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Did you know 8 Hilton brands don’t offer upgrades to Gold and Diamond members?

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When we cover Hilton Honors on Head for Points, we usually make reference to the fact that it offers the best mid-tier status in the industry.

Whilst Hilton Honors Diamond Elite status requires a bit of effort, Hilton Honors Gold Elite is relatively easy to achieve:

  • in 2021, you only need to stay 20 nights or 10 stays to achieve it, instead of the usual 40 nights or 20 stays

The key benefit of Hilton Honors Gold Elite is free breakfast at the majority of brands, either given directly or as something you can choose as your ‘My Way’ brand benefit.

Another benefit is some sort of upgrade. These are rarely spectacular as a Gold, but most mid-tier hotel statuses don’t even try to upgrade you.

As a Diamond member, you can expect better – although you won’t get it very often. The rules say that upgrades for a Diamond “may include upgrades up to “junior”, “standard” or “one-bedroom” suites”

Not all Hilton Honors brands offer upgrades

You might be surprised to find that not all Hilton Honors brands offer upgrades.

This is written down, fair and square, in the terms and conditions, but most of the time we don’t know or forget.

These are the Hilton Honors brands which do NOT offer upgrades to Gold or indeed Diamond members:

  • Embassy Suites
  • Hilton Garden Inn
  • Hampton by Hilton
  • Tru by Hilton
  • Homewood Suites by Hilton
  • Home2 Suites by Hilton
  • Hilton Grand Vacations
  • Motto by Hilton

As a UK-based Hilton Honors member, most of these exclusions won’t concern you most of the time.

By far the most important exclusion is Hampton by Hilton. Hampton properties have been springing up across Europe in recent years and I am generally positive about them.

Hilton Garden Inn has also seen UK growth recently, most noticeably with the Hilton Garden Inn Heathrow T2/T3 which we reviewed here. This was the second Hilton Garden Inn at Heathrow, after the rebranded Jurys Inn at Hatton Cross.

Which Hilton Honors brands do give upgrades?

The Hilton Honors rules specifically state that Gold and Diamond members are eligible for upgrades at the following brands:

  • Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts
  • LXR Hotels & Resorts
  • Conrad Hotels & Resorts
  • Canopy by Hilton
  • Hilton Hotels & Resorts
  • Curio – A Collection by Hilton
  • DoubleTree by Hilton
  • Tapestry Collection by Hilton

Does the ‘no upgrades’ rule really matter?

It is debatable whether these rules matter much. Hampton and Hilton Garden Inn hotels often do not have larger rooms to which you could be upgraded.

On the other hand, they definitely do have ‘better’ rooms – perhaps on higher floors, or with better view. Would this count as an ‘upgrade’?

Some hotels will ignore the brand rules anyway, of course. It would be very short-sighted of any hotel to fail to recognise the status of a regular brand guest, as opposed to, say, a tour group or someone who has booked through an online travel agent.

Someone has to be given the better rooms (and the worse rooms, of course) and it would be odd not to reflect status in the daily allocation.


How to earn Hilton Honors points and status from UK credit cards

How to earn Hilton Honors points and status from UK credit cards (October 2021)

There are various ways of earning Hilton Honors points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.

Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Hilton Honors Gold status for as long as they hold the card?  It also comes with Marriott Bonvoy Gold, Radisson Rewards Gold and MeliaRewards Gold status.  We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.

The Platinum Card comes with a limited time bonus of 60,000 Amex points (converts to 120,000 Hilton Honors points) until 2nd November 2021.

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Did you know that the Virgin Atlantic credit cards are a great way of earning Hilton Honors points? Two Virgin Points can be converted into three Hilton Honors points. The Virgin Atlantic cards are the only Visa or Mastercard products in the UK which can indirectly earn Hilton Honors points. You can apply here.

You can also earn Hilton Honors points indirectly with American Express Gold (30,000 bonus points – special offer to 9th November 2021), the American Express Rewards Credit Card (5,000 bonus points) and – for small business owners – American Express Business Gold (20,000 bonus points) and Business Platinum (40,000 bonus points).

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which can be used to earn Hilton Honors points

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

Comments (66)

  • meta says:

    Slightly off topic, but concerns new LXR property. Roku Kyoto is opening in September. 95k points a night. Cash rates are as you would expect around £1k per night. Already available on points. Few photos available, but it seems onsen is on site. It’s a bit out of the city, but walkable to Kinkakuji (Golden Pavillion). It’s also right next to Aman.

    Both Conrad and Hilton Tokyo are now also bookable for cherry blossom next year.

    • Lady London says:

      Are you going next year @meta? If so I am jealous.

      • meta says:

        I am. Third rescheduling, but going for 3 weeks this time as opposed to usual 2 weeks. Haven’t now been in three years, usually go every other year.

  • Save East Coast Rewards says:

    As a diamond I’ve often had some sort of upgrade in the hotels you’re not supposed to be upgraded in.

    Hampton Newcastle – always seemed to get a corner room which had a bit more space and a better view. When I stayed there 23 December one year they also gave me a signed Christmas card.

    Other Hamptons also seem to give rooms in better positions, although as most rooms are the same, better view is about the only benefit

    HGI Hatton Cross – always get a one category upgrade.

    HGI LHR T2 – usually get a high floor with views of the airport. My last stay (pre-pandemic) I got upgraded to a junior suite.

    HGI Lecce (south Italy) – only stayed once, got upgrade to junior suite.

    HGI Firenze (Florence) – only stayed once I was told it was an upgrade – room nice enough, but not sure whether it was much difference to the base rooms

    HGI Venice – both times I stayed I got the same room, a room with a generous sized outdoor terrace

    HGI Krakow – only stayed once, similar experience to Florence, was told that I was upgraded at check-in

    I think that’s all the HGIs I’ve been in except Rome and Sunderland. Rome I can’t recall an upgrade but I think I was gold at the time so if anything it would be a slight upgrade and Sunderland I can’t remember if it was supposed to be an upgrade. I did have a view of the Stadium of Light across the road, but I don’t know if they consider that a good or a bad thing.

    Based on my experiences I’d not let the official lack of upgrades put you off HGI and Hampton rooms in the UK ones at least are almost all identical except with the shape of the building may produce a few slightly bigger rooms (like in Newcastle) or the Hampton at Exeter Airport has some rooms with bathtubs instead of a walk in shower (but when I booked that I had the option to choose a room with or without a bath at the same price so it wasn’t an upgrade).

  • Aston100 says:

    Is there a live chat support option for Hilton, as there is with IHG?

  • Lady London says:

    I have definitely had better than the run of normal rooms from the above brands 2/3 of the times I stayed as a lowly Gold – bar one, without asking.

    Regular stays especially combined with any status definitely seem to help.

  • Secret Squirrel says:

    Related Q: I have Hilton Gold already until Mar 22. I’ve just had Gold confirmed again via Amex Platinum, will my Gold status be extended until Mar 23 now?

    • Rob says:

      Probably not – Hilton will check with Amex again later in the year about who gets it for 2022.

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