Hilton Drops Elite Breakfast Benefit At US Hotels Starting July 1, Here’s How That Works

A month ago Hilton announced that for the second half of 2021, a food and beverage credit would replace breakfast as an elite benefit at U.S. properties.

  • The good news is that it could be used anywhere on property at any time, such as room service or dinner.

  • The bad news is the amounts don’t actually cover the cost of breakfast at most hotels (at least for what most people would consider to constitute breakfast, with tax and tip).

The giveaway here was that Hilton wasn’t even announcing the credit amounts although those leaked quickly.

Here are the amounts:

Since this replaces the ‘MyWay’ breakfast benefit, Gold members can also choose 1000 points at most properties in lieu of the F&B credit. 1000 points are worth about $4. Diamonds of course get their points too (except at Hilton Garden Inns, where the amount is also 750 points). Brands that offer complimentary breakfast to all guests are expected to continue to do so.

It is not possible, of course, to buy breakfast for $12 all-in at the Hilton Miami Downtown or Gale South Beach Curio Collection. It’s not possible to buy breakfast for $12 at Hilton Americas Houston. And while $15 is a little better in some major cities, it’s not going to buy breakfast at the Hilton San Francisco Financial District either.

This benefit is still positive for those who wouldn’t eat breakfast on-property, or those who aren’t keen on what passes for elite breakfast at some hotels these days due to cost-cutting in the name of covid (that brown paper bag grab & go).

However anyone who values breakfast as a status benefit at U.S. Hilton properties is likely to be disappointing for the back half of 2021. We’ll see whether or not this test gets extended to 2022 and beyond, or to hotels outside of the U.S.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. Gary – First of all I”m a Diamond Hilton member. As I have posted before I’m fine w this since I’m not a “breakfast” person. I like a cup of coffee and consider loading up on 3 meals a day one reason Americans are so fat. Many nutritionists state breakfast should be necessary (the old adage about “most important meal of the day” was all marketing) and people would be healthier with maybe a piece of fruit and coffee/tea/juice then eat lunch around noon. This at least allows me to apply the credit against a drink from the bar, other food or something from the pantry.

    That being said I understand some people are fanatical over this and are outraged.

    My comment mainly has to do with your statement that “at least for what most people would consider to constitute breakfast, with tax and tip” – don’t tell me you didn’t tip when provided a “free” breakfast? REALLY? If anything I over tip a little since I’m not paying for the meal. I usually leave a tip in the executive lounge as well (hopefully they all reopen soon). About the only place I don’t tip is Hampton Inn (or comparable) where you are expected to get your own food and clean your own table.

    If you considered the “free” meal to include the tip you are cheaper than I imagined (which is saying something).

  2. @AC – Literally the point of this is that it doesn’t cover the cost of breakfast. Don’t start on some tipping sideshow. We all know what Hilton is doing here.

  3. I might start exploring Hyatt and some other brands. This $ savings is what kept me loyal to HHonors.

  4. I agree with everything that AC has posted – except the snide comments about tipping and extraneous nutrition advice. The credit does seem far smaller than a comp breakfast … especially when you consider the lavish buffets available at the big Hiltons, Waldorfs and Conrads. I assume that Hilton corporate will be monitoring this closely and perhaps up the $ amount a bit, especially for Diamonds.

  5. @AC – you misunderstand me. I’m saying the benefit should be sufficient so that when you leave a tip, the hotel gives you a credit that includes the tip.

    Let’s look at Hyatt’s top tier breakfast benefit,

    “Globalists will receive daily complimentary full breakfast (which includes one entrée or standard breakfast buffet, juice, and coffee, as well as tax, gratuity and service charges) for each registered guest in the room, up to a maximum of two (2) adults and two (2) children.”

    You don’t just get an entree, but also coffee AND juice included. And the credit you receive is enough that a standard tip that you leave is included. Oh, and the benefit can be up to four people in the room if you’re traveling with two kids.

  6. Diamond member here. Everything about this is bad.

    Amounts don’t come anywhere close to covering the cost of a meal. $10 at an HGI? A simple cup of coffee along can cost $2-3 at an HGI. And then the way they are administering this is a going to be a pain in rear for those of us that have to report itemized receipts for each meal: “Each day of their stay, the Hilton Honors member will charge their eligible F&B purchases to their room, and the credit will be automatically applied to their total bill for those F&B purchases charged to their room.” So if I eat more than once a day at the hotel, I end up with a “F&B credit” line item on the folio that isn’t associated with any specific meal. A lump credit like is a mess in my expense reporting system…

    This won’t cause me to stop staying at Hiltons. It will cause me to stop eating at Hiltons. I’ll go to an outside restaurant, and that restaurant can get the incremental revenue.

  7. We just had a Hyatt Regency stay in the Midwest with 3 other families. Everybody received vouchers for breakfast that more-than covered our orders for our families. The property made us feel valued at every turn and the general “sense” of the stay was that if there was a gray area the hotel took action in the direction that benefited us as guests.

    We can argue about tipping and health benefits of breakfast and Americans or how other cultures handle breakfast, but at the end of the day the sense I get is that Hyatt wants me, and Hilton wants my money. As long as that is the case, my travel investment will be directed towards Hyatt.

  8. Diamond staying at a DoubleTree in California. This will **almost** cover the cost of a breakfast sandwich and coffee.

    What a joke. I too, often skip breakfast. But what really bothers me is feeling disrespected after going out of my way to be loyal to Hilton over the competition. They act as if they don’t want our loyalty, so why should we be loyal. I won’t in the future.

  9. To be fair to Hilton here (and I don’;t like this at all as we *are* breakfast people), the actual defined benefit is for a “continental” breakfast. And this might cover that in many places, even if not a full breakfast. i realize that many places did give full breakfast anyway, and some had a modest upcharge.

    But one could argue that they are, technically, living up to the elite commitment if this does cover the continental option.

    And, ideally, it goes away at the end of the year.

    But, no, I’m not supporting this…just trying to look at the “other side.”

    Cheers.

  10. At least for me, this will backfire completely. I owe my gold status to my Amex platinum. Hyatt is my first choice. Hilton has been my second choice because of the breakfast benefit. After all, it’s not like Hilton points are worth much and even back in my (earned) diamond days I was never bumped up to a suite. Add in a catastrophic series of devaluations and the only good thing is the consistent breakfast benefit. Now they want to kill that off? An impressively shortsighted move.

  11. If this continues into 2022 I’ll be dropping my Aspire card. The main perk I enjoy is the breakfast benefit. I set my alarm so as to make it to breakfast at hotels. If I eat a good breakfast I can skip or snack through lunch, which saves time and $.

    I travel to big cities– NY, SF, etc. Breakfast in those hotels is usually $30-40 before tips.

    Bad, bad policy imo.

  12. As a Diamond member I don’t like this as breakfast is the one meal I usually eat at the hotel. I am usually gone for most of the day and eat elsewhere. I will focus on staying at Hampton Inns which already provide a free breakfast to everyone and take the points. I hope there are enough complaints from elites to skittle this new “bad” idea. My bookings will always be for two people.

  13. @AC: ” I like a cup of coffee and consider loading up on 3 meals a day one reason Americans are so fat.”

    You don’t know shit about nutrition.

    Three meals a day is NOT why a large percentage of Americans are obese. The primary reasons are food choices and portion size.

    I have zero patience for ignorant and condescending people. Like you.

    This is a reduction in benefits by Hilton. End of story.

  14. I was mainly avoiding HHonors properties during the pandemic because the breakfast benefit was mainly miss than hit. The main problem with this new policy is the real danger that this “benefit” would become permanent in hotels which offered some decent breakfast before. However, it would be 50% improvement for Hilton Waikoloa Village which was offering only $10/person or $20/room daily credit instead of breakfast in the past for many years.

  15. Conrad at NYC/DC substitute for $25 credits for so many years since they don’t have lounge.
    They offer a SMALL corner for LIMITED continental breakfast which only has bread and cheese like The Club, pretty pathetic.
    I always ended up with omelet, waffle with coffee for over $35. It is a no-winner practice.

    If a hotel offers buffet, I assume that they would keep offering buffet since the cost is actually lower than table service. Food is much cheaper than employee.

  16. I moved from Marriott to Hilton when I lost my breakfast benefit at Marriott as a Gold (through the American Express Platinum Card). I said good bye to Marriott. I guess it’s good bye to Hilton next. Bummer.

  17. I knew there was a reason I reached for Hyatt and Marriott status over the past year.

    Adios, Hilton.

  18. It’s an obvious money grab, pure and simple. They’re taking advantage of the temporary surge in “revenge travel” to do what most other “loyalty” programs are doing: Giving members less to get incremental revenue while the getting is good.

    Even though I have Marriott Platnum and Hilton Gold, I’m finding it best to forget about “loyalty” when it comes to personal leisure travel. Just stay at the property that best suits your needs. I get why people resent having a benefit devalued. But if breakfast is THAT important, either stay at a Hampton and gorge at the buffet. Or go to a local restaurant and pay for what you really want. Life is too short to get miffed over first world problems like breakfast.

  19. Does it affect Hilton in Asia? For example, the Hilton and Conrad properties in Singapore and China offer amazing breakfast buffet. Does this new sh** policy affecting the Asian Hilton’s breakfast buffet? That’s why I keep my Hilton gold membership, mainly for these amazing breakfast buffet in Asia….

  20. Only possible win here is for FHR/Virtuoso bookings when using those programs’ breakfast benefit and the $50/day credit elsewhere.

  21. It’s a program devaluation.

    I am a Hilton diamond via credit card affiliation. That meant that I counted on my upgrades and breakfast to offset my credit card cost.

    I had been doing this to target lifetime diamond. And I am the guy that usually skipped lunch, so I actually enjoyed the breakfasts… especially overseas!

