Bits: Hilton cutting UK Diamond benefits, super-cheap InterCon London 02 nights, £15 off Lufthansa

News in brief:

Hilton cutting Diamond benefits in UK hotels?

A couple of years ago I wrote about Hilton allowing UK hotels to downgrade the offerings in their executive lounges.  It seems that the company is at it again.

Hopefully not due to the huge influx of new Diamond status members from the current status match, Diamond benefits are being cut from 1st June.

You will no longer be given a free drink voucher on arrival.  The basket of goodies (sparkling and still water, nuts, sweets etc) will also be removed from your room.

I have heard this from two separate HFP readers this week so, unfortunately, I have to assume it is correct.

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

InterContinental London O2

Stay at the InterContinental London O2 for as little as £104!

All being well, I should be checking out the brand new InterContinental at the O2 in London over the Bank Holiday.  The hotel has been unbelievably obstructive to Head for Points but it takes more than that to put us off!

Feedback to date is very positive after a wobbly first few weeks.  However, the hotel is simply too big – 450 rooms – to fill when their is no major event on at the arena.  For June, I am seeing rooms as low as £104 on Friday 17th June which is exceptional value for money.

If you fancy an upmarket London break – and the hotel has a good pool, spa, rooftop bar and a well regarded executive lounge (at extra cost) – it is worth a look.  You could also get some credit towards your Accelerate promotion targets at the same time.  You can check pricing here.


£15 off a Lufthansa flight from the UK

Finally, Lufthansa is offering a £15 discount on UK departures at the moment.

You need to visit this website and claim a discount code.  It will be valid for £15 off any UK departure booked before 22nd July.  You need to travel before 31st October.

Bits: Flying Blue joins PointsHound, United 'buy miles' bonus, PartnerPlusBenefit Vienna bonus
Amex says 'business cards must now only be used for business expenditure'
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  1. Guy Andrews says:

    I believe an UK Hilton (as reported on Flyertalk ) left a letter in a room detailing this but has since been dismissed by HHonors Flyertalk rep …but hey given the variance in Diamond treatment by some hotels …

  2. Vistaro says:

    HHonors needs a new “top” level, Diamond has become far too easy to get so the benefits are disappearing, I thought Diamond for Life may offer more but it seems not.

    • The benefit of Lifetime Diamond Status is not having to do 30 stays, stay 60 nights or earn 120,000 base points every year. Based on 30 £150 one-night stays, that’s a saving of £4,500 a year if you wanted Diamond status and didn’t travel for work. I’d be well chuffed if I was a Lifetime Diamond member.

  3. Dirtyneedebluesky says:

    Stayed at the Hilton Brighton last weekend..

    All I received, for a three night stay, was one drinks voucher and two bottles of water (only received water after complaining that the sofa bed still hadn’t been made up after asking on 3 previous occasions) & a supposedly upgraded room which made a Travelodge look cutting edge!

    Also two full breakfasts but they said the room included breakfast on-check-in so not sure if this was via status or the corp rate utilised.

    • Stay at this hotel a lot as I work in Brighton a fair bit. Always get upgraded to a refurbished room – they tend to ask me at check in if I want sea-view or larger room etc. and the free breakfast is great, full run of the buffet and cooked items. Free drink voucher for use in the bar. Tend to only stay one night at a time however. I think this hotel is exceptional value.

      • As a gold member have stayed here on business a few times. Last time (around March) they had a mock up exec lounge in the bar area which was cordoned off for access for gold and diamond only. I have since seen this at other hiltons without exec lounges such as Edinburgh Grosvenor. It’s a nice to have but lots of stares from other guests as you sip your wine.

    • I also stay here regularly – and I despise the hotel
      However, I must add that if you want water, just phone down and ask. I get two bottles per day and its never a problem.
      Not sure what you were expecting from the sofa bed being left down. Its a minor inconvenience that I would imagine was sorted relatively quickly.

