HHonors "Diamond Force", Even for Award Stays, is Alive and Well, and Better than Ever

Discussion in 'Hilton | HHonors' started by NYCUA1K, Feb 14, 2015.  |  Print Topic

  1. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Welcome to the definitive thread on HHonors Diamond Force, which discusses:
    A. Diamond Force: What It Is

    Every year, starting on the Sunday after Thanksgiving and lasting for about a week, some 40K to 60K convention delegates descend upon Windy City for the Annual Scientific Meeting and Exhibition of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA). According to Wikipedia, the RSNA is "the world’s largest annual medical meeting." It is held in downtown Chicago because, as the largest convention center in North America, the city's McCormick Place is the only venue large enough to accommodate a meeting that large. For one week, the presence of 40K-60K new souls in Chicago is a boon to all the city's businesses, especially hotels and restaurants and shops in the vicinity of the McCormick convention center. In fact, during the week-long event, one would have to be extremely lucky to find vacancies in any nearby hotels. Legend has it that to make sure that they would have lodging accommodation for the following year's RSNA, regular attendees usually book their rooms for the next meeting when they check out at the end of the current meeting -- i.e. a year in advance.:)

    As an academic who specializes in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) -- a powerful diagnostic radiological imaging modality -- the RSNA is one of the conferences that I like to attend. However, it is such a huge meeting that I usually wait until I really have a compelling reason to attend and then to decide how many days of the week-long meeting I would be there. Early last October I decided that I would attend RSNA 2014 for 3 days, as I had been invited to attend a smaller, more interesting meeting or workshop within the larger meeting. Therefore, my immediate tasks after deciding to attend were to book and purchase my round trip tickets, which was easy since UA has hourly flight between LGA and ORD, 7 days a week, and to find a hotel with availability for the 3 days I would be there -- as I show below, this was a more daunting task!

    As a HHonors Diamond and Hilton loyalist, my search for hotel room availability started with Hilton properties , which had to be in the vicinity of the McCormick center to avoid extra costs in taxi fares or a long commute by public transportation (for RSNA 2013, I stayed at Hyatt Regency McCormick Place!). Within those constraints, I searched for hotel room availability for November 30 to December 3:

    1. First, without logging in as a HH Diamond I got what is displayed below:

    upload_2015-2-14_14-33-8.png

    As you can see, and as anyone who has ever tried to book a hotel room in downtown Chicago after Thanksgiving would expect, there was no availability in nearby hotels due to the RSNA.

    I thought "Goodie! A perfect opportunity to see whether, as a HH Diamond, I could 'force' availability of a revenue or standard award room in any of the properties that showed no vacancies." I wanted to test the HH Diamonds-only perk, known variously and formally as "Diamond Special Request or Diamond Reservations Guarantee" and informally as Diamond Force, which
    • "allows Diamond members to place a guaranteed reservation at a sold out hotel when made 48 hours prior to arrival, except during Extraordinary Demand Date periods, when the hotel becomes overbooked on inventory by more than 10%, and for some hotels when the hotel becomes overbooked on inventory by more than 2%."
    Since this was definitely an "Extraordinary Demand Date" period, one way to find out whether it was possible to force availability was to call Diamond Desk and make a "Diamond Special Request" based on the "Diamond Reservations Guarantee" clause of the T&C. Alternatively, because I knew better (I describe further down how I knew), I could find out if the Force was with me by simply logging in as a HH Diamond...

    2. Second, after logging into my HH Diamond account and redoing the search, I got what is displayed below:

    upload_2015-2-14_14-33-30.png

    Now you can see that of the 4 Hilton properties that showed no availability when I was not logged in as a HH Diamond, 3 now showed 1 room available, with a notice that explains why those rooms suddenly became available. It is called "Diamond Reservation Guarantee". It means that as a Diamond, I was able to "force" room availability. More accurately, it means that "Diamond Force", which is now lurking in the background, recognized that this was a case of "Diamond Reservations Guarantee" and automatically "forced" availability of a room. However, at this point I am not sure whether the room made available can be booked only with cash, with points or with either. Rumor has it that in 2012 HHonors eliminated the ability of "Diamond Force" to force availability of standard award rooms in overbooked properties. True or false? Let's find out, but for that I would have to try to book one of the rooms that became available...

