      Anyway, for those who cannot access the link that appears to be accessible only through HH accounts, I have done a screen capture of it and posted it at the link below, where you will find (top to bottom, click to the zoom images)
      1. Summary of HH Diamond benefits
      2. Zoomed in image of the challenged statement that "If we have a better room available..."
      3. Image of a sample global automated upgrade email notification
      4. Evidence of my global automated upgrade to a studio suite...in the U.S.!

      https://bit.ly/3EQdoSC

      Any additional questions?

    4. mvor Guest

      Hilton "guarantee" is about some upgrade, not upgrade to suites. Like, you know, same room on higher floor also counts as an upgrade. What I like to compare is how this policy works in practice. In the last few years in my 50+ stays in Hilton I was given upgrade to suites maybe 2 or 3 times, with Marriott (100+ stays) it's half the time, and I can't remember the time I haven't been given...

      Hilton "guarantee" is about some upgrade, not upgrade to suites. Like, you know, same room on higher floor also counts as an upgrade. What I like to compare is how this policy works in practice. In the last few years in my 50+ stays in Hilton I was given upgrade to suites maybe 2 or 3 times, with Marriott (100+ stays) it's half the time, and I can't remember the time I haven't been given some upgrade even if not into suite. On that front, no matter what policy says, I find Marriott much much better than Hilton. Admittedly, my travel is 90% outside of North America.

    5. DCS Diamond

      YMMV because my experience is the exact opposite: as a HH Diamond I have an almost a perfect record of suite upgrades overseas, spotty in the us and 80+% overall.

      No program, not Hilton, Not Hyatt, not Marriott, can possibly guarantee suite upgrades, though they may guarantee upgrades to "better" rooms. It is only self-anointed "travel gurus" who made claims about their preferred programs "guaranteeing" suite upgrades while Hilton did not (like in this post)...

      YMMV because my experience is the exact opposite: as a HH Diamond I have an almost a perfect record of suite upgrades overseas, spotty in the us and 80+% overall.

      No program, not Hilton, Not Hyatt, not Marriott, can possibly guarantee suite upgrades, though they may guarantee upgrades to "better" rooms. It is only self-anointed "travel gurus" who made claims about their preferred programs "guaranteeing" suite upgrades while Hilton did not (like in this post) -- a claim that is demonstrably bogus on "first principles" because nothing that depends on availability can possibly be guaranteed...

    6. UA-NYC Guest

      Hey Chump - I am already upgraded to suites at the London HR Churchill and Thompson Nashville in Q1 next year due to my TSUs. Is that not "guaranteed"?

      The never-ending dogmatic attitude is pathetic.

    7. James Guest

      You need to be far more concise and less hot-headed to have any chance of people reading your message and potentially agreeing with your point of view.

      This is crazy cat-lady ranting territory.

    8. DCS Diamond

      @James - Please spare me the psychobabble. I have heard it all. This is hardly my first day commenting in this space. Address the content my comments or do me a favor and do not address me because I've already heard about how more "people will read my comments and agree with me if simply did this or that", as if that were why I post here. If I wanted to be popular, the easiest...

      @James - Please spare me the psychobabble. I have heard it all. This is hardly my first day commenting in this space. Address the content my comments or do me a favor and do not address me because I've already heard about how more "people will read my comments and agree with me if simply did this or that", as if that were why I post here. If I wanted to be popular, the easiest thing would be drink the kool-aid and sing "amen" like all the other sycophants.

      You might actually learn something if you went in that "crazy cat-lady ranting territory." Try it.

  40. Lee Guest

    There was a time when Hilton literature spoke of "the best room in the house, it's yours."

    None of this is a surprise with any of these programs. Wise up.

  41. Anonymous Guest

    I've been a diamond since October of last year, and I've *always* been offered a paid upgrade. So this is nothing new, really.

  42. CXTraveller Member

    Based on my experience as a Diamond member, staying at Hilton oversea has better chance of upgrade than in the USA. Note to Hilton: because of their stupid breakfast credit, I will only stay in Hampton Inn, Homewood Suites, or similar so that I have free breakfast in the US so that I don't have to deal with those stupid credits. I can't be the only one doing this...imagine the potential revenue lost for Hilton....just saying!

    1. crosscourt Guest

      Agree with you. The hilton brand in the USA has become pathetic, and you really see the difference when you are more used to their properties outside the USA.

    2. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

      It may also have something to do with the fact that Hilton properties internationally are more likely managed by Hilton than franchisees.

    3. Jason May Guest

      This whole thing reeks of Hilton’s in the USA charging for upgrades. International properties wouldn’t try this.

    4. Azamaraal Diamond

      Totally correct - Hilton USA is a joke. Most of the time you are better off with a Holiday Inn Express as many of them even have happy hours.

