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Final Judgment: The Hilton Elite Daily F&B Credit’s a Clear Winner

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Hilton Elite Daily Food

Hilton Elite Daily F&B Credit

I’ve been on quite a wild ride with the Hilton elite daily food and beverage credit.  Rolled out in June 2021, Hilton originally announced it as a temporary domestic benefit available for Hilton Honors members at the Gold level and above.  Unsurprisingly, the benefit eventually became permanent.  Through it all, I’ve been cautiously optimistic about the benefit, with a dash of experiences moored in frustration and oddity.  But I’m finally able to say I’m an unabashed fan of this benefit now.  I enjoy it substantially more than the previous Hilton breakfast benefit.  Here’s a quick refresher on the benefit and why I think it’s a big winner.

Hilton Elite Daily F&B Credit Info

Hilton Gold members and above receive the following for up to two individuals:

  • $25 per person per day for luxury brands, including Waldorf Astoria, Conrad, and LXR
  • $15 per person per day for full service and lifestyle brands ($18 in high-cost markets), including Hilton, Signia, DoubleTree, Curio, Tapestry Collection, Canopy, and Motto
  • $10 per person per day for Hilton Garden Inn properties

Flexibility

I’ve been traveling on more solo trips recently, many which are of short duration.  These trips often involve early checkouts where I wouldn’t be able to eat a “free” breakfast, anyway.  But thanks to the credit, I can now use the benefit most any time I would naturally eat (or drink) each day.  Gone are the days of choosing between an efficient, early morning flight or a bit more “free” at a Hilton property (the flight always won out in my situation).  The benefit is more flexible now for all qualifying Hilton elites now.

Hilton Elite Daily Food

Surprise Me

I’ve found it best to treat this Hilton elite daily benefit on a case-by-case basis.  I now expect the unexpected, and I’m okay with it.  That can be a frustration for some, but I’ve come to enjoy the surprise from each property.  Ultimately, I know I’ll get the monetary value of the benefit, so I won’t be shortchanged.  Beyond that, I’m entertained at how differently each property handles it.  Some hotels let us use the benefit anywhere on-property.  Others have a few exclusions but may have eligible outlets with wider hours.  Certain properties have hidden gems with excellent deals.  For a degenerate like me, I get a dopamine rush walking into a Hilton property not too different from logging into the Amex site.  What unexpected, interesting stuff can pop up this time?!  I don’t know, but there’s usually something.

Know the Terms and Do Bigger Things

In my view, the second highest-maintenance part of the Hilton elite daily food and beverage credit is knowing and retaining the terms.  The highest-maintenance part is getting employees to accurately apply the benefit per said terms.

Understandably, those two matters are enough for many to run the opposite way.  Perhaps some flock to Hyatt and choose to fill their time intricately qualifying for Globalist status for a high value breakfast benefit – only to use it at the Regency by the airport.  Others may simply buy into status (similar to Hilton) with the Marriott Amex Brilliant, then they’re subject to a Good Will Hunting-level equation to determine how to pick up their complimentary portion of most-likely-Sysco-supplied slop.

Generally, I just choose memorizing the Hilton elite daily benefit terms over all that.  There’s a bit of granularity in credit amounts and how the benefit’s applied across brands, but nothing too overwhelming.  By simply knowing the terms, I’ve found I’m often ahead of some of the workers at individual properties.  This has worked out in our favor to a substantial extent over and above the credit.

Hilton Elite Daily Food

Hilton Elite Daily F&B Credit Creativity Is Rewarded

Shrewd Hilton elites can do much to maximize the benefit.  For instance, stack the benefit with card-linked options like Amex offers to minimize out of pocket expenses over the credit.  Have flexible dining options to use on other parts of your trip based on a Hilton property’s specific benefit offering.  Creatively book Hilton stays.

One Minor Negative

But let’s compare apples to apples.  Under the previous policy, these Hilton elites previously received complimentary breakfast for themselves plus one guest.  Two people could eat for “free” before gratuity.  With the current benefit providing a daily credit, that same meal for two can cost well over what the credit provides, forcing the elite to go out of pocket for a portion of breakfast.

We’ve faced this on a few occasions, primarily at Hilton Garden Inns where the benefit doesn’t cover the breakfast’s set price.  But we go out of pocket for gratuity, anyway, and the credit model is only forcing us to spend a few more bucks for the meals.  And at many other Hilton brands, the credit covers two meals, or a substantial one to share.

Worst case, I’m paying a bit more on each instance than I was several years ago.  Big whoop.  I’ll trade that for the credit’s versatility any day.

