Hilton HHonors was supposed to update its program Terms and conditions to reflect the complimentary internet access changes but they sneaked it another rather significant change as well.
Hilton HHonors had never explicitly excluded 3rd party bookings from receiving status related benefits but this has now changed. The new program terms and conditions took place on June 4, 2015.
You can access the Hilton HHonors program terms and conditions here.
Here’s the updated text that was not included previously:
Eligibility for all on-property HHonors benefits, including complimentary Internet and MyWay benefits such as complimentary snacks and beverages, complimentary continental breakfast and space-available upgrades, requires a confirmed reservation made through one of the following channels:
Any official direct Hilton Worldwide hotel brand or HHonors website (for example, HHonors.com, Hilton.com, Hampton.com, etc.), Hilton Reservations & Customer Care phone line (1-800-HHonors or local Hilton reservations office), Hilton HHonors or Hilton mobile application, Directly at a hotel in the Hilton Worldwide portfolio, or Through an IATA accredited retail travel agent professional (“Travel Agent”) booking through a Hilton Worldwide channel or the following Global Distribution Systems: Amadeus, Apollo/Galileo, Worldspan and SABRE.
On-property benefits are not awarded in the following circumstances:
Reservations booked through a non-Hilton Worldwide-direct booking channel or a non-designated GDS, third party website or any other channel, Rates available on “opaque” websites where the hotel brand and specific hotel are not known until the booking is made, or Third party hotel packages or travel packages not booked through one of the eligible channels.
Hilton properties have been very good at giving status related benefits when on 3rd party bookings. Now that the benefits are explicitly not honored per the program Terms and conditions, less properties are likely to do so.
It would be wise for Hilton to better honor its Best Price Guarantee (like Starwood does) and match 3rd party rates without trying to find loopholes not to do so.
Hyatt is the only program that explicitly guarantees status related benefits on 3rd party stays. Hilton now joins SPG that explicitly excludes them.