Hilton is one of the bigger hotel chains in the world with properties spread across 5,000 locations globally. In 2017, Hilton made some notable changes to Hilton Honors including doing away with the H from Hhonors. As a program for 70 million members, the gears always keep shifting.
Hilton will be improving the program, and there is a whole lot of changes. Here are some of the significant changes to the Hilton Honors program which will kick in from April 2018. The Hilton page to check out these changes is here.
Hilton Honors is increasing elite bonuses
Hilton Honors will be increasing the percentage bonuses on points offered to Elites. The top-tier Diamond members will receive a bonus of 100% points now.
- Silver members who currently earn 15% bonus, will receive 20% bonus on base points effective April 2018.
- Gold members who currently earn 25% bonus, will receive 80% bonus on base points effective April 2018, which is a massive jump.
- Diamond members who currently earn 50% bonus will receive 100% bonus on base points effective April 2018. Another nice jump!
While this is good news for Hilton Honors Gold and Diamond members, Hilton Blue and Silvers do not gain under this bonus changes. In general, you earn ten base points for every US dollar spent at Hilton hotels.
The only exception being Hilton’s budget brands, Tru by Hilton and Home2Suites where the bonus earning is 5 points per US dollar.
This new structure will replace the old format where you got to double dip, and you could choose between earning either extra points or bonus airmiles. Under Points and Points, all Honors members would receive five bonus points per US dollar spent or 1 airmile for every US dollar spent under Points and Miles. These points were on top of the base earning of 10 points per US dollar.
Hilton says that most members chose the Points and Points earning options anyways, and Points and miles was complication without too much use. Also, a majority of members would never make a preference at all.
In the interest of making it more straightforward, everyone now will earn bonus points for their stays. While this change hardly affects the elites, it is not very lucrative for the Hilton Blue and Silver members.
Members will now earn Milestone Bonuses
Members who commit more business to Hilton will get more bonus points. When a member completes 40 nights per year, every ten nights extra will earn an extra 10,000 bonus points. Diamond members will receive an additional one-time bonus of 30,000 points when they complete 60 nights in a year. Therefore, every 60 calendar nights you stay at Hilton hotels you will be able to earn 60,000 bonus points.
There is no cap on the maximum number of points you can earn, and no pre-registration is required to obtain these points.
This bonus makes good sense for the road warrior. Hilton Honors shared this chart, showing the difference in points earning under the new and old structure for their Diamond members:
Hilton Honors elites can now rollover nights
Beginning January 1, 2018, Hilton Honors Silver, Gold and Diamond members will be able to roll over extra elite nights to the next year. Hilton Honors currently requires ten nights for Silver, 40 nights for Gold and 60 nights for Diamond members every calendar year. While this may not be very useful for members who have earned their status through credit cards like American Express Platinum, it is beneficial for real travellers.
A point to remember, only nights will roll over, and just for one year after. For instance, excess nights in 2018 roll over to 2019 and will expire after that. They won’t carry forward to 2020 again. Stays and points earned extra won’t roll over.
Hilton Honors members can now gift Elite status
2018 onwards, members staying 60 or more nights will be able to gift Gold status to another person or gift Diamond status when they complete 100 nights.
Each qualifying member will be able to designate one person. As they will themselves stay more nights through the year, the status of their appointed member can move up. So, if you gift status at 60 nights, your designated member will automatically become Diamond when you cross 100 nights.
In general, these changes are positive, mainly from the perspective that they simplify the loyalty program and the changes are towards creating stickiness to the brand.
Some enhancements that they introduced in 2017 like the pooling of points with up to 10 people and the flexible cash and points scale to redeem nights are truly valuable and make the program more appealing.
Hilton Honors have also been excellent with offering multiple hotel promotions all through last year, and they have started 2018 well, giving members an opportunity to earn unlimited bonus points under ‘Points Unlimited’.
However, I would like to see Hilton Honors give more opportunities to earn elite status in India. The hotel brand is very active in the US with credit card collaborations, and they are even going to offer Diamond Status through the credit card this year.
In India, there are insufficient opportunities to gain status apart from staying at Hilton Hotels, which is a challenge given there are only 18 hotels. As their Asia Pacific footprint is minimal compared to Marriott and Carlson, they need to find more creative ways to entice members. Or the message they are passing on is that Asia is not important!
What are your thoughts about the new changes to the Hilton Honors program?