Purchased Upgrades vs. Diamond/Gold Benefit Upgrades

Discussion in 'Hilton | HHonors' started by HiIslands, Feb 10, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. HiIslands
    Original Member

    HiIslands Silver Member

    Messages:
    462
    Likes Received:
    759
    Status Points:
    720
    When I make reservations at many Hilton properties, at the end of the process I am offered the option to purchase an upgrade. But upgrades are supposed to be a Diamond/Gold benefit.

    I don't purchase the upgrade option, but when I get to the property I am sometimes told no upgrades are available because "the hotel is full".

    If Hilton is selling the upgrades in advance, often at nominal rates of $10, $20, $30, until there are none left for Diamond/Gold members who already have confirmed reservations, are they not being duplicitous in offering elite members an upgrade benefit?

    If Hilton continues this practice, is it really worth working toward elite status?

    I would be interested in hearing other milepoint members' experiences and how you handled the situation.

    At Hilton®, Conrad® Hotels & Resorts and Doubletree®, choose from:

    • A space-available room upgrade, including breakfast.**
      You will be upgraded to an Executive Floor room (where/when available) at time of check-in. If an Executive Floor room is unavailable, you will be upgraded to the next best available room from the room type booked.

     
  2. mowogo
    Original Member

    mowogo Gold Member

    Messages:
    7,078
    Likes Received:
    12,942
    Status Points:
    12,520
    From my experience these paid upgrades are for special properties where there is a good reason for people to pay the increased rate for an upgrade (i.e better view of the ocean, larger room in NYC, etc) but these are also the properties that were probably extra stingy for upgrades to begin with.
     
    OceanBreezes likes this.
  3. servus
    Original Member

    servus Silver Member

    Messages:
    168
    Likes Received:
    167
    Status Points:
    360
    You are talking about the NOR1 upgrade. This is not limited to special properties and will pop up at the end of almost every reservation nowadays. This is a good oportunity for the hotels to make extra revenue. If you read the T&C carefully, if you "purchase" the NOR1 upgrade, you agree to pay an additional amount for the upgrade if your desired room upgrade (deluxe room, executive room, junior suite etc.) is available. So, there is no guarantee you'll get the upgrade when you check in. You are right about this limiting the possible upgrades for Golds and Diamonds, however if you are looking for a "cheaper" suite, this is the way you have to go as suite upgrades are not an official HHonors benefit for Golds or Diamonds.
     
    OceanBreezes likes this.
  4. bbbb
    Original Member

    bbbb Silver Member

    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    18
    Status Points:
    110
    Hilton has every right to sell these upgrades before giving them away for free. Free upgrades for gold/diamonds are based on availability at check-in and if its sold its not available. I don't like it anymore then the next guy but you can't fault them for making money off of their inventory.
     
  5. gemac
    Original Member

    gemac Silver Member

    Messages:
    1,027
    Likes Received:
    1,077
    Status Points:
    900
    Most loyalty programs offer paid upgrades to the man off the street only after their elites have been taken care of. American Airlines offers to sell upgrades on its flights, but only after clearing the list of elites who have requested upgrades. Hilton has a right to do anything they want to do, but the risk is that their frequent customers could resent it and go elsewhere, hurting their occupancy rates.
     
  6. straitman
    Original Member

    straitman Silver Member

    Messages:
    91
    Likes Received:
    62
    Status Points:
    255
    That of course is part of the business model. Calculate the percentage and cost of elites who are likely to go elsewhere versus the revenue from selling the upgrades cheap.
    We do not have to like it but it really is a fact of life.
     
  7. thetenken
    Original Member

    thetenken Silver Member

    Messages:
    235
    Likes Received:
    130
    Status Points:
    420
    I think CO/UA sell their upgrades before offering them up as UDU for domestic flights. This seems more in-line with the Hilton model. Now, if Hilton offered their members upgrade capability via HHonors points, and were not allowing their elite members to upgrade via points/certs before revenue upgrades, then we would have something more similar.

    It would be interesting to see if Hilton starts offering points upgrades on rooms. It would seem like a logical thing to do, or at least to offer upgrade certs like Hyatt for their elite members. This would be more like how some airlines do things...

    Even more interesting is if one paid for their NOR1 upgrade and then was upgraded on top of that to the next best room. So go from Garden View room -> Partial Oceanview -> Full Oceanview.
     
  8. gemac
    Original Member

    gemac Silver Member

    Messages:
    1,027
    Likes Received:
    1,077
    Status Points:
    900
    Don't think that would happen. Like on airlines, the double upgrade would be pretty rare.
     
  9. thetenken
    Original Member

    thetenken Silver Member

    Messages:
    235
    Likes Received:
    130
    Status Points:
    420
    Yeah, but one can dream, right? =)

    Hotel awards are still in their own world. They don't quite have the same capacity restrictions that airlines do, I don' think. Getting someone to buy a upgrade and then upgrade on top wouldn't be too bad, especially if there is excess capacity. Also, the upgrade would be discretionary. The cost to the hotel would be minimal, I would think, compared to costs for flights.
     