      Internationally it is a different story and I hope this upsell nonsense does not become common. I have been an earned Diamond since 2000 and have been qualified for DFL (only to be denied by Hiltons total lack of accounting prowess) for years. It will come...

      Totally correct - Hilton USA is a joke. Most of the time you are better off with a Holiday Inn Express as many of them even have happy hours.

      Internationally it is a different story and I hope this upsell nonsense does not become common. I have been an earned Diamond since 2000 and have been qualified for DFL (only to be denied by Hiltons total lack of accounting prowess) for years. It will come but probably the day that no more complimentary upgrades becomes the norm.

      Don't accept an upsell if you are a Diamond. Deny it and inform the hotel that they have just blown your loyalty. Then report them to Hilton customer service and also to OMAT etc.

    5. LiveHawaii Guest

      Personally, free breakfast isn't a determining factor when choosing a hotel.

    6. Peter Guest

      Agree totally. Hilton brands internationally is what one should expect of an upscale hotel. Upgrades for elite members, the breakfast is always a major spread. In the US Hilton feels like the motel 6 when compared to the international properties. Breakfast is an utter joke using credits or otherwise.

  43. AC Guest

    No big deal. I’m Diamond and rarely get a true upgrade at domestic Hilton properties (I don’t consider something like a higher floor or corner room to be an upgrade). If I can lock one in for a reasonable price I’m OK with that. Not like I really lost anything

  44. Leann Guest

    I have Diamond for Life status and have NEVER been offered a free upgrade. I get a "discounted " upgrade rate, but the entire company has gone down hill since the 'Rony'. I'd rather get evening meals an Homewoods Suites again and not limited to only 2 free complimenary beverages/night at Embassy. Those are the things that mean more to me than an upgrade

  45. Michael Prewitt Guest

    Lifetime Diamond.

    I've been told that the front desk only sees my status as Diamond and not the Lifetime part, so don't ever expect better service based on loyalty. I have rarely received upgrades, and when I do, it's usually worthless in comparison.

    I am also disgusted with the new Food & Beverage credit in lieu of a free breakfast. I'd much rather them just charge me a bit more for the room and include breakfast, and not take away from my travel per diem.

    1. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

      Why keep staying? Anyone can get diamond status with the credit card. All the legit diamonds should have left en masse two years ago when Hilton eliminated the breakfast benefit in North America.

  46. DCS Diamond

    Reality check.

    Big yawn. Hilton has always offered members, including top elites that would still be upgraded at check-in, the opportunity to purchase room upgrades up to 1-bedroom suites at a huge discount after they made a booking. Marriott apparently does the same. Could the novelty here simply be that the offer is being extended to all-suites properties? If so, then big f'ing deal!

    Here's a concrete example:

    Dear DCS,

    Your reservation for...

    Reality check.

    Big yawn. Hilton has always offered members, including top elites that would still be upgraded at check-in, the opportunity to purchase room upgrades up to 1-bedroom suites at a huge discount after they made a booking. Marriott apparently does the same. Could the novelty here simply be that the offer is being extended to all-suites properties? If so, then big f'ing deal!

    Here's a concrete example:

    Dear DCS,

    Your reservation for November xx, 2022 at Hilton Playa Del Carmen is already confirmed (Confirmation: xxxxxxxxx).

    Originally Booked Room
    Junior Suite Ocean View - 1 King Bed

    As a special offer, you can use the Hilton Playa Del Carmen eStandby Upgrade® Program to potentially upgrade this reservation for as little as $35 extra.

    As you can see, there is even a name for it: eStandby Upgrade® Program, which has been around for as long as I can remember and is why I asked above what was the novelty in this post.

    What elite members who know how to play the game do is to ignore the offer to pay for an upgrade, as I did last year when I stayed at this same all-inclusive/all-suites property where I even scored an upgrade at check-in! Moreover, the eStandby Upgrade® offer can be used to one's advantage if one requests and is denied a suite upgrade at check-in. Just ask politely: if no suites are available for upgrades, then why I am being offered an eStandby Upgrade® ?!

    There is no status "devaluation" here. Any questions?

    G'day.

    1. Sel, D. Guest

      He says at check-in, which is much different than the estandby many hotels use.

      Hilton PDC only upgrades one room category - in your case to a swim-up, which has a novelty for some but puts you on the ground floor in the far north rooms with no ocean view. The ocean view rooms barely even have an ocean view except for the balcony.

      Also, zero chance you end up in a one-bedroom suite...

      He says at check-in, which is much different than the estandby many hotels use.

      Hilton PDC only upgrades one room category - in your case to a swim-up, which has a novelty for some but puts you on the ground floor in the far north rooms with no ocean view. The ocean view rooms barely even have an ocean view except for the balcony.

      Also, zero chance you end up in a one-bedroom suite or one of the 8(?) presidentials. You’d have a chance if this was a Hyatt or Marriott.

      Either way, please let us know if this hotel is continuing its downfall or is improving. Curious if the pool is still an awful unsightly cabana money grab.

