AAA overhauls Diamond Program for hotels and restaurants
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AAA overhauls Diamond Program for hotels and restaurants

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The Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World, on Januay 2, 2020. The hotel is the only Orlando, Fla., facility to receive AAA's Five Diamond rating.

The Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World, on Januay 2, 2020. The hotel is the only Orlando, Fla., facility to receive AAA's Five Diamond rating. (Ricardo Ramirez Buxeda/Orlando Sentinel/TNS)

AAA announced it has overhauled its highly acclaimed AAA Diamond Program by replacing ratings with designations.

For hotels and restaurants seeking the prestigious Diamond designation, the properties will need to be analyzed by professionally trained inspectors using member-driven criteria. The updated system eliminates unverified and biased ratings.

One and Two Diamond hotels and restaurants will transition to the Approved designation as part of the new system, and Three, Four and Five Diamond establishments will retain their designations.

AAA revealed the 2020 inspections would 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," AAA Travel executive director Stacey Barber 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."

As part of the overhauled Diamond Program, AAA has removed outdated criteria in favor of factors that more directly relate to guest comfort, design and layout. The program consists of nearly 60,000 properties in the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean, including almost 27,000 hotels and more than 30,000 restaurants.

Last year, AAA Travel revealed the results of a study showing that around 25 percent of Americans plan to take an international vacation over the next 18 months.

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(TravelPulse is a leading travel authority on the web, providing consumer travel news and insider tips and advice for an ever-changing travel world. Read more stories at travelpulse.com)

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