Hotels

Big Changes: Updated Hilton Honors Program Details

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Major changes across the board. Enhancements for Gold and Diamond members.

Yesterday I highlighted some of the changes that were announced regarding breakfast at Waldorf Astