Hilton Honors made a whole bunch of changes to their loyalty program this morning. I’m going to break the changes down into two posts. The first will be about the changes themselves and a bit of my opinion on them. After that, I’ll follow-up with a post that compares these changes to the other major programs like Hyatt, Marriott and Starwood.
The changes announced today focus mostly on how customers earn points in the Hilton Honors program. The headline looks like this:
- Hilton is eliminating their popular (at least to me) “points and miles” earning path. They’re also killing “points and points”.
- Instead of multiple paths you’ll just earn bonus points going forward.
- You’ll still be able to transfer those points to airline partners.
- Diamond members will have the ability to earn bonus points for staying well past 60 nights a year.
- Diamond members will also have the ability to gift someone elite status each year.
- Hilton will implement a “rollover night” program.
New Points Earning Structure
Hilton’s new structure is top-heavy, in that top-tier elite members still earn well while lower level elites take a bit of a beating. View from the Wing detailed the winners and losers earlier today:
- No status members go from 15 points per dollar down to 10
- Silvers go from 16.5 points per dollar down to 12
- Golds go from 17.5 points per dollar to 18 points per dollar — basically flat.
- Diamonds will continue to earn 20 points per dollar
The other wrinkle is that you’ll only earn Hilton Honors points going forward.
Bonuses For Diamond Members Who Stay A LOT
If you’re a very frequent Hilton customer, you’ll receive threshold bonuses that Hilton says are unlimited. They’ll award you 10,000 bonus points for every 10 nights you stay once you hit 40 nights. If you make it to 60 nights, you’ll earn 30,000 points at that milestone. That’s eerily similar to the free night you earn with Hyatt in their World of Hyatt revamp. Hilton will continue to award 10,000 bonus points every time you hit another 10 night threshold throughout the year.
Diamond Members Can Gift Status
A Diamond member who stays at least 60 nights per year can gift Gold status to one member each year. If you manage to stay 100 nights in a calendar year you’ll be able to gift Diamond status instead of Gold. You’ll also get my heartfelt condolences.
As Marriott ushers out Rollover Nights, Hilton is welcoming them in. Starting this year, any extra nights you earn over and above your status level requirements can be “rolled over” to next year. That means a Gold member who stays 45 nights can apply 5 nights to the following year’s tally. It’s unclear whether you can apply any Rollover Nights if you qualify via stays. I doubt it. You can only roll nights over 1 year. After that, they expire.
The Final Two Pennies, For Now
I’ll be comparing this to the other major programs in a future post. For now, I have to say that I’m markedly less enthused with the changes after spending some time writing about them.
“Points and Miles” was one of the very first ways I can recall earning from hotel stays. Call me sentimental, but I liked seeing my American Airlines AAdvantage balance increase after a Hilton stay.
The 10,000 point bonuses starting at 40 nights are a nice plus for Gold and Diamond members. Both of these member groups also see a static earning rate for points. However, if you valued miles as an earning choice, more points aren’t quite going to get you there. Hilton historically hasn’t had the most generous transfer ratio for airline mile transfers.
Rolllover Nights are great. That really enforces the value of a few extra nights with Hilton on a yearly basis. And, I guess when you combine that with the 10,000 point bonus tiers, those are improvements meant to encourage sticking with Hilton all year.
One of the most interesting things here is that Hilton didn’t make elite status qualification harder. They still have a path to top-tier elite status for 30 stays. That’s a markedly different path than Hyatt blazed a year ago. I had predicted that Marriott and Hilton would likely make their programs less rewarding in the future. I missed on my assessment of Hilton. We’ll have to wait and see on Marriott.
Before I just write the complete second post on comparison here, I’ll end things here. I look forward to talking more with you about where Hilton’s changes and how they compare to the other major hotel chains.
The post Hilton Makes A BUNCH Of Changes To Their Loyalty Program, Mostly Good was published first on Pizza in Motion