Official Response From Hilton on Four Controversial Issues: Daily Food Credit, Housekeeping, Fee For Using a Credit Card, and Signia Lounge Access

Hilton has been receiving some negative feedback recently in the frequent flier community pertaining to four issues: the new temporary daily food and beverage credit at hotel and resort properties in the United States for members of the Hilton Honors frequent guest loyalty program who have earned either Diamond or Gold elite status; the daily housekeeping of a room; the charging of a fee simply to use a credit card when paying for a stay; and access to lounges at Signia by Hilton hotel properties.

Official Response From Hilton on Four Controversial Issues: Daily Food Credit, Housekeeping, Fee For Using a Credit Card, and Signia Lounge Access

Canopy by Hilton Washington DC The Wharf

Photograph ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

Not that a multinational lodging company such as Hilton needs someone like me to attempt to get the message out clearly about these four controversial topics; but without blindly engaging in what could possibly have been rumors and hearsay, I thought I would ask one of my official contacts at Hilton to try to find out as many factual details as possible about the issues which are being discussed — more negatively than positively — by members of the frequent flier community.

This article attempts to address those issues — as well as reflects my opinion pertaining to each issue.

Daily Housekeeping

Hampton Inn Moab

Photograph ©2020 by Brian Cohen.

Prior to the current 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic, many lodging companies offered automatic daily housekeeping of rooms at their hotel and resort properties — including Hilton — before engaging in programs which partnered with manufacturers of cleaning products to assure guests that rooms are indeed not only clean; but also sanitized and disinfected for their protection.

The CleanStay initiative — with Lysol protection — was specific to Hilton. That original initiative is not only no longer in effect; but reports alleged that daily housekeeping is no longer conducted automatically.

I asked if automatic daily housekeeping at hotel and resort properties within the Hilton portfolio has been eliminated as an official policy of Hilton; and if so, whether it is temporary or permanent.

“Hilton continues to offer daily housekeeping by request to all of our guests, free of charge, across all of our 18 brands around the world”, my contact at Hilton replied. “Throughout the pandemic, we discovered guests enjoyed the flexibility of on-demand housekeeping services and have varying levels of comfort with someone entering their rooms after they have checked in. We encourage our guests to call the front desk to request room cleaning, and our Team Members stand ready to assist with extra towels or amenities.”

Guests who stay at Waldorf Astoria, Conrad, and LXR hotel and resort properties will continue to receive daily housekeeping with no request needed.

Honestly, I do not have a problem with the room in which I am staying not being automatically serviced every day by members of the housekeeping staff — but this does raise at least a couple of points: does this policy jeopardize the livelihoods of employees in the housekeeping department in terms of gratuities, salaries, or even the job itself…

…and if Hilton is saving money by not automatically providing daily housekeeping of every room in every hotel and resort property, should at least some of those savings be passed on to the guest? As a corollary, could an extra fee in addition to the room rate possibly be charged in the future when requesting housekeeping with increased frequency?

Daily Food and Beverage Credit

Canopy by Hilton Reykjavik City Center

Photograph ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

Hilton Honors members who have earned Diamond or Gold elite status currently have been receiving a daily credit for food and beverages for the remainder of 2021 — instead of complimentary breakfast — at all luxury hotel and resort properties, full-service hotel and resort properties, lifestyle hotel and resort properties, and Hilton Garden Inn hotel properties in the United States effective as of Thursday, July 1, 2021 through the remainder of the year…

…and after two weeks, how has the temporary food and beverage credit policy worked out up to this point?

A cursory look at this discussion on FlyerTalk — as well as the articles of many weblogs, which include some at BoardingArea — seems to suggest that problems and issues are associated with the rollout of the new policy, with which the majority of guests are not happy.

“As the Daily F&B Credit began rolling out less than two weeks ago, we are actively working with our hotels to create the best experience possible, including offering a variety of food and beverage choices to meet the unique desires of our Gold and Diamond members who value the MyWay dining benefit”, according to my contact. “We appreciate the feedback from our most loyal members and continue to listen to, collect and evaluate feedback. We look forward to sharing an update on this complimentary elite member dining benefit later this year.”

I am not sure whether “actively working with our hotels to create the best experience possible” includes resolving such issues as reconciling the folio at the conclusion of the stay — but that remains to be seen.

I personally preferred the former policy of the complimentary breakfast, as that was one of the most valuable benefits of elite status with Hilton Honors, in my opinion…

…and it still is for now, as the former policy is still in effect at hotel and resort properties outside of the United States, where breakfast — and the overall experience in general — typically is significantly better than of those hotel and resort properties within the United States.

Credit Card Surcharge

“Just left the Hilton Burlington VT after a 1-night points stay, and in addition to the expected parking fee when the folio was emailed to me there was a surprise $1.00 service fee, $1.50 destination marketing fee and three different credit card surcharges, all less than $1.00“ is what FlyerTalk member lincolnjkc posted in this discussion back on Sunday, May 16, 2021. “None of these are listed on the confirmation or the hotel’s (mobile) website not were they mentioned at check in or check out (or I would have just paid cash… I really hate CC surcharges).”

The following screen shot was posted by FlyerTalk member xooz, which shows that the added charges — which are opaque and are not specifically detailed or identified — include:

  • 9.00 % per room, per night
  • 2.00 % per room, per night
  • 2.00 % per room, per night
  • $1.50 per room, per night
  • $1.00 per room, per night

Source: Hilton.

Worse, the words Total taxes at the bottom of the itemization of the folio appear to imply that the added charges are taxes and not necessarily fees.

I asked my contact if Hilton had any comment pertaining to the folio accounting practices of this particular hotel property; and this was the response: “Hilton properties must adhere to all brand standards pertaining to fees charged to the customer and clearly disclose any charges to a customer before being incurred. Credit card surcharges are not aligned with Hilton’s enterprise brand standards. We are addressing this particular situation with the independently owned and operated property in question.”

Adding fees to a folio without both disclosing them prior to the stay and not giving each of them a specific and definitive description is deceptive at best; and I hope that Hilton disciplines this property to the fullest extent possible if all of the allegations are found to indeed be proven.

Stay tuned on this issue.

Lounge Access at Signia by Hilton

When Signia by Hilton was officially launched as the 17th brand in February of 2019, it was touted as elevated experiences for business and leisure travelers — from arrival to departure — with elements which include impressive arrivals, unmatched lobby experiences, modern guest rooms, a destination bar, a signature restaurant, premium wellness experiences, and the Signia meeting experience…

…but reports recently alleged that members of the Hilton Honors program who have earned Diamond elite status will not have complimentary access to lounges in Signia by Hilton hotel properties; and I asked my contact if this is indeed true.

“As we continue to grow the Signia by Hilton brand, Club Signia will offer a premium experience and amenities beyond those of our existing executive lounges. Access to Club Signia will be available for an additional cost, therefore Diamond members will not receive access as part of their benefits. We will continue to keep you posted as additional details become available on the Signia by Hilton guest experience.”

What is that additional cost to access the lounge at Signia by Hilton hotel properties — as well as details as to exactly what is that premium experience and its amenities beyond those of existing executive lounges — remains yet to be revealed at the time this article was written.

Perhaps Diamond members should be the only elite members of the Hilton Honors program who have complimentary access to the lounge at Signia by Hilton hotel properties, as this may help further differentiate the Diamond tier from the other tiers?

Summary

Hilton La Romana

Photograph ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

Although I realize that not every single detail behind the controversial issues have been answered definitively, I do realize that Hilton does have to be careful about how the company publicly responds to those aforementioned issues — but I also do wish that details of the issues were more up front so as not to keep customers and guests guessing and worrying about the future.

Despite being a travel “blogger”, my experiences with Hilton over the years has been substantially more positive overall than negative — and based on those experiences, I have no reason at this time to worry that Hilton is significantly devaluing the experiences of its guests.

No, not all questions have been answered in this article — but if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions which are on your mind, please post them in the Comments section below; and I will alert my contact at Hilton to read them.

All photographs ©2018, ©2019, and ©2020 by Brian Cohen.