    2. DCS Diamond

      What is your point exactly, if there is even a point?

      He says at check-in, which is much different than the estandby many hotels use.

      Hilton's eStandby Upgrade® Program is not just at check-in. It offers upgrades as soon as one completes a booking, which include all rooms higher the one booked.

      Also, zero chance you end up in a one-bedroom suite or one of the 8(?) presidentials. You’d have a chance...

      What is your point exactly, if there is even a point?

      He says at check-in, which is much different than the estandby many hotels use.

      Hilton's eStandby Upgrade® Program is not just at check-in. It offers upgrades as soon as one completes a booking, which include all rooms higher the one booked.

      Also, zero chance you end up in a one-bedroom suite or one of the 8(?) presidentials. You’d have a chance if this was a Hyatt or Marriott.

      Bullshit. No program offers complimentary upgrades to premium or "specialty" suites, like presidential suites. I have gotten lucky and gotten upgraded to a presidential suite on a couple of occasions (once at Embassy Suites Montreal of all places), but that is rare. Executive suites have been more common, but those are not part of the any program's T&C, so please do not make claims that are demonstrably bogus.

      My Ocean suite at PDC has full frontal view of the ocean rather than partial.

      I was at PDC last year and loved everything about it, which means that your venturing into what is "YMMV territory" with bogus claims is overall quite silly.

      goodbye

    3. Sel, D. Guest

      Maybe it had a full ocean view last time. You're current reservation is partial ocean view - very partial.

    4. DCS Diamond

      @Sel, D - I paid quite a bit more for it. I ought to know. Take your nonsensical argument elsewhere.

    5. DCS Diamond

      BTW -- If I have only partial ocean view, well, you'd better believe that I will be "upgraded" to a suite that does have a full frontal ocean view. I will send pics!

    6. Stuart Guest

      Simply not true. In fact I am in Vienna at the Park Hyatt where as a frequent guest here and both Lifetime and Regular Globalist I received the Diplomat Suite (and often in the past the Ambassador suite) without any issues. As a matter of fact, in my years of staying here I have never not been upgraded to a suite, including the specialty Diplomat most frequently. This from all bookings off the smallest room...

      Simply not true. In fact I am in Vienna at the Park Hyatt where as a frequent guest here and both Lifetime and Regular Globalist I received the Diplomat Suite (and often in the past the Ambassador suite) without any issues. As a matter of fact, in my years of staying here I have never not been upgraded to a suite, including the specialty Diplomat most frequently. This from all bookings off the smallest room categories. Not just here, most everywhere, Hyatt consistently delivers and recognizes their Globalists at an unprecedented level. Even at Alila Ventana, the most aspirational U.S. property, I was given last month their largest suite off a booking in the smallest room. I have never once, ever, in years, received anything at Hilton properties other than a, "We upgraded your view and that's all we are required." Even though plenty of suites were available for booking and the stay was one night.

    7. DCS Diamond

      Simply not true. In fact I am in Vienna at the Park Hyatt where as a frequent guest here and both Lifetime and Regular Globalist I received the Diplomat Suite (and often in the past the Ambassador suite) without any issues.

      LOL.

      @Stuart - Puffing and huffing and exaggerating won't change the T&C. Globalists will get standard suites, when available. Period. If you got upgraded to "specialty" or premium suites, it was at the...

      Simply not true. In fact I am in Vienna at the Park Hyatt where as a frequent guest here and both Lifetime and Regular Globalist I received the Diplomat Suite (and often in the past the Ambassador suite) without any issues.

      LOL.

      @Stuart - Puffing and huffing and exaggerating won't change the T&C. Globalists will get standard suites, when available. Period. If you got upgraded to "specialty" or premium suites, it was at the hotel's discretion and not because it is a Globalist benefit. Like I said, I have been upgraded to presidential suites a couple of times and a bunch of times (including a couple of months ago at Hilton Newark Airport) to executive suites as a HH Diamond. I cannot claim based on that experience that presidential suites or executive suites are a HH Diamond benefit!

      Get real.

  47. CMorgan Guest

    Well I have had good success in getting upgraded both at Hilton and Bonvoy Properties but then again I mainly travel to Asia (Manila) where status still means something. I guess all the elite members need to just say no to the paid upgrades. If no one pays then the chance of a comp upgrade is better. Lol.

    1. Jason May Guest

      Yes Manila and Clark give huge upgrades to diamonds. Conrad moa, Hilton at terminal 2 and the sun valley clark property.amazing suite upgrades always!

  48. Nick Thomas Guest

    Why would anyone be loyal to Hilton and earn diamond status through nights in the hotel bed when Hilton gives status to anyone who carries its credit card?

    1. DCS Diamond

      Anyone who still earns Diamond status through "nights in the hotel bed" and does not also earn the status through the incredible AMEX HH Aspire card is not playing the game with a "full deck".