  4. James67 says:

    I stayed in DT Westminster last week. No drinks voucher or snacks were provided but I did receive room upgrade, lounge access and full breakfast. I was rather impressedby the hotel too.

    • That’s good to know I’m staying there in July. Any other info you cab provide about the hotel? What is the lounge like? Thanks

      • James67 says:

        Hi Brian, I liked this hotel better than any chain hotel I’ve stayed in London. South/river facing rooms are bright and airy with their light decor and furnishings, and large windows. Highest standards of housekeeping I have seen in any hotel outside Asia. Rooms a decent size but bathroom cramped but funcytional, shower only in my exec floor room. Empty bar but store in reception, water replaced daily. An iMac in room but it doubles as TV so small for TV these days. Code provided for complimentary premium internet which worked well in our room. Lounge is a windowless conference room but just big enough to meet demand during our stay. A fair selection of wines and beer 2 hrs each night, four hit snacks, tgree sandwuches, candy, crisps, crackers, nuts and biscuits. A decent hot drinks machine with cups to go. Very friendly and efficient staff. Decent breakfast in nice breakfast room. Pimlico, Victoria and Westminster tubes all 10 mins walk away at most. Bus 88 from Lambeth Bridge stop just behind hotel has you in Trafalgar Square in 5 minutes. At OLCI was offered suite upgrade fir just £32. Will definitely stay here again.

        • If there is an iMac in the room then it may be an old Mint Hotel which Hilton bought out. The Mint Hotel in Manchester is now a Doubletree and was a great little hotel.

          • James67 says:

            Now that you mention it, I think I heard that someplace else so I guess you’re right. Btw, LL had a post that MAS again offering cheap region J fares out of both Thailand and Malaysia.

            • Thanks for tip, I’ve been testing it out, but next asia trip isn’t until December when it will be KL, then either Phuket (as the in laws like it there), Bali (which is where i want to go, and also a friend will be backpacking there) or somewhere in Vietnam (somewhere, as it depends on where a friend will be on their bike trip)!

              A lot of the Mint Hotels became Hilton Garden Inn, but the clue seems to be if the room still has the iMac in it. Hilton seem to be expanding, new hotels in Glasgow and Edi and they taking over Carlton on North Bridge. All makes Diamond status more useful.

      • I’m staying this week I will update on the DTWestminster and my findings.

  5. Seems very short sighted if true. Aside from the service cost of putting the water in the room, the actual water must cost them a few pence on a hundred quid room…

  6. Given the rates at the IC O2 im surprised they are being obstructive, I would have thought any type of positive advertisement would have been most welcome as having to sell nights in a five star hotel cheaper than an HIX has to be hurting someone’s pocket – probably my pension fund knowing my luck.

    We have three nights planned for early July and we intending to use a mix of AMB BOGOF and visa free night but at £112 a night we just went with the cash option and will use the vouchers later in the year.

    Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on it Rob.

    • Wilson says:

      Use the 20% mastercard rate if you can as it includes free breakfast. Stayed at the IC O2 last weekend and the breakfast buffet has a great spread. I also thought the pool facilities were excellent.

  7. Craig Paolozzi says:

    Diamond changes have been dismissed by Hilton rep on FT

    • Simon Schus says:

      Stayed at Blackpool Hilton this week for a work thing- the reception told me that they are phasing the drinks vouchers out as a UK chain and so wouldn’t be able to provide me with one. I then got to my (refurbished, excellent) room to find a full bottle of red wine with their compliments! It was an excellent stay at only £41! I got about 3000 points out of it and a free bottle of wine for a stay I needed anyway so I was happy!


      • These comments come from two different HFP readers who were told – by the reception desks at two different UK hotels – that these changes were coming from next week.

    • No she has not.

      She has not denied the removal of these benefits as mentioned in this article.

  8. Agree diamond is easy to obtain I matched my spire elite. However I’ve stayed in 4 Hilton properties since my match.

    If the match wasn’t available I’d have stayed at IHG properties.

    I’ve been really impressed with the hotels I’ve stayed at WA in Edinburg being the highlight. The new Hilton in Bournemouth was very good also.

