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Did you know eight 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:

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 (February 2024)

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 Premium and MeliaRewards Gold status.  We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points and a huge range of valuable 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.

Virgin Money is offering double points on spending until 14th April (£5,000 cap) to new customers when you apply for the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard. Click here to learn more.

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 (41)

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

  • DevonDiamond says:

    I’m not needy enough to care about upgrades or ask about them at reception, but my most recent stays at HGIs have given me 1) a one category upgrade, and 2) a pitch view room at HGI old Trafford. Hamptons usually acknowledge and offer me a higher floor or corner room which is nice enough but you don’t usually stay in a Hampton for the view! Tbh I’d rather a few drinks vouchers than an upgrade but they seem to have disappeared

    • pbcold says:

      “Needy”……people are wonderful.

    • yorkshireRich says:

      How is it “needy” to care about an upgrade. Tbh I have never asked, but when I go through the benefits of a loyalty programme and it is “upgrade is possible” then I do abit of digging to see they could upgrade me. My attitude is if they Cba to fulfil what the loyalty programme states, then why should I be bothered to pay my hard earned money to them next time.

    • Professor Calculus says:

      ”Needy” not the best choice of words.

      It not about being needy it is the principle if you are entitled to a possible upgrade then you should be offered it (subject to availability ) Simple !

    • Can says:

      “Needy”? You are in the wrong forum mate

      • David says:

        Yes, I’d go with needy… “but I’m an Elite” as the needy check in searching through an app to see what rooms are available, asking for the manager while tweeting about the horror of it and emailing the CEO. I’d definitely call that needy.

  • JohnTh says:

    At Embassy suites New York and nice upgrade to room with view (of Empire State) 28th floor, after gentle polite query about Diamond. 2 nights points + 2 nights paid.
    PS changing payment card a week before recalculated paid rate so had to email proof to front desk. Happened again on check out/in between the 2 reservations so glad to have printed evidence ready.

    • JohnTh says:

      Do be careful any upgrade at these brands doesn’t recalculate the rate. Receptionist said they are not supposed to upgrade so it can do it if they update the room category and don’t notice.

  • Jonathan says:

    Hi, I was upgraded to a Suite in Hampton in Istanbul. Hilton Gold. Quite surprised

  • RussellH says:

    Not everyone regards a higher floor as an upgrade.
    In my tour operating days I had a customer whose wife absolutely refused to go above the second floor. Adamant enough that I insisted on written confirmation of the floor in the booking confirmation.

    And I think it is Marriott who have “low floor” among the personal preferences that you can set in your profile. We have that set, as my [artner does not like to sleep higher than fourth or fifth floor.

    • Tom says:

      One important thing about hotels is how many lifts they have. I recently stayed at an older luxury property that only had one guest lift. Needless to say it broke whilst I was staying there leaving the choice of the staff lift and the stairs. Would not have fancied climbing 12 flights of stairs much.

  • Chad McChadface says:

    I’ve had some good upgrades at HGIs in Asia and ME.

  • Jonathan says:

    Hotels with high numbers of floors can get a bit frustrating when there’s a lot people staying there, and not enough lifts for the human traffic

  • KevinS says:

    No I didn’t know!

  • Tarmohamed says:

    My favour HGI is the now DT Al Jadaf in Dubai. The hotel was constructed to HGI spec so unsure why it became a DT. It doesn’t have many room types but regularly given a corner room, high floor, free rollaway bed or late checkout as late as 6pm.

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

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