Reported elimination of Diamond Special Request

Discussion in 'Hilton | HHonors' started by newbluesea, Jun 29, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. newbluesea
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    newbluesea Gold Member

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    Sorry about the spelling in the thread title .. thought I was able to change it but I guess not

    I am a little surprised that nobody here has posted on the apparent elimination by Hilton of the Diamond Special request (compare with the ranting and raving over at you know where :) )

    Lets be clear here I have used the Diamond Special request perhaps twenty times over the last 8-10 years so I am disappointed to see its demise but looking the situation realistically one wonders if HH hasn’t allowed the situation (perhaps unwittingly) to get out of hand.

    So here are my thoughts and I will say that I am NOT AT ALL apologetic in playing a bit of devil’s advocate here.
    a) The Diamond Special Request aka DSR (and let’s stick to the proper nomenclature as opposed to the really incorrect term of “diamond force”) was put in place to afford Diamond the ability to be guaranteed a PAID room within 48 hours at a sold-out property. The room rate paid under those circumstances was often quite close or at the higher end of the rack rate structure.
    THIS WAS THE ONLY GUARANTEE SPECIFICALLY LISTED IN THE HHONORS T & C.

    b) At some stage of the game I would say near the end of 2004 Hilton decided to make it applicable to award stays. THIS BY DESIGN OR DE FACTO HAD BECAME WHAT WAS AN UNPUBLISHED BENEFIT OF THE PROGRAM.
    I wager that outside of FT not a lot of HH Diamonds were or are aware of this benefit and even now only a very small percentage of those (FTers) understand the terms and the quite distinct difference between the 48hr room guarantee and the ability to secure an award room.

    c) Fast forward to the popularity and proliferation of various Frequent flyer websites, blogs and all sort of “experts” giving their super inside information of how to game the system etc etc and I am sure HH found themselves deluged with HH members requesting .. and often demanding that whether the hotel or the city itself is fully booked due to some event they must be provided with an award room. (or they are going cancel their account ant move to Marriott)

    Some here might remember the famous HH thread of FT of the newly minted Diamond who was absolutely livid that as a Diamond he should have been provided a room at the Hilton Diagonal al Mar on short notice (despite him knowing he was planning to stay at the property well in advance) during one of the world’s largest international cellular phone conventions and baring in mind the fact that all the hotels in Barcelona was fully booked months in advance.

    d) One my most gratifying DSR was a four night AXON at the almost sold-out Cavalieri where the only listed available rooms were close to 800 euro and I know HH must have paid the property some 2000 euro for my DSR stay . How do I know? Well some here might well remember the days when a bug in the system gave members unearned points on reward stays equal to the hotel re-embursement … nearly 30k points were pointed to my account.

    Reflecting back on that and what does appear to be a situation which HH most likely did not anticipate makes me wonder/convinced that the whole DSR thingy with respect to rewards stays were longer cost effective for HH or at least a cost they are willing to bear.
    In the final analysis a subset of FTers might be pissed (so whats new?) but I am sure HH has weighed that into the overall decision. Perhaps those that leave will make up for the proliferation of new Amex Surpass Diamonds :)

    e) Finally .. with regard to the new reward structure the ranting in raving elsewhere seems to encompass the most outlandish examples but I was surprised to see some “reasonable” upsell rewards.
    Eg Cavalieri normal reward 60K But also available, Executive (level) Room Rome view room 83K points IMHO the additional 23k points are well worth it to get the Rome view and Imperial lounge access.

    in closing while I am disapponted in the move by HH I say to myself what would be my response lodging programwise? I stay at hotels because I like the convenience/location and service why move to another chain which has not got a comparable benefit I may be losing??? Certainly not Marriott ( am already SPG Plat) or IC
    Hyatt a non starter... much too few International properties
     
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  2. wheat27
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    wheat27 Silver Member

