In my opinion, the Hilton HHonors program has a very unclear late check out policy for their top-tier Diamond elite members. Hidden in the official “terms” as per the Hilton website is this: Late check-out must be requested and is subject to availability.
A few weeks ago my family and I had a fabulous stay at a resort in the Hilton portfolio in Puerto Rico. I can’t wait to share my thoughts about the property because in my opinion, it’s a great resort for families with kids of all ages. From a value-perspective, having Hilton status really comes with a lot of perks at this resort, too.
The one thing that really bothered me though was their inconsistency of their late-check out policy.
At check in, I kindly asked for a 4pm late check out on the day of departure because we had a 9pm flight home. For our last day, our plan was to take to the resort’s ferry to their private island for the day, and then return to the room to give the kids a bath, check out, and have a final dinner at the property before our 6pm ride to the airport.
I thought 4pm seemed attainable and reasonable, considering that both Hyatt & Starwood have a 4pm guaranteed policy for their elites.
When I asked for the 4pm check out, the agent quickly responded that she could extend our check out by one hour… and that 4pm was available, but for a fee of $100!
Now here I am in an awkward position where I feel like I needed further clarification about a “benefit”. It was just confirmed that the room was available, but now I am being asked to pay for the extra hours?
Perplexed about the “subject to availability terms”, I responded with our plans to spend most of the day at the island, and that if the room is available for 4pm, shouldn’t it be complimentary until 4pm for Diamond members?
She didn’t really have an answer so I tweeted to Hilton asking if they could qualify the Diamond late check out benefit. Hilton’s Twitter team tried to clarify on my behalf, but I was told that no one at the hotel answered their call.
In the end, I did receive the 4pm checkout. Perhaps it was resentfully or reluctantly, but I just thought the whole situation seemed very uncomfortable. I didn’t want to come off as entitled or pushy, but I felt like I was in a weird position.
Ultimately, I know Hilton can’t actually guarantee late checkout, but at least with other programs, the late check out terms are very clear.
I think that having some sort of ball-park of expectations across the board might eliminate confusion and awkward/confrontational conversations between guests and hotel staff.
What are your thoughts? Have you had a similar experience at a Hilton property before?
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Stacy Smith says
i have had the exact same issue with Hilton Waikiki despite being a diamond member.
This likely more of a problem at resort or high volume locations. Since most hotels are run by local franchise companies they can be less accommodating. Late check out isn’t a big deal to me normally. In fact I’d rather have early check in. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come off of an early overnight flight only to find I can’t check in, take a shower or even drop off luggage in some cases.
Gary Leff says
Remember that neither Hyatt nor Starwood (nor Marriott which now offers 4pm to Golds and Platinums) guarantee late checkout at resorts.
Subject to availability though should be quite clear, with availability easily tested.
Hilton’s terms and conditions offer the same ambiguous late checkout benefit to all members, whether status or not (http://hhonors3.hilton.com/en/terms/index.html). There is no formal elite late checkout benefit.
Hilton’s late checkout lags Marriott, Starwood, and Hyatt by far. But this actually isn’t a clear example of it because it’s a resort, where those chains offering a better late checkout benefit don’t guarantee it either.
None of the competitors give a 4 p.m. checkout either to their top tiers at resorts. But at non-resorts I agree Hilton needs to guarantee a 4p.m. check out for diamonds. It’s rare to find a Hilton that will give a diamond a late checkout at 4 p.m. even though I can get it at SPG no-status by being a Delta diamond. If a 4 p.m. checkout is important then I give the stay to Hyatt or SPG and Hilton has lost plenty of stays from me due to that.
I was recently at a NYC Hilton and asked for a 3 p.m. checkout and was told only 1 p.m. was granted for golds and diamond’s. I reminded the clerk diamond requires a lot more stays and he replied that I get more points as a diamond than a gold. Something else Hilton needs to do is to do more to distinguish between golds and diamond’s and giving Diamonds a GUARANTEED 4 p.m. checkout and gold’s a 1 or 2 would help do that
Just received 4pm late check out at Hilton in Bangkok and today in Hanoi, even though the hotel may be sold out for NEW YEAR’s celebration. The last time I requested a late Check out in March in Santiago I got until 600 pm. Likewise a year ago in LA. plus Hilton has never charged as for a rollaway. But have not tried it at a resort. Will need to have different expectations I suppose.
