News in brief:
Hilton Honors improves Gold and Diamond benefits at Waldorf Astoria hotels
Hilton Honors has announced a small but welcome improvement to their programme which removes one of the anomalies.
From Monday, all Waldorf Astoria properties will offer complimentary continental breakfast or an equivalent credit for all Gold and Diamond members and a guest. A Diamond member will get it automatically but a Gold member must select it via their MyWay benefits.
This was always one of the things about Hilton Honors that annoyed me. Luckily, on my last Waldorf Astoria stay in Beijing at Easter (reviewed here, picture of the hutong it owns below) the hotel wasn’t having any of that nonsense and was giving free breakfast to Diamond members anyway.
The change is long overdue. I struggle to see the difference between Conrad and Waldorf Astoria hotels (Conrad is arguably more business focused) and Conrad properties have always given free breakfast.
You can see the full list of status benefits on this page of the Hilton website.
Remember that there are three ways to Hilton status without doing the necessary stays:
Via Hilton Platinum Visa – free Silver status for as long as you hold the card and Gold after spending £10,000 in a calendar year
Via Amex Platinum – free Gold status for as long as you hold the card
Via a status match to any other hotel status you hold – see this article for how to do it
PS. Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Hilton Honors points. That page is regularly updated with the latest special offers and will still be accurate even if you are reading this article months after publication.
£100 Amex cashback at the Royal Lancaster hotel in London
If you need a London hotel in January, American Express has launched a cashback deal with the plush Royal Lancaster next to Lancaster Gate tube. It is close – walkable with no luggage – to Paddington. Its main claim to fame is the fantastic view over Hyde Park.
You will get £100 cashback on a £250 spend at the hotel before 31st January. I have this offer showing on both my Platinum and Starwood American Express cards so it seems quite widespread. Remember to opt in via the ‘Offers’ page of your online statement.
There is also a 15% cashback deal for Firmdale Hotels on my account. Firmdale is the operator of Ham Yard, The Soho Hotel, The Haymarket Hotel and various other designer boutique properties in central London.
Waldorf Astoria and Mandarin Oriental expand in London
Speaking of Waldorf Astoria, the brand has, in my view surprisingly, been chosen to operate the new very high profile luxury hotel to open in London’s Admiralty Arch in 2022. It will be a relatively modest property at just 96 rooms.
It will be interesting to see if this forces the Waldorf Hilton Hotel to change its name. I know from reader emails that many people think this is part of the Waldorf Astoria brand – it isn’t, it is a Hilton – and the two hotels will be just five minutes walk apart.
Meanwhile, Mandarin Oriental is putting its name to a boutique hotel on Hanover Square in a site currently occupied by Crossrail construction. With just 50 hotel rooms but 80 multi-million pound Mandarin-branded ‘residences’ (ie flats) attached, I tend to see these projects as rather cynical cash-ins by the brands.
Over by Hyde Park, construction has also started on London’s first Peninsula hotel. Directly opposite the Lanesborough, the old 1960’s office block on the site has now been demolished. The hotel is due to open in 2021.
(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.)