Next Week Hilton Changes How Points and Status are Earned

Back in January Hilton announced several changes that would go into effect April 1.

  • The elimination of ‘points and variable miles’ and ‘points and points’ earning styles.
  • Base members of the program would earn fewer points
  • Gold elites and above would earn bigger bonuses, and Diamonds who keep staying would earn more bonuses
  • Introduction of rollover nights to making retaining elite status easier
  • Diamonds can gift someone Gold, but if they stay 100 nights or more they’re gifting Diamond

On net this makes the infrequent guest worse off — fewer points earned because they’re no longer earning ‘points and points’ just their initial base points. Silvers are worse off with earning too. Gold earning is flat. At the same time the most frequent stay guests will earn more points.

And that’s strange because everything Hilton did to their program last year was to make small amounts of points more useful (introduction of cash and points on all awards, partnering with Amazon to spend small balances on retail) which supported their ‘book direct’ push. They were making the Hilton Honors program attractive to people who stayed only occasionally, so that booking direct to earn points would be worth eschewing Expedia and Priceline.

Hilton’s changes do nothing to address the gaping hole in elite benefits. They still do not guarantee late checkout for Diamonds, or promise upgrades to available suites.

Now that the changes are about to take place Hilton also shares that they’re updating their terms and conditions not just to accommodate these changes but also:

  1. To impose ‘Non-Residential Tourism Fees’ on award stays where applicable, which means 10 Malaysian Ringgits per night (currently US$2.58) in Malaysia. C’mon, Hilton, how cheap can you get?

  2. Update the Event Planner & Event Bonus Program to align with this.

  3. To remove the section on Gaming Chip Reward Certificates

Diamond members who qualify on nights are going to like these changes. For anyone with Gold status they’re a nothing-burger (just know you’re on the hook for $2.50 a night if you redeem points in Malaysia). For others staying with Hilton gets less rewarding.

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. Hilton:
    The least aspirational properties one actually wants to stay at
    The worst top tier award benefits
    The most inflationary award currency

    At least now they will give you (net) free said mediocre top tier with a credit card

    LOL

  2. Wonder how they will handle non-cancellable reservations made before this rules change? Do not see how they can unilaterally change the terms and conditions for bookings already made BEFORE the announced change – we’ll see!

  3. “To impose ‘Non-Residential Tourism Fees’ on award stays where applicable, which means 10 Malaysian Ringgits per night (currently US$2.58) in Malaysia. C’mon, Hilton, how cheap can you get?”

    Ask Starwood, as the Le Meridien in St. Julians (Malta) imposes a €1 fee per night. I paid that with a coin, and it was hilarious.

  4. If a Hilton Diamond earned via getting the new AMEX credit card can gift someone else Hilton Gold, that is a nice feature. Might even be able to sell that Hilton Gold status to offset the annual fee for the credit card.

  5. Since I travel to places where Hyatts are located, I couldn’t help but jump ship from Hilton. The confirmed suite upgrades (at time of booking) and the confirmed 4 PM check out time with Hyatt makes it a superior top tier status. I’m also really enjoying my personal concierge at Hyatt (which we also get with top tier status). She really helps to maximize and leverage my Hyatt benefits to the highest degree.

  6. “To impose ‘Non-Residential Tourism Fees’ on award stays where applicable, which means 10 Malaysian Ringgits per night (currently US$2.58) in Malaysia. C’mon, Hilton, how cheap can you get?” – Note that Hilton doesn’t keep this. This is imposed by the Government of Malaysia for all guests who do not hold citizenship or permenant residency,

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