    3. Third, I opted to book a room at Hilton Chicago and got what is displayed below:

    upload_2015-2-14_14-34-3.png

    The notice in the yellow box atop the display says it all: "There are no rooms available for standard reservations on 30 Nov 2014 - 03 Dec 2014 at Hilton Chicago. Because you are an HHonors Diamond VIP, you can choose from the rooms shown below..." Also note that due to the extremely high demand, the rates are very steep. A rate of $450/night is how much one would normally pay for a standard room at Conrad Hong Kong or at W=A NYC! Therefore, for just three days, I would have paid $1,350, excluding taxes and incidentals. Not a very good value at all but consistent with econ-101: prices increase with demand. The broader picture, however, was screaming that under these conditions, it would be preferable for me to pay with points: I had requalified for Diamond back in July, and I had accumulated 703K points for the year, which I had already redeemed for my annual Year-end Asian Escapade(tm), leaving me with about 275K points in the bank. This all meant that I had no practical use for such an expensive revenue stay. It might have been worth it to just relax the conditions a bit and find a hotel more remote from the convention center, which would have been more affordable even if I had to take taxis to the conventional center every day...

    ...or, I could click on the "Use HHonors Points" option shown on the display above or restart the search with the option to use HHonors points enabled. I opted for the later and...

    4. Lastly, redoing the search after enabling the option to "use HHonors points", I got what is displayed below:

    upload_2015-2-14_14-34-36.png

    Boom! You can see that after selecting the option to "use HHonors points" there is now availability of standard awards at 2 of the 3 overbooked properties where Diamond Force had "forced" room availability. Not only that, at 50K and 47K points the room rates in points are quite affordable [How so? Roughly the equivalent of 16K Hyatt GP points/night] , as well as a much better value this late in the year when I am looking to unload rather than accumulate more points. I quickly selected and booked for "just" 150K points the room at Hilton Chicago as a standard room award , which was upgraded to a junior suite (item #9 at the link) when I checked in ...

    Bottom Line
    There are multiple blogposts that have suggested (e.g., here and here) the demise or the "dilution" of Diamond Force aka Diamond Special Request aka Diamond Reservations Guarantee, the latter being how HHonors officially refers to it now. The implementation of this perk has varied over the years and there has been some disagreement as to what it really means. Also, it has been suggested that Diamond Force may no longer be able to "force" availability of award stays. The language in the early 2012 announcement in which HHonors had introduced suite upgrades as a HH Diamond perk, along with other Diamonds-related programmatic changes, followed a few month later by an amendment in the language of the terms, certainly did contribute to some of the confusion. However, after a syntactic analysis of the new rules, my immediate thought back then was that the multiple meanings of so-called "Diamond Force" had simply been "convolved" into one concept. Now that I have seen how "Diamond Reservations Guarantee" actually works, I believe that HHonors had, in fact, told us in that 2012 announcement that this benefit was still available both for revenue and standard award stays. Here's the language:
    The telling bit is in this sentence in the second paragraph above: "These reservations are only applicable to paid stay reservations for all room types and reward stay reservations for standard rooms." Therefore, Diamond Force or Diamond Reservations Guarantee, as they defined it in the first paragraph, would be applicable both to paid stays [seems that this can be any room type] and to standard award stays. Note that it also says that these reservations can be made by clicking "Reward Stays". Since I am not aware of such a menu item, I believe that by clicking "Reward Stays" they meant to say clicking the "Use HHonors Points" , which is a selectable item in the HHonors room search "engine".

    In sum, what HHonors did, which is why the current incarnation of Diamond Force is even better, was to completely automate when the benefit shows up. There is no longer any need to call Diamond Desk to force availability. This has been programmed in the search engine so that it would automagically recognize when the conditions are right for invoking Diamond Force. A property that is overbooked by 10% (or 2%) or less, and a HH Diamond member seeking availability at such a property would automatically trigger Diamond Force, which can now be referred to as Stealth Diamond Force or simply, sDF.;)

    Is what I just illustrated above a fluke? Hardly. I did demonstrate it once before, under the same scenario: Chicago during RSNA 2012, i.e., over 2 years ago. It is how I knew to do what I just described above. sDF is alive and well...

    I thought I would do a completely separate thread on this both to emphasize the existence of this powerful perk that is available to HH Diamonds, and to be able to point to it when countering the travel/loyalty bloggers' antiquated claim that "HH Diamond is only marginally better than the HH Gold." Clearly that is true only if one's notion of "better" is limited to free breakfast and free wifi, which I take for granted. For savvy travelers, suite upgrades -- 100% of which I cleared in 2014 and are worth a lot of money -- and "Diamond Force" which is truly a powerful benefit to have when the chips are down, are infinitely more valuable. If you do not believe me, then just try booking a room in downtown Chicago for the week after Thanksgiving and then try having it upgraded to a suite as a HH Gold [which remains the best second-tier elite status out there]!