My daughtet stayed at the WA in Puerto Rico for a special birthday and had a horrible time with their customer service-room had to be moved 3 times, spa overcharges etc. She is Hilton Gold and emailed Hilton once she got home. It wAs a points stay and all points were refunded.
OMG, I am sitting at breakfast at the new Conrad in Fort Lauderdale after arguing about check out for tomorrow. I asked for 4pm, they countered with 2pm. I have a feeling round #2 of negotiation is coming soon….
It’s only going to be worse in late January when Hilton starts giving out Diamond status with the new credit card.
I have no issues with getting a guaranteed 4 pm check out as a top tier at Hyatt and Marriott and SPG offer it for their top tier but neither gives out status with a credit card for top tier either.
Hilton needs to give out a premium diamond status to people who actually spend 60 nights a year in the hotel and offer them a guaranteed 4 pm late check out and priority to upgrades.
I’m sorry but I’ve been working for the company for quite some time now and I want to put my two cents in so you can all understand the employees point of view as well.
Seeing stuff like this just irks me. A 4 pm check out — especially for free — is absurd. Check in at our property is at 3 pm, so let me put this in perspective for you so you can understand: what if we had so many Diamond/Gold members checking out on the same day that had the same entitled attitude as all of you and made us give them all 4:00 check outs when we are sold old out, then we don’t have any rooms ready at 3:00 for other Gold/Diamond members checking in? Late check outs and early check ins are based on availability, it says so on Hilton Website. It is in smaller print, but it is there.
I just think we should get rid of these stupid reward programs altogether. What makes you more entitled than other guests who aren’t Diamond and Gold members? 99% of you got your status staying so many nights a year when your COMPANY is the one who picks up the tab. It’s just a completely unfair system.
When we pay thousands upon thousands of dollars (mine are not for work) and Hilton’s the only one without guarantees, you think we should have loyalty to Hilton? I have SPG/Marriott and Hyatt top-tiers and am happy to neglect my HHonors Diamond if more Hilton employees think this way.
As well, put yourself in our shoes, this is not our home – we are trying to make our travel comfortable instead of being rushed out because the company’s business plans doesn’t match its competitors… wow!
Maybe you’re in the wrong industry if you have such disdain for your modt loyal guests.
I think people don’t get it especially when a hotel is completely sold out for that day. You need to account for the fact that guests are arriving around those times and plus housekeeping leaves around 4pm for most hotels. They can’t keep housingkeeping past a certain time because they don’t have the budget for it. Things cost money. Could you honestly imagine a hotel thats allows guest to stay until for 4pm late checkout guarantee and no rooms ready for arrivals. What if the majority of those in house guests asked for that 4pm late-check? We would have tons of upset people who want to check into their rooms they reserved for their stay. There are a few slots available for those who ask for a late checkout. First come, first serve. And yes they can charge you because they have to pay the housekeeper to clean the room because they usually are staying past their shift. So, give me a break people and get of your entitlement.
The problem is not about paying extra. The problem is the confusion over what entitlements are available.
For example, if Hilton just comes out and say “Free check-out till 1PM (conditioned by availability); later check-out time may be available with added fees,” then everyone knows where the limits are. Instead, there is no mention of fee. The only condition for the free check-out is availability. In theory, according to that statement, if the hotel has the room, the customer should be allowed to stay till 11:59PM. Again, no limits are mentioned.
BTW, what is wrong with entitlements? Is it my job to figure out your employees’ schedule? Do I have to worry about their health? Do you also want me to bring warm meals for the housekeeping staffs? Do you want me to bring candy for their children? Applying your flawless logic, everyone should be thrown out at 9AM so the staffs can finish before lunch. I mean, what kind of **** am I to demand more value for my money? I bet you are the kind of people who tip 500% at restaurants, because of your love for THEIR staffs, right?
Sarcasm aside, this is still business. My task is to balance between value (e.g. how nice the bed is, breakfast, check-in and check-out time, etc.) and price (points or $). It’s the hotel’s job to balance between price (points or $) and how to offer the value. If the housekeeping staffs think they deserve high wages (legitimate demand, of course), go after Hilton. Again, it’s Hilton’s (and the owner’s) job to figure out how to provide what they promise to provide at the price they charge. If they must pay higher wages, that comes out of *their* profit margin. Hilton promises late check-out based on availability. The customer did not.
Why are you blaming the consumers? For goodness’ sake, they foot your wages.
I completely agree with you people are so full of it and are so selfish unless they are on the other side they would be mad that there are no rooms available mad because they cant stay late and mad that they have to pay. first of all, there are reasons why rules are in place check out time is at whatever time its in and check in time is set to a specific time. To ensure that guest can check into their rooms at a timely manor and not be upset you would need to leave and if you are going to stay passed the check in time you need to pay for a half day they do this at every hotel there are rules and stipulations for a reason people.
Probably people like this employee here are why customers hate Hilton program?
Look, loyalty is a 2-way street. The customers would bring business to your establishment (and, seriously, except the case where you are the only hotel within about 20 miles, there are other choices; plus, if you are the only establishment within 20 miles, who the hell stay there?). The customers will also bear out some minor issues, provided that the issues are resolved to satisfactory. In return, your establishments will give them special considerations, such as early check-in and late check-out (plus free goodies and upgrades).
The point of this article is not that she demands late check-outs. The point is a confusion: why is the late check-out available with money only? She would have understood if the hotel says, “no, sorry ma’am, we are fully booked; 1PM is as late as we can do.” Instead, they say “you can stay till 1PM for free, but you can pay to stay later.” Similarly for check-in. It’s one thing to say “we absolutely cannot check you in before 3PM today; we are that full.” It’s another to say “ok, if you bribe (I meant pay) us $50, we will let you check-in.” The former is beyond your control. The latter is clearly within your control, but you simply choose not to do it because you want to be bribed/paid.
The elaboration of the above point is that Hilton doesn’t have clear guidelines. It could have say “1PM late check-out (conditioned by availability) is free; later check-outs may be provided with added fee.” Then it’s fair game. Everyone knows the limit. Instead, Hilton evades the questions, and the evasion frustrates its loyal customers.
The loyalty programs themselves aren’t the problem… it’s always the people. I’m a consultant who also likes to travel for pleasure, so I do a lot of business and personal travel. Loyalty programs are great since they allow me a greater sense of value from opting for hotel chain X, since in major cities you really do have a lot of options between chains, boutiques, AirBNB/VRBO, etc. What is missing from some of these posts is a little sensitivity, compassion, and willingness to look out for others and not just yourself. Do I like a 4PM late checkout? Sure! The key part is “based on availability”. If it’s a huge inconvenience for the hotel due to hospitality needing to clean limited numbers of available rooms in a limited timeframe etc, I can definitely adjust my plans to checkout earlier or pay a fee for their inconvenience… it’s really not that big of a deal. As for the question about why it’s free at 1PM but paid at 4PM; it’s simple supply and demand. Even though hotels are paid by nightly costs, it’s really an hourly business. Each hour you tie up available room supply affects costs not just in terms of bookings, but in terms of services and operational costs the hotel supports. Sometimes those costs are going to be much steeper due to scarcity (room supply, housekeeping supply, utility costs, support staff costs). But that’s really an aside from my main point, which is when I travel and focus on all the amazing things I DO get to experience I’m much happier than when I travel and focus on the few things I DON’T get my way.
I’m just going to take a stab and say anonymous is a liberal. Everyone should be treated economically equal – even if they pay (or in this case, stay) more than others. All this blogger asked for was a clear and concise explanation of the program so as a consumer they can compare programs fairly. That’s free market at work.
Our company may be paying for our rooms (which pays for your salary if you work at Hilton) but we are out on the road months out of the year making money for our company and having to miss major milestones in our home life. So if we are consistently staying at a Hilton property 200 nights or more a year a 4pm checkout in not absurd. Especially if we do not leave a city until 8pm at night – only to fly to another city to stay in another Hilton property.