      Translation: With very few exceptions, the folks that earn the HH Diamond through "nights in the hotel bed" also earn it through the Aspire card, with one Big Difference: these are the only folks who also earn enough points with...

      Anyone who still earns Diamond status through "nights in the hotel bed" and does not also earn the status through the incredible AMEX HH Aspire card is not playing the game with a "full deck".

      Translation: With very few exceptions, the folks that earn the HH Diamond through "nights in the hotel bed" also earn it through the Aspire card, with one Big Difference: these are the only folks who also earn enough points with the program to make the most of their Diamond status. Think about that and see the genius in Hilton's philosophy that "if you give them status they'll come." I, for one, do not feel "threatened" by folks who get status through CCs but do not actively patronize the program because they simply aren't competitive (one can only buy at most 320K HH points a year; just enough for only a couple of nights at WA Maldives, e.g.). 'Nuff said.

  49. Anthony Biden Guest

    As a Hilton Diamond member for 12 years straight, I've stayed countless times where there are unsold deluxe, executive, and suites still for available to book the day I've checked in. Yet seldom have I obtained upgraded room. Most hotels don't even acknowledge there best customers, much less give upgrades. So whether you want to call it Diamond, Gold, or Tin, none of these mean anything to most hotels. Just stay where you want, and...

    As a Hilton Diamond member for 12 years straight, I've stayed countless times where there are unsold deluxe, executive, and suites still for available to book the day I've checked in. Yet seldom have I obtained upgraded room. Most hotels don't even acknowledge there best customers, much less give upgrades. So whether you want to call it Diamond, Gold, or Tin, none of these mean anything to most hotels. Just stay where you want, and pay what you want, elite cards aren't worth the plastic there printed on.

    1. DCS Diamond

      As a Hilton Diamond member for 12 years straight, I've stayed countless times where there are unsold deluxe, executive, and suites still for available to book the day I've checked in.

      I always find it quite remarkable that anyone would patronize for 12 years a program that offered them so little during that time.
      FYI - in 12 years as HH Diamond, and recently a Lifetime Diamond, I cleared better that 80% of...

      As a Hilton Diamond member for 12 years straight, I've stayed countless times where there are unsold deluxe, executive, and suites still for available to book the day I've checked in.

      I always find it quite remarkable that anyone would patronize for 12 years a program that offered them so little during that time.
      FYI - in 12 years as HH Diamond, and recently a Lifetime Diamond, I cleared better that 80% of all complimentary suite upgrades since these became a Diamonds perk in 2012. I suspect that my success rate will be nearly perfect now that I am breathing the rarefied up above mere Diamonds as a Lifetime Diamond.
      What gives? Are you even a HH Diamond. If you are, then please take a long look in the mirror and you will see the impediments to your making the most of your status ;-)

    2. Xavier Guest

      There's no need to hostile towards others and question people's elite status. Just because you've had better experience with upgrades does not invalidate another person's opinion on the loyalty program.

    3. DCS Diamond

      Think of it as forcing such folks into being "real", by which I simply mean that they are not doing something right and ought to try a different strategy rather than doing the same thing for 12 years and then coming here to bitch about it.

      I also suspect such claims as coming from #fake Diamonds...

    4. AC Guest

      I love how people constantly say there are unsold suites so they should be upgraded to one. First of all if it is a 1 night stay and you check in late (like 8-9 PM) I agree they should give you the suite. However if multi night there is a reasonable expectation it could be sold. Also if you check in early someone could book it later (or pay for an upgrade) so why give...

      I love how people constantly say there are unsold suites so they should be upgraded to one. First of all if it is a 1 night stay and you check in late (like 8-9 PM) I agree they should give you the suite. However if multi night there is a reasonable expectation it could be sold. Also if you check in early someone could book it later (or pay for an upgrade) so why give it away?

      Basically you don’t understand business. No business should give away something they could otherwise sell.

  50. Todd Guest

    All I ask for is a clean room and non smoking. I can care less about upgrades. I get what I reserved. Even as a diamond I don’t care, Just like comp upgrades on a plane. If I wanted it I should have bought it

  51. The Joe Guest

    "I know OMAAT’s most passionate commenter will be along shortly to disagree, but, um, he’s wrong, so"

    I just fell in love with this blog all over again.
    Credit where credit is due, he's not dumb, and he's not always wrong, but when it comes to Hilton, you'd think he were sleeping with them, not at them.

    1. DCS Diamond

      LOL. I will take the clearly 'oblique' compliment!

      It seems like "he" sleeps with them instead of at them because he probably knows more about the program than most folks at Hilton Honors -- definitely more than every single self-anointed "travel guru" out there who thinks that s/he is qualified to pontificate about the program ;-)

    2. Xavier Guest

      I mean you self anointed yourself as the hilton guru, doesn't make you any less of a hypocrite in your statement right there.