    Anyone who repeats the claim that "HH Diamond is only marginally better than the HH Gold" cannot and should not be taken seriously because they either have no idea what they are talking about and should stop writing about it, or they are simply biased, in which case they are not providing their readers with all the info they need to make an informed decision about which loyalty program may be suitable for their particular situation...

    Has the Force been with you lately? Tell us all about it!

    [This is a long post which I only minimally proofed. I will be cleaning it up for posterity as I encounter conceptual, typographical, or grammatical errors]
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2016
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  2. flyforawg

    flyforawg Silver Member

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    Could you do same for the SDCC in July? I'd consider going back to diamond if it worked for that. Marriott Platinum hasn't worked.
     
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  3. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    I could definitely try. What dates did you try with Rewards Platinum status and I will see if the Force will be with HH Diamonds during that period of extremely high demand?
     
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  4. flyforawg

    flyforawg Silver Member

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    July 10-12 of this year.

    Would suggest Embassy Suites San Diego Bay, Hilton Gas Lamp Quarter, and/or Hampton Inn Downtown. Thanks for checking!
     
  5. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Wow! What is this beast of a convention?! There is nothing available for those dates within less than about 3 miles of SD, even with Diamond Force. However, within a radius of just over 3 miles, which isn't that far out since buses to SD Convention Center are usually provided, several properties show very affordable standard award availability (40K HH points, equiv to ~ 13K Hyatt GP points, per night), even when the same properties do not show availability for revenue rooms!!! This means that for the purpose of revenue stays the same rooms may have been designated as "premium" by the property to make more money!!!

    upload_2015-2-14_17-59-57.png

    One conclusion is that the SDCC convention is attended by a lot of rich people, unlike the RSNA in Chicago, which is attended by academics with relatively meager travel budgets. ;)

    BTW, even in the case illustrated here, Diamond Force is hard at work. Note the properties above on the right, which showed availability of standard awards when I was logged in as a HH Diamond. I logged out, and selected to "Use HHonors Points" at the top right (see picture below). Just below that it is also asking me to log in to view my rates. I just did the search as a general member without logging in, and you can see that none of the properties now show any standard award availability. DF would considerably and stealthily simplify a HH Diamond's life even for the SDCC!

    upload_2015-2-14_19-9-46.png
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2016
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  6. chitownflyer
    Original Member

    chitownflyer Silver Member

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    NYCUA1K, thanks for posting this info. It is a very good illustration of one of the valuable benefits of Hilton Diamond status.
     
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  7. Sammich

    Sammich Gold Member

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    Wait, SD's convention for those dates are comic con? That explains the already sold out rooms. lol.
    CC actually has quite a bit of higher than average incomers' attending.
    (Mostly Youtuber's who earn quite a bit from advertising)
     
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  8. viguera
    Original Member

    viguera Gold Member

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    There's a lot of media and a lot of negotiated blocks with the hotels. In most cases average folks that want to attend just have to book as soon as the dates are announced, or risk getting blocked out.

    Last year's attendance was 130k people I think.
     
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  9. flyforawg

    flyforawg Silver Member

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    Impressive. That is a diamond edge over Marriott. Platinum desk could do nothing and said had to work with hotels. They've already negotiated blocks out which have not yet been released. Perhaps closer in, but still unlikely. Still have to debate whether it is worth it to reacquire diamond, but I'd definitely be more willing now.

    As a former diamond, I enjoyed, but since I only stay at lower end properties, the benefits hasn't been there over gold, but this is a nudge in the right direction. If travel patterns maintain, can probably be both diamond and platinum this year.
     
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  10. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    That does explain why there is nothing at "ground zero", i.e., in SD per se, even after invoking Diamond Force. And even if one could find a room at ground zero, the rate would be out of this world. Out of curiosity, I just searched for availability at Hyatt properties and found only one hotel at ground zero with availability, Andaz San Diego. Room rate? Starting at $1500/night! The next Hyatt property that shows availability is at least 5 miles from ground zero.

