Why Hilton Is The Worst Major Hotel Chain For Frequent Guest Benefits
by Gary Leff on June 3, 2023
There are four major hotel loyalty programs, at least for Americans: Hyatt, Hilton, Marriott and IHG. Hyatt has the smallest footprint but the best benefits for frequent guests. Marriott is great on paper but most inconsistent at the property-level delivering promised benefits. IHG never had much in the way of benefits at all until last year when everything changed. And Hilton stands alone, promising almost nothing.
Loyalty Lobby points out that Hilton Honors is the worst major chain for late check-out benefits. But I’d go farther. It's the worst major chain for elite benefits across the board.
Suite Living Room, Park Hyatt New York
St. Regis Bangkok
Conrad New York
When staying at a participating hotel or resort that has a Club lounge, Globalists will receive access to the Club lounge. When staying at a participating hotel or resort that does not have a Club lounge (or if Club lounge is closed), Globalists will receive daily complimentary full breakfast (which includes one entrée or standard breakfast buffet, juice, and coffee, as well as tax, gratuity and service charges) for each registered guest in the room, up to a maximum of two (2) adults and two (2) children.
Park Hyatt Vendome Room Service Breakfast
St. Regis Bali Caviar
St. Regis Bali Seared foie gras with eggs
St. Regis Bali Lobster
Club lounge chef at the Intercontinental Kuala Lumpur
Room Service at the Conrad Bangkok
Hyatt's footprint is smaller. They have to offer the richest benefits to keep customers loyal. Marriott's program, since merging with Starwood, has been next-richest in theory but there's been little enforcement of actual on-property execution. IHG last year revamped its program and now offers competitive benefits.
Meanwhile Hilton has been a laggard for years. They keep hinting at finally getting on the benefits train, for instance seven years ago they considered a new top tier above Diamond and four and a half years ago they were testing confirmed suite upgrades. They never actually do it. Even their earn and burn proposition is less generous.
The only thing the Honors program really has going for it is that even ostensibly top tier Diamond is a giveaway level with their premium co-brand credit card, and the earn rates for Hilton stays with that card are good. But sadly the benefits of top tier more or less match that of a giveaway level.