    3. DCS Diamond

      Unless you can prove the statement about how much I know about the program wrong...

    4. platy Guest

      @ Xavier

      Arguably, the smart loyalty players would welcome factually based input rather than bicker like a stupid kids based upon their perceptions of hypocrisy in others.

      The original article itself is unnecessary derogatory about an individual (c'mon, Ben, surely you're better than that - just don't go there?!).

      Then some other twat called Joe (the "the" version thereof) decides to take that cue to engage in a some insolent cyber bullying.

      And...

      @ Xavier

      Arguably, the smart loyalty players would welcome factually based input rather than bicker like a stupid kids based upon their perceptions of hypocrisy in others.

      The original article itself is unnecessary derogatory about an individual (c'mon, Ben, surely you're better than that - just don't go there?!).

      Then some other twat called Joe (the "the" version thereof) decides to take that cue to engage in a some insolent cyber bullying.

      And what are you here for, Xavier? The correct information to help your frequent traveller adventures or for your petty amusement?

      Certain travel bloggers at certain times publish easily disprovable information, which has achieved sacred cow status in travel blog-sphere.

      Can you cope with such errant and erroneous orthodoxy being challenged?

    5. The Joe Guest

      Damn, I skipped past the comments by DCS, but didn't realize he had a twin named Platy.

      First, calling me a twat is a lot more in the realm of cyber bullying than me pointing out that DCS infatuation with Hilton is akin to sleeping with them. So in that regard, you can get ...lost... (to put it mildly).

      In terms of correct information...

      I know who Lucky is via years upon years of reading...

      Damn, I skipped past the comments by DCS, but didn't realize he had a twin named Platy.

      First, calling me a twat is a lot more in the realm of cyber bullying than me pointing out that DCS infatuation with Hilton is akin to sleeping with them. So in that regard, you can get ...lost... (to put it mildly).

      In terms of correct information...

      I know who Lucky is via years upon years of reading his content.

      DCS could be an advanced bot for all I know, or employed by Hilton, or related to someone employed by Hilton, or dating someone employed by Hilton.
      And even being willing to trust his outrageous claims about his upgrade rates, I don't for a minute trust that his experience represents that of the average Hilton loyalist/Diamond member.

      That says a lot, considering Ben is a semi-famous travel blogger who presumably would be getting special treatment, and I trust that his experiences at Hyatt reflect that of an average Globalist a LOT more.

      Moreover, in other travel blogs, in reddit forums, in Facebook groups, basically wherever you go Hyatt is almost universally better respected than Hilton or Marriott (despite the smaller footprint). And yet, this acronym insists time and time again that he's simply smarter than everyone else.

      But if the recent era has taught of anything, some people do love a good narcissist.

      Happy trails!

    6. DCS Diamond

      Okay, you had your fun already and should have quick while ahead (Mikey, is that you?).

      That says a lot, considering Ben is a semi-famous travel blogger who presumably would be getting special treatment, and I trust that his experiences at Hyatt reflect that of an average Globalist a LOT more.

      Moreover, in other travel blogs, in reddit forums, in Facebook groups, basically wherever you go Hyatt is almost universally better respected than Hilton or...

      Okay, you had your fun already and should have quick while ahead (Mikey, is that you?).

      That says a lot, considering Ben is a semi-famous travel blogger who presumably would be getting special treatment, and I trust that his experiences at Hyatt reflect that of an average Globalist a LOT more.

      Moreover, in other travel blogs, in reddit forums, in Facebook groups, basically wherever you go Hyatt is almost universally better respected than Hilton or Marriott (despite the smaller footprint). And yet, this acronym insists time and time again that he's simply smarter than everyone else.

      I may be whatever you think I am, but you are a sycophant and kool-aid drinker. What Travel blogs, reddit, Facebook and other venues do is regurgitate demonstrably bogus information that has proliferated in the travel blogosphere echo chamber for years without being challenged. I bet you believe that a Hyatt point is worth more than all other hotel points currencies or that there are programs that "guarantee" upgrades, etc, etc, etc, all demonstrably bogus claims. Because I have known for years that those claims were totally bogus when everyone else swore by them and turned them into dogma, you better believe that "this acronym is smarter than everyone else. If you do not believe it, we'll be waiting with bated breath to be edified.

      Those who have been here long enough know what I do for living -- unless you are yet another reincarnation of Mikey the dimwit. Stick around and you too will find out. "Employed by Hilton, or related to someone employed by Hilton, or dating someone employed by Hilton" ain't my beat.

      Keep on drinking the kool-aid.

    7. platy Guest

      @ The Joe

      @ DCS was maligned from the get-go, from within the article itself. You (and others) just can't help yourselves, piling in like a baying mob, and that makes you an utter twat (actually something worse) like certain other posters.