    Also, I just investigated a curious phenomenon that I'd just briefly mentioned earlier. It seems that there is more availability of rooms for booking reward stays than there is for booking revenue stays, which seems backwards!!! Wouldn't a hotel want to discourage award room redemption when the demand is as high as it seems to be in SD during the SDCC? Here's what I mean. Logged in as a HH Diamond, I just did a search without and with "use HHonors points" enabled and got the following at the same 4 properties:

    upload_2015-2-15_1-2-42.png

    On the left is the search done without enabling "use HHonors points". Note that DF seems to have "forced" availability of a revenue room only at 1 of 4 properties -- at the DoubleTree SD. This means that if I wanted to book a paid stay, there would be availability only at one of those four properties. On the other hand, as shown on the right, doing the search with "use HHonors points" enabled turns up availability of standard award rooms at all four properties!!! (Note that if I am not logged in as a HH Diamond, none of the 4 hotels would show availability. So being logged in as an elite is required to get anything at all). However, with so many award rooms available (on the right) while only 1 property shows availability of revenue rooms (on the left) with the "Diamond Reservation Guarantee" notice -- meaning that available only if one is a Diamond -- I am wondering if anyone logging in as an elite, e.g., as a HH Gold, and doing a search for award rooms would not be able to find availability, at least, at some of the properties. What I am getting at is that I am not at all sure that it is Diamond Force that is forcing the availability of all those award rooms at the 4 properties. There may be more rooms available than it appears or there is a bug...;)

    So, can a HH Gold out there (@WilliamQ ?) do a dummy search for availability at HHonors property in SD with "use HHonors points" enabled (you can do both with and without) for July 10-12, 2015 and report what you get? The exercise may help us understand a bit more about how Diamond Force works, as well as why any hotel would make more reward rooms available than revenue rooms at a time of extreme high demand...:confused:;)
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2015
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  11. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Indeed...:)
    I recently read quite a few travel/loyalty blogs which have gushed about how one of Hyatt's strong suits is making a promise and keeping it, and, of course, this has been repeated again and again in the echo chamber that the whole travel blogosphere has become. What I have shown here is HHonors making a huge promise (guaranteeing Diamond members room availability in overbooked hotels) and then putting in place a powerful safeguard to ensure that the individual properties, which are often semi-autonomous under the HHonors system, would keep that promise: They simply programmed the search engine so that Diamond members would no longer need to deal with the Diamond Desk or, maybe worse, with the individual properties, especially in the US. Diamond Force would automatically kick in whenever necessary to take care of the business of keeping the promise. Simply powerful.:cool:
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2015
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  12. WhiteDesert

    WhiteDesert Silver Member

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    I've observed situations where, when logged in, there are no revenue options available but there is award availability. However, one thing that I have never observed is the "Diamond Reservation Guarantee" icon that you show screenshots of above. I suspect, given your San Diego investigation, that this is because I always select "Use HHonors Points" when I do a search, whether or not I have any intention of burning points on the results of that search (I do this largely because I'm always curious as to C&P availability across the Hilton portfolio).
     
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  13. WhiteDesert

    WhiteDesert Silver Member

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    "Anyone who repeats the claim that "HH Diamond is only marginally better than the HH Gold" cannot and should not be taken seriously because they either have no idea what they are talking about and should stop writing about it..."

    Ha. If people followed this extremely reasonable guideline, then the internet would have about half the web pages that it currently does.
     
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  14. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    The search results could still show the "Diamond Reservation Guarantee" icon even if the search is done with "Use HHonors Points" enabled.That would mean that a property has no available award rooms but could still be booked by a Diamond member as a revenue stay [usually the room rates would be very high]. That situation is , in fact, shown in the last picture in the original post, which displays 2 properties with award availability, 1 property with nothing at all, and one property with 1 revenue room along with the "Diamond Reservation Guarantee" icon. If you click that icon this is displayed:

    upload_2015-2-15_8-11-29.png

    LOL. Absolutely true. The travel blogosphere has become one huge echo chamber; in fact, so much so that in the comments section of one of those blogs someone recently opined: "...can’t help but notice that over time, they [travel blogs] all pretty much say the same thing, you could take one “guy’s” name on one and put it on another, and you probably wouldn’t even notice."

    I thought the comment was incisive and right on the money.:)
     
  15. Sammich

    Sammich Gold Member

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    Sometimes it makes me wonder what if the hotel was actually full and a Diamond guest needs a room?! :p

    Do they compensate another guest like airlines do for overbooking :p

    I'm running 35 hours no sleep and now I'm going to bed so this question might look stupid in a few hours.
     
