Hilton Honors Is Eliminating “Points & Miles”, Changing Elite Earnings & Adding New Bonuses

Hilton Honors

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Changes are coming to the Hilton Honors program from 1 April 2018 and the news appears to be a mixture of good and bad depending on how often you stay at Hilton properties, what status you hold and what earning option you prefer.

View From The Wing has had a chat with Hilton’s Senior Vice President & Global Head of Customer Engagement, Loyalty and Partnerships (how big are his business cards?!) and has been given the latest information which, as far as I can tell, has yet to appear on the Hilton website.

Headline Changes To Hilton Honors From 1 April 2018

  • The option to earn “points & miles” is being scrapped so, at the same time, the “points & points” option becomes redundant and is being eliminated too.
  • Non-status holders and Silver status holders will see their earnings fall significantly
  • Gold status holders will see their earnings rise marginally
  • Diamond status holders will see their earnings stay the same
  • Hilton Honors members will receive a 10,000 point bonus when they stay 40 nights and will earn a further 10,000 points for every 10 nights spent thereafter
  • Hilton Honors members will receive an additional 30,000 point bonus when they stay 60 nights
  • Hilton Honors members staying between 60 and 99 nights in a calendar year can gift Gold status to a member of their choosing.
  • Hilton Honors members staying 100 nights or more in a calendar year can gift Diamond status to a member of their choosing.
  • Elite members will see any nights earned in excess of their status rolled over into the next qualification year but the rollover nights will only be valid for the next qualification year (i.e they cannot be rolled over again)

a building with many windows

Changes To Points Earnings

A table is probably the simplest way to show what changes are coming:

a table with numbers and points

Note: The are the earnings at most Hilton band properties. Some brands (Tru & Home2 Suites) will earn less

Hilton appears to be attempting to mask the true nature of these changes by focusing on the fact that elite bonuses are increasing while not really mentioning that the elimination of the “points & points” bonus will see a lot of Honors members lose out.

Yes, Hilton Gold status is reasonably easy to come by (you get it included with some Hilton credit cards and the Amex Platinum card for example) but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the majority of Honors members have that status.

If you’re an infrequent visit to Hilton properties you’re unlikely to have a Hilton co-branded card that offers Gold status and at $550/year it’s not a certainty that you’ll have an Amex Platinum card either…so you’re about to see your Honors earnings slashed significantly.

As it happens I do actually have Hilton Gold status (courtesy on my Amex Platinum card) despite being a very infrequent visitor to Hilton properties so I’m going to be ok with these changes….but I suspect most will not be.

a white building with palm trees and cars

Thoughts On The Other Changes

Bonus Points

The 10,000 point bonus for staying 40 nights at Hilton properties is essentially a bonus for earning Gold status (which requires 40 nights) rather than being given it courtesy of a credit card.

I value 10,000 points at approximately $40 so it’s not a paltry amount that’s on offer but it’s hardly significant.

A further 10,000 points for every 10 nights stayed is nice if not exactly generous and I’ll be interested to see if it stacks with the 30,000 bonus points earned from hitting 60 nights (Diamond status).

If the two bonuses stack then we should see Diamond members earning a bonus of at least 60,000 points when they hit 60 nights (10,000 at 40k, 10,000 at 50k, 10,000 + 30,000 at 60k) which is definitely worth having.

Gifting Status

On the face of things this seems like a nice benefit but when you actually think about it it’s more of a gimmick than a real positive move.

Considering you can have Hilton Gold status just by holding the $75/year Hilton Honors Surpass credit card from Amex (or the $95/year Ascend card that Amex is releasing this month) and considering you’ll soon be able to hold Diamond status by holding the new $450/year Amex Aspire card, is this added benefit really going to mean all that much? Probably not.

a credit card with numbers and symbols

Rollover Nights

It’s interesting to see Hilton introducing rollover nights just as Marriott Rewards is eliminating them but, once again, I’m not sure this new benefit will help out all that many people.

If you stay at Hilton properties often enough to care about status then you almost certainly already have a credit card that gives you Honors Gold status. On top of this you’ll soon be able to apply for a credit card that comes with Diamond status so, with both those things in mind, do the number of nights you stay with Hilton really matter any more?

Aside from earning you some bonus Honors points I can’t see why anyone would really care about how many nights they rack up with Hilton when top-tier status can be had for less than the cost of a night at some properties.

a building with many windows

Bottom Line

If you’re a road warrior and stay at Hilton properties for a lot of nights every year then you’ll probably be a little better off with these changes – you’ll be earning bonus points that you haven’t earned in the past – but for everyone else this isn’t especially great news.

If you hold Hilton Honors status through a credit card then not much will really change for you but infrequent visitors are being hit hard – they will see their Honors earnings slashed and, to make matters worse, they will no longer even have the option to earn a few air miles on the few stays they do actually make.


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