      @ DCS earns my respect as the ONLY person herein who offers any insights into the comparative merits of hotel loyalty programs based on a thorough mathematical analysis.

      Now there is much...

      @ The Joe

      @ DCS was maligned from the get-go, from within the article itself. You (and others) just can't help yourselves, piling in like a baying mob, and that makes you an utter twat (actually something worse) like certain other posters.

      @ DCS earns my respect as the ONLY person herein who offers any insights into the comparative merits of hotel loyalty programs based on a thorough mathematical analysis.

      Now there is much to admire about Lucky. From a personal perspective, I also appreciate that he is presenting content from his own lived experience (some travel blogs seem to be entirely generated by second hand news stories). He offers perhaps my favourite travel blog.

      But he clearly hasn't done the math or analysis like @ DCS. You won't find that generated by Lucky, or any other travel blogger, or Reddit or Facebook, of FT, wherever you want to go.

      Following the flock of sheep is easy - it requires no analysis, originality or individual thought - believe it - Hyatt good, Hilton bad, whatever...keep chewing the cud, buddy...I doubt we'll see you in Peacock Alley anytime soon...;)

    8. The Joe Guest

      "Hyatt good, Hilton bad"
      ... that's cute, except that was never my position.

      If you have respect for DCS (at least when it comes to the Hilton V Hyatt discussion, I've certainly aligned with and appreciated him in other regards), that makes you the utter twat.

      Mathematical analysis from a lone individual doesn't serve much purpose in comparing loyalty programs. There are too many other factors at play. The "flock" knows this, which might...

      "Hyatt good, Hilton bad"
      ... that's cute, except that was never my position.

      If you have respect for DCS (at least when it comes to the Hilton V Hyatt discussion, I've certainly aligned with and appreciated him in other regards), that makes you the utter twat.

      Mathematical analysis from a lone individual doesn't serve much purpose in comparing loyalty programs. There are too many other factors at play. The "flock" knows this, which might be WHY you won't find DCS like content on Reddit, FB, etc. Nobody else feels like wasting their time.

      But I can understand how you would be more interested in the numbers than the actual quality of the overall chain and program. Cold people like cold data.

      DCS--- again, at least in terms of his internet persona and when it comes to the Hilton discussion... is a bit of a prick. (I mean, me too, but I'm not the center of attention here) I feel no reservations about Lucky jabbing at him, and others of us piling on (albeit I do think it'd behoove Ben to just ban him and spare us all... heck, it'd probably even help DCS be more productive with his time).

  52. Mike Guest

    I'm a Diamond Member for a long time in years have never been offered a upgrade.Ask a couple of times but was denied as they said the upgrade was not available..I did go online and they had plenty of suites for a charge. I feel it's a ploy of Hilton to say they offer upgrades but if 1% of the people maybe if lucky receive a upgrade..

  53. Wolfie52 Guest

    As a Diamond I seen offers to upgrade at specific hotels in my app (request upgrade button) for a long time.

    I rarely sign up for them, except I actually put in an offer on an upgrade for a Thanksgiving weekend stay. The price is way below the current rate for the suite.

    So to me it seems like this has been happening for a long time. Why is it just now being "reported"? The only new item is potential upgrades at HGI and Hampton.

  54. Joe Guest

    Given this, besides a guest who frequents an individual hotel often, why would any Hilton Hotel offer any elite an upgrade at any time?

    The hotel would be better off offering zero free upgrades and doing $20 upgrades... even $10 for anyone that wants it. Raise and lower it based to demand.

    As a Diamond this is disappointing, but not wholly unexpected. More and more free agency coming for me.

  55. NK3 Member

    Since Delta started their aggressive first class monetization a few years ago (which is not too different from this), my upgrade success as a Diamond Medallion has dropped significantly. With Hilton doing this, I am guessing it will have little to no effect, since my baseline upgrade success as a "Diamond" elite is abysmal.

  56. Mary Guest

    Hilton diamond and I haven't received an upgrade for about 4 years and the breakfast reimbursement is such a joke I don't even bother.

  57. brteacher Guest

    Well, at least we still get free breakfast...

    1. LK Guest

      actually know, the breakfast credit doesn't usually cover breakfast

    2. crosscourt Guest

      the $10 credit gets you a coffee and orange juice and hilton try to spin it as choice because the credit can be used for an evening drink. what a load of codswallop.

  58. J Evans Guest

    Absolute BS. Guess we all need to rethink loyalty.

    1. crosscourt Guest

      starting to do that and going to LHW, what a difference. Hilton in the USA is like Accor elsewhere.

  59. uldguy Diamond

    This year I decided to become a free agent with my hotel stays. I’m a Hyatt globalist but won’t re-qualify and besides I can count one one hand the number of times I’ve received any upgrade from them this year. I’m lifetime titanium elite with Marriott but that means absolutely nothing to them so I don’t favor them either. Now I just book the hotel and room most convenient for me.

