Why I Think Hilton Is The Anti Bonvoy – My Recent Experiences
If you read much of my work then you know I am a fan of two hotel programs. Those programs would by Hyatt and Hilton. Hyatt is the best overall program in my opinion but their footprint is limited, although growing, so Hilton is my back up program of choice.
There are three major players in the hotel world (IHG, Hilton, Marriott) that could fill that backup spot and cover most areas. I put Hilton head and shoulders above the other two. Not because their hotels are the best or because their points are worth the most, they aren’t. I put them there because their points are easily obtainable, as well as their status, and they don’t make me call 7 times to get help on a simple issue. In my experience their customer service, while not perfect, is better than the other two.
Marriott has been a hot mess since merging with SPG and launching Bonvoy. I never liked their program before the merger but I did like SPG’s program. They gutted that and turned Marriott’s sketchy customer service into non existent customer service. Let’s be honest they make United Airlines look stellar right now.
I have had a completely different experience when dealing with Hilton. Any issue I have their twitter team is quick to respond and overall pretty empowered. While their individual hotels may have service issues I have usually been treated fairly by corporate. I wanted to share a couple of recent examples.
No Pool No Problem
The first issue I had was on a recent trip to a DoubleTree in Michigan. I had planned to take the kids there to swim for the night before heading to a track meet the next day. We fought traffic for two hours on the way there and I kept them calm by promising we would hit the pool as soon as we checked in.
Of course upon arrival at the hotel there was a sign that said the pool was closed. There had been no notice on the website warning us about this. I inquired about the other Hilton hotel nearby asking if their pool was open, hoping we could maybe use it etc. The front desk agent told me she doesn’t know because she doesn’t call hotels to see if their pool is open. It was very rude, especially for a Diamond member. We pivoted and went to the near by beach to hang out which ended up being a blast.
When I got home I reached out to Hilton on Twitter to see if there was a policy of giving some points when the pool is closed etc. and explained my interaction with the front desk agent. They immediately told me they would give me 30,000 points as an apology. That is 9,000 more than the room was going for. I was surprised and impressed with the response, hoping for a token 5-10,000 points. The points also posted that same day!
Leaving Brussels Early
On a recent trip to Amsterdam we headed to Brussels for a few days as well. While we were there we really wanted to spend more time in Amsterdam if possible. We ended up figuring out a cheap way to make it happen so we checked out of the hotel a day early at 5pm.
When they saw we were checking out a day early the front desk agent said she would see if we could get our points back for the one day we were leaving early. This shocked me as I wouldn’t have expected it if we tried to check out at noon much less 5pm. She confirmed with her manager that they would and I was excited but also skeptical that it would happen.
After getting home the points never showed up. I tried the hotel’s concierge email a few times and received no response. That is when I went to Twitter. I explained the problem and they reached out to the hotel. Because of them I received an email from the front desk manager within a few hours. He told me he worked with the Hilton team to get it corrected since they don’t have the power to do that on his end at the hotel.
After a week or so I still didn’t see the points. I reached out to the manager again two times but didn’t get a response, it appears he was on vacation. I sent the Twitter team another message explaining the situation and copying the original email and asked for the 38,000 points to be deposited. They responded within an hour or so and the points were in my account by the end of day.
As you can see Hilton is far from perfect, as most companies are, but they have been willing to correct things more so than any other hotel program I have worked with (including Hyatt).
Their social media team seems to be very competent and much more empowered than most are. That is a blessing to me since I don’t have time to sit on the phone most of the time. I can send a message when I need to and check back for a response when I have time. This is a life saver for travelers like us.
What has your experience been? Which hotel chain do you think has the best customer service and is quickest at fixing/compensating for issues?
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How much organic spend is required on the Hyatt card to make Globalist status?
A lot – you get 5 nights for holding the card and then 2 elite nights per $5000 in spend. It is only an option for big MSers or people who have business spend etc.
$137,500 will do it. I should get there next month.
I recently stayed at the Westin Times Square and was just waiting to be “Bonvoyed”. I love Hilton and Hyatt, but chose to be in the same hotel as my friend. Anyway- we’re both awakened early in the morning with drilling and banging. I was prepared for the Times Square noise, but this seemed to be happening right at my door. And it was. They were re-doing a room next door. So…. I headed out for a NYC walk. As I came back, my friend was at the front desk complaining about the construction noise with no warning. The front desk agent or manager immediately awarded EACH of us 100,000 points. Say what?!! My friend asked me if that was a good deal ( uh- yes!). I am pretty sure that was the opposite of bonvoyed. I’m still loyal to Hilton and Hyatt, but was happy with my one good Marriot experience.
