Are Hotel Loyalty Schemes Worth It?

The way this typically works, when you arrive at a hotel in the early hours of the morning after an overnight flight, is you pitch up at the hotel, wait in line at reception to check in, only to be told "I'm sorry but check in time is 3pm and your room isn't available yet".  You are then faced withe choice of either finding a comfortable chair or settee in the hotel lobby to crash on for a few hours, or go off exploring to pass the time and hope that tiredness doesn't overwhelm you.  This was not however our experience (on this occasion I may add, we have previously lived out that scenario I've just painted above).  

The reason for us having a different and 'better' experience was down to being part of the hotels loyalty scheme. We were staying at the Hilton Tokyo and their loyalty scheme is called 'Hilton Honors'.

We arrived at the hotel about 9am after taking an overnight flight from Frankfurt in Germany.  Now I'll explain how all this played out before I explain more fully the reasons why it happened, although we do give it away in my next sentence.

We got out of the taxi and walked into the hotel as you do and I just asked the first person we saw with a uniform on if they knew if Hilton Diamond members check in at reception, or in the Executive Lounge.  It transpired the guy we had asked was the Hotel Duty Manager who could not do enough for us.  He immediately escorted us to the normal check in desk where he got one of the receptionists to scroll through the available rooms and he identified the King Tower Suite was available, which only happened to be the best room this hotel had.

Despite the time our excitement levels began to surge as being a Hilton Diamond Member we had received some nice room upgrades in the past, but nothing like the level of upgrade offered to us on this occasion, and also the exceptionally personal service being given to us by the Hotel Duty Manager was something we had not had or experienced before.

After completing the usual check in paperwork the Duty Manager then escorted us personally to the room and gave us a tour of the 700 square foot room complete with separate bedroom and living room, topped off with unbelievable views of the Tokyo Skyline.

I cannot express my appreciation enough to the Duty Manager as he absolutely demonstrated everything in hotel service that people would expect, and then went went a complete extra mile. The only problem was (and I'm embarrassed to say), is that we never got his name. After he left the room, we then went to bed as we were tired (which is sort of our defence), and we never saw him again.  My hope is that in some way this blog reaches him and he gets to read it and know how much of a difference he made, and how it was very much appreciated.

So why did this happen to us? Well, as I mentioned earlier we were (past tense), Hilton Diamond Members, which is the top tier of Hilton Hotels Loyalty programme.  There are 4 levels to the programme (Member, Silver, Gold and Diamond), you can check out more details via this link

Access to each level is based on the number of points you have accrued in the past 12 months which can be earned by hotel stays as well as by transferring American Express Membership Reward Points.  The other way to secure higher status is through the benefits provided by credit/charge cards like American Express Platinum charge card which comes with Hilton Honors Gold Status as part of the card benefit package.

Hilton is one hotel chain that absolutely recognises loyalty, we are members of other hotel schemes but to date none have come close to the Hilton Honors programme, and this experience we had in Tokyo demonstrates that. 

So what's the moto of this story?, it is to join hotel loyalty schemes.  It costs nothing, but allows you to gain access to a range of benefits, from something simple like benefiting from free Wi-Fi to more substantial perks like what we received.  We are members of several hotel loyalty schemes so as we continue to travel we will continue to see what benefits our membership provides.  Will anything ever beat this from Hilton?  Let's wait and see.....

For more information about Hilton Hotels or their loyalty scheme, check our their website, you can use this link.