The Main Issue With The New Hilton Breakfast Program? Hotels Aren’t Following The Rules!

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The Main Issue With The New Hilton Breakfast? Hotels Aren’t Following The Rules!

A few months ago I shared why I thought the Hilton free breakfast change was a positive one. Benjy shared why he disagreed with my take, as he usually does. My reasoning was that I think having more choices is better.  I would prefer to have $15 or $25 credit at the pool bar versus a free continental breakfast etc.  I also said this would streamline things at hotels.  It seems like every hotel was making up their own rules for the breakfast perk of late, especially Hilton’s premier Conrad and Waldorf properties.  With this change we would all know what to expect at each hotel…or will we?  The problem is Hilton properties are STILL making it up as they go along.  They are not following the terms of the new program. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised since this is what the program has unfortunately allowed in the past.

What Are The New Terms?

The statement from Hilton on the change

Food & Beverage Credit for Gold & Diamond Members. You asked for flexibility, and we’ve got it. Whether you look forward to breakfast or would rather skip it in favor of a refreshing beverage and afternoon snack, the choice is yours. In early July, we’ll begin offering a daily Food & Beverage Credit that will continue through the end of 2021. You can use this credit at the hotel brands where you currently receive a complimentary continental breakfast as your elite benefit of your membership. You’ll now be able to dine when and how you want. We will share more details in the coming weeks.

Here is the Hilton press release on this.  Bookmark it!

For the visual learners out there:

Hotels Making It Up As They Go Along

The real problem with this change is that the Hilton hotels are not following the rules.  This is a property credit that you should be able to use on whatever you want.  You should be able to use it on breakfast, lunch, dinner or drinks.  You can sit down, order room service or hit up the grab and go market.  It is supposed to be about flexibility and choice.

Some hotels lost that memo.  I have heard from readers and Facebook Group members that it is not working the way it should out in the wild. When you kill a perk and replace it with one that many don’t like, and then you don’t even follow it properly, that is salt in the wound right there.

Some hotels are saying only certain restaurants work for the credit.  Others are even only allowing specific items that are covered etc.  They are probably trying to push low cost, high profit items to offset their costs. Whatever the reason is, it is not how it is supposed to work.

What Should You Do When This Happens?

What should one do if this happens? If it were me I would still pick what I want and eat where I want to eat. Then at checkout I would ask for the correct amount to be removed from the bill.  If they refuse I would show them the press release that you hopefully bookmarked above.  If they still refuse, which hotels have even when showed their terms, then I would pay and leave.  I would then reach out to Hilton on Twitter and ask to be properly credited etc. You could also call into their customer service number but I have found the Hilton Twitter team to be empowered and helpful in the past.  Plus there are no hold times on DMs!

Final Thoughts

I will be staying at the Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas in a few weeks and I am looking forward to my $50 in daily property credit while I am there.  I plan on using it on some pool drinks or at their SkyBar. When I stayed at Resorts World their system wasn’t integrated properly so I had to ask for the credit at checkout. They complied without any hassle.  They also gave me the full $50, even though I was by myself, because I booked the room for 2 😉.

Hopefully you don’t run into issues while you are traveling.  If you do, come prepared with proof of their program or reach out to the Hilton Twitter team after the fact for credit.

Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann is a father, husband and miles/points fanatic. He left the corporate world after starting a family in order to be a stay at home dad. Mark is constantly looking at ways to save money and stay within budget while also taking awesome vacations with his family. When he isn't caring for his family or taking a weekend trip, Mark is working towards his goal of visiting every Major League Baseball ballpark.

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26 COMMENTS

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26 COMMENTS

  1. I just returned from a stay at a Hilton Garden Inn, where they applied the $10 per person credit for my son and I against the cost of the breakfast buffet. Trouble was he is 8 and they charged me the adult price. When I pointed it out to the hostess who processed the check, she told me that it was only applied to adult price (and not the kids), which was 2x the price. It seems she was told to do that from her manager. When I politely pushed back to say the credit is per person regardless of the age, she called him and they adjusted it.

  2. We stayed at a Conrad gor 2 nights. We were so annoyed as they only allowed Room Service had to pay room delivery fee, 22% tip, tax and paid $25.00 over the $50.00 credit just 2 eggs and coffees. No other options offered. It was way overpriced.

