I have both Platinum and Diamond status but only recently have I gained the Platinum. My initial observation is that the Hilton program is significantly better for both service and upgrades, moreover it is much easier to reach that status. I wonder if others who have both but been in Platinum longer have similar impressions.
Having had both Platinum Premier-Marriott and Diamond-Hilton, generally speaking, the Diamond status trumps the PP status even though it is easier to earn than even Platinum (PP is top 3% of Platinum, even harder to attain). Benefit-wise, having Diamond at Hilton gives you free breakfast at the Garden Inns whereas there are no free-breakfast programs (as far as I know) under the Marriott brands earned via status. Other differences are minor, but I summarize the guest experience (perception and general treatment of a high status) as being more heartfelt at Hilton than Marriott.
My right-hand man at work is a Hilton guy, and I, of course, am a Marriott guy. Since we both stay at full service properties, we each have concierge lounges, and most hotel amenities are by and large comparable. This would be my un-scientific findings:
1. The CL at Marriott offers more hot food selections at dinner and a broader breakfast offering as well. rooms, cable, internet, room service, all seem to be equal.
2. As lonestar mentioned above, I tend to get upgraded at a much greater rate than my co-worker, and points needed for fiull service properties in major metro areas are much higher for Hilton than Marriott.
Interestingly, his air carrier is Delta, mine is American. I would also rate the two of these equal, with much of my complaints are his as well.
All-in-all, when using full service properties exclusively, it's a toss-up with Marriott having a slight advantage.
That's my opinion.
I've never gone past the Silver level with Hilton or past Gold with Marriott. However, if I were to choose between the two, I would choose Marriott for the simple fact that Marriott has more hotels than Hilton. There are that many more choices and when traveling on business it is good to be able to stay closer to where you are travelling to. Hilton is getting there with their Hampton Inns, but it is still less than Marriott. Plus the service is slightly better with Marriott I must say.
My neighbor is Diamond member at Hilton and I'm just a Platinum member at Marriott, when we discuss the advantages of being a Marriott vs Hilton reward member he generally tells me that my Marriott program is better, his words not mine. It's possible that since we both travel ipredominantly in the Southeast we be on't stay at many Marriott or JW properties, but regardless to me I always get recognized at just being a platinum member. I've read quite a bit from other Marriott Insider's who are PP elite members, my take is there should be and added bonus such as 75% bonus points and perhaps the opportunity to earn points as a gift as well a water and a snack item. Though many of these PP members such as (myself as just Platinum member) don't actually pay for our rooms since most of us have large travel expense budgets, why all the complaining. Again I agree a couple of extra perks should be given to those PP elite members.
I am also both Diamond and Platinum member and I find my Marriott points go further because the points cost per room at the Hilton can increase based on demand. Last year, I paid almost double the standard points rate at the Waldorf, London while my upgraded stay at the Marriott County Hall cost exactly what is said on the tin. Not all city hotels are better at Marriott but I find a better choice of European family resorts than the Hilton and the pay for 4 and get 5 nights special at Praia Del Rey helped too.
I have a Lifetime Platinum Elite status at Marriott (nearly 2500 nights so far, and counting), while I barely stayed more than 50 times at the Hilton..
1) Access to Concierge Lounge for breakfast may not necessarily match the free breakfast at the Hilton Garden Inns, but as a business traveler, I found these breakfasts to be quick and dirty - functional!!
2) Upgrades have never been an issue with the Marriott.
3) The higher the status, the better the choice of room
4) I do not know about the Hilton, but at the Marriott, higher status doesn't necessarily mean more sucking up, although I wish it were to be the case..
Benefits of HHonors Diamond status include:
50% ELITE STATUS BONUS
With Diamond elite status, you automatically receive a 50% bonus on all the HHonors Base Points you earn.
48-HOUR ROOM GUARANTEE
Need a room at the last minute? You are guaranteed a room when you make a reservation at least 48 hours prior to your arrival.8
5TH NIGHT FREE
Silver, Gold and Diamond elite members will receive every 5th night free3 on Standard Room Reward stays of 5 nights or more.
Members with Diamond status receive all member benefits5:
As a PP Elite and a Diamond with Hilton, PP Elite for life Diamond need to maintain status I was out in 2006 for the entire year and with Marriott no status lost, with Hilton I totally lost everything status and points, when I called they said that they will add the points backs if I stay the same amount of nights that were lost, fair enough I stayed over 60 nights and was credited some points back but ended up losing some points because I did not reach within the year the previous balance of nights from the year that I did not stay with them, vs Marriott that I never lost a point or my status. on another note if you like freebies, upgrades and breakfast Hilton wins it. but I always found better choices @ Marriott properties and never needed a room upgrade I guess because of my elite status I did not need to ask.