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  16. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Perfectly reasonable question. I think that the lucky Diamond would probably wind up in a Presidential suite, or another such premium room that is not included in the inventory and seldom gets booked. Eons ago, Hilton Toronto had botched my reservation when the property was filled to capacity and could not accommodate me. They simply put me in a Presidential suite for one night to wait for a standard room to become available the next day...and I was not even a HHonors member then!

    Alternatively, they'd book you a room in the nearest hotel -- does not have to be a Hilton hotel -- and even pay for it...

    Above I just answered a question that was not asked [what happens if the promise is not honored at check in]...

    The answer to the right question is:
    It is more likely, however, they would simply say that the hotel was filled to higher capacity (> 10%) than stated in the promise...
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2015
  17. flyforawg

    flyforawg Silver Member

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    My view as a gold: Hhonors.png
     
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  18. swazzie

    swazzie Silver Member

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    Very informative, @NYCUA1K. Although I'm not a frequent traveler, this can be the difference between folks being able to attend an event or staying home (or stay before or after an event, like a cruise). I've run into two situations in less than 2 years where staying for a night before or after a cruise would cost over $500 due to conferences and other events. Thankfully, both cases have worked out (last minute points availability for one, a best-rate-guarantee free night for the other). However, sDF is another valuable option to have.

    Getting Hilton Diamond (as opposed to Marriott Platinum) thru credit card spend just got a bit more viable.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2015
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  19. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Thank you for doing the experiment and wow! Diamond Force does make a huge difference. Award availability for HH Golds is no different than for non-members or GMs. I just did a search without logging in and I got exactly what you got as a HH Gold.

    Result as a GM: upload_2015-2-15_10-41-32.png

    One explanation for why there seem to be more standard award rooms available than revenue rooms under Diamond Force could be that the rates for the revenue rooms are extremely high even for standard rooms, but the properties may not be as overbooked as they seem, so they are giving Diamond members a HUGE break: They are offering them standard rooms to pay for with points, while charging non-Diamonds an arm and a leg for the same standard rooms, which they may have made as expensive as premium rooms. The rich Youtubers are essentially subsidizing HH Diamonds' stays! Also, HH Diamonds would probably know it if a property charges them the rate of a premium room for a standard room and be very upset, whereas a rich Youtuber would just be happy to have snatched a room at Hilton GasLamp District, right across the street from the SD Convention center...literally (I have attended meetings at the SD Convention Center, also abbreviated as SDCC, which is in the background):

    SD-PIC.jpg

    Something like that may explain why there is more reward room availability than revenue rooms when demand is so high...
     

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    Last edited: Feb 15, 2015
  20. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    All true. Things can get very expensive during big events or when associated with touristy activities for which demand goes up while supply is limited. To have something like sDF may help one save a bundle...At award room rates of just 40K HH points/night during the SDCC when a room at a Hampton Inn almost 4 miles away goes for $389/night, sDF would make redeeming an award stay here a real steal...;)
     
  21. Dublin_rfk

    Dublin_rfk Gold Member

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    Thanks for the thread and it's info. My end of year decision was between making either Marriott Plat or Hilton Diamond with no clear winner. I made the proverbial coin toss and went with HH Diamond. It appears I have made to correct choice. I usually make (or am forced to make) last minute hotel choices and the "force" option will make things much easier.
     
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  22. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    B. HHonors Diamond Force: The Apparent Confusion About What It Is or Is Not

    Shhhhh...Do not tell anyone, but Diamond Force as introduced in the announcement of HH Diamond benefits in early 2012 did get amended to where it would not apply to reward stays, as some bloggers had noted since July of 2012

    Here's the language in the original early 2012 announcement:
    Here's the language in the T&C that went into effect on January 2, 2015:
    Side by side comparison of the relevant bits:
    February 2012: "These reservations are only applicable to paid stay reservations for all room types and reward stay reservations for standard rooms."
    July 2012-present: "This guarantee does not apply to reservations paid for in part or in full by HHonors Points."

    So what is going on here? Why is Diamond Force still able to force availability of award rooms two years after the language was amended?