  10. diver90
    Original Member

    diver90 Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,162
    Likes Received:
    3,250
    Status Points:
    1,970
    Hmm. Almost all of my bookings are done online, so I really haven't had to deal with this. If it was offered to me I would definitely dig in and request as much detail as possible about the "upgrade". A small change in room type (i.e. - Garden to Partial Some Body of Water) is hardly worth it in many cases.
     
  11. JDiver
    Original Member

    JDiver Silver Member

    Messages:
    121
    Likes Received:
    91
    Status Points:
    345
    Basically, Nor1 is a third party programme designed to upsell, and split the difference with Hilton. You can become more familiar with it by visiting www.nor1.com, which bills itself as "Nor1 - Travel Industry Upsell Technology" and we can most likely expect to see continued growth in the number of properties subscribing to Nor1 (IMO), as it offers yet another path to profits. We HHonors VIPs are basically offered a Nor1 one level upgrade without cost at many Nor1 properties, and our entitlement is not an upgrade, but rather an upgrade depending on availability; there is no doubt Nor1 will provide impediments to free upgrades on occasion. Consider it as of the same ilk as airline a la carte pricing.
     
  12. gemac
    Original Member

    gemac Silver Member

    Messages:
    1,027
    Likes Received:
    1,077
    Status Points:
    900
    The cost to the airline for the second upgrade is pretty minimal also. I would guess that, like airlines, the second hotel upgrade would happen mostly when they are sold out in the middle category.
     
  13. globalguy

    globalguy Active Member

    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status Points:
    85
    As a HHonors Diamond member, I always ask for an upgrade to an Executive floor room at check in. Traveling frequently to Europe I have learned that you might as well save your breath. They are never available. In fact, I sometimes have often been saddled with a less-than-desirable room on the property. This week it happened again in London, with a room next to the elevator and a view of a rooftop littered with debris. Checking in on a Saturday I find it odd that the Executive floors would be fully booked, but that is what I was told. The upgrade benefit for Diamond members is practically worthless in Europe, at least in France and the UK. I struck out in Paris this week as well. Neither property acknowledged my HHonors status, or that I was even a member. Hilton staff in Europe (and a goodly number of USA properties as well) are poorly informed regarding HHonors benefits and seem really not to care. Guess this is the result of a program having so many members that if a few get mad and leave, well so what.

    I plan to switch a big portion of my business to either independents, Kimpton or Hyatt when travel plans permit.
     
  14. gemac
    Original Member

    gemac Silver Member

    Messages:
    1,027
    Likes Received:
    1,077
    Status Points:
    900
    We have had the same experience, particularly in London. In January, we arrived at the Waldorf London on a Thursday for a four night stay, were told that an executive room was not available. We asked if one would be available the next day that we could switch into. Type, type, type, one will be available in an hour. We gave the bell captain our bags and went to the lounge for an hour.

    I believe there is an I-Phone App that will let Diamonds see all the vacant rooms at a hotel. A Diamond that I know uses this in Europe when he gets the "no executive rooms available" stuff. He tells the hotel desk clerk that the website lists the following executive rooms as available, and reads them off. He always gets one.
     
  15. globalguy

    globalguy Active Member

    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status Points:
    85

    It's a shame a top tier elite member of HHonors, or any program for that matter, would have to beg and argue for a benefit to which they are already entitled.
     
  16. newbluesea
    Original Member

    newbluesea Gold Member

    Messages:
    2,681
    Likes Received:
    4,734
    Status Points:
    2,570
    I diagreee with this post almost in its entirety ... perhaps I have been very lucky or more to the point you unlucky but I have gotten upgraded on about 80% of my European stays and have never been denied lounge access.
    As far as London going I normally stay at the Paddington for its convenience to the HEX and have gotten double suite upgrades etc at this property.... London Hilton I dont much care for.
    As far the rest of Europe I have received suite upgrades at the ADT Paris (multiple times) Hilton Lyon, Hiton Buda Castle, Budapest Westend, Hilton Prague, Hilton Vienna, Conrad Brussels, The Cavalieri, Hilton Sorrento, Hilton Milan, Hilton Dagonalal Mar, Hilton Toledo just to name a few that comes readily to mind.

    To say that Diamond is useless in Europe IMHO is just plain and simple just an exhaggeration.
    Hey leave program if you want but the opinion you just posted doesnt hold true for most people I know who a familiar with the HH program.
     