    • I really enjoyed the first time I stayed at WA Edinburgh. Second time not so much with a pretty small room and a few things weren’t up to even basic standard in it. Galvin was nice for food but I felt the more expensive Pompadour wasn’t worth the extra.

  9. Simon Schus says:

    Also, I thought water was a published benefit of Diamond and Gold across the Hilton brand rather than a UK-specific benefit that they could alter.

    • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

      It’s a silver benefit!

    • Indeed so, this sounds like an individual property just trying to play fast and loose with the rules rather than a widespread change.

      • I’m finding more and more that properties are so different with their rewards. The most generous was Hilton Newport South Wales. They always gave drinks voucher, small bottle of wine in room, 2 glass bottles of water in room (small), nuts, sweets, full breakfast and personal letter from manager. Even sometimes fruit basket. Just been bought by Celtic Manor Resort though unfortunately.

        Some hiltons don’t even leave water any more let alone the above.

  10. Wasn’t aware that i ought to receive a drink voucher or a “basket”? Is this at all Hilton properties in the UK or only those that don’t have an executive lounge?

    • It seems it’s at the discretion of each hotel. The Hilton Strathclyde outside Glasgow is fantastic for the little extras. Rates are inexpensive and the breakfast is much better than many more expensive hotels, includes hot muffins e.g. Nutella. Also gives drink vouchers and two room snacks e.g. nuts, jelly beans.

    • I have done 5 Hilton stays this year as Diamond and only once, at DT Dunblane, received a drinks voucher and snacks. This was made more surprising as the booking wasn’t direct with the hotel and i had called to ask them to add my Honors no.

  11. Nick M says:

    That’s frustrating if true… Our next stay is 1st June!

    I gained Diamond through a status match, but since then have always looked at Hilton properties as a first port of call… The benefits presumably cost very little in the grand scheme of things – even for an infrequent traveler: having a reasonable chance of being upgraded and not paying for breakfast makes Hilton a more interesting option even if slightly more expensive than a suitable alternative

  12. Barnaby100 says:

    The only hilton I can think of that gives drinks vouchers and executive lounge access is doubletree tower. At all others with lounges no drinks voucher. As for gifts only hilton I stay in that gives them is t5 and doubletree cambridge. Doubletree tower used to but not recently.

  13. barnaby100 says:

    As a business traveller I usually arrive too late for evening lounge access and drinks vouchers are better. Plus as a woman I can take the drinks from the bar to my room, whereas taking them out of the lounge is generally disapproved of. I have been in a couple of lounges (and many hotel bars) where I am not comfortable to sit and drink alone due to unsolicited attention- airport hotels usually are worse. Indeed, we were discussing this at work last week and most women wont go the bar or restaurant alone as they are regularly hassled- pretty much regardless of age.

  14. James A says:

    I have to say as someone who earnt diamond I’ve been a little annoyed at the rampant status matching – especially as it is to 2018, whereas mine from just weeks before was 2017. But Ho hum can’t beat em join em, matched the wife to 2018 😛

    My experience is the drinks vouchers and extras is very inconsistent. At some hotels they throw the works at you (Manchester airport), at others nothing (Edinburgh grosvenor).

    • I have had drinks vouchers and a nuts / crisps the last (and only) 3 times i’ve stayed at Edinburgh Grosvenor. Plus a shot of honey whiskey on arrival! I like the place and the benefits keep me coming back.

    • I’ve booked Grosvenor at some cracking rates. Got £49 a night last year.

      I’ve had a stay where I got nothing and I’ve had a stay with whiskey on arrival, drinks voucher and even access into a mock up exec lounge in the side section of the bar. They had bottled beer, red and white wine and bar snacks.

      I believe it depends on how many elite tiered they having staying whether they bother to roll out the drinks cart

  15. travelbear says:

    This week i’ve been matched Etihad silver,Emirates silver and got Diamond earlier this year.
    I always had a feeling they would start devaluing!

