Three Clarifications To Latest Hilton Honors Benefits Changes

New and revised benefits were officially announced for the Hilton Honors frequent guest loyalty program yesterday; but some questions remained which have since been clarified — and the three clarifications have to do with earning airline frequent flier loyalty program miles; the new rollover benefit; and future promotions.

Three Clarifications To Latest Hilton Honors Benefits Changes

The Double Dip benefit — through which both Hilton Honors points and airline miles could be earned with eligible stays — will indeed cease to exist as of April of 2018; but that does not mean the end of earning miles through stays with Hilton.

1. You Can Still Earn Airline Miles Through Hilton Honors — But…

“Members who want to convert their Points into miles can still do so with participating airlines around the world”, according to one of my contacts at Hilton. “We will continue to evaluate with our airline partners how we can provide the highest value for Hilton Honors members, which includes continuing stay-based airline promotions.”

This means that you can continue to see promotions in the future which are customized to specific airlines — such as this promotion last year through which you could earn up to 10,000 Avios in five stays with Hilton.

Another way to still earn airline miles is that you can choose from 40 airline partners to which you can transfer a minimum of 10,000 Hilton Honors points — with the exception of Aeromexico, which requires a minimum of 25,000 Hilton Honors points — but unfortunately, those exchange rates have traditionally been mediocre to poor.

Although neither of these options may be as good as the Double Dip benefit to some members of Hilton Honors, at least two ways will still exist to earn airline frequent flier loyalty program miles.

Also remember that Mark Weinstein — who is the senior vice president and global head of loyalty and partnerships for Hilton — told me that “miles prevented Hilton from offering bonuses” which were bigger or better. I suppose that may be a reason why no other frequent guest loyalty program currently offers a true option similar to Double Dip.

2. Quarterly Promotions Will Continue to Be Offered

Speaking of promotions, quarterly promotions — such as the current Points Unlimited promotion — will still be offered in the future. This is in addition to the new benefit of unlimited milestone bonus points through which once you have stayed a minimum of 40 nights within a calendar year, you will automatically earn 10,000 bonus Hilton Honors points on every tenth night you stay; and if you have earned Diamond elite status and stay a minimum of 60 nights in one year, you will automatically earn a reward of 30,000 bonus Hilton Honors points.

Some members of Hilton Honors were reportedly concerned that the new benefit of unlimited milestone bonus points had permanently replaced the quarterly promotions for earning bonus Hilton Honors points…

…but remember that effective as of April of 2018, members of Hilton Honors who have not earned elite level status will see a reduction of 33 percent of earning Hilton Honors points, as they will earn only ten points per dollar instead of 15 points per dollar; and members of Hilton Honors who have earned Silver elite level status will see a reduction of slightly greater than 27 percent of earning Hilton Honors points, as they will earn only 12 points per dollar instead of 16.5 points per dollar. For those members of Hilton Honors, the quarterly promotion is one of the only ways with which they can amass a significant amount of Hilton Honors points.

3. Elite Rollover Nights

As was officially announced yesterday, you will be able to rollover excess qualifying nights earned beyond your current elite tier status requirements to count towards your elite tier status the following year — starting this year — so that every night counts towards earning elite level status…

…but those nights are only valid for the next calendar year; and if they are not applied to elite level status, they will expire thereafter. Elite rollover nights must be used in the following calendar year from when they were earned.

Also, only nights can rollover towards the next year — not qualifying stays or Hilton Honors points.

Summary

How rewarding the new Hilton Honors frequent guest loyalty program will be moving forward depends on a number of factors — including but not limited to earning Gold or Diamond elite level status — but the team at Hilton Honors assures me that they continue to listen to members and will tweak the program accordingly as “part of the journey to be the most customer-centric loyalty program to its members.”

As Mark Weinstein said, “Now, in 2018, we want to give our members more ways to earn their Points and show our loyalty back to our most elite members.”

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

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