Skip to content

This is what I'd like to see from a Hilton Diamond+ elite tier

September 16 2022
7 min read
Overwater bungalows at Hilton Moorea
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card comes with the program's top-tier Diamond status. On paper, Diamond status offers suite upgrades, a food and beverage credit to cover the cost of breakfast (or free breakfast, outside the U.S.) for two daily and a 4 p.m. late check out.

The information for the Hilton Aspire card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

When I opened the card two years ago, little did I know I would seldom receive any of these benefits. This is largely due to inconsistency among Hilton properties and the sheer mass of Hilton Diamond members around the globe.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Here's why Hilton needs a Diamond+ tier, and this is what it should include.

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

As a Hilton Diamond, you're one of many

KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY

Let's face it — for a top-tier status level, Diamond status is too easy to earn.

When you check into a Hilton hotel in the U.S., you're bound to find yourself in a lobby full of other Diamond members. And with so many Diamond members, hotels can't differentiate you from everyone else, even if you earned status outright.

This, in itself, is the single biggest reason why Hilton needs a Diamond+ tier in my book.

Related: The award traveler’s guide to Hilton Honors

Suite upgrades — for real

KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY

While I've enjoyed Hilton's massive footprint, suite upgrades are far and few between.

As my colleague pointed out, Diamond elites “may” receive suite upgrades, but they’re currently not guaranteed, even if available. About a year ago, Hilton started offering upgrades 72 hours out, but in my experience, Hilton properties just haven't been offering their creme de la creme suites to Hilton elites.

Further, once you complete check in on the Hilton Honors app, you're almost always given a specific room number, which is seldom an upgraded room. Despite the app assuring you that an upgrade has been requested, once you have a specific room number, it's often the final nail in the coffin for another un-upgraded stay.

A Diamond+ tier should provide waitlisted upgrades to the best available room — then follow through with said upgrades.

Additionally, I'd like to see Diamond+ provide at least five annual nightly suite upgrade certificates that could be used to confirm a suite upgrade at the time of booking. That would bring the program more in line with top-tier Marriott Bonvoy and World of Hyatt status, both of which offer a path to advanced confirmed suite upgrade certificates.

Related: Your ultimate guide to Hilton hotel brands

A proper breakfast

KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY

At the end of 2021, Hilton replaced the daily elite continental breakfast with a food and beverage credit at properties in the U.S.

However, this credit seldom covers a hotel breakfast. My colleague, Ryan Smith, recently stayed at a Hilton Garden Inn property with his wife in Southern California. With his Diamond status, Ryan was offered a $20 food and beverage credit — $10 per person. Unfortunately, breakfast was $14.95 per person at this property.

While paying $4.95 per person for breakfast isn't the end of the world, it cheapens Diamond status and might make an elite member feel nickel-and-dimed.

This problem extends outside of the U.S., too. On a recent stay at the Conrad Punta de Mita in Mexico, I was offered a $17 daily breakfast credit even though the breakfast buffet cost was $34 per person, plus tax. This was despite Diamond status officially offering a full continental breakfast outside of the U.S.

A Diamond+ tier would provide a proper breakfast, no questions asked, at all Hilton properties globally.

Related: Which hotel has the best free breakfast? TPG ate 10 meals to find the winner

Guaranteed 4 p.m. checkouts

HILTON

As a Diamond member, I've been told "no" time after time when asking for a late checkout. And on the rare occasion when it's not a full "no," it's often "how about 1 p.m.?"

A Diamond+ tier should offer guaranteed 4 p.m. checkouts. Again, this would bring Hilton's top-tier status closer to Marriott Bonvoy and World of Hyatt.

Related: How and when to ask for late checkout at a hotel

Personalized support

HILTON

This is an easy one. When you call the Diamond line, it's common to run into lengthy hold times before being transferred to an overseas call center.