In am PP Marriott and Diamond Hilton. They compare in different ways. Points used for Marriott buy more -- rooms are more affordable and your can do the pay 4 - get 5 bonus. Marriott has promotons each quarter and automatically enrolls you; Hilton has quarterly deals, but does not auto enroll you and often you need to search to find if one is going on (thanks pointsguy.com). I just completed my 10th Diamond year with Hilton, and they sent notice I can keep that status for 3 years instead of just one. With Marriott, I hit the lifetime emeritus and keep Platinum for life. I prefer the Marriott concierge rooms, but do like that Hilton Garden Inn includes hot served breakfast whereas Courtyard charges too much (and no free morning coffee!). One benefit of Hilton is earning status based on number of stays instead of just number of nights; so I have managed to focus my 1-night travels to Hilton to keep status. If I had to choose one, it would be Marriott.
Completely agree with you... I have had both Diamond (Hilton) and Platinum (Marriott) for years and stayed all over the globe in both. Hilton's program is by far better.. the hotel staff acknowledge your dedication and status upon arrival. You actually get your upgrades and benefits without having to ask for them and your welcome gift is far better than the Marriott's a bottle of water and a mint! I have arrived at a Hilton to a welcome basket of treats and a staff that actually appreciates your status and stay, you are treated like a Diamond member! Huge difference in the two program approaches and I plan to go back to Hilton. I only had one location with Marriott that has really acted like they cared and that's probably only because I do stay there alot.....
If your just recently choosing and making your decision on which Hotel string will appreciate your loyalty - go with Hilton!
bryael01 - I appreciate your opinion that they treat you better when checking in, arrival gifts, etc. What is your experience in cashing in points for stays (amount of points Hilton vs. Marriott), availability using points, choice of properties, maintaining status, concierge services/lounges, etc.? Agree that the experience at check in is important but for me, it is only a small portion of the total package. I won't care that I got a warm cookie and a smile if it costs twice the points to stay in a property if they even have one available where I am traveling.
Highlights on what I like about Marriott and having Platinum status.
What I don't like.
I am sure there are more plusses and minuses but those are my highlights
I have travelled exclusively with Marriott the last 4 years and am near lifetime Plat status (next few months). I have been monitoring this discussion as once I obtain LTP status, I wanted to see if it was worth checking out another brand. I used to be a Hilton customer years ago, wanted to see if anything has changed.
I appreciate your point of view on the subject. I'm intrigued in the fact you could actually use your points as I have found this to be difficult with Marriott, even at the Platinum level. Maybe it's my approach as I have tried only online, not by calling the special Platinum member number. I have no interest in doing so as my Marriott account should provide me the same access online and reduce the number of questions I have to simply book a room. I have found that most Marriott hotels do not have an "award" room offer regardless of the time of year or level of membership. Overall my points usage has been in merchandise as it has been nearly impossible to use for rooms (to clarify further, I wasn't trying to go somewhere exotic, it was simple domestic usage). The one positive from my status is the ability to use Marriott timeshare properties. Also, I do agree with your dislikes on the Riz Carlton and property categories.
Now on comfort - I will give Marriott an A, especially on the beds. I have always found mine to be clean, inviting and a great nights sleep.
On a different note, I still don't understand why the hotels assign the rooms? I have had repeated stays at a hotel in which I had specific room preference, it would be nice to be able to pick the room or set my preference in my profile similar to the process used for picking a seat on an airline. Just a thought.
I've had both Marriott Platinum and Hilton Diamond status for many years and below are my takeaways keeping in mind I usually stay in full service hotels:
1. Marriott points go much further than Hilton. About 4 years ago Hilton basically doubled all thier points required for a FREE stay. Yes you can earn 2x points but to me it's a step down. Example: I can stay at the Ritz Carlton on the beach (Marriott Brand) at Amelia Island FL for 40K points per night however, the outdated Hampton down the street (NOT on the beach) is 60K points per night.
2. On paid stays Marriot offers an upgrade 95% of the time, same as Hilton
3. Get the Marriott Chase rewards card, its an easy way to earn many extra points even if you only charge your expenses incurred at the hotel. For every $3000 you charge you earn a free night toward your status. Of the 75 nights required to earn Platinum status I only had 51 actual stays.
4. I only try to acheive Hilton Gold status (20 stays per year) these days beacsue the only difference bewteen Hilton Diamond (30 stays per year) and Gold is 25% bonus on base points. Id rather spent these 10 nights at Mariott.
5. Marriott offfers better points promotions as well.