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    I've managed to use the Diamond Special Request for a reward stay just once, but it got me a room at Grand Wailea when I would have had trouble shelling out the cash for the best available rate. I'll be sad to see it go but the way I see it, I just need to make sure to plan appropriately. I'm certainly not planning on moving away from Hhonors as a result, but I figure it's all the more reason to make sure I have at least a moderate stash of points with my other programs
     
  3. MSY-MSP
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    MSY-MSP Silver Member

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    Let me make sure I am understanding this correctly, HHonors is eliminating the Diamiand Gaurantee, both for paid and award? If this is true this is really not a good thing. If it is just for awards, it isn't great, but isn't the end of the world. However, I was able to get an award stay where one wasn't available just a couple weeks ago. The only thing the agent told me was that there had to be regular rooms available for sale.
     
  4. newbluesea
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    newbluesea Gold Member

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    No definite answer as of now as to whether one can make a DSR for paid stays... when the program changes are fully implemented I am sure we will know for sure then.
    Basically the paid and award DRSs are really two quite different animals.

    1) The 48 hour paid stay is a listed benefit of Diamonds and unless the property is under "extra-ordinary demand dates" the hotel will be prepared to walk guests of lessor status (provided there are rooms in the area where the displaced guests can be walked to)

    2) In the case of award DSRs since award rooms are only those designated "Standard rooms" if these rooms in any given property are sold out then the Diamond desk as part of the DSR process will make a cash offer to property to release a non-standard room. The decision lies solely with the hotel .. if they refuse there is nothing the DD can do at that juncture ... hence the waiting period before the Hilton member is notified of the request's success (or failure)

    The cash offer generally is of the magnitude of the rack rate and the hotels rarely refuse.
    The result however is often at a substantial cost to the HH pogram and as it became more popular particularly with the Ftalk/FF crowd Hilton probably realised that for an unpublished benefit it was getting way out of hand.

    3) Hence the move to a point basis non standard room reward request. That way HH keeps their costs down and gets (lots of) points off their books. In some cases the points required for the stays are crazy rediculous but if some member is prepared to pony up those amounts they would only to glad to oblige.

    I rather suspect if there are no takers for the high awards a downward reduction may be possible..

    4) The above condition applies only to those hotels ( seems like mostly International properties so far) that have been incorporated into the new system ( ie cash and points, additional awards for upgraded rooms etc etc).
    The apparent intention I presume will be to roll this out to eventually encompass all Hilton hotels.

    It is my understanding that for hotels not yet integrated into the new system the status quo remains the same.
     
  5. Sweet Willie
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    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    HHonors seems to be eliminating Diamond Guarantee on award stays at this time, no talk of any change to paid stays AFAIK.

    I strongly disagree that it isn't the end of the world as it is in HHonors' beneft & the hotel's to have the consumer spend more points. Therefore I cynically see HHonors offering far less standard award rooms so higher point redemptions will be become more the norm in order to secure an award room.
     
  6. Tenmoc
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    Tenmoc Gold Member

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    I agree it is a loss of benefit. And from my point of view I'm not paying the cash rate when I have to Diamond Force. So to lose the ability to book an award that way is taking the benefit away from me.

    With the way I've had this year with HH I am really considering what to do going forward. I have stopped hotel stays for the year and if I decide to keep HH I will do the Jan-Mar requal run. If not, they're done.
     
  7. newbluesea
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    newbluesea Gold Member

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    Edited .. sorry wrong forum
     
  8. chitownflyer
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    chitownflyer Silver Member

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    All I can recommend is to request to be transfered to Hilton customer relations and strongly voice your disapproval of this policy. The DSA is the one main benefits of being Diamond, and this move substantially devalues this elite tier.

    Take look at my blog post about Hilton eliminating the Diamond Special Arragement which details the doubling, tripling, and even quadrupling of points needed for reward stays. http://chitownscorner.wordpress.com...rrangement-aka-diamond-force-on-reward-stays/
     
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  9. MyMiles&Points
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    MyMiles&Points Milepoint Guide

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    ditto on calling with a complaint (email too!)
     