12 thoughts on “Official Response From Hilton on Four Controversial Issues: Daily Food Credit, Housekeeping, Fee For Using a Credit Card, and Signia Lounge Access”

  1. Jason Alino says:

    The total BS response regarding the F&B credit is enough to put Hilton at the bottom of my list for business or leisure travel. I would have a lot more respect for the brand if they were just honest and said “daily breakfast costs us too much because we give away Diamond and Gold status too easily”. Who said anything about the variety of the food being the issue? Gold and Diamond members have ‘unique’ desires that the reduced benefit is trying to meet? It’s breakfast. As a Diamond (now going to be former) I image I think breakfast is basically the same thing as someone without any status.

    Thank you for posting those responses from your contact, I hope they realize how idiotic that F&B response was.

  2. DaninMCI says:

    Why not “99% per room, per hour” ?

  3. Tony says:

    These are not truly official answers. These are standard boiler plate BS answers that those who are authorize to provided.

  4. Tony says:

    These are not truly official answers. These are standard boiler plate answers that those who are authorize to provided.

  5. Kevin says:

    I stay exclusively at Hilton hotels on business travel (company policy) and have been a Diamond member for several years. I’ve had the same pain in the ass experience with the new “breakfast” credit that at multiple Hilton properties.

    The fee is supposed to be reversed at checkout. I have not had a single one of these automatically removed and I have had to either spend additional time standing in line at the front desk or call in while in transit. When calling the front desk in transit, this has so far, resulted in the hotel reversing the entire charge, and the hotel recharging the correct amount, and sending a new invoice. For anyone who is unlucky enough to have to use Concur for travel and expenses and in my case, which is tied to company credit card charges, causes said pain in the ass.

    What is wrong with just making the blue Hilton breakfast coupons worth $12 and be done with it? Adding “free breakfast” charges to the hotel bill and then having to reverse them is retarded beyond comprehension, doubling work for all involved.

  6. Jeff says:

    I have been a diamond member for the past 6 years. I stayed at Hilton hotels during the pandemic with virtually no amenities (no food or beverages/ no lounges/ no housekeeping etc)
    And how does Hilton reward my loyalty? Take away free breakfast ( a $12 credit for a reduced service buffet that costs $20) keep the pool closed and make it a complete hassle to use the gym.

  7. Aleks says:

    The F&B credit should be baked-in Hilton charging system if they want it to last.
    Otherwise it causes extra time & energy from elites, and cooperation from individual properties on the issue.
    The $$ Food vouchers would work better as a substitute for time being.

  8. Ben says:

    “Perhaps Diamond members should be the only elite members of the Hilton Honors program who have complimentary access to the lounge at Signia by Hilton hotel properties”

    That’s how it is currently – Golds don’t get access by virtue of elite status UNLESS they are upgraded to a Club room, which the hotel does not have to offer.

  9. MIchael R Karpiel says:

    I agree that posting the full charge and then expecting the front desk staff to post a credit is a royal pain in the behind.

    Much of my business travel the past 25 years has taken me to Phoenix and I’ve stayed many times at the Hilton Tapatio. They have always followed the breakfast policy which was Continental Breakfast. On check in I would receive vouchers to present in the restaurant. Full breakfast buffet was always slightly more then the credit but the waiter would enter the voucher on the bill and I would be presented with a charge for the difference (usually $3-$4) and I would add a tip (based on the full charge).

    On the days that I was in a rush I would stop in the lobby at the café and get a coffee and maybe a bagel or croissant and a piece of fruit. Present the voucher and no charge. Yes I may have left some $ on the table in this case but I understood that.

    So my hotel folio would only show the amount that I signed for. No adjustment required by the front desk.

  10. Mollie says:

    We were just in Seattle and the something happened our Breakfast charge was automatically credited. If I hadn’t looked at the email it would have been missed. We were given $15 but it did not cover the cost of the food and drink. 1 item was $15. This is not a Breakfast or even a continental breakfast. Hilton had 18 months to figure this out.

  11. Dan says:

    The experience as a gold in Europe and Japan is far far better than my experience as a diamond in the US. The food and beverage credit is a joke

  12. AJ says:

    I wonder if management thought it was a great idea to take away the best benifits (breakfast).
    From the VERY BEST CUSTOMERS ( Diamond)
    And a management group thought.
    ( What a great idea).
    Really.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

BoardingArea