Amazon Shop With Honors Points to Debut End of August Despite Security Concerns

“Hilton announced to their reps today that the tie up with Amazon that will allow Honors points to be used on Amazon is now delayed indefinitely. I think it no coincidence. It appears likely that the recent wave of thefts was a test run and that a much larger exploit would be unleashed once the stolen points could be used on Amazon.”

Amazon Shop With Honors Points to Debut End of August Despite Security Concerns

The statement you just read was posted two days ago by FlyerTalk member retiredfromhilton pertaining to security issues with which some members of Hilton Honors are reportedly experiencing with their membership accounts.

Wanting to find out if that statement was factual, I reached out to one of my contacts at Hilton. Here is the official response which I received:

We appreciate your question and welcome the opportunity to reinforce the protection of information and Points belonging to our 65+ million Hilton Honors members. I checked in with the Hilton Honors team, and we remain confident in the integrity of our network. Hilton takes information security very seriously and we are committed to safeguarding our guests and Honors members’ personal information. We encourage Hilton Honors members to treat their Honors information similarly to their e-mail and online bank accounts, regularly reviewing their accounts and updating online passwords as a precaution.

Also, happy to confirm that the release of Amazon Shop with Points is slated for the end of this month. We will keep you looped in once we have the final date.

Security Issues

Back in March of 2015, Hilton had a campaign during which members were rewarded with 1,000 Hilton HHonors points to change their personal identification numbers to actual passwords in an effort to increase the security of their membership accounts.

Many individual accounts of a number of frequent travel loyalty programs had been adversely affected by security breaches in recent years — including Hilton HHonors, through which membership accounts were reportedly sold for pennies on the dollar.

Amazon Shop with Points

As of the end of August of 2017, you will be able to use your Hilton Honors points to purchase products at Amazon.com. The partnership with Amazon.com will give you more choices — think millions of products — and more ways to use Hilton Honors points. Hilton is the first hotel partner to participate in Shop with Points at Amazon.com.

To use Hilton Honors points to pay for part or all of your purchase, you must first link your Hilton Honors account to your Amazon.com account — and yes, you must have an account with Amazon.com in order to participate. Once you are ready to purchase, simply proceed to checkout through your shopping cart. When you choose your payment method for the purchase, you can choose the amount of Hilton Honors points you wish to apply.

According to Aaron Glick — who is the vice president of the Hilton Honors frequent guest loyalty program at Hilton — the best possible conversion rate with Amazon has not yet been determined and is still being negotiated; but Hilton is leveraging its purchasing power with Amazon.com by tapping into its distribution network. This way, you get to take advantage of that purchasing power when it becomes available.

Not being one to use frequent travel loyalty program miles or points on merchandise, I asked Aaron about why a member of Hilton Honors would want to take advantage of this option — especially when the value of the redemption of points for merchandise is usually worse than when redeeming them for a stay. He cited two reasons:

  • If the point balance is low and the member wants to use points but cannot use them for anything else, there will be options available at Amazon.com
  • When road warriors are on the road and have a high balance of points in their accounts because they have no time to redeem them for stays, they can always use them in the meantime to purchase gifts for their spouses — increasing the options for using those points

Advantages of Amazon Shop with Points

The advantages to the Amazon Shop with Points feature include:

  • More options with which to redeem points — in this case, for virtually anything sold at Amazon.com and not confined to a limited number of products which were previously selected
  • Additional value to Hilton Honors members with low point balances in their accounts
  • Leveraging of purchasing power, which could mean more value for members
  • There is no fee to use this service

Disadvantages of Amazon Shop with Points

The disadvantages to the Amazon Shop with Points feature include:

  • Redemption rates of points likely not to be as good of a value as using them for stays
  • Redemption rates have yet to be determined
  • Although the Hilton Honors shopping mall will not be active in the United States once Shop with Points at Amazon.com is activated, it will remain active in all other countries
  • If a Hilton Honors member outside of the United States chooses to use Shop with Points at Amazon.com, that person should keep in mind that he or she will need to pay the shipping fees from the United States to his or her location, as this partnership only applies to Amazon.com and does not apply to other Amazon sites outside of the United States — such as Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.jp

Summary

All of the Starpoints were wiped out of my Starwood Preferred Guest membership account in November of 2015; but they were quickly restored.

Similarly, if you find that your membership account with Hilton Honors was compromised, simply contact a representative and provide details. FlyerTalk member gauntlet3h did just that when most of the 960,000 Hilton Honors points was spent by an unauthorized entity; and those points have since been restored within 72 hours.

As for Amazon Shop with Points — one of several features and changes which were announced for the Hilton Honors frequent guest loyalty program in February of 2017 — the original goal was to activate it during the summer of 2017; and it appears that this feature is still on track to be in effect at the end of this month and will not affected by any reported security breaches.

Source: Hilton Honors.

2 thoughts on “Amazon Shop With Honors Points to Debut End of August Despite Security Concerns”

  1. Raffles says:

    I raised these issues with the HH team when they were in London a couple of months ago. Remember that IHG dropped Amazon redemptions after security breaches.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I literally just got off the telephone minutes ago with one of my contacts at Hilton, Raffles, who is also one of your contacts as well — and the contact was informed of this comment which you posted and to possibly call you for more information.

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