    A syntactic analysis of where and how the language was changed provides some clues. I think the language was amended to clarify the benefit and not to eliminate Diamond Force. My reading of what happened is that after it was introduced, the Diamond Reservations Guaranteed clause of the T&C got abused by folks trying to force standard award availability at properties that showed only "premium" reward rooms. As you know, the sticker shock that followed HHonors' "devaluation" was the ridiculously high room rates in points that were being asked for "premium" rooms. So, what happened was that when a property showed only availability of "premium" award rooms, HHonors began to get flooded with calls from HH Diamonds requesting that standard award rooms be made available to them under the Diamond Reservations Guarantee clause of the T&C. This is reminiscent of some incarnation of DF. Also, Diamonds might have started to request under the reservations guarantee clause a reduction in the usually high room rates for revenue stays when a hotel was overbooked -- i.e. standard rooms go for the rates of premium rooms, as seems to be the case at SDCC 2015 above.

    So, to blunt all such requests, HHonors amended the language to (a) eliminate the reservation guarantee for reward stays (cannot ask for standard awards when only premium awards showed; period) and (b) clarify that the reservation guarantee does not impact the room rate, which would always be subject to the hotel's prevailing rate for the accommodations requested.

    Thus, having "clarified" the language in a way that would keep self-entitled Diamonds from asking more than they had been offered, but still intending to offer the Diamond Force perk as originally described in 2012, HHonors simply took everything out of the CS and Diamond Desk hands, and buried it in the background, programming it in the search engine to pop up when the conditions were right (i.e., to honor the conditions in the original announcement, as I showed in this thread). More accurately is that they did not touch Diamond Force; they'd left it as they'd intended to offer it. They simply amended the rules to avoid self-entitled requests that Diamonds thought the original language allowed them to make...;)

    Bottom Line: According the current T&C, Diamond Force for award stays is no longer a benefit. However, overwhelming evidence shows otherwise, therefore, DF for award stays is officially an unofficial benefit, which is alive and well, and works stealthily -- it pops up only when needed, which makes it better than ever, in my view...
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2015
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  23. b8b

    b8b Silver Member

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    NYCUA1K, this is really great information. Thanks for posting this.

    I have an off-topic question: does the HHonors Lifetime Diamond status count for Diamond status "earned" with the "fast-track" to Diamond status via Amex Centurion?
     
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  24. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    The pleasure is mine. IMHO, the info is so invaluable it would be criminal not to share!
    I am sure that it does not matter how one earns Diamond, and I say this because there are no material differences in treatment and benefits between someone who earns Diamond through stays and one who earns it through general CC spend or is fast-tracked to it. Also, the number of nights count includes both qualifying and non-qualifying nights...
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2015
  25. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    C. HHonors Diamond Force: What it is NOT

    Recently, a poster reported trying to redeem HHonors points for an award stay at the category 6 British Colonial Hilton in Nassau, and finding availability only of "premium" rooms. For redeeming a standard award at category 6 hotels, 30K-50K HH points/night are required. However, what one would find if one were interested in booking a room for the last week in March at this property is shown below. Note that the picture is the same whether one does the search as a nobody (left) or as a HH DIamond (right): in either case award rates are astronomical for a category 6 property. What is going on here? Where is Diamond Force?

    upload_2015-2-21_14-52-53.png

    What is going on is that while there is plenty of availability of both revenue and award rooms, every room in this property has been designated as a "premium" room, which is code phrase for "a property is free to set ridiculously high room rates in points to discourage award stay redemption when a hotel is likely to make a lot of money from revenue stays." The key here is that this property was NOT overbooked, which is, in fact, the one condition under which Diamond Force would remain dormant even if the search is done by a HH Diamond. Diamond Force is, therefore, not a general purpose benefit for forcing room availability at any property. It would do so only when a property is overbooked. Thus, one can see Diamonds running into a situation like the one at this property, finding only "premium" rooms and then picking up the phone to request that a standard room be made available for them under the "Diamond Reservations Guarantee." I am nearly certain that this happened a lot, which is why Hilton changed the language in the T&C that appeared to eliminate Diamond Force for award stays, creating quite a bit of confusion. However, the original Diamond Force -- the one I demonstrated above that shows up when a property is overbooked to automatically force availability of a revenue or standard award room -- never went anywhere. It was simply taken out of everyone's hands (Diamond members, Diamond Desk, individual properties) and simply buried in the search engine.

    In short, the necessary condition for Diamond Force to work for standard award availability is for a property to be overbooked. It is not a general purpose tool for forcing availability of a standard room at properties with plenty of available rooms, even if or especially if, these are all designated as "premium" rooms.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2015
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