The best part of the Hilton HHonors Diamond benefits is the ability to “force” an award room in an otherwise sold out hotel. Sometimes this Diamond Special Arrangement is also called as a Diamond Force. This service was very beneficial until the summer of 2011 because you could force an award room also if only the award category rooms were sold out, but higher ones were available. Since Hilton introduced the premium room awards, this ability was taken away.
Most of the time, I book my hotel at a very last minute. I am not one of those that books months in advance. The other day, I booked the Conrad Macau just 45 minutes before arrival. If you want to take advantage of the Diamond Special Arrangement, you need to contact the Diamond desk at least 48 hours before scheduled arrival time.
I am scheduled to arrive to Singapore later today. Last week when I was looking for hotel availability for a Tuesday night in Singapore, I realized that something was going on. Quite a few hotels were sold out and only higher category rooms were available at others. I was exploring quite a few options.
Then I realized that because the Conrad hotel was sold out I could force an award room there. I had one night award certificate about to expire in two weeks and this would be absolutely the best way to use it. I thought that a simple phone call to the Diamond desk would have this resolved.
The Diamond Reservation Guarantee is very clear:
Diamond Reservations Guarantee:
The Diamond Reservations Guarantee allows Diamond members to place a guaranteed reservation at a sold out hotel when made 48 hours prior to arrival, except during Extraordinary Demand Date periods, when the hotel becomes overbooked on inventory by more than 10%, and for some hotels when the hotel becomes overbooked on inventory by more than 2%.
48 hour guaranteed room reservations can be made by Diamond members online at HHonors.com by clicking “Reward Stays” or over the phone by calling the Diamond Member desk or the Hilton Reservations and Customer Care office nearest you. These reservations are only applicable to paid stay reservations for all room types and reward stay reservations for standard rooms. Promotional Rewards are not applicable for reservations booked under the 48-Hour Reservation Guarantee. For complete details, click here.
First the lady, who picked up my call, said that there is no way for her to make a reservation for a sold out hotel, and supposedly, according to her, I was already within 48 hours of arriving to the hotel that was most definitely not the case. I called them about 70 hours before my scheduled arrival time.
Then, I was quoting her the paragraph that I have pasted above, and she was still saying that there is nothing that she could. I asked how much the hotel was oversold and she said 5% to 10%. The reservation guarantee doesn’t apply if the hotel is oversold by more than 10% that was not the case here. There is a small number of hotels where the guarantee doesn’t apply at all and longer list where the hotel can only be oversold by 2%. Conrad Singapore is not on either of these two lists.
Obviously this lady wasn’t really up to the task, and I asked her to transfer the call to the supervisor. So, I got this another lady who worked for “escalations”. I requested her to make the reservation for me. She wasn’t very co-operative either. I asked her to do a “Diamond Special Arrangement”. She said that there had been a change to it lately and that she would need to read the memo they got. Anyway, she put my request in and gave me a case number.
On Monday, I received a confirmation and an email from the Diamond desk that my request had been approved. When I checked the availability of the hotel, it was no longer sold out, and they would have had even award rooms available. Availability of hotels often firms up the day before, so it pays up to check the availability.
They answer as Hilton Diamond Desk to the phone calls, but I am not sure that one actually exists. The service that these “Diamond” agents provide is very uneven.Even the supervisor didn’t know that Singapore is both a city and a country at the same time. She kept asking what city in Singapore and/or what country is Singapore at. You would imagine that they would know better?
I always try to deal with any issued that I have with Hilton by email, because they reply fast and most of the issued can be resolved this way.
You need to know the terms and conditions of the program and what you are entitled to. They didn’t volunteer to do the Diamond Special Arrangement or Diamond Reservation Guarantee. Why have these in place if it is like pulling a teeth to get Hilton to honor the terms of the program?
I was sure that they would come through at the end, but this is not the correct way to deal with supposedly your best customers aka Hilton HHonors Diamond members.