As we first speculated and covered in August, Hilton today officially launched Global Automated Upgrades for Honors Gold & Diamond members.
The system set by Hilton will automatically process upgrades based on the premium room/suite availability at the hotel and the member tier (Lifetime Diamond, Diamond & Gold).
You can access Hilton Honors here.
READ MORE: Hilton Honors Rate & Bonus Points Offers
Only reservations done at a minimum of 72 hours before the check-in date are eligible for these automated upgrades. If you make a reservation closer to check-in, the hotel must process it manually.
The hotels set the categories available for Gold & Diamond member upgrades and the level up to which the available inventory can be filled with the tier-based upgrades.
Hotels can request to opt-out from these automated upgrades, which makes us wonder if Hilton will provide a list of approved exclusions?
- Lifetime Diamond
It is unclear what are the in-tier breakers within the elite level. For example, hotels may prioritize members who frequent their property often, while the automated system may use the total revenue or nights consumed within a calendar year.
Hotels can set aside inventory for premium room/suite bookings that is released for upgrades closer to the check-in date (they tend to be processed during the overnight shift or early morning hours).
Here are examples of my stays in Europe with upgrade notifications:
- Hilton Testing Pre-Arrival Upgrades
- Another Email From Hilton: We’re upgrading your upcoming stay!
- Email From Hilton: We’re upgrading your upcoming stay!
- Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts
- LXR Hotels & Resorts
- Conrad Hotels & Resorts
- Canopy by Hilton
- Hilton Hotels & Resorts
- Curio Collection by Hilton
- DoubleTree by Hilton
- Signia by Hilton
- Tapestry Collection by Hilton
Following Brands Are Excluded:
- Embassy Suites
- Hilton Garden Inn
- Hampton by Hilton
- Tru by Hilton
- Homewood Suites by Hilton
- Home2 Suites by Hilton
- Hilton Grand Vacations
These mostly select service brands have never been part of Hilton brands that provide complimentary upgrades to Gold and Diamond members. Many of them do upgrade when they have inventory available, but this is not a program requirement or benefit.
Here’s the update from Hilton:
Enhancing the Complimentary Room Upgrade Benefit for Elite Members
Celebrating elite Gold and Diamond Hilton Honors members with complimentary, space-available upgrades at the time of check-in is one of the program’s most important perks, and now, Hilton Honors is enhancing this valued benefit even further. When possible, Hilton will notify Gold and Diamond members of their complimentary upgrade 72 hours prior to arrival. This will enable the member to choose their upgraded room directly via the Hilton Honors app.
How it Works:
Eligible members will receive an email and a Hilton Honors app push notification alerting them of their complimentary upgraded room. Once received, if the hotel offers Digital Check-In, the member can easily choose the location of their upgraded room through the app 36 hours prior to arrival. All stays under seven nights are eligible for this early confirmation, and it will be available in the coming months at all Hilton brands globally where space-available upgrades are currently offered, including Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, LXR Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Canopy by Hilton, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Curio Collection by Hilton, DoubleTree by Hilton, Signia by Hilton and Tapestry Collection by Hilton.
This will help hotels partially automate the upgrade process that has been a deterrent for many NOT to use the app check-in and digital key.
You have often essentially forgone the potential upgrades by checking in using the app and choosing your room rather than waiting until the day of arrival upgrade or until checking in with an agent.
How well this will work, in reality, depends on the level of inventory individual hotels set aside for these automated upgrades. If they provide significant inventory, it can work quite well. However, this won’t work too well with hotels with a small percentage of suites and premium rooms to which they can upgrade elite members.
You have to remember that many business travelers book at the last minute, and hotels want to leave inventory aside to accommodate them and other frequent guests. Also, there are many very last-minute leisure bookings in some markets, such as the Middle East (essentially walk-ins).
Only SPG used to provide a list of elite members in order they should be upgraded daily. However, I am not aware that any of the major hotel companies doing this at the moment.
Hilton has many Diamond members in some markets due to credit card tie-ups with Amex. Is the upgrade order assigned more based on the actual stays/spent at hotels rather than the individual’s credit card?
This upgrade change may incentivize more long-term loyalty to the Hilton if lifetime Diamond members have the highest upgrade priority (10 years as a Diamond + 1,000 nights or 2M base points).