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Know your benefits: Hiltons can’t opt out of the food and beverage credit for elite members

June 10, 2022
4 min read
Know your benefits: Hiltons can’t opt out of the food and beverage credit for elite members
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In July 2021, Hilton began offering Gold and Diamond elite members staying at U.S. properties a daily food and beverage credit in lieu of the complimentary continental breakfast.

While there are pros and cons to this change, the beauty is that it ensures consistency. The credit is valid at all luxury, full-service, lifestyle and Hilton Garden Inn properties in the U.S., and you always know how much you'll get — $10 per person at Garden Inns, $15 to $18 at full-service and lifestyle brands and $25 at luxury brands. Meanwhile, when hotels offered complimentary breakfast, it ranged anywhere from a muffin and coffee to a full-blown buffet, depending on the individual property.

But are there any loopholes to this benefit? Could a hotel still choose to offer breakfast instead of the credit?

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On a recent trip to Philadelphia, I stayed at Motto by Hilton at Rittenhouse Square. The Hilton app, like usual, said that I'd be getting a $15-per-person daily food and beverage credit as a Hilton Diamond elite member. However, at check-in, I was informed that I'd only get a complimentary coffee and pastry at the hotel's coffee shop — and it'd only be available in the mornings.

Upon further investigation, I noticed another TPG staffer had the same experience while reviewing the property last year.

Related: Hilton replaces 'breakfast' benefit with food and beverage credit

I asked myself, how could this be? The hotel also had two sit-down restaurants on site. And what if I wanted to pick up yogurt from the coffee shop instead of a pastry?

The whole point of the food and beverage credit is to provide members with greater flexibility. Credits should be redeemable at any outlets that let you bill charges to your room and at any time of the day.

(Photo by Jane Frye/The Points Guy)

Since the front desk seemed adamant about their policy, I contacted Hilton to confirm whether the hotel was allowed to do this. Sure enough, as you can probably tell from the headline, the hotel was in the wrong. Hilton confirmed that all luxury, full-service and lifestyle properties as well as all Hilton Garden Inn hotels in the U.S. must honor the credit.

The only exception would be in the rare instances when a hotel doesn't have a food and beverage outlet open where guests can use the credit. A Hilton spokesperson shared that in these cases, "the hotel is empowered to provide whatever service they deem fit to ensure guest satisfaction." However, that wasn't the case here.

Related: 6 tips to get the hotel room upgrades you deserve

If you find yourself in a similar situation where a hotel might be trying to skirt the program's rules, you can politely try pulling up your published benefits on Hilton's website or app and showing them to the front desk agent. It may be hard not to come off as entitled with this approach, though.

If they won't oblige, it's not worth putting up a fight. Rather, consider emailing or tweeting Hilton's customer service team. This can result in immediate action, or you might get compensation after your stay. In this case, I sent Hilton a direct message over Twitter and ended up getting 10,000 bonus points — worth $60 based on TPG valuations — as an apology.

Featured image by (Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)
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.

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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
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3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
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  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

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    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.

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Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

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  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
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  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

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  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases