David J. Danto


Travel thoughts in my own, personal opinion




eMail: ddanto@IMCCA.org      Follow Industry News: @NJDavidD on all           


What Happened To Hilton?– June 2024


Looking back through my decades of travel I can always point to being abused by my airline vendors and being pampered by my hotel partners.  Hotel companies were not subject to the consolidation that the US airline industry went through.  There are still choices of hotel partners even in a world where most airports have only one dominant carrier.  Lately however, I am more frequently asking myself “What the heck has happened to Hilton and Hilton Honors?”  As an organization that always supported its best customers, they have fallen through the basement in terms of diminishing care and support.

I’ve been a Hilton Honors Diamond member for decades, back when the extra H was in HHonors.  I can remember one of my first stays at a Hampton Inn in Hershey Pennsylvania, right after the Hampton chain was added to the Hilton family.  The property had not seen a Diamond member before, and we received a huge, complimentary fruit basket in our room on our first day.  (I can’t remember the last time a Hilton property left me anything in my room in appreciation of my business.  It had to be decades ago.) 

Even after the in-room amenity disappeared, the benefits were still there.  Upgrades to the best available room were common (until that perk was removed) Guaranteed breakfasts were provided on-site (until that perk was removed) and then the Hilton team was always trying to make everything right – which is ultimately now something they don’t do anymore.

On a recent business trip I had scheduled for back in March, I received an email from my hotel on the morning of arrival that they had no hot water.  The support they provided was I could cancel with no penalty (as if I would stay at a property with no hot water.)  When I complained to the Hilton Diamond customer service people, they first ignored me, then just forwarded it to the hotel, who argued with me via email about how they handled the situation. 

I had a reservation for months with the Hilton brand, not the one property.  If they were incapable of honoring their commitment then they should have walked me to another nearby property and honored the rate.  They didn’t, they just said “bye.”  I assumed my complaint would result in an apology and perhaps some points to make good on the situation.  It didn’t.  They no longer care.

Just this past week I tried to use a “free night” certificate I had in my account.  I couldn’t, it had just expired.  I tried to get it extended for three weeks.  I couldn’t.  They only extend for two.  So I then tried to make the booking using Points and Money.  Every time I tried to arrange a four to five night stay it came out over a hundred dollars more expensive than if I were paying cash.  Sure, I could use the points, but the remaining nights room charge would be ~$450 per night, not the ~$350 per night rate that came up if I didn’t use the points.  So, they’re letting me use the points but overcharging me for the remaining days to make the use of the points meaningless.

And then there’s those free breakfasts I mentioned for Diamond (and Gold) members.  They are still part of the promised perks, but only at -some- Hilton properties.  Slap a “Curio” or “HGV” or “Tapestry” tag on the property, and even though you book it on the Hilton website, pay the Hilton website, and get Hilton points, they “choose not to participate” in providing that benefit.  They why should I choose to stay there?  Why should I choose to book at Hiltons at all?

What the heck happened to Hilton? 

After decades of listening to my wife telling me I should compare hotel programs and get comped to some other one, and ignoring her because of how great the Hilton people treated me, I now have to agree.  It’s time to look around.  The pizza is getting too cheap.



Also, p







I’m traveling again next week for a conference.  It is in Las Vegas, where Hilton had already lost my business years ago.  As much as the current Vegas market is not as customer friendly as it had been, there are still a bunch of properties that take care of me far better than the few Hiltons there do. 

It’s now long past time for the Hilton team to take a look at their perks for members, because as I said, on the ground we do have other choices.



This article was written by David Danto and contains solely his own, personal opinions.

All image and links provided above as reference under prevailing fair use statutes.

Copyright 2024 David Danto


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