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Hilton Honors has historically lagged behind the competition when it comes to benefits for high-value elite status members. Yes… Honors guarantees free breakfast and executive lounge access (for Diamonds), but has struggled to deliver other benefits such as room upgrades and late check-outs, which are left to the discretion of the hotel. To be fair, some Hilton Honors hotels are outstanding, but others treat Diamond members little better than any other guest.
But even this Honors skeptic is intrigued by a pilot scheme that commenced last Monday. A select (and very lucky) group of Diamond members worldwide have been offered:
- One confirmed upgrade to a suite (or a different “upgraded” room category, to be defined by the hotel)
- The upgrade is confirmed at the time of booking, and is valid for a stay of a maximum of seven nights
- The certificate must be redeemed by the end of March 2019 for a stay any time through end of Hilton’s booking schedule (roughly a year in advance is feasible)
During the trial period, Hilton Honors will be collecting feedback from the chosen members.
This benefit being trialled by Hilton Honors is quite similar to the scheme run by World of Hyatt. Top-tier Globalists receive 4 annual certificates that allow for a confirmed upgrade into a suite for a 7-night stay. This is quite likely my favourite perk of hotel chain elite status, and is one of the main reasons I am loyal to the Hyatt chain, despite the obvious difficulties of earning and retaining Globalist status!
Slightly less attractive is Marriott’s Suite Night Awards, which allow Platinum members to choose five nights to upgrade; however, the upgrade only processes five days in advance of arrival. Marriott also (theoretically at least) upgrades its elite members to available standard suites at check-in.
When Should You Expect Your Own Hilton Suite Upgrade Certificates?
Unless you have been selected for the trial, it will take several months for the pilot programme results to be analysed and (potentially) rolled out company-wide.
Of course we are speculating at this stage, but I would assume that a significant number of nights will be required in order to earn suite upgrade certificates. If Hilton Honors gives them to every Diamond member – even those who receive the status via a US credit card – the system will be swamped with Diamond members requesting an upgrade.
Current IT issues aside, the implementation of this benefit should vastly improve the attractiveness of Hilton Honors for high-value, frequent travel customers. What do you think? Can’t wait for it to be implemented?