Devaluation: More Hilton Honors Increases Hotels Cost Over 100K Points

Hilton Elite Daily F&B Credit – Conclusion

Of course, things can change.  Hilton could gut this credit any time, but I don’t expect that for the foreseeable future.  I bet a ton of breakage already exists with the credit benefit; plenty probably aren’t aware of or use all of it.  And unprepared members are probably paying plenty out of pocket.  I imagine Hilton is winning with the status quo of the daily credit benefit.  In the meantime, thoughtful travelers can leverage a solid benefit in a more flexible manner.  Happy traveling, eating, and drinking!  How are you feeling about the Hilton elite daily food and beverage credit these days?

Disclosure: Miles to Memories has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Miles to Memories and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

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Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.
Benjy Harmon
Benjy Harmon
Benjy focuses on the intersection of points, travel, and financial independence (FI). An experienced world traveler, husband, and father, he currently roams throughout the USA close to expense-free. Benjy enjoys helping others achieve their FI and travel goals.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

15 COMMENTS

  1. Well, for someone like me who rarely bothered wasting time sitting down for a usually-lame breakfast when I’m traveling, getting a credit is a net win. I’d have liked it better if Diamonds got a higher credit than Golds.

  2. The biggest problem with the benefit is getting the properties to properly apply it or getting it at all. I have made the mistake of checking out without verifying it was credited and almost without exception it was not. That means now you have to stop at the desk every time to check and get them to apply it. I would like to think this is incompetence rather than willfully trying to keep the money.

  3. This change by Hilton from free breakfast to a daily F & B credit for Honors elite members was a money-grab by Hilton, pure and simple. I think the majority of Honors members would say it’s not a ‘minor inconvenience’ to them, especially when at many many Hiltons the F & B credits falls woefully short of what a breakfast there actually costs. It was a devaluation by Hilton to its most loyal members. And if Hilton was honest about offering more ‘flexibility’ it should have offered the choice to its elite members to either take the F & B credit OR the free breakfast at each hotel they check into. I’m tired of everyone sugar-coating how bad this was to the majority of Hilton members….

  4. If Hilton did not pay you for this puff post then you don’t know how to monetize your eagerness to please the masters.
    The removal of free breakfast was a net negative. Spin it as you will. Everything you said would only make sense IF the daily breakfast cost at any given property equaled the daily credit amount. If this was the case I would absolutely agree with what you wrote. If I could choose to spend my credit on breakfast OR drinks OR dinner credit then I’d be on board. This is a false choice. We will give you a small credit but you will have to spend an additional significant amount on something that we used to give you for free and still give for free all over the world is not a choice.
    The integral part of a night rest is a convenient, efficient and nutritious breakfast. Hence the B&B concept, it’s not bed and drinks, it’s not bed and snacks.
    Hilton removed a benefit that’s integral to the hospitably concept and then tried to spin it as a benefit. It’s not an improvement it’s a net negative. Only Americans in the US put up with this degradation of experience and devaluation of status benefits. Hilton knew it could not pull this off in the rest of the world and they didn’t even try, because they knew they would lose customers.
    Americans, and I am one of them, can be told “no breakfast for you” and tip the self-checkout machine and they put up with it. The rest of the paying public votes with their wallets.

    • We weren’t paid for anything and perhaps maybe you should consider that people can have a different opinion than you. To think that this is a negative for everyone is to completely dismiss how many people travel and what is important to them. Sure they could have made the credit more, but many people don’t care about breakfast and this is a win for them. No one is going to argue that this wasn’t probably a cost saving thing for Hilton, but I know A LOT of people who like this better. Your comment was fine if you just left out the accusatory first three sentences. We can disagree without being insulting.

  5. One interesting version I’ve run into in my infrequent Hilton stays, via Aspire Diamond is where even a one night stay qualifies for a DAILY f&b credit, whereby there is an opportunity to use the credit BOTH on the day of arrival and day of departure even on a one night stay. That said, the habitual failure to proactively apply the credit as promised is irritating. As such, I’m definitely not getting off the globalist hamster wheel anytime soon.

  6. Yeah, I agree. I always go onto the app and add my wife as the 2nd guest so I get 20 or 30 bucks wherever I go. Usually enough for 3 drinks! Perfect!

    My only complaint is the lack of consistency of late checkout, be great if they added 2pm or 4pm checkout guaranteed like hyatt, bc it is so hit or miss.

  7. Many Hilton Diamond members like myself do not think substituting the F & B credit which can fall woefully short of what breakfast actually costs at many Hiltons – for the free breakfast benefit that existed before – is not a ‘minor’ inconvenience as you suggest. Our benefits were devalued by Hilton, plain and simple. This was a money-grab by Hilton and affected its most loyal members. The right thing to do would have been for them to give its elite members the ‘choice’ of the F & B credit OR the free breakfast, at each property

    • I think it largely comes down to if you value breakfast a lot or not. Many people I know including myself don’t care too much for breakfast and sort of force ourselves to eat it when it is “free”. Or like I often do just skip it and miss out on the benefit. This gives them the flexibility. A world where you could do either or is probably the perfect one, but this benefit isn’t a loser for everyone. All of your points are valid though and a choice would have been better.

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