That is awesome – I want 100,000 points lol 🙂
I think Hilton is ok but their properties in many cities are kind of dumpy. I went to that FTU in Seattle and the room was really old and dumpy. I also think there are way too many Diamonds now that you can just get it with the Aspire credit card (which I did). So many times there are many, many Diamonds in a Hilton hotel when I check in so odds of a good upgrade are not as great as with Hyatt.
Hyatt is definitely the best program. I agree their footprint is limited but they are growing with many partnerships now and that trend will probably increase. It’s NOT easy gaining Globalist status. Even with organic spend with their credit card it still takes a LOT to make Globalist. And I’m ok with that because when I check into a Hyatt I almost always get upgraded to a Suite.
I agree Hilton Diamond is a good backup but it takes way too many points on many nice hotels.
Their properties are not as nice as other programs I agree. I was more talking about dealing with corporate versus dealing with Marriott’s corporate is night and day different. One makes it easy and the other makes you feel like you are trying to steal from them.
I also think Hyatt has the best program and the most consistently nice hotels of anyone.
With all the ways to earn Hilton points and easily hold status, it is little wonder that my award night to paid night ratio with them is highest of any chain.
And they are totally willing to compensate for service issues. Received 30,000 points due to noisy neighbors at the Embassy Suites SFO.
However, I am fresh out of Honors points. 🙁
I burned all of mine for an extended family trip to Orlando. Then these two things happened and I got in on the Ascend 150K upgrade offer and I am sitting pretty again 🙂
Personally… I was Diamond with Hilton for 15 years and switched to Marriott a few years back ….I’m titanium with Marriott and have been treated so much better then Hilton
Bloggers having a field day with Marriott but none of these things have effected me ….I’ve even had the same experience as you where I complained that the bed looked remade and they gave me a free night
When you take into consideration how many points it’s takes for a award is Hilton cheaper …I don’t think so …yes in the Bali exsample yes it’s cheaper but look how many 10,000 properties there are with hilton and then go look at Marriott’s….it’s no contest or for that properties under 20,000 with hilton and compare that …it’s a joke …. Marriott kills it
I’m sure Hilton has a few nice properties but nothing to compare on the hi end with adding all the awesome SPG properties
Your right about Hyatt from cat 1 to cat 7 they are the best
Just my opinion we all have our favorites
I think you have to take earning into account when also comparing redemption rates etc. I do not see an easy way to consistently rack up Marriott points at a cheap rate since the bonuses are on lock down and the card’s earning rates are junk. So paying a little more at Hilton is still a net positive to me since I can rack up their points easily (including multiple upgrade offers on the same card etc.). Marriott, with the addition of SPG, does have better properties though I agree there. But many seem to have gone up in price with their latest re-categorization.
I prefer Hilton mainly because it is easier to accrue free nights with them (for me at least) and their service on the corporate level has been more accommodating. Getting status is also easier (free breakfast for $95 a year) which is a nice bonus too. Everyone’s experiences will be different for sure though.
There are still bargains to be had at Hilton. Just booked 2 nights at HGI Bali Airport, 5000 points apiece, with rooms going for ~$70 (Bali has notoriously high taxes). That’s 1.4 cpp!
There will always be deals to be had for sure! That is why it is important to have diversity because some cities one point is better than the other. No one offers the best value every time 🙂
The only problem is that you’re kind of in a no-man’s land. If you just want to stay at the hotel, you’re fine, but otherwise you have to cab it to go anywhere. On the plus side, I’m glad that the hotel has started releasing award space, since they used to be famous for never having any availability.
Hilton doubled the price of some of their properties without letting customers know: Example Hampton Inn by Hilton, Merida ,Yucatan. Was 5,000 points, now 10,000. No pool, like next door at HIE.
The property moved from a Cat 1 to a Cat 2 so that is why it seems like they doubled it when it was really a category change, which all hotels do. Now them doing it without notice is not customer friendly in any way and they should have given people a heads up for sure.