a house with a pool on the water
The new Waldorf Astoria Maldives

If you’re reading this and thinking “I swear Hilton already tested pre-arrival room upgrades before”, you’re correct. They did, they were and they are. But apparently, they are now a “thing” and not just a trial.

Before this change, Hilton loyalists faced a conundrum when checking into most hotels: check in online for greatest ease with a digital room key, but likely miss out on an upgrade — or wait to do the small talk with the front desk, and hope an upgrade materializes.

For this reason, most Hilton Honors elites avoided using mobile check in, since it eliminated the chance of a free suite upgrade. Now, Hilton appears to be making travel better, with upgrades processed in advanced, rather than upon arrival.

a house on a small island with palm trees

Hilton Launches Automatic Upgrades

Upgrades are a standard feature for top tier guests of the Marriott Bonvoy and World Of Hyatt loyalty programs, but not as typically with Hilton Honors. Room upgrades with Hilton are subject to availability, so a manual approach was often required.

Hilton, in an effort to win favor with travelers, while also cutting back on hotel staffing issues, is making an IT push to allow automatic pre-arrival upgrades through the Hilton mobile app and online channels. It could mean upgrades to standard suites for elites, too.

An email or notification with the good news is being pushed out in advance, when checking into hotels up to 72 hours in advance. Basically, you’ll get an email saying you’ve been upgraded (a nice feeling) and then when check in opens, you can even select a room or suite within the type.

This means Hilton Diamond members would theoretically stand equal chance of an upgrade by using the Hilton mobile app to check in, as they would by visiting the front desk.

Expansion of more secured ‘digital room keys’ makes the Hilton app even more attractive, and ending a fear of missing out on upgrades to enjoy the convenience of mobile check in would be significant.

“As an enhancement to Hilton Honors’ complimentary, space-available upgrade benefit, we recently launched a new member experience across hotels globally, which will secure and notify the member of a complimentary room upgrade 72-hours prior to arrival,”

Hilton Hotels
a room with couches and shelves

A Great Improvement For Hilton

In many ways, it’s sad to see technology replacing the excitement and friendly feelings of “welcome” created by a good hotel front desk team, but it’s clearly the way brands are headed.

Plus, after a day of travel, it’s nice to skip the pleasantries sometimes.

Now that these room upgrades are rolling out for all Waldorf Astoria, LXR, Conrad, Canopy by Hilton, Hilton, Curio Collection by Hilton, DoubleTree by Hilton, Signia by Hilton, and Tapestry Collection by Hilton hotels, there should be more consistency to brand upgrades, and more data points shared between users about the experience.

Potentially getting an upgrade email up to 72 hours prior to arrival would bring extra excitement to upcoming plans, and there’s something weird and fun about selecting the perfect room on your own.

Now, to make upgrades guaranteed…

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. Cool. Devalue points to a ridiculous degree, skip the free breakfast, no more clean sheets/towels each day but give me a chance at a marginally better room. They’re really sparing the effort on this one. What next, remove the bath towels and shift to a “bring your own toilet paper?”

  2. I’ve been Hilton Diamond for years. Now I stay at whatever is going to be the better place regardless of brand. In fact, I’ve been having significantly better service at IHG properties. Crowne Plazas have been full service with all amenities available. Heck even Holiday Inns have daily housekeeping, FULL breakfast and full service restaurant. Crowne Plazas even have valet parking. All things that Hilton has gotten rid of. Makes little sense to stay at a Hilton these days. This will be the first year in over a decade that I do not re-qualify for Diamond with Hilton. But really, Diamond status has little to no benefit with them anymore.

  3. Why is the main photo for this article a hotel (Waldorf Astoria Maldives) that doesn’t offer upgrades (to Gold and Diamond status HHonors members)?

  4. Status with Hilton means nothing anymore. Hilton isn’t “loyal” so why should we be loyal to them? I say this as someone who earned Diamond status, it wasn’t automatically given to me. But after this breakfast debacle and now the housekeeping failure, why should I give Hilton any more of my money?

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