Hilton and American Airlines Trade Elite Customers

Delta and Starwood introduced Crossover Rewards, an attempt to share each others’ best customers — they will tell you that Starwood customers fly Delta more and spend more with Delta, for instance. Marriott and United got into the act together.

That’s left American and Hilton as the only remaining possible dance partners. Hyatt has too small a footprint to be the major partner of the world’s largest airline, and IHG Rewards Club doesn’t have a meaningful elite program.

Still, Hilton and Delta have remained close (despite Delta’s Starwood partnership), continuing to offer credit towards Delta elite status via Hilton stays at the end of each year.

Last year many of American’s Executive Platinum members were gifted Hilton Diamond status. (This year of course everyone has Hilton Diamond.)

Now comes word that several Hilton HHonors elites are being given temporary American AAdvantage Gold or Platinum status via a targeted offer, with an expedited path towards keeping that status.

There may not be any full fledged partnership brewing between Hilton and American, though I’m certain it’s been discussed.

In fact, what Hilton and American are doing here is exactly what I would do if I were running a program. Giving out bonus points the way Delta and Starwood are doing, to all members, is really expensive. Targeting top tier frequent travelers with status, and incentivizing them to travel and switch brands, seems like a good investment.

Remember that marketing really does come down, more or less, to figuring out who your customers are and where to find more people like them. American’s Executive Platinums (and United 1Ks, Delta Diamonds) are exactly the customers that Hilton, Starwood, and Hyatt want. Hilton’s top customers are likewise members that American, United, and Delta want.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I want the Double Dip with Fixed Miles (like 500 per stay), not just a 1 mile per dollar with 10 Hilton points option.

  2. I would love this! I have 3 flights in the next 4 weeks that this would be nice for! I wonder if they’re only targeting Hilton Diamond, though. I’m Hilton Gold.

  3. Looks like they are targeting real Diamonds, not fake ones from credit card spend or that match they had recently.

  4. I wonder if over-entitled HHonors members will then print out and have a glossy copy of the AA T&Cs regarding upgrade rules, and then wave it in the gate agent’s face when they don’t get upgraded.

  5. Hilton Diamond here, didn’t receive the email and my account isn’t eligible when trying to sign up online… Perhaps because Im Australian based..
    Not missing much since I’m already Oneworld Emerald via Qantas anyway but would be interested to try out AA status.

  6. I’m a Dallas-based AA ExPlat and HHonors Gold, but never saw any offer to obtain Diamond. Maybe I wasn’t targeted. Otherwise, how do you sign up?

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