This just in from Hilton HHonors:

Hilton is “standardizing” VIP benefits for HHonors members. Effective August 15, 2008, Gold and Diamond VIP members can choose from one of three options which are now standardized among the Hilton, Conrad and Doubletree brands.

Option 1: Space available room upgrade, including breakfast. The upgrade will be to the Executive Level, or to the next best available room if Executive Level rooms are not available. Additionally, if upgrades to the Executive Level are available, you will receive Executive Lounge access.

Option 2: Complimentary high-speed internet access.

Option 3: 1,000 HHonors bonus points per stay.

The real news is a change to Executive Lounge access. Effective August 15, if you have selected option 1 as your VIP benefit, Gold VIP members will receive lounge access only if they are upgraded to an Executive Level room. If the Gold member is not upgraded, they will receive daily complimentary Continental Breakfast in lieu of lounge access. Diamond members will still receive lounge access whether they are upgraded to the Executive Level rooms or not.

This is a reduction in program benefit for some Gold members, especially those that travel to very busy hotels and rarely get upgraded to the Executive Level rooms. But for Diamond members, I think this is a good thing. This is likely to upset some Gold members, but I don’t see this having a huge impact on the program. My personal experience is that I get upgraded to the Executive Level more often than not as a Gold. Frankly, as a “Diamond in the making” I like the fact that Hilton is adding some value to the Diamond level.