  10. Sweet Willie
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    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    I'll be curious if this last move by HHonors will be enough to make folks walk to another hotel chain. While I only had to use the DF once on an award stay, it was nice knowing I had the DF in my back pocket for using points when I wanted to use them. Now that this perk is gone, I'll be walking.

    FYI, if anyone wants to trade for HHonors, I've got 400k+
    -
     
  11. newbluesea
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    newbluesea Gold Member

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    I know HH elites ( that includes me) are upset over of the possibe elimination of the DSR but surely you are not saying you are leaving Hilton because a program feature you rarely if ever use is no longer available?:confused:

    Does any other lodging chain program currently have anything similar to the HH DSR?
     
  12. Sweet Willie
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    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    not that I'm aware, but other chains (at least spg) offer no blackout, so that if a standard room is available for sale, one can redeem points for an award at that hotel.
    this is just one straw over many to cause my decision. I used to have points in a wide variety of programs, now only a few, Hilton being one of the programs I still have a chunk of points with. Due to my wife's profession, I have to redeem during HIGH DEMAND periods, so having the 'insurance' of knowing that in a dire situation I could redeem Hilton was worth it to keep earning in the program. Hilton got me to sucker back into their program with the 'Stay 7 earn Diamond' and the 'Stay 4 earn a free night' promos, Now is it a meh program IMO and the perks I've received as a Diamond have been lackluster at best. A program has to work for the individual who belongs to it, Hilton no longer works for me.
     
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  13. newbluesea
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    newbluesea Gold Member

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    Fair enough.
    Personally I will reserve judgement on the whole scenario until I see how it pans out.
    Perhaps I am one of the fortunate members who can/do plan my trips well in advance and I have been very lucky over the years to get some great upgrades mostly at International properties (domestic I dont much care).

    As far as the program goes as a HH member of 23+ years.... I remember back when no such thing as the DSR for reward stays even existed...... if memory serves it was put in place only as late as around 2004.

    I put it to you very, very few members know about the DSR and even among the "knowledgeable " Ftalkers one only has to read the posts to discover that a low percentage has ever used it and even less of them understand the mechanics of the process.

    What seems to scaring them ( and hence the resultant but all too typical wild over-reaction) is the very high redemption values fornon reward rooms as listed on Hiltpn.com but basically what is being said by HH is " we have no reward rooms.. if you want to pay crazy rates to get a better room we are only too glad to lift those points off you" :) Incidentally that situation is exacly the same for SPG.. no reward type rooms .. no rewards (a commonly misunderstood factoid of the SPG program)
     
  14. jmrich1432
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    jmrich1432 Silver Member

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    As a recent addition to the Diamond club, I was hoping to use this for a stay in Sydney. I have been reading the thread on FT and see that people have been successful fairly recently (early June). I was planning on calling the DD tonight, any suggestions as to what I should say?
     
  15. chitownflyer
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    chitownflyer Silver Member

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    I am going to contact Nicholas Kralev about this change to the HHonors program. He did an interview with Jeffrey Diskin, so maybe our dissatisfaction can be relayed back to him. Nick was the first reporter to expose the practice of StarNet blocking, and he is effective in publicizing the shortcomings of programs.
     
  16. newbluesea
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    newbluesea Gold Member

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    By all apperances the new reward/structure etc has not yet been put in place for the Australian properties.
    A check on hilton.com shows no available awards at the Sydney Hilton for the entire period I checked (now..until the end of Sept).

    Personally I would tell them you wanted to make a Diamond Special Request since you were unable to book/see any availibilty on line (and play dumb about any up-coming changes)
     
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  17. jmrich1432
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    jmrich1432 Silver Member

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    Thanks for the advice, newbluesea! I will be calling shortly....
     
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