Diamonds are the Clear Choice for Travelers: New AAA Diamond Program Revealed

Program backed by professional travel experts using member-driven criteria recommends only clean, comfortable, hospitable hotels and restaurants

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Hotel_DiamondDesignation_Definitions
Diamond Designations

AAA is unveiling a transformed, contemporized version of its highly acclaimed AAA Diamond Program. The program will remain backed by professionally trained inspectors using member-driven criteria to recommend only clean, comfortable, hospitable hotels and restaurants. What is new? Replacing ratings with designations. A Diamond designation reflects AAA’s professional inspector reviews using updated, member-centric guidelines, setting the program apart from services that leverage unverified, often biased hotel and restaurant ratings.

“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,” said Stacey Barber, executive director, AAA Travel Information & Content. “Unlike ratings from 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 system, previously One and Two Diamond hotels and restaurants will transition to the Approved designation while Three, Four and Five Diamond establishments will retain their designations. However, the 2020 inspection cycle will be the determining factor for all properties’ future designation.

The modernized AAA Diamond Program guidelines for hotels and restaurants reflect the latest in traveler expectations and industry trends. AAA has removed outdated criteria in favor of factors that more directly relate to guest comfort, design and layout. For example, AAA inspectors will now look for sufficient storage space and shelving for clothes and personal belongings in guest rooms, and not for ironing boards or printed guest information, to reflect modern guest expectations.

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.

“In 2019, in Southern California, which is a major tourist destination, we inspected 2,800 hotels and restaurants.  Among those were 161 AAA Five and AAA Four Diamond hotels and restaurants, said the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Approved Accommodations Supervisor Patricia Marenco. “We are confident the changes to our legendary Diamond program will help today’s consumers find the most ideal accommodations and restaurants for their travel needs.”   

“Only the best hotels and restaurants are included in AAA’s Diamond Program – professional inspectors eliminate substandard places from consideration as a service to our members. For more than 80 years, travelers have relied on AAA’s trusted recommendations, and these latest changes only strengthen AAA as a go-to source for relevant information and advice for all trip planning needs,” said Barber.  

While AAA recommends only good options for its members and travelers at each level of the inspection program, additional Diamonds indicate more elaborate surroundings and attention from service staff. Here’s a breakdown of what travelers can expect at each Diamond designation

Diamond Hotels

AAA Diamond designations for hotels represent the overall quality, range of facilities and level of hospitality offered.

Approved – 28%

Noteworthy by meeting the industry-leading standards of AAA inspections

Three Diamond – 63%

Comprehensive amenities, style and comfort level

 

Four Diamond – 6.5%

Upscale style and amenities enhanced with the right touch of service

Five Diamond – 0.4%

World-class luxury, amenities and indulgence for a once-in-a-lifetime experience

Diamond Restaurants

AAA Diamond designations for restaurants represent the overall food, service and vibe offered.

Approved – 71%

Noteworthy by meeting the industry-leading standards of AAA inspections

Three Diamond – 26%

Trendy food skillfully presented in a remarkable setting

 

Four Diamond – 2.3%

Distinctive fine dining, well-served amid upscale ambience

 

Five Diamond – 0.2%

Leading-edge cuisine, ingredients and preparation with extraordinary service and surroundings

*Percentages also include FYI listings that offer value to members and travelers but are not regularly inspected by AAA.

Travelers can learn more about the new AAA Diamond Program at AAA.com/Diamonds and search the AAA Travel Guides for their next great hotel or dining experience.  

For hotels and restaurants looking for more information on the AAA Diamond Program and opportunities to market the designation to potential guests and customers, visit AAA.biz/Approved.

More about the AAA Diamond Program

For more than 80 years, AAA’s professional inspectors have conducted in-person property evaluations. AAA is the only entity using comprehensive, on-site professional hotel and restaurant evaluations guided by member priorities. AAA’s inventory includes some 60,000 Diamond hotels and restaurants across the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. Travelers can find AAA Diamond hotels and restaurants and inspector insight in AAA’s trip planning products: AAA Mobile app, AAA Travel Guides, TripTik Travel Planner and the AAA TourBook guides available to members at AAA offices. For more information, visit AAA.com/Diamonds.

Media Contacts

Jeffrey Spring
(714) 742-7754
Spring.Jeffrey@aaa-calif.com
Doug Shupe
LA-based media contact
(512) 659-1632
shupe.doug@aaa-calif.com
Elaine Beno
(714) 885-2324
Beno.Elaine@aaa-calif.com