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:
- 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?
- Update the Event Planner & Event Bonus Program to align with this.
- 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.