Hilton HHonors amended its program Terms & Conditions Thursday July 19, 2012. One of the changes appears to be the elimination of the Diamond Force for HHonors award stays using points.
Diamond Elite Members will receive the following during stays as a registered Diamond Elite Member:
- A 50% bonus on Base Points earned during the period they are Diamond Elite Members.
- Complimentary high-speed internet access in Member’s room.
- Guaranteed reservations availability, subject to the restrictions stated herein, at hotels within the Hilton Worldwide portfolio when paid reservations are made before midnight hotel local time, two or more days (48 hours) prior to intended arrival.
RESTRICTIONS: This guarantee does not apply to reservations paid for in part or in full by HHonors points, free night certificates issued by Hilton Worldwide.
This guarantee also does not apply to any hotel during Extraordinary Demand Dates. The term “Extraordinary Demand Dates” are dates determined by the hotel and Hilton HHonors, in their sole discretion, that are consistently popular reservation dates for guests, such as during major events in the area or New Year’s Eve. This guarantee applies to only one room reserved with a valid credit card and occupied by the Diamond Elite Member.
HHonors Diamond Force for Reward Stays
The Terms & Conditions in the box above are the terms I have selected with regard to HHonors reward stays.
My experience with Hilton HHonors reward stays was a five year period where I was HHonors Diamond and burned over 2,000,000 points. The “Diamond Force” refers to the benefit as a Diamond elite to secure reward reservations through the HHonors Diamond Desk customer service when rewards using points were unavailable online.
I used the Diamond Force extensively when redeeming points for 6-night stays since many of my vacations were in peak travel times around the Christmas, New Year’s and Easter week holidays when I worked as a school teacher.
Diamond Force allowed me to stay at hotels several times on New Year’s Eve using points when hotel rates were astronomical.
This language in the Hilton HHonors T&C may restrict the use of Diamond Force award reservations significantly.
Upgraded Room Restrictions
There also appears to be new terms with regard to Diamond member upgrades. Again, this wording is restrictive, but whether it is a real change in policy is hard to tell until there are hotel stay reports from members indicating a change in the types of upgrades received.
At Waldorf Astoria® Hotels & Resorts, Conrad® Hotels & Resorts, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, and DoubleTree by Hilton™ properties, Diamond HHonors guests will receive upgrades to preferred rooms, based on availability at the time of check-in (excludes Napua Tower at Grand Wailea and Imperial Floor at Rome Cavalieri).
Upgrades for Diamond HHonors guests may include the next-best available room from the room type booked. Upgrades may also be rooms with desirable views, corner rooms, rooms on high floors, rooms with special amenities, rooms on Executive Floors, or suites, as identified by each property.
Upgrades exclude executive suites, villas and specialty accommodations (which may include, but not limited to, “Vista” and “Villa” accommodation types), subject to the discretion of the hotel.
You can keep an eye on the discussion in FlyerTalk “HHonors T&Cs change effective July 19, 2012” and “Latest enhancement of HHonors program: no Diamond force on reward stays” to see how this plays out with Diamond members. There is little anecdotal evidence yet to indicate the true impact on HHonors Diamond members at this time.
Time will tell.
Loyalty Traveler original post link: http://boardingarea.com/blogs/loyaltytraveler/2012/07/23/has-hilton-hhonors-eliminated-diamond-force-reward-stays/
Related Post: Hilton HHonors Premium Room Rewards Impacting Diamond Reservations Guarantee (June 20, 2011)
Ric Garrido, writer and content owner of Loyalty Traveler, shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests. You can follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.