  17. Logan Grooms

    Logan Grooms Active Member

    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status Points:
    85
    The iPhone app will let you actually book your specific room number about 24 hours before you arrive (at least for gold/diamond HH). For example, I was able to book room 1017 at the Checkers Hilton Los Angeles even though they told me over the phone that they only had a room available on the 5th floor. The Hilton Bayfront in San Diego has told me multiple times that they didn't have any suites available (not a free upgrade but I am willing to pay the usually less expensive upgrade rate at the front desk) but I am always (not) surprised to see the open and bookable suite inventory on their website when I get in my room (thanks HH for the free internet by the way).

    Hilton usually allows you to cancel a same day booking before midnight so if you book a hotel at 3 PM you have until midnight to cancel it and not be charged - unless you book a nonrefundable room, of course. Here's how I usually get Hilton to HHonor my HH benefits - If I am told they do not have upgraded rooms available (HH floor, view, not looking at a roof, etc.), I show them their open inventory on their website. If they still refuse to put me in an upgraded room, I book the open inventory - usually 2 or 3 to show them that I was just able to book at least one room. I book the room because they tell me sometimes that the website is incorrect (Hilton Times Square). At this point they usually honor my request and I cancel the reservations for the other room(s) I booked in front of them online.

    I am always happy to pay full price for a room and don't always expect an upgrade when a hotel is full. I also always book directly through the Hilton website. What am I missing, though, when I spend tens of thousands of dollars a year and I have to beg for an upgraded room that would otherwise sit empty?

    And to comment on the original post - I actually like the ability to purchase upgrades before I arrive. I won't purchase an upgrade to an executive floor but I will purchase an upgrade to a suite. The problem, though, is when I purchase the potential upgrade to a suite and they say there aren't any available - until I show them their open and bookable inventory on their website.
     
  18. thetenken
    Original Member

    thetenken Silver Member

    Messages:
    235
    Likes Received:
    130
    Status Points:
    420
    We'll see how this shakes out with the new system. With NOR1 it was unconfirmed upgrades, but with the new system hopefully one should know within 24 hours of arrival?
     
  19. sdcarver
    Original Member

    sdcarver Silver Member

    Messages:
    839
    Likes Received:
    1,098
    Status Points:
    775
    The dreaded NOR1s... I have had numerous stays (about 90% +)where I have not chosen the Nor1 and still been upgraded to Executive Floor as a diamond.

    sdcarver
     
  20. chitownflyer
    Original Member

    chitownflyer Silver Member

    Messages:
    982
    Likes Received:
    1,013
    Status Points:
    870
    Perhaps your experiences with not receiving upgrades comes from the specific hotels which you are staying. I would try different locations and see what the results are. I do understand if a hotel is heavily booked that prefered upgrades may not be available, but Hilton branded hotels should honor upgrades for elites when rooms are available. I recommend reading up on the hotels on tripadvisor to get a feel for them. With so many hotels, YMMV with regards to upgrades, but I have had excellent experiences with upgrades being provided by Hilton, and it is the reason I give them my loyalty.
     
  21. globalguy

    globalguy Active Member

    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status Points:
    85
    I always get access to the Executive Lounge. That has never been a problem. It is the low % of getting upgrades that is the problem. And I actually was at Hilton Paddington this week. Again, no exec floor upgrades available. They told me I had a room upgrade, but it looked like a standard room to me. Was at Paris ADT last week on Tuesday. No upgrade available. Maybe it is because of spring break or something and the hotel was full. Who knows. Or maybe I am not insistent enough.
     
  22. MyTravels
    Original Member

    MyTravels Silver Member

    Messages:
    482
    Likes Received:
    352
    Status Points:
    570
    +1. Upgrades are based on availability, you are only guaranteed the room type you booked and/or any pre-arranged upgrades.
     
  23. gemac
    Original Member

    gemac Silver Member

    Messages:
    1,027
    Likes Received:
    1,077
    Status Points:
    900
    OK, here's a scenario for you. Two guests left to check in today. One Diamond, one Blue member who has indicated he is willing to pay $50 per night to upgrade to a suite, space available. Two rooms left, one suite, the other a standard room next to the elevators. The Diamond checks in first. If they put him in the suite, it's bye-bye $50. The hotel decides to put him in the standard room and save the suite so that they will get the extra $50. Is this a good thing? Would you be happy?
     
  24. MyTravels
    Original Member

    MyTravels Silver Member

    Messages:
    482
    Likes Received:
    352
    Status Points:
    570
    (Ignore the fact that Diamond upgrades excludes suites)
    If two guests originally booked standard rooms, are checking in on the same day for the same length of stay, and one guest agreed to pay for a NOR1 and one didn't, then status & order of arrival have no relevance.
     
  25. gemac
    Original Member

    gemac Silver Member

    Messages:
    1,027
    Likes Received:
    1,077
    Status Points:
    900
    Hilton can do whatever it wants, and it has apparently chosen to do this. What it cannot expect, however, is that its elite members, the ones who spend a lot with the chain every year, year after year, will be happy about it.
     
    thegrailer and Bob Smolinsky like this.

Share This Page