Hilton Honors program updates went live last week. They say, as you can see from this email, that the new program elements and perks are based on feedback and will give Hilton travelers more of what they want. Maybe, maybe not. I don’t have any Hilton stays booked right now and Hilton is only my third most used hotel chain, but I am a Hilton Gold Elite Member, and I do have a stash of Hilton Honors points which I intend to keep from expiring, so I figured I should take a look at these changes.
Changes like these usually reward the more loyal customers who stay more often and spend more money. If you’re an infrequent customer and spend less with Hilton, you’ll receive even less in the way of benefits. I fall into the second category. Hilton’s confusing award chart as well as its point award devaluations have kept me away from the program these past few years. Hilton Diamond Elite Members likely see some of these changes as positive, though I get the sense more and more travelers are looking closely at Marriott/SPG since the merger.
What was called the Hilton Honors “double dip,” where you had the option to earn airline miles AND additional bonus points is gone. You do have the option to exchange Hilton Honors points for airline miles, though the exchange rate is so bad I can’t imagine anyone doing that. Hilton did change its airline partners, adding some and dropping others. Brian Cohen at The Gate lays it all out for you here.
The change that intrigues me the most is being able to gift status. I would imagine for Hilton loyalists who stay more than 60 nights a year, this perk will be fun. I read through the fine print and can’t see exactly how this would work as far as the timeline, but I’d assume it starts from when the status is gifted and runs for a calendar year from then.
I’m wondering how and if these newest changes to the Hilton Honors program make a difference to our readers here at TWG. Do the changes benefit you given your travel patterns? Have you left Hilton behind and switched your loyalty over to other programs? Or do you fall somewhere in the middle? No matter whether or not these changes make a difference to us, it’s still good to stay informed and know what’s going on with each of the big hotel loyalty programs. Here is the official Hilton Honors Program Benefit Factsheet if you want to see it in its entirety.