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

Program backed by professional travel experts

3_Courtesy of Williamsburg Inn_6x4_201801312124

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA (January 27, 2020) - AAA is unveiling a transformed, contemporary version of its highly-acclaimed AAA Diamond Program this week. Beginning in 2020, hotels and restaurants earn AAA Diamond Designations, instead of Diamond Ratings. The new designations and evaluation process have been modernized to best meet member priorities and reflect today’s traveler expectations.

“We’ve transformed the AAA Diamond Program to help travelers better understand the overall quality, range of amenities and level of service provided by a property,” said Holly Dalby, director of public affairs for AAA Tidewater Virginia.

AAA continues to rely on professionally-trained inspectors to evaluate hotels and restaurants during unannounced visits and assign Diamond designations. “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,” said Dalby.

Under the new designation system, One and Two Diamond hotels and restaurants will transition to the Approved designation, indicating they meet industry-leading standards of the AAA inspectors. Three, Four and Five Diamond establishments will retain these designations. While AAA recommends only good options for its members and travelers, additional Diamonds indicate more elaborate surroundings and attention from service staff.

The modernized AAA Diamond Program guidelines for hotels and restaurants reflect the latest traveler expectations and industry trends. Outdated criteria were removed in favor of factors that more directly relate to guest comfort, design and layout. For example, to reflect today’s guests’ expectations, AAA inspectors now look for sufficient storage space for personal belongings in guest rooms and not for ironing boards and printed guest information.

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


“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,” added Dalby.

Here is 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 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

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

As part of North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA Tidewater Virginia provides its more than 330,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding AAA Tidewater Virginia has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter at or Facebook at

CST 1016202-80 Copyright © Tidewater Automobile Association of Virginia, Incorporated. All Rights Reserved.
AAA Tidewater Virginia is a member club affiliated with the American Automobile Association (AAA) national federation and serves members in the Tidewater Virginia region (All Hampton Roads cities, including Norfolk, Chesapeake, Suffolk, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach, Hampton, Newport News, Williamsburg; Virginia's Eastern Shore; as well as the following counties: Greensville, Surry, Brunswick, Isle of Wight, Gloucester, Lancaster, Middlesex, Richmond County, Southampton, Sussex, Mecklenburg, James City County, York, Lunenburg, Essex, King & Queen, Mathews, Northumberland, and Westmoreland).