  16. Spent less than £100/night at Hilton Canary Wharf…

    Be interesting to see how the IHG compares.

  17. It is unclear whether this refers to ‘Hilton’ properties or the many other brands such as DoubleTree and Garden Inn etc. The benefits do vary considerable; see here
    Last week I stayed at the Doubletree Sheffield Park for 10,000 points. It is an excellent hotel and on arrival I was handed a letter detailing the Diamond benefits which included 20% discount in the excellent restaurant which is not shown on the web site. We also stayed in an excellent few weeks old Hilton Garden Inn for 8000 points + £24 where I was asked whether I wanted the points or breakfast. I asked for breakfast and received both.
    My experience is that Hilton web site has a strong US bias e.g. enormous sign up bonuses on cards so is not always accurate for UK.

  18. ringingup says:
    • She only denied any changes to my way benefits not the changes listed in this article.

      • ringingup says:

        Changes to benefits that are not documented anywhere, though. Or are they?

  19. Zander says:

    I wonder if it’s time to switch preferred hotel choice, I’ve always loved Hilton and average under 100€/night for most places (Conrad and Waldorf properties excluded).

    If Shangri-La had a better foot print in Europe and the US I’d use them all the time without a shadow of a doubt, well if work permits! I loved my recent stay in Hong Kong Island Shangri-La likewise Dubai and Paris were amazing too. Shame it’s harder to keep status from the UK.

  20. mitpat474 says:

    I’m there on Sunday, if your about give me a shout. Booked into a club room expecting a club intercon suite as a minimal. I’m solo for the evening if you need access to lounge let me know i can walk you in.

    • Thanks. There is someone else there I know so I may sneak in to the lounge with that couple – need some photos! Say hi if you see me, pic on ‘Contact Us’.

      • mitpat474 says:

        yeah mate ill give you a shout if i see you.. email me as per my details if you fail to get in.

  21. Barnaby100 says:

    I see the letter came from the hilton Northampton. When I checked it late it was very evident that my room had been vacated only minutes before and that the departing occupants had just had a quick shower and ruffled the bed a bit. I asked to move rooms. The bathroom floor had wet footprints. Don’t they charge for parking as well despite being a single site hotel. They are number 1 on my dodgy hotels to avoid in the future list. I got charged for 1 small bottle of water that was in the room despite being diamond- it was put through a couple of days after the stay.

  22. Hilton now officially confirmed the removal of these benefits from hotels on flyertalk.

    • Looks like this is the relevant post –

      The welcome gift is likely going although, as commented already in that thread and here, this was pretty patchy between properties and even between stays at the same property.

      They’ve also confirmed though that the more important MyWay benefits are remaining the same and bottles of water should therefore be fine too given they’re listed as a core benefit (welcome gifts were never listed at all).

      Seems a bit petty but it doesn’t look like a change to published benefits.

      • I bet that Lauren is a bit dull as a girlfriend…I’m removing your in-room gifts…it was never an official benefit…however I’m still your girl, harry

        • Lol, better not let Mrs Harry hear you speaking like that or you’ll be sent away to your European retreat!! 😛

          • Oh, she knows there’ll never be another & I’d rather get a spaniel next time round :)

            • James67 says:

              … I’d have thought you would just settle for another case of Tescos “very drinkable” if they came with 1000 bonus cc points, no need to feed it or any mess to clean up.

  23. William says:

    As a frequent Hilton resident (but not with Diamond status) I have been finding that Hiltons have been undergoing changes which are not for the best. Apart from sales they are routinely overpriced with the exception of some of the lower end Hiltons which can be good value for money. The benefits are being withdrawn and the executive lounge provision is now a poor shadow of its former self.

  24. Chris Cannon says:

    Rob. Just checked into the HIlton Northampton which I use a lot. I can confirm that unfortunately the cut in diamond benefits is true. Only water now. No nuts, jellybean sir drinks voucher. That’ll help with the diet anyway!

  25. Nothing except water in Maidstone this week…I knew there was a reason that I didn’t like change!