    Through two years of the pandemic, I kept my card, and kept paying. And this is my thanks!

    Now Hilton will lose the credit card affiliation $$$ and the Hilton nights $$$.

    I guess I will go back to being just a lowly lifetime titanium at Marriott.

    Harrumph!

  22. 6 months >>> forever. US only >>> everywhere. Test-marketing how much they can screw members without substantial loss in revenue. And maybe responding to the properties complaining about all the free breakfast benefits they need to provide due to making it so easy for everyone to requalify this year. Hopefully the competitors don’t follow suit and hopefully this becomes a net revenue loser for Hilton as people vote with their feet.

  23. Diamond member for almost 10 years. Forget, I never understood how 2 bottles of $0.25 cent water and cold breakfast could be considered a benefit. Just had this experience last week in SEA with a Doubletree – $12 voucher for anything. No breakfast on the menu was less than $13.95 most were $17 or more. After coffee and taxes and tip, it was $15 with the voucher for what should been a $15 breakfast to start with…no room service and $175 for a room per night…forget it. Hyatt or Marriott or anybody else, this is nuts.

  24. Thinking hotels and airlines value your loyalty is as naive as thinking a stripper likes you.

    This is an answer to hotel complaints about the costs of providing elite breakfasts. Continental breakfast prices will be increased to be slightly more than the credit. The incremental difference will cover they actual cost of the food, resulting in a net zero cost to the hotel.

    This change won’t end unless enough elites book away from Hilton that it affects the bottom line. That won’t happen, so get used to it.

  25. Two people mentioned they will reserve rooms as two guests. When you check in the hotel they ask…. who is the second guest…..what do you say?
    Am I not understanding something here?

  26. As I’ve said for years now…when a program gives away its top tier status for (net) free with a credit card (and yes, I get it’s US members only who get that…but that’s the majority of elites + properties anyways)…something like this was always inevitable.

    Marriott Plat and up status levels, while barely worth anything, still are likely worth more now than Hilton. At least those that actually honor the T&Cs.

  27. @Jim W – what’s not to understand? My partners working and will come later. They’re not providing the benefit at the point of service but after the fact. It’s an amount not pp on the bill they’re crediting and frankly, if a hotel actually asked me that I’d tell them it’s none of their concern. I could have my boy toy up there later for all they need to know. It’s not quite the same as trying to squeeze 5 people in a room with a double bed.

  28. My question which has been asked but every single blogger has ignored is what happens at properties with lounges when they open? Is it a credit or lounge access or can I go eat up there and use the credit later?

  29. I already dropped Marriott, since many of their properties are pulling this same “credit” crap that barely covers a cup of coffee and piece of fruit. If this doesn’t revert back to the old way come 2022, looks like I’ll be dropping Hilton as well.

  30. @Carl @Shawn – at hotels that have an Executive Lounge offering complimentary breakfast, members upgraded to Executive Lounge access will not receive the daily F&B Credit. Gold members not upgraded to Executive Lounge access will receive the credit.

  31. I just stayed at the Hilton SF Bayfront. The credit was only $10 a week ago and the Continental breakfast was 9.95 including coffee. The alternate option for egg and sausage link or bacon (no other choices) was 18.95 plus 5 for coffee or juice. Small room cup for the coffee with no refills. Absurd…. Tax and tip is extra and if you don’t purchase each day the credit is not applied to your bill. They lost me to the adjacent Embassy Suites whose breakfast is currently not changing. I, like some others commenting, would rather have a decent breakfast with choices and pass on lunch.

  32. Heard about this from a Hilton Front Desk Manager a few days ago. He asked what I thought of it. I said “too bad there are not as many Hyatts as Hiltons out there, they really know how to cater to their Globalists” I am a Diamond for life member

  33. There’s a second problem with this – some Hiltons can’t reopen the restaurant because they can’t hire kitchen staff (especially cooks). I have experienced this at the Hilton Dedham, Massachusetts. The in-house coffee shop was only open for two days in
    June because the hotel had a wedding party staying. In May I was told that they couldn’t open the restaurant due to low occupancy of under 20%. Then in late June one front desk clerk shared that it was the inability to hire kitchen staff as to why the restaurant remains closed.

    Due to the nature of my work schedule, breakfast at the hotel is typically one meal I can bank on having and where I can control what eat.

    I worked very hard to earn Lifetime Diamond (received in Sept 2019), and when I can, I book those Hilton properties that give full hot breakfast to Diamonds. For example, when Hilton Anaheim Convention Center closed their Exec Lounge I moved to the DoubleTree down the street which gave full breakfast. We’ll see in two weeks what that DoubleTree still does.

    As for HGI, every HGI I’ve ever stayed in gave free hot breakfast to Diamonds (remember those green vouchers). We’ll see what happens now, but $10/day doesn’t cover it as I’ve seen it posted for $14.99, pre-pandemic.

    Safe travels everyone.

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