Hilton Extends Everyone’s Status and Freezes Points Expiration

Hilton has come out with new accommodations for prepaid reservations, points expiration, free weekend night certificates and elite status. With customers largely not staying at hotels, Hilton is going to hang onto elites, extending everyone’s status. They’re extending the validity of everyone’s points and any credit card free weekend night certificates. And they’re extending flexible cancellation of prepaid hotel bookings by two months through the end of June.

Hilton Is Extending Status Now

Loyalty programs have been pausing on the question about what to do with elite status, knowing that something has to be done. In an ideal world they’d love to use status to encourage stays later in the year, and granting status extensions may make it easier to switch to another chain when customers are traveling again.

At the same time no one wants to chase away their best customers. Hilton, whose status has largely been the easiest to obtain out of large chains (and whose status is a bit less valuable than Hyatt’s and Marriott’s in my long-held view). So it’s not really surprising to see Hilton move first.

  • No status downgrades. People with 2019 status keep their status for 2020. (“All members whose 2019 status was scheduled to be downgraded on March 31, 2020—whether it’s Diamond, Gold or Silver—will automatically receive an extension through March 31, 2021”)

  • Status extended for 2021. Members with 2020 status will keep their status for 2021, with that status expiring March 31, 2022.

Reservation Flexibility Extended Out To June 30

All Hilton non-refundable bookings had been made flexible through April 30. That has now been extended for arrivals through June 30, 2020, allowing changes or cancellation at no charge up to 24 hours prior to arrival. (Standard 72 hour cancellation rules are waived as well.)

My guess is that bookings over the summer will become an issue too but it’s good to see HIlton extending flexibility out an additional couple of months at this time, and honoring refunds even as hotels are struggling. Several airlines could take a lesson.

No Points Expiration This Year

Hilton will not expire points in 2020. Normally Hilton points expire without activity in an account every 12 months. You’ll have until the end of the year to generate points activity to avoid losing any points in your account.

Free Weekend Nights Extended

No free weekend nights will expire before August 31, 2021. That applies to credit card free weekend nights earned by March 11, 2020 and continues to apply to new free night certificates through August 30, 2020. (Free weekend nights issued after that will expire later in any case.)

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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Comments

  1. Good move by Hilton – get out front ahead of the competition. Nice touch to extend the free weekend night certificates into August of 2021.

  2. Smart move. Even though motivated by a business calculation, it still radiates a certain decency (which in turn figures into the business calculation.)

    The airlines could learn a lot from this…but they won’t.

  3. Good job Hilton,
    I can’t even get a response from IHG after waiting 2 weeks. Asked if they would extend a Chase anniversary award night by 6 months. Britain has few consumer protection laws so I’m not hopeful.

  4. I’m another former Titanium leaving Marriott for Hilton if Marriott doesn’t extend status in a similar manner. They should also roll back the early March devaluations while they are at it.

  5. Gary, in January 2020 Hilton changed the normal life of Honors points from 12 months to 15.
    +1 Nick: I had made reservations on March 3 for the Marriotts on Aruba and Bonaire to grab the old lower points-prices. On March 17 I was thinking of cancelling. When I viewed my account, I found that the Aruba Renaissance had just cancelled my ressie without informing me! So I Googled to find that Aruba had declared a COVID-19 emergency that day which barred all foreigners from arriving. So I should have at least been allowed to re-book next year at the lower points-prices.

  6. @ Gary
    Does the Shanghai Communist Party (regional government HQ) still own HNA and all assets? That includes HNA’s 25% of stale of Hilton. If not, who has it?

  7. Maybe this will shame the Bonvoy people into doing something similar, but given Bonvoy’s intense dislike of their involved loyalty members I wouldn’t bet on it. Still, hope doesn’t cost anything.

  8. Marriott will probably RAISE the requirements for status tiers and give people a “generous” extra 30 days to reach them. For example, the new requirement for Platinum will be 75 nights between now and January 31, 2021. This is their opportunity to get rid of all of the costly “noise around the edges.”

    Just kidding, of course. But not by much. They’ll probably have to grudgingly do something similar. Otherwise, Platinum business travelers like me will bolt whenever our travel resumes.

    Following all of this is an entertaining diversion from the depressing other news of the day. Anybody genuinely concerned about maintaining their hotel elite status right now might want to re-examine their priorities.

  9. “…whose status is a bit less valuable than Hyatt’s and Marriott’s in my long-held view”

    The view is definitely “long-held” but it also demonstrably bogus, and this very post is yet another in a long list of evidentiary exhibits that debunk the claim.

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