  60. Sel, D. Guest

    I guess the upgrade certificate pilot didn't pan out. I've always liked the idea of bidding on suites. Why not give elites suite upgrade monopoly dollars, and they can bid or pay outright against non-elite's actual dollars. Seems like a win-win to me. Allows elites to aim for the upgrades that are the most important to them. Who cares about a Wednesday night upgrade at the HGI in Tulsa, but when you're at the Waldorf in Cabo on the other hand...

    1. Anthony Diamond

      Or you can simply pay for the suite

  61. Nick Thomas Guest

    So, basically, the only hotel chain trying to get better and improve its value to frequent guests is IHG. Wow. I never thought I'd see the day when only IHG is striving to get better. Hyatt, meanwhile, is stagnant.

    1. Krams Guest

      I'm IHG Diamond and upgrades are very weak. Just next-category upgrade, and hotels which used to have 4 categories now have 14 so these have been watered down.

      I'm also a Hyatt Globalist and upgrades are much more generous there...

  62. Volleyball New Member

    Never been upgraded to anything good, only once from a reg room to one with a view. However, I've had great success with checking suite inventory just prior to checking in and asking for it at checkin.

    This really kills lifetime diamond, I just made diamond next year (this will be my 4th diamond year) and now I'm considering switching to the Hyatt; credit cards gives me HH gold anyway.

  63. Philip Obrist Obrist Guest

    I’m a lifetime Diamond, and seldom receive upgrades. Disappointing

  64. Anthony Diamond

    I've started to adapt the policy of booking the minimum category hotel room I will be happy with. Upgrade from there is gravy. No need to worry about any of this.

  65. Alonzo Diamond

    Lol, nobody is entitled to any upgrade. Elite member or not. If you want a guaranteed upgraded room, pay for it. If not, take a chance at check in. I was recently upgraded at a Hilton at check in just by being nice. Corner room with clawfoot tub. Nice gesture and much appreciated. Status doesn't guarantee you anything. Be prepared to pay for what you want. Or don't.

    1. Reyyan Member

      Well, I think when you spend so many nights and so much money at Hiltons to get Diamond status, it should entitle you to an upgrade with no issues. I earn Diamond status the hard way; No credit cards available in my country that give Diamond status and no company that pays for my trips. I am actually staying 60+ nights every year at Hilton because I like to travel. Is it so hard to...

      Well, I think when you spend so many nights and so much money at Hiltons to get Diamond status, it should entitle you to an upgrade with no issues. I earn Diamond status the hard way; No credit cards available in my country that give Diamond status and no company that pays for my trips. I am actually staying 60+ nights every year at Hilton because I like to travel. Is it so hard to ask for a guaranteed suite upgrade? Many of us are paying a lot of money to stay at Hilton each and every year.

      So no, if I stay that many nights, I expect better and I don't want someone to upsell me at check-in to get a few more square meters.

    2. Alonzo Diamond

      If you don't like how you're treated by Hilton, take your loyalty to Marriott or Hyatt. Nobody cares how many nights you stay. Should your loyalty be recognized? Sure. I wish my local restaurant comped my check every now and then but it doesn't work like that. And when you're traveling for business, who cares about having a suite? 95% of the time you're alone.

    3. Azamaraal Diamond

      For anyone living outside the US the Aspire card is unavailable. Actually, there are no Hilton cards available to my knowledge. That starts the game with the score 0 - 10 since the Hilton CC gives great points rewards as well as free nights and free Diamond.

      Still a member the hard way because most of our leisure travel is Asia/South America/Europe etc. The rewards for Diamond on our last trip to China (Yangtze River...

      For anyone living outside the US the Aspire card is unavailable. Actually, there are no Hilton cards available to my knowledge. That starts the game with the score 0 - 10 since the Hilton CC gives great points rewards as well as free nights and free Diamond.

      Still a member the hard way because most of our leisure travel is Asia/South America/Europe etc. The rewards for Diamond on our last trip to China (Yangtze River and 3 Gorges Dam) was so wonderful as the Hilton properties we stayed in treated us as King and Queen and the Presidential Suite was almost not good enough. Unfortunately China politically has become a pariah and we probably won't return for a few years if ever.

      Hilton is shooting themselves in the foot with their latest changes to rewards. I never stay at any Hilton other than Hampton's since the breakfast boondoggle. Luckily the double nights double points option will correspond with a 14 night stay in Tahiti so I won't have to use the once-in-a-lifetime diamond extension. But if DFL doesn't come soon I guess we'll be staying at Marriotts.

  66. AdrienH Guest

    Well there was already the Stand-by upgrade that you get almost systematically after booking so the argument “creating extra revenue” is bullshit. Just another downgrade of their program after F&B credit instead of breakfast.
    I hope they won’t stop the Executive lounge access or … I am gone

    1. Azamaraal Diamond

      The problem is that most of the Executive Floor rooms and lounges are a thing of the past. So effectively you are already "done"

  67. AG Guest

    Not surprised. I’m diamond and haven’t been upgraded one time this year. Their policy changes and customer service, as well as quality/maintaining hotels is continuing to go downhill.

