Hilton Beats Bonvoy Every Time

hilton honors

 

I’m a fan of two hotel programs: Hyatt and Hilton. Hyatt is the best overall program in my opinion. Their footprint is limited but it’s steadily growing. That leaves Hilton as my back up program of choice.

There are three major players in the hotel world; IHG, Hilton and Marriott. Each could fill that backup spot and cover most areas. But still I put Hilton head and shoulders above the other two.  Not because their hotels are the best or because their points are worth the most. They aren’t. I put them there because their points are easily obtainable, as well as their status, and they don’t make me call 7 times to get help on a simple issue.  In my experience their customer service, while not perfect, is better than the other two.

Recent Examples

Marriott has been a hot mess since merging with SPG and launching Bonvoy.  I never liked their program before the merger but I did like SPG’s program.  They gutted that and turned Marriott’s sketchy customer service into non existent customer service.  Let’s be honest they make United Airlines look stellar right now.

My experience dealing with Hilton was completely different.  Any issue I have, their twitter team is quick to respond and overall pretty empowered. While their individual hotels may have service issues I’m usually treated fairly by corporate.  I wanted to share a couple of recent examples.

Hilton Is The Anti Bonvoy beach

No Pool No Problem

The first issue I had was on a recent trip to a DoubleTree in Michigan.  I had planned to take the kids there to swim for the night before heading to a track meet the next day.  We fought traffic for two hours on the way there and I kept them calm by promising we would hit the pool as soon as we checked in.

Of course upon arrival at the hotel there was a sign that said the pool was closed. There had been no notice on the website warning us about this.  I inquired about the other Hilton hotel nearby asking if their pool was open, hoping we could maybe use it etc.  The front desk agent told me she doesn’t know because she doesn’t call hotels to see if their pool is open.  It was very rude, especially for a Diamond member.  We pivoted and went to the near by beach to hang out which ended up being a blast.

When I got home I reached out to Hilton on Twitter to see if there was a policy of giving some points when the pool is closed etc. and explained my interaction with the front desk agent.  They immediately told me they would give me 30,000 points as an apology. That is 9,000 more than the room was going for.  I was surprised and impressed with the response, hoping for a token 5-10,000 points.  The points also posted that same day!

Hilton Is The Anti Bonvoy Brussels

Leaving Brussels Early 

On a recent trip to Amsterdam we headed to Brussels for a few days as well.  While we were there we really wanted to spend more time in Amsterdam if possible.  We ended up figuring out a cheap way to make it happen so we checked out of the hotel a day early at 5pm.

When they saw we were checking out a day early the front desk agent said she would see if we could get our points back for the one day we were leaving early.  This shocked me as I wouldn’t have expected it if we tried to check out at noon much less 5pm.  She confirmed with her manager that they would and I was excited but also skeptical that it would happen.

After getting home the points never showed up.  I tried the hotel’s concierge email a few times and received no response.  That is when I went to Twitter.  I explained the problem and they reached out to the hotel. Because of them I received an email from the front desk manager within a few hours.  He told me he worked with the Hilton team to get it corrected since they don’t have the power to do that on his end at the hotel.

After a week or so I still didn’t see the points.  I reached out to the manager again two times but didn’t get a response, it appears he was on vacation.  I sent the Twitter team another message explaining the situation and copying the original email and asked for the 38,000 points to be deposited. They responded within an hour or so and the points were in my account by the end of day.

Final Thoughts

As you can see Hilton is far from perfect, as most companies are, but they have been willing to correct things more so than any other hotel program I have worked with (including Hyatt).

Their social media team seems to be very competent and much more empowered than most are. That is a blessing to me since I don’t have time to sit on the phone most of the time.  I can send a message when I need to and check back for a response when I have time.  This is a life saver for travelers like us.

What has your experience been?  Which hotel chain do you think has the best customer service and is quickest at fixing/compensating for issues?

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Comments

  1. Bill says

    Yes, Hilton is so much better that your Hilton hotel has its pool closed and no information in advance. Yes, that’s obviously an example of how much better Hilton can be.

    Not.

    Your 2 anecdotal examples are lovely but not a pattern make. This is how prejudice begins…anecdotal examples that prejudice converts into a pattern that doesn’t exist and is incredibly misleading.

    Hilton is so much better than Marriott…except for having better customer service at the actual hotels, except for having better hotels in the first place.

    Nice try. Clickbait alert.

  2. maxraxstax says

    Sounds like you reached out 5 times not 7 to get your issue solved. Not sure if that counts as head and shoulders over marriott….

  3. Ryan says

    Problem with these posts is that it takes in no account the quality of hotels. Have you slept in a Hampton or Garden Inn bed… they suck ! I care about the better bedding at Marriott over what crappy points I’ll get. I pick the hotel that will keep me most comfortable. Not earn my $4 more of points. Living life to enjoy. Not stress out about worthless , meaningless points.

  4. Victoria G says

    I concur with your experience. Marriott has fallen in merger and Hilton stays strong 100 years and counting. Customer service all over is lacking but the empowerment of resolve is there with Hilton. They make things right and fast.

  5. David V says

    This article should be titled “Have problems with Hilton customer service? Reach out on Twitter because their usual customer service lines do little to help you.”

    I have had better customer service experienced with both IHG and Bonvoy than Hilton lately.

  6. L. Tahir says

    This was my recent experience with Embassy Suites by Hilton in Myrtle Beach SC last week:
    On the last night before departure, we discovered a big infestation of cockroaches in the kitchen area of which I took videos of. I notified the night manager (Ryan) and the best he could offer us was a move to an adjacent property. It was after 10 PM and my 2 children were already in bed so I opted to stay since we were checking out in the morning anyway. The roaches had gotten into our stuff and I threw away a lot of thing for fear of transporting them back into our home. I paid extra for a room upgrade that definitely was not what I received from Hilton.
    When I received an email to rate our stay at the hotel, I explained what happened. A day later, I received a 2-line response from the hotel manager that basically said “sorry for the inconvenience”. Nothing else!

  7. Richard Kelly says

    Holding status with the ‘big’ three and spending way too much time in them I would rank Hilton slightly higher than Marriott. By virtue of the ease in racking up points with Hilton is unsurpassed. I still have feelings for Marriott from when it was family run. At the hotel level Hilton and Marriott are about the same most very good and the ever present odd duck of those that most likely shouldn’t be part of the chain. The third member has become my last resort due to being dead last in every Category except pricing.

  8. Hotel Insider says

    Lol for your cheap and point hungry attitude. Hotels are dreadful of customers like you. BTW it’s not corporate who is paying for those points. They charge them to the hotels with penalties.

  9. John L. says

    looks like Marriott brought out the Bonvoy fanboys to post on this.

    Remember – the term “Bonvoyed” is now part of the English language for a reason.

    Hilton >>>> Marriott.

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