Home Hotel Loyalty Hilton Honors Mistake Or Deliberate? Did Hilton Just Roll Back Some Positive Changes?

Mistake Or Deliberate? Did Hilton Just Roll Back Some Positive Changes?


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Update: A response received from Hilton would suggest that the current terms and conditions are incorrect (see details below), but we’ll have to wait to see if they revert back to the version that shows the positive changes Hilton made in January 2020 before we can be 100% sure.

At the beginning of last year, Hilton made a few small but customer-friendly changes to the terms and conditions of its Hilton Honors loyalty program but for reasons that are as yet unclear, these changes appear to have been rolled back.

A sharp-eyed Loyalty Lobby reader has noticed that some of the terms of the Hilton Honors program have recently started to look a lot more like the terms that were in place up until January 2020 and a lot less like the improved terms that we have been used to since then.

Specifically…

Points Expirations

In January 2020, Hilton changed its points expiry policy to allow members up to 15 months of inactivity before their points were expired (instead of 12 months). Now, this is the wording you’ll find under the “General” paragraph in the terms and conditions (emphasis is mine):

“Members who do not have eligible activity […..] in any 12 consecutive month period may be removed from the Program and are subject to forfeiture of all accumulated Points.”

Incidental Charges

In January 2020, Hilton changed its policy regarding incidental charges to allow members to earn points for incidental spending at Hampton and Tru branded properties as well as at Homewood Suites and Home2 Suites. Now, this is the wording you’ll find under the “Accrual of Points” paragraph in the terms and conditions (emphasis is mine):

“Participating hotel will determine whether incidental charges incurred during either of those stays are eligible for Points, except that Points will not be earned for incidental charges at Hampton by Hilton™, Tru by Hilton™, Homewood Suites by Hilton®, and Home2 Suites by Hilton®.”

Points Earnings For Multiple Rooms

In January 2020, Hilton increased the number of rooms for which members can earn points during a stay from 2 to 4. Now, this is the wording you’ll find under the “Accrual of Points” paragraph in the terms and conditions (emphasis is mine):

“A Member may earn Base Points for up to two rooms per stay, if all eligible charges for both rooms are paid on one folio. Base Points will be earned for all eligible folio charges incurred on both rooms.”

Point Accrual Cap

Up until 2020, Hilton had a cap of 100,000 points in place for earnings that a member of the Honors program could make in a single stay. On 9 January 2020, that cap was removed. Now, this is the wording you’ll find under the “Accrual of Points” paragraph in the terms and conditions (emphasis is mine):

Members may not accrue more than 100,000 Base Points during one stay, regardless of the amount of eligible folio charges, except for Canopy™ by Hilton, Curio – A Collection by Hilton, Tapestry Collection by Hilton™, Tru by Hilton™, Homewood Suites by Hilton, Home2 Suites by Hilton, and Waldorf Astoria Jeddah – Qasr Al Sharq hotels for which there is no cap.”

UPDATE: Hilton has now responded with the following comment:

Regarding the Terms and Conditions for Hilton Honors, I would like to inform you that you can earn points up to 4 rooms. I do understand that on the website it is mentioned 2 rooms and we have requested to update it. Regarding Points expiration, Hilton Honors Points expire after 15 months of inactivity. However, we’re extending Points expiration so that no Points will expire until December 31, 2021, giving more flexibility for members to use Points when they’re ready to travel again.

This suggests that, as I suspected, the Hilton website is currently showing an incorrect version of the terms and conditions – let’s see how long it will take for Hilton to correct this error.

Quick Thoughts

This is more than a little odd as I can’t see why Hilton would bother to make these changes.

Points aren’t expiring right now (because of the pandemic) and I doubt that anyone has been milking Hilton for points through incidental charges, multiple room bookings, or by crashing through the old points cap, so where’s Hilton’s incentive to roll back the positive changes that it made a little over a year ago? It’s not like Hilton fans have been able to make the most of these changes over the past 12 months.

Hopefully, all this turns out to be is a simple copy and paste error where a staffer has updated an old copy of the terms and conditions and then pasted them over the newer version to leave us seeing what’s on the website right now (here).

The alternative is to believe that Hilton has chosen to roll back the positive changes from last year without giving Hilton Honors members any notice or warning. As big a cynic as I can often be, I’m having trouble believing that’s a path Hilton would choose right now.

I’ve sent Hilton a message asking for clarification and I’ll update this post with any information that I get back.

Bottom Line

If the current Hilton Honors terms and conditions are to be believed, the positive changes that Hilton made to the Honors program back in January 2020 have been rolled back. It’s possible that this is just an error and that we’ll see the terms and conditions corrected in the coming days, but this is definitely something worth keeping an eye on – we’ve just seen an airline program make negative changes to its loyalty program without giving members any notice so let’s hope this isn’t an example of a hotel program doing the same.

What do you make of this? Is it an error or do you think there’s more going on?

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