  68. Will Guest

    Do you have the official Hilton statement and rule set on this already?

  69. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

    "Hilton is telling hotel owners that this change is intended to drive incremental revenue among elite members"

    You know what would "drive incremental revenue among elite members"? Bring back a real breakfast benefit. When I'm traveling for work I can expense meals. When I'm taking my girlfriend on vacation (you know, the girlfriend who puts up with my endless travels most of the calendar year), I want a free breakfast. Nothing worse than having to...

    "Hilton is telling hotel owners that this change is intended to drive incremental revenue among elite members"

    You know what would "drive incremental revenue among elite members"? Bring back a real breakfast benefit. When I'm traveling for work I can expense meals. When I'm taking my girlfriend on vacation (you know, the girlfriend who puts up with my endless travels most of the calendar year), I want a free breakfast. Nothing worse than having to explain to her that my loyalty to [insert hotel brand here] gets us nothing more than lukewarm coffee and a stale sugary muffin because the hotel brand is too cheap to force the owner or management to provide powdered eggs and sugary ketchup.

    1. Keith Guest

      I guess I look at the food & beverage credit a bit differently. Because I can expense breakfast on business trips, it wasn’t a true value to me personally (plus I hardly ever eat breakfast). With the credit, I can instead have a cocktail after work, which I’m more likely to do.
      Even when I travel with my wife, we often luxuriate by sleeping late & skipping breakfast (unless the kids are with us).

      ...

      I guess I look at the food & beverage credit a bit differently. Because I can expense breakfast on business trips, it wasn’t a true value to me personally (plus I hardly ever eat breakfast). With the credit, I can instead have a cocktail after work, which I’m more likely to do.
      Even when I travel with my wife, we often luxuriate by sleeping late & skipping breakfast (unless the kids are with us).

      But I get the value of free breakfast on personal trips for early risers.

      As far as elite upgrades as a benefit vs. paid, I think Hilton should require that hotels monetize no more than half of available upgraded rooms & allocate the rest to elite members when they have the demand.

  70. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

    Wow. Another significant devaluation for Hilton.

    First Hilton devalued its top-level elite status by bundling it with a credit card. Then the breakfast benefit at North American properties was replaced by a F&B credit that doesn’t cover the actual cost of breakfast. As bad as those changes were Hilton announced the end of daily housekeeping even as it claimed that rooms were cleaner than ever. Now, it’s selling upgrades that elites might otherwise receive.

    Marriott...

    Wow. Another significant devaluation for Hilton.

    First Hilton devalued its top-level elite status by bundling it with a credit card. Then the breakfast benefit at North American properties was replaced by a F&B credit that doesn’t cover the actual cost of breakfast. As bad as those changes were Hilton announced the end of daily housekeeping even as it claimed that rooms were cleaner than ever. Now, it’s selling upgrades that elites might otherwise receive.

    Marriott has been selling upgrades to suites after booking (sometimes literally right after booking) for around four years, but nothing this egregious.

    Hopefully, this doesn’t get implemented at competing hotel brands with better and more defined upgrade policies.

    Of course, I’m not sure a suite at the Hampton Garden Inn in Green River, Wyoming, is really worth the extra money.

    1. Azamaraal Diamond

      One of the Hampton Inns in Spokane is brilliant having been converted from some kind of resort (if it is still there). Our stays there have been great as the upgrade to a 1-bedroom "real" suite has been greatly appreciated. Hope they are still a Hilton.

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.

uldguy Diamond

This year I decided to become a free agent with my hotel stays. I’m a Hyatt globalist but won’t re-qualify and besides I can count one one hand the number of times I’ve received any upgrade from them this year. I’m lifetime titanium elite with Marriott but that means absolutely nothing to them so I don’t favor them either. Now I just book the hotel and room most convenient for me.

6
FNT Delta Diamond Guest

"Hilton is telling hotel owners that this change is intended to drive incremental revenue among elite members" You know what would "drive incremental revenue among elite members"? Bring back a real breakfast benefit. When I'm traveling for work I can expense meals. When I'm taking my girlfriend on vacation (you know, the girlfriend who puts up with my endless travels most of the calendar year), I want a free breakfast. Nothing worse than having to explain to her that my loyalty to [insert hotel brand here] gets us nothing more than lukewarm coffee and a stale sugary muffin because the hotel brand is too cheap to force the owner or management to provide powdered eggs and sugary ketchup.

6
Todd Guest

All I ask for is a clean room and non smoking. I can care less about upgrades. I get what I reserved. Even as a diamond I don’t care, Just like comp upgrades on a plane. If I wanted it I should have bought it

4
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