Hilton HHonors changes its rules to stop status benefits on Expedia etc bookings

Thanks to Loyalty Lobby, an unannounced change to the Hilton HHonors terms and conditions was spotted last week.

Hilton has historically been very good about honouring your status benefits if you book via a third party site such as Expedia.  Whilst you won’t receive Hilton HHonors points or stay credit for your room rate, you would generally find that – as a Hilton Gold – you received an upgrade, free breakfast and free wi-fi.

You could argue that this makes good business sense.  After all, if you have hotel status, you have presumably shown loyalty to that chain in the past via booking directly.  It is not your fault if a client insists on booking you a room via a third party or if a hotel is cheaper on Expedia but in a way which means the Hilton best rate guarantee does not apply (eg Expedia says 11am check-out and the hotel site says noon check-out).

You may remember that I successfully got my Hilton benefits on a stay in Munich a year ago even though it was booked via hotels.com.

Hilton Diamond 350

The rule change means that Hilton properties no longer have any obligation to do this.  This doesn’t mean that, overnight, all of the hotels will stop doing it but in time it will filter down.

The exact wording that has been added into the rules is:

On-property benefits are not awarded in the following circumstances:

Reservations booked through a non-Hilton Worldwide-direct booking channel or a non-designated GDS, third party website or any other channel, Rates available on “opaque” websites where the hotel brand and specific hotel are not known until the booking is made, or Third party hotel packages or travel packages not booked through one of the eligible channels.

Hyatt remains the only major chain which retains a policy of awarding on-property status benefits irrespective of how you booked and irrespective of whether your room rate will earn points.

(Want to earn more hotel points?  To see our complete list of promotions from the major chains, click here to visit our ‘Hotel Promos’ page or use the link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

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Comments

  1. Recently been using Hiltons Best Price Guarantee, that works fine. + They give you another £30 ish ($50 equivalent) off your stay.

    Be careful that you ask them to match the right version of the site, as when i matched Hotels.com, they matched the US Site.

    “The facts are clear: booking direct at Hilton.com just makes sense. Unlike other sites, Hilton.com is the only place to earn reward night with HHonors points, take advantage of exclusive rate packages at our hotels, and always get the lowest guaranteed rate. If you find a lower available rate anywhere else, we’ll match it – plus give you $50 back.

    Why Book Anywhere Else?

    The Only Guarantee that Gives You
    Cash if You Find a Lower Price*
    For Hotels inside the USA, Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico, we will give you a US $50 American Express Gift Cheque. The Gift Cheque will be sent to you the next business day after your stay, as reserved, is completed. For Hotels outside the USA, Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico, we will adjust your bill by US $50 (or local currency equivalent)

    * For Hotels inside the USA, Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico, we will give you a US $50 American Express Gift Cheque. The Gift Cheque will be sent to you the next business day after your stay, as reserved, is completed. For Hotels outside the USA, Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico, we will adjust your bill by US $50 (or local currency equivalent).””

    • I’ve had one successful claim with this but difficulty with some others. For anyone having problem there’s a very active thread on FlyerTalk about this and their rep (Erin) seems to be fairly helpful at trying to intervene if required.

      • sandgrounder says:

        I have found it works best when Hilton have a sale. The third party sites advertise the ‘Summer Sale’ or whatever rate and the Ts&Cs are usually identical. No wriggle room!

      • Isodrac says:

        The thread is active, however, I’m not sure you could say the same about the rep!

        • Hehe yes, that’s why I only went as far as ‘fairly helpful’ 😉 Some folk seem to have had success by sending her a PM though.

  2. I was pleased to be awarded a decent chunk of points last week at the Hilton Strathclyde despite booking a prepaid rate at Hotels.com. Only charge to our room was a £4 tray charge to have breakfast room service.. Magic!

  3. Omadon says:

    And what about the reservations made with avios or avios and money of the BAEC or Iberia Plus? I use this way when the normal rates are too expensive.

  4. ankomonkey says:

    Typical. Hit HH gold earlier this year and was looking forward to hopefully getting an upgrade and free breakfast during my first ‘gold’ stays in August. These were two bookings via Amex travel to use their £50-off statement credit offer from a while ago. I mailed just last week to link the bookings and add my HH number. The reply I got said they hadn’t added my HH number because I’d booked with a third party and would not be eligible for any points or benefits.

    I was quietly hoping this was just one rep and that I’d try my luck at getting upgrade/breakfast at check-in. I’m now not confident…

    • Danksy says:

      I didn’t get my free breakfast for me and SWMBO last year at a Hilton ; however I complained and got a $50 giftcard as compensation.

      I genuinely hadn’t realised I’d booked through hotels.com it was only when I’d checked my account after I received the $50 giftcard which was mailed from the USA!

    • Hmm, Amex Travel bookings should be OK though – they shouldn’t be counted as 3rd party. That’s the handy thing when making FHR bookings.

      • Has anyone alse had their benefits/points declined when booking through Amex Travel?

        • In my experience, Amex travel booking never got me any points and the stays were never counted for status.

          I remember I looked into the T&C on Amex travel a while ago, and noticed that they seemed to buy the hotels rooms in packages and sell them to the public. It stated that they will only notify hotel a few days in advance of your arrival.

          I once called Hilton CS before to see if they could find my booking from Amex travel to add my Hilton number to the booking, they were unable to find my booking from their system.

          I have stopped using Amex Travel for Hilton booking for a while now, so I am not sure about the current situation, but it sounds like it is still the same.

          FHR however will be counted as qualify spent/stay as you pay the hotel directly.

          • ankomonkey says:

            My bookings were through Amex Travel for August and they were able locate them and link them together so that we can stay in the same room. But they clearly stated I wouldn’t get any points or benefits. I will still try my luck at check-in but not holding out much hope…

          • Thanks for the information.

          • Interesting – I’ve only made one non-FHR booking with Amex and that was for the Plat promo earlier this year and was for a non chain hotel. Being able to double dip on FHR and hotel status benefits is very handy, sorry to hear this doesn’t seem to be the case on other types of stay with them. I must say I find their website pretty atrocious and generally just call for FHR bookings.

  5. Never got benefits from Gold on third party. Never tried. Always assumed that it wasn’t valid.

  6. Peter Taysum says:

    Sorry I think it’s mentioned above, do BAEC bookings count? (I’m a bit slow sometimes!)

    Thanks,

    • No, they are third party bookings if booked using the ‘book a hotel with Avios’ option.

      If you book a BA Holiday then sometimes the hotels do count for status and stay credit but you cannot guarantee it.

  7. Hi,
    Does this effect only bookings made from Expedia or all third party vendors? I have recently booked a stay at Hilton in Dubai via a third party and have the gold Hilton card, will be still be entitled to an upgrade?
    Thanks guys!..