AAA updates Diamond designations, guidelines

Hotel Guestroom
The AAA Diamond Program includes nearly 27,000 hotels. Photo credit: iStock / Getty Images Plus / DragonImages

AAA unveiled a new, contemporized version of its AAA Diamond Program. The updated system reworks its criteria to reflect the latest in traveler expectations and includes a slight tweak of its designation tiers.

The new AAA Diamond Program guidelines will remove outdated criteria in favor of factors more directly related to guest comfort, design and layout. For example, AAA inspectors now will look for sufficient storage space and shelving for clothes and personal belongings in guestrooms and not for ironing boards or printed guest information.

Additionally, under the new system, hotels and restaurants previously designated as One or Two Diamond will transition to a new Approved designation. The Three, Four and Five Diamond rankings will stay the same. The 2020 inspection cycle will be the determining factor for all properties’ future designation.

“We’ve transformed the AAA Diamond Program to help travelers better understand the overall quality, range of facilities and level of services offered by a property,” Stacey Barber, executive director, AAA Travel Information & Content, said in a statement. “Unlike ratings from unknown users sharing their opinions, the Diamond designations are provided by experienced professionals using consistent guidelines to tell travelers what a property offers.”

Under the new hotel-ranking system, AAA describes the Approved designation as “noteworthy by meeting the industry-leading standards of AAA inspections,” Three Diamond as “comprehensive amenities, style and comfort level,” Four Diamond as “upscale style and amenities enhanced with the right touch of service” and Five Diamond as “world-class luxury, amenities and indulgence for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

The AAA Diamond Program comprises nearly 60,000 properties in the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean, including nearly 27,000 hotels and more than 30,000 restaurants. To be included in the AAA Diamond Program, properties must pass an unannounced, on-site evaluation. Hotels must provide acceptable cleanliness, comfort and hospitality, and restaurants must meet requirements for cleanliness, food preparation and service.