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AAA Diamond Ratings

Decoding the AAA Diamond Ratings System


Ever wonder how the hotel ratings system works? Is there really a difference between Two Diamond and Three Diamond hotels? Is a Five Diamond hotel worth the money? Decoding the AAA rating system can help you figure out how to get the most from your money.

What Hotels Are Rated?
AAA rates hotels in the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. Hotels do not pay to be included in the ratings, but can apply for a rating. To become AAA Approved, the hotel must first meet 27 basic requirements, covering comfort, cleanliness and safety.

If the hotel is approved, AAA sends out anonymous raters to evaluate the hotel and assign a diamond rating from one to five. At present count, about 32,000 hotels are AAA Diamond rated.

What if the Hotel is Not Rated? Is That Bad?
Hotels that are approved but not rated by AAA appear with an FYI symbol instead of a Diamond rating. This may not be bad news; the hotel may be too new to be rated yet, or may be undergoing a major renovation. However, it could possibly mean the hotel did not reach the criteria for a AAA Diamond rating.

Does the Diamond Rating Effect the Room Rates?
Sometimes, but not always. You can count on a One Diamond hotel being much less expensive than a Four Diamond hotel. Between the Two, Three, Four, and even Five Diamond hotels, however, there is a wide range of prices. A lower AAA Diamond rating does not by any means guarantee a lower room rate. (See the sample hotels & rates.)

Four Diamond or Five Diamond - What's the Difference?
It is difficult to get a AAA Five Diamond rating - fewer than 100 hotels are on the list. The main difference is one of service. At a Five Diamond hotel, for instance, you'd expect to be greeted by name when you arrive and escorted to the front desk (and by just about every staff member after that), turndown service without having to request it (with fresh ice and perhaps a gift of chocolate) and a personalized wake-up call.

Next: What To Expect From Hotels in Each Category

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