Hilton is the most consistent in offering breakfast across all of its brands for Gold and Diamond elites. It also has the most accessible elite level that comes with breakfast – Gold is basically a giveaway level, it comes with the chain’s main co-brand credit card and with Amex Platinum cards when you opt into the benefit, and it’s long been available easily via status challenge.
Six or seven years ago I suggested to Mark Weinstein, Hilton’s Senior Vice President & Global Head of Marketing and Loyalty, that they might consider an on-property food and beverage credit for elites in lieu of breakfast. That way members could take breakfast however they preferred, whether from a hotel’s ‘grab and go’ or even room service if they didn’t have time to visit the restaurant or preferred to eat and work in their rooms.
At the time Weinstein remarked that he didn’t actually care how members spent the investment they made in benefits. If the cost to the program was the same, he’d be indifferent to members using an F&B credit for room service. I noted that this sort of credit might lead to greater use of the benefit, less breakage, and so higher cost even if the amounts were the same.
Hilton actually is actually introducing an on property food and beverage credit for elites, to replace their breakfast benefit, for early July, 2021 through the end of the year.
This applies at full-service, lifestyle, and Hilton Garden Inn properties in the U.S. only: Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, LXR Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Canopy by Hilton, Signia by Hilton, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Curio Collection by Hilton, Tapestry Collection by Hilton, DoubleTree by Hilton and Motto by Hilton.
- The benefit can be used any time of day, not just at breakfast
- And can be used for whatever dining options are provided by the hotel, chargeable to the room
We do not yet know how much the credit will be – Hilton hasn’t announced that yet – and just says the daily credit “will range in value, depending on the brand and location.”
That’s the rub of course, it needs to be enough to at least cover breakfast and then it really does mean greater flexibility. It would be interesting to see this test expand, both into the future and beyond U.S. hotels.
At the very least with so many club lounges closed, and even restaurant breakfast options limited, anything that lets members buy out of the Covid Excuse Brown Paper Bag breakfasts stemming from relaxed brand standards and permanent hotel cost-cutting.
The credit is per person up to two guests registered to the room, it’s likely that members traveling as a couple with eligible family members come out way behind – the current breakfast benefit is supposed to be limited to two guests but in practice hotels often extend it to kids as well. Furthermore those staying in expensive locales may not have the amount fully make up for the cost of hotel food and beverage in their location.
So this is definitely one we’ll need to keep an eye on – great concept in theory, but the execution will largely depend on the specific generosity and there I start off skeptical. Hopefully I will be proven wrong.