  3. I’ve been Diamond for years. Now, I’m staying at IHG properties as they have valet parking, room service, full service restaurants, full breakfast, and daily housekeeping. ALL of which Hilton has largely eliminated globally. The breakfast I’ve experieced at various Hilton properties was a bagel and a bottle of water. Dinner? That was three different sandwiches or microwave pizza at a ‘restaurant’ serving to-go only. Just awful for formerly full service hotels. I’ve found that Crowne Plazas (even Holiday Inns) are providing a full service hotel whereas Hiltons, Doubletrees, and Embassy Suites are just a glorified motel at this point. I used to just to go hilton’s web site to make all my reservations. These days, you must call to each individual hotel to determine what is cut from the advertised services.

  4. Don’t understand how a “continental breakfast” is worth $15-$25?
    Cup of coffee in styrofoam cup with instant eggs and potatoes and make yourself 2 pieces of white toast? Your talking about Motel 6 or Roof Inn. Nobody will give you $25.00 in lieu of continental breakfast.

    I would take the money also.

  5. Yes I have had issues on all of my stays so far. It just doesn’t come off automatically and they forget to remove it so I have to ask them to manually remove the charge. Also they told me it was per day (not night) and that it would work for the grab and go but it did not.

  6. Why is this a surprise to anyone?

    Given all of the antics that we read about, might this even be intentional? Oops, sorry. We must do better staff training on this.

    Applied to you, perhaps it is $50 per day. To the specific property, perhaps it is $5,000 per day — or, $1.8 million per year.

    There’s huge financial incentive for a specific property to “accidentally” get the breakfast credit wrong.

  7. Been totally depressed the past several hours, but your getting $50 cause you said two people while just you made me chuckle. Thanks!
    Like you, Tom, and many others I do this! 🙂

  8. You people are stupid to keep booking these hotels… you’re playing right into their hands… the only way to stop this stupidity is to STOP staying at these places altogether. They are trying trying save money… until it actually costs them money they will continue to play these games. Suckers.

  9. At a Doubletree last month that only gave us $12 for 2 people. Guess they were confused. I will reach out to the Twitter team to see if they will advise the hotel.

    • Should have got $24 total for the two people. I would see if there is anything they can do for sure.

  10. Hilton in Denver didn’t have a functioning restaurant, so told us the credit would apply to the Starbucks in the lobby, and manager said we could order anything and get reimbursed up to the credit. Starbucks staff weren’t aware of any of this, had to pay Starbucks separately then fight with next day’s staff who refused to give us the credit. Staff at Santa Fe Hilton didn’t know if the credit rolled over, or was calendar day, or up to check out time (had 3 day stay). Yes, they goofed it on checkout as well. In years of using free breakfast benefit of being Diamond, I never once had an issue. This isn’t about flexibility, this is using the pandemic to cut costs and let individual hotels figure out how to apply it.

  11. You should be good with $50 credit at Waldorf Astoria Vegas. I used it in July without a problem. In fact, I should have used $250 Hilton resort credit too toward food/beverage but didn’t ugh.

  12. This reminds me of an equally pitiful problem which AMC Theatres had several years ago (before it changed its loyalty program to being based on a fee). On the original program, the beverage voucher I received after paying for a certain number of films was of real value to me because I often become thirsty in a screening.

    Even though AMC’s hard cost is EXACTLY THE SAME and the raw materials come from the same supplier, AMC limited the beverage to soda pop, excluding Hi-C Fruit Punch. Was I picking nits because I don’t drink soda? No way because the dispenser (soda fountain) was the same! It merely was 1 slot over from Coca-Cola and drew from the neighboring tanks.

    Penny wise and pound idiotic!

    I predict that the Hilton Honors program will revert to the old approach but not until 2025. In the meantime, I appreciate your advice.

  13. Similar experience at Crocksfords Vegas – had to ask at checkout for breakfast buffet (The Kitchen) bill to be removed (btw, avoid The Kitchen – its so generic and not worth it). Also, the tip portion was not allowed as part of the credit. Aside, customer service from Crocksfords front desk was superb!

  14. During a July over the road to Florida trip we stayed at 4 different Hilton properties that had a restaurant onsite (1 HGI, 2 DT, 1 HH) and NOT ONE gave me the proper credit (let alone recognize my status). When I checked in, I confirmed the credit and was told each time, there is nothing I have to do, the credit will be applied.

    I had to contact each hotel after receiving the “final folio” after checkout to get a refund of the difference in the food charge and the credit.

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