Last month I tried to redeem two free night certificates from my Aspire card, which must be done over the phone. I was on hold for 25 minutes before being transferred to an agent who was completely unfamiliar with Hilton free night certificates. He insisted that I must have been mistaken and went as far as to suggest that I should just use my points, since I have enough.

After my request to speak with another agent was declined, I called back, waited on hold again and was connected with an agent who was able to help.

Top-tier Hyatt Globalist status entitles you to the My Hyatt Concierge, while top-tier Marriott Ambassador Elite status gives you a designated Ambassador line. In turn, a Diamond+ tier should have its own support line.

Related: 7 ways to redeem points with the Hilton Honors program

Partner benefits

ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

Hilton leaves you hanging when it comes to partner benefits. Marriott Titanium and Ambassador Elite members are eligible for a status match to United Airlines Premier Silver. In contrast, Hyatt members are eligible to earn bonus points World of Hyatt points on American Airlines. Hyatt and American also periodically run status challenges for partner elites.

A Diamond+ tier should provide partner benefits, too — such as an elite status match on Delta Air Lines, one of the major U.S. carriers without a close hotel ally.

Related: 13 ways to earn more Hilton Honors points

Waived fees

KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY

World of Hyatt is the leader in waiving fees for top-tier elite members, and it would be nice to see Hilton catch up.

While Hilton waives resort fees on award stays, it would be nice to see that benefit extended to stays booked with cash. Similarly, it would be nice to see a Diamond+ tier comp parking fees, which Hyatt Globalist status offers when redeeming points or free night awards.

Related: How I’m spending 4 million Hilton Honors points

Bottom line

When I applied for the Aspire card two years ago, I opened the card primarily for the Diamond status. Fast forward and now, due to the scarcity of late check-outs, skimpy food and beverage credits and near-nonexistent suite upgrades, I'm not feeling the love from Hilton Honors.

A Diamond+ status tier with more robust elite benefits would make road warriors like myself feel more appreciated for their spending at Hilton properties. This would likely have a positive outcome for Hilton too, as frequent travelers could move their stays to Hilton properties to earn Diamond+ if its benefits beat the competition.

Featured photo by You'll get the best returns with Hilton purchases on your card.
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

TPG featured card

Best Marriott card for Business Owners
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 6X points
6X6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
4X4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
2X2x points on all other eligible purchases.

Intro offer

Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 points75,000 points
Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.

Annual Fee

$125

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent/Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is a stacked card with a rewards rate that will help you earn bonus points on everyday and business-related purchases. You'll earn 15 elite night credits each calendar year, and receive automatic Gold elite status. Finally, the free night award certificate with a redemption level of 35,000 points or less can get you hundreds of dollars in potential value each year.

Pros

  • 6x points on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program
  • 4x points at restaurants worldwide, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. shipping
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases
  • Earn a free-night award each card renewal month (up to 35,000 points)
  • Receive 15 elite night credits to jump-start status
  • Transfer Marriott points to 40+ airlines

Cons

  • Airline points transfer ratios are poor
  • Must spend $60,000 in a year for second free-night award
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status with your Card.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best Marriott card for Business Owners
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

6X6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
4X4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
2X2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Intro Offer
    Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.

    Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 points
    75,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $125
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

The Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is a stacked card with a rewards rate that will help you earn bonus points on everyday and business-related purchases. You'll earn 15 elite night credits each calendar year, and receive automatic Gold elite status. Finally, the free night award certificate with a redemption level of 35,000 points or less can get you hundreds of dollars in potential value each year.

Pros

  • 6x points on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program
  • 4x points at restaurants worldwide, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. shipping
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases
  • Earn a free-night award each card renewal month (up to 35,000 points)
  • Receive 15 elite night credits to jump-start status
  • Transfer Marriott points to 40+ airlines

Cons

  • Airline points transfer ratios are poor
  • Must spend $60,000 in a year for second free-night award
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status with your Card.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees