I recently compared Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors – click here for details – and actually shocked myself by coming to the conclusion that Hilton Honors is the more solid, all-around loyalty program. One reason for Hilton Honors to be well-regarded is the ease of achieving elite status, along with a consistent delivery of promised elite benefits. Hilton Honors might not promise quite as much as competitors such as Hyatt or Marriott, but Hilton hotels generally provide what they are supposed to… (ironically, it used to be Marriott who was the most boring, yet reliable hotel chain in this regard…)
DYKWIA is something of a joke expression. It stands for “Don’t You Know Who I Am?” and is often used to refer to hotel guests who make a fuss at check-in to get a room upgrade that wasn’t initially offered by the front desk clerk. It is especially embarrassing when a hotel guest makes a DYKWIA scene in a hotel lobby when the Terms & Conditions of the loyalty program don’t back them up.
I’m not suggesting that any InsideFlyer readers are the DYKWIA types, but you also might not be aware of the Hilton brands that are under no obligation whatsover to offer you a room upgrade – click here for the terms and conditions of Hilton Honors – regardless of whether you hold Gold or Diamond status:
- Embassy Suites
- Hampton by Hilton
- Hilton Garden Inn
- Homewood Suites by Hilton
- Home2 Suites by Hilton
- Hilton Grand Vacations
- Motto by Hilton
- Tru by Hilton
Of course, some hotels decide to be generous to elite members. You probably wouldn’t expect that a Hampton Inn even has suites to sell, but a well-run hotel will probably try to upgrade a Diamond member to a larger room or something similarly preferable (away from the elevator, view, etc.) rather than give it to a Hotels.com guest.
Especially tricky is the Hilton Grand Vacations brand. You might expect the “Hilton” element to take priority over the “Grand Vacations” part when it comes to upgrade policy. Hilton Garden Inn is in a similar situation. But no… upgrades are not required at those brands…
Which Brands DO Offer Upgrades?
Gold and Diamond members are eligible for upgrades to “preferred rooms” – with wide discretion given to each hotel to decide what constitutes “preferred” – at the following brands:
- Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts
- LXR Hotels & Resorts
- Conrad Hotels & Resorts
- Canopy by Hilton
- Hilton Hotels & Resorts
- Curio – A Collection by Hilton
- DoubleTree by Hilton
- Tapestry Collection by Hilton
If you travel exclusively in the United States, you might complain that you don’t get upgraded much at these brands either. One of the downsides of easy Diamond status is that “if everybody is elite, then nobody is…”
But once you travel overseas (especially to Asia), you might be shocked at the excellent room upgrades often offered to Diamond members in particular.
The Bottom Line
People can have different approaches to room upgrades. I tend to accept whatever is offered and try to return to those hotels that prove themselves to be generous. Others make additional effort to improve their chances of an upgrade. If that second category describes you, then make sure to keep in mind those Hilton brands that are under to obligation to upgrade you, no matter how shiny your loyalty program card…