The “meh” is compared to the easy-to-obtain Gold status. I’ve been Hilton Diamond for 2 years. During this time, I’ve had the following stays booked from my Diamond account:
- 2 DoubleTrees in Southeast Asia
- 2 Hiltons in the US – both paid
- 1 Curio Collection in the US – paid
- 1 Hampton Inn in the US
So, I had 6 stays, 5 of which were at full service 4-star properties, and 3 being paid stays. Out of all these, the only meaningful upgrade I got, that I may not have gotten as a Gold, was at the former DoubleTree Surin Beach, where I was upgraded to a suite with an extra rollaway bed. Otherwise, I always got a room in the same category as what I booked – sometimes with a better view, sometimes not.
I don’t aggressively pursue upgrades. If none is offered (not even a better view), I might inquire about it (and usually get a canned response that may or may not be true). I’ll let my experience speak for itself, but suffice to say I’m hardly impressed with the upgrade ratio. Of course, there are other benefits as well, but most of those you already get as Gold.
Probably the best Hilton (H)Honors upgrade I ever got was at the former Hilton Bora Bora Nui, where they put us (Gold at the time) in a private hillside bungalow with sweeping view of the lagoon. My greatest upgrade of all time was at the Hyatt Carmel Highlands, where I was upgraded, on two separate occasions, to IME the 2 best suites in the house, both with panoramic views of the ocean and cliffs of Big Sur and Point Lobos. Ironically, I was just a Hyatt Platinum both times (the status that came with the Hyatt card). Perhaps the chain that offers me the most reliable upgrades, not counting those using confirmed certificates (such as Hyatt DSU and Fairmont suite cert), is IHG at their low-end US properties, where I’m a Platinum (the status that comes with the IHG card). Meanwhile, my friend got upgraded to an overwater bungalow at Conrad Maldives, as a Hilton Gold. All this goes to show upgrades depend on a lot more than mere status. It’s a combination of status, the individual property, occupancy, and luck. Some tact may also help.
I’ll be Diamond for another year due to the Aspire card. Given my travel patterns – I frequent low-“category” sweet spots, in addition to local places – Diamond has zero value to me over Gold. Well, maybe I would pay $10 for it, but basically zero. However, you could certainly get more value out of it potentially, if you pick the right properties at the right times.
What’s been your experience? Any surprises?