I had an interesting dilemma this morning and I’m not sure I handled it the right way.
Last week I wrote about being downgraded from Diamond to Silver status, missing the ‘soft landing’ to Gold that I expected.
I had breakfast this morning with Mark Weinstein, a Hilton Vice President for the HHonors program. We’re both in Seattle for the same events. By the way I’m at the Marriott by the airport, he came to me, and as the only one of us registered at the hotel and able to earn points I insisted on picking up the check.
Unsurprisingly, like any good executive he did his homework and knew I had been downgraded to Silver. And he wants me engaged in his program. My account was already upgraded to Gold.
I told Mark that wasn’t necessary, that I don’t ask for special favors and experience travel the way anyone else does. I thanked him but said I really prefer not to get status that way.
But I also didn’t want to be rude. And I was taken by surprise. It didn’t jump up and down on the table, insisting that the Gold status be taken away. (Incidentally, two readers offered to give me their MIlepoint premium comped status. And as Frequent Miler pointed out I could have asked for a Diamond challenge and simply taken the Gold for not meeting it.)
As it stands right now, I have Gold status in the HHonors program. It’s the best mid-tier status but it’s also a ‘gimme’ level. I wouldn’t have taken Diamond.
But I’ve still also found myself, without asking or wanting to, being in the uncomfortable position of having violated my own approach.
I know that there are hotel chains that would give me status, and airlines too. I also know that on the frontlines of travel none of that matters, outside of my status, because I get treated just as badly as anyone else with similar status all the time.
In this case though, should I insist on removing the Gold status or taking the free breakfast on my (very) occasional Hilton stays? What do you think?
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