After being in the service industry for many years as a kid I understand were your coming from, but you also chose to be in your profession which takes you away from your family and therefore cannot use that as an excuse not to follow the rules…Unfortunately a Multibillion dollar company does not revolve their policies around you and your personal likes and dislikes….Rules are put in place to be followed not to be tested by the likes of anyone who is just not happy getting their way…I agree Hilton should absolutely post the supreme directive in regards to policy’s but after reading a lot of what has been written here it seems more people are just upset because they are entitled and simply not getting their way….
Chris B says
I do not understand how you people think you are entitled to a 4pm checkout, using the logic that check in is at 4pm. How are they supposed to turn over the rooms? Which take about an hour a room. You people do realize that some rooms can also be down for maintenance.
Stop crying like brats. 2pm should be all you need. Especially if you have airport lounge access.
Jerry Brown says
Chris B. and “anonymous”,
Consider that most people aren’t waiting in line at 4pm to check in. Many people don’t arrive at their destinations before check-in time. In my 40 years of travel for both business and pleasure, I have arrived at my destination hotel just 3% of the time. The vast majority of travels have found me arriving at my destination hotel between 8 and 11pm. So all this fussing about people lining up to check in at 3pm does not resonate with my travel reality.
Consider that most people are NOT Diamond elite loyalty members, and therefore the number of rooms involved if EVERY Diamond Elite member requested 4pm late check-out would not amount to a significant portion of the total rooms available.
Consider that “loyalty” programs were designed to encourage travelers to stay at particular hotels, which requires said loyalty program to be competitive with competing loyalty programs.
In the unlikely hypothetical situation in which 100% of the Diamond Elite members requested a late check-out on a day which was fully booked for the coming night (such as New Year’s Eve, for example), a mere 2% of the total rooms would be unavailable at check-in time, assuming the level of occupied rooms matched the rate of Diamond Elite to non-members. Continuing this example, say there are 200 rooms; then FOUR total rooms are then unavailable to people wanting to check in at 4pm, even at 5pm.
Such a situation is NOT a problem for a competent manager and housekeeping staff. Knowing that loyalty is important to the long-term profitability of the hotel, the competent manager would schedule housekeeping staff in a way that not ALL show up or leave at the same time. Referring to the hypothetical example, a single housekeeper can clean four rooms in an hour. For a 200-room hotel, this should NOT present a problem. Furthermore, far more than four rooms are likely to remain unclaimed until much later in the evening.
You honestly believe it takes an hour to flip each room? I am on the road 20 days each month so I pretty much live full time in a hotel. I don’t think wiping the counters and toilets and maybe the floor tiles down with a dirty rag & changing and making a bed takes an hour. And I’m certain some hotels don’t change out the linens after every guest.
*BASED ON AVAILABILITY says
Hospitality Front Desk Agent here… Have worked for Hilton, Marriott, Omni.
I’m just here to echo what Chris B said^^^
Trust me, we understand you are all away from your actual home and (most) of us do truly put our hearts into our guests’ satisfaction, and spend a lot of extra time and effort on setting up, taking care of, and recognizing our loyal guests.
On the flip side, you have to understand the logistical challenges we face day in and day out. It would be physically impossible to guarantee late checkout to all HiltonHonors/SPGRewards/etc members.
At my current location, check-in is 4PM and checkout is 12PM. Our “standard” is:
Complimentary late checkout up until 2PM, based on availability. Anything later would result in a fee, usually per hour. If you’d like to stay past 4PM, we charge a half-day rate. For top tier members(Gold/Diamond), if they’d like a half-day, we will honor their current rate. If the guest isn’t Gold/Diamond then we charge a half-day based on BAR (Best Available Rate) for that particular night.
*Quick Side Note* – Nothing is worse than an entitled person. Yes, you have earned your Diamond status whether it was on your company’s dollar or not, and we still appreciate it. But the very simple trait of ASKING, rather than DEMANDING or expecting goes a mile, not only in life, but in this industry. Please be conscious of how you speak to and treat people in Guest (or Customer) Service. If you treat me like an ass I’m naturally going to be turned-off from going that extra mile for you.
Nicole Schindeldecker says
Just Right now happened to me too in the HGI in Ottawa. What i do net get – there is again that they would charge me a fee if i stay till 4 p.m. Again that means a room is free but still they charge Diamond members extra. Since I have many times late flights I will not stay here again and might totally switch over to Marriott because their policity there at least in europe is way better.