Due to the ongoing promotion of a free night certificate for every four stays, I have found myself staying at Hilton properties more regularly than usually.
Hilton has had the Nor1 upgrade options for cash already for few years. These Nor1 upgrades are space available and confirmed at the time of checking in. Now, they are also promoting points based and guaranteed upgrades at the time of reservation, and when you are accessing your reservation online.
I now have five examples when it comes to these space available and guaranteed upgrades using points, and what I have actually received at hotels without applying them at all based on my Hilton HHonors Diamond status.
Booked the corporate rate that is tied to the basic level room which at this property is King Hilton Deluxe. The engine then gave three optional upgrades that could be confirmed at the time of booking by paying the associated number of Hilton points.
First the room was upgraded to a King Executive room.
At check in I was able to negotiate an upgrade to King Junior Suite with executive lounge benefits that was not even shown on the guaranteed points upgrade list. Once you have checked in, the US version of the Hilton’s website is unable to retrieve anything and only returns an error message. Then you can go to hilton.co.uk where you can still access reservation details.
On the points upgrade price matrix the Executive Room is more expensive than the Junior Suite. I did, however, get the executive level benefits even when the junior suite wasn’t located on the executive tower.
Hilton Beijing Wangfujing
This is probably the most liked and popular of the Hilton properties in Beijing due to the location. Again, booked using the corporate rate which booked into the Twin Hilton Deluxe. I have included the pictures of the rate display screens that show the rate, possible corporate rate, and the rate using points.
After making the reservation, I was presented with the following confirmed upgrades using points.
The upgrade showed up on the morning of the check in.
Hilton Beijing Capitol Airport
This is the first example where we not only have the confirmed room upgrades using points but also space available Nor1 upgrades.
Here we have two screens showing different room options using cash and points. As usually, the premium room rewards are rather pricey. Apparently, this hotel would have had Point Stretcher awards available at lower rate. I, however, chose the corporate rate room.
When you get to the confirmation screen, you have the usual confirmed room upgrades using points, and now for the first time on our example the “Request Discounted Room Upgrade”, that in fact is the Nor1 upgrade option I was referring to earlier. These upgrades are not confirmed at the time of reservation but rather at check in.
When you click the “Request Discounted Room Upgrade”-option, you are presented another screen that shows the Nor1 upgrades.
After the hotel had upgraded me to an Executive Room, there was no further upgrades granted by the hotel, although there was still couple of confirmed upgrades available using points. You cannot request Nor1 upgrades day of arrival. You need to do this at least the day before.
Hilton Kuala Lumpur
Here’s one more example with points upgrades mixed with Nor1 ones. After making the reservation, the confirmation showed both the “Request Discounted Room Upgrade” tab and the usual points based confirmed upgrades.
Here are the Nor1 upgrades.
I was first upgraded by the hotel to an Executive Room. At check in I was able to get an upgrade to a Grand Executive Suite. This suite was offered neither using points nor cash.
DoubleTree Kuala Lumpur
This is the last example of the Hilton upgrade process for points or cash. It also introduces the Points + cash option for the first time for these hotels that I have stayed at in the past couple of weeks. The hotel also had Point Stretcher award availability. Of course neither of these two options really made any sense due to the free stay certificate for every four stays promotion.
After confirming the reservation the upgrade options using points are first shown and the Nor1 link.
As you can see, this hotel has quite a few different options for Nor1 upgrades compared to points based ones.
First my reservation was upgraded to a Deluxe Suite. At this point, I also checked what the current Nor1 upgrade options were. They were only trying to sell an upgrade to Terrace Suite.
Morning of the checking in the upgrade had changed to an Executive Suite. At this point there were no Nor1 upgrades shown as it was the day of arrival.
As a Diamond member I have found both Nor1 and upgrades using points to be fairly useless. Personally, I have never used them due to number of points required for confirmed upgrade or money required for space available upgrade at check in. I can, however, understand if someone without status would choose one of these when they are reasonably priced.
For someone having either Gold or Diamond status the better choice is just to see what is the upgrade assigned before checking in and then trying to negotiate something better at check in if required/needed.