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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 (June 2022)

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.

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 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:

and for small business owners:

The conversion rate from American Express to Hilton points is 1:2.

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)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Mike White says:

    Like sone otyer comments, I have never *not* been offered a better room and, if not offered, I ask for one. The staff all go through the same Hilton training. I think the policy is more about managing expectations and is more aimed at the US market.

  • Matthew says:

    Do people *ask* for upgrades (at hotels where you should get them) as Gold/Diamond? I always feel awkward mentioning it at check in if nothing is mentioned?! Or do you send an email before your stay? I tend to get the best upgrades by saying nothing!!

    • Ben says:

      If in older Hiltons (Bracknell!!) it can make all the difference if you don’t get a better or renovated room. But in Hamptons I’m pretty much always happy with the standard room as it is.

      • John Caribbean says:

        Bracknell not to be a Hilton for much longer

        • Paul says:

          That’s disappointing to hear. It has been great for mattress runs and keeping diamond for next to nothing. When does it leave?

        • Rob says:

          Yes, it is being deflagged.

          • Nick G says:

            Good job it was a toilet! However I saw pics of doubletree looking rooms on the website (as if it had a revamp)…. now it’s no longer on the website!

    • Chris Heyes says:

      Mathew Yes well in our case, I’m Gold (I do the booking)
      All three of us are Gold only, Partner and her brother through having Platinum for 6 weeks last year, mine through stays.
      I Always book us into the best 3 bedded room they have below a Suite (sometimes only 3 bedded room they have is a family room fairly cheap)
      What then happens is we are upgraded to a Suite
      I have to admit “Every time” we are upgraded to a Suite (mostly a Junior Suite)
      I would always politely ask in a round about way usually in a e-mail before arrival
      My Speal is :
      Good Morning Just to let you know booking ref xxxx we will be arriving around 7pm allowing your staff need to clean our room later than they would normally
      Allowing of course a later check out for the previous guest !
      We will be leaving our room at 7am with suitcases so your staff can crack on with an early clean if they wish, we will have breakfast after check out, but wont need access to our room
      Looking forward to visiting once again, with hopefully access to your delightful Executive Lounge yours xxxx
      “NOTE” I haven’t got access to the Executive Lounge with my booking
      Not only does it seem to work, but on my Hilton Acc it sometimes says you have been upgraded to a Junior Suite before we arrive
      I Can honestly say we have always without fail been upgraded to either a Junior Suite or a Suite.
      We are always traveling off peak though so that could also be the reason
      We may find it differant Aug 2022 our first peak period stay Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik

      • Matthew says:

        Interesting thank you. Perhaps I should stop booking the base room each time! I always get upgraded to exec level room due to diamond but never had a suite. Thanks for the insight.

        • Chris Heyes says:

          Matthew Yes but “Note” there are 3 adults booking a 3 bedded room.
          It might “not” work if there are only 2 of you.
          There are plenty of 2 bedded exec rooms usually no 3 bedded exec rooms for 3 adults

      • Lady London says:

        You are utterly shameless, @Chris Heyes 🙂 .

        Most amusing. Words like “chutzpar” and “hustle” occur to me.

        lol.

    • The_real_a says:

      If I know a feature of an upgraded room – say coffee machine – I will note on the booking I would like this in the room if possible. Otherwise if I’m working from the room I will ask for a nice view or a room with a decent size. Most of the time I will be accomdated.

    • meta says:

      Depends on the country. In Eastern Europe and Germany, my partner and I (as Gold/Diamond) always have to really push for an upgrade on cash bookings and even when the hotel is empty and all suites are available. Loyalty is rarely acknowledged although when they do it is always with a big surprise with something along the lines “oh, you must be travelling a lot since you’re Diamond” followed by just handing out the key.

      In most other countries it is already proactively showing 1-2 days before the stay or the morning on the day. When it’s not, the hotel is usually fully booked, but sometimes we get an extra amenity from reception in addition to the in-room one…a box of chocolates, drinks or spa voucher, etc.

    • John says:

      Americans don’t feel awkward about asking

  • roberto says:

    Was at the Conrad in Rangali earlier this month (can reccomend highly) and they headed off the upgrade question by stating from the outset that “we don’t offer upgrades”.

    In saying that one couple said they did get an upgrade but I suggest that was an operation upgrade as some of the resort was closing for refurbishment. YMMV of course.

    • Russ says:

      I was in the Hilton Frankfurt a couple of years back and when I enquired about an upgrade the receptionists fired back ‘you’ve already got a nice room – be grateful for what you’ve got!’ 🙂

  • Iain Macleod says:

    Morning all. I often stay at the Hilton Garden Inn at Finnieston Quay, Glasgow. I always get an upgrade, even though it’s just to a river view room, plus they always give me 2, sometimes 4 drinks vouchers and free parking. They really make me feel valued as a Diamond member.

    • GaryC says:

      Agree with this. I have Diamond and stayed there recently at the height of lockdown – staff were great with the free parking and a load of drinks vouchers.

  • Harry T says:

    I’m regularly staying at a Hampton for work and I have been upgraded quite a few times, without asking, to rooms with a better view or sofa bed etc. Even if I am not technically given a higher room class, I am always given a room on the top floor at the quieter end of the corridor. I had no idea you are not meant to be upgraded at Hampton as Gold or Diamond, so I suspect this is just the hotel treating a regular guest well.

  • IanM says:

    If you use the Hilton app you can mostly choose your own room anyway in terms of position, high floor etc so it’s a bit of a non story

    • tony says:

      But they won’t show you all the rooms. Often the highest floors simply don’t show on the app, and you shouldn’t be able to self select a suite if you’ve only paid for a regular room.

      • Bagoly says:

        Does choosing your own room then more or less rule out an upgrade, or not?

        • Matthew says:

          This is a good point. People often say leave it to checkin staff for better chance of upgrade.

        • John says:

          You can only choose from the room type on your booking. Sometimes they upgrade your booking the day before in which case you will have a choice of the new room type. Otherwise you have to ask

  • RussellH says:

    Interesting that so many people consider a higher floor to be an upgrade.
    There is a significant chunk of the population who actively want to be on a low floor, or so I found in my tour operating days.
    One regualr customer told me that she would rather walk away from a hotel than go higher than the second floor.

    • Harry T says:

      Why was that? I personally like being on the top floor.

    • Doug M says:

      I’ve stayed in places in Manhattan where the lifts were really poor. Another problem one was I think a Novotel just north of Times Sq that had just an entrance on the street, and then lifts to reception which was on a high floor, the hotel only occupied the higher floors. You then joined a different bank of lifts to get to the room. Room to street or vice versa could easily be 15 minutes at busy times.

    • Lady London says:

      Large corporates often have specific standards written into their agreements with hotel groups and their travel agents that their travellers can only be put into certain room locations in hotels.

      For example one safety-oriented co I worked for said their travellers could not be placed higher than 4th floor and Ground Floor was discouraged. Staff were always instructed to locate the emergency exit and stairs on their floor immediately after occupying their room. Over the years I met 2 staff members who said they’d had to evacuate in a hotel fire and this habit really made a difference to them getting out promptly – one was a personal stay but the habit was ingrained.

  • Michael Jennings says:

    >Hampton and Hilton Garden Inn hotels often do not have larger rooms
    >to which you could be upgraded.

    I have been upgrade to suites in Hampton (with Hilton Gold) at least twice. So some do have larger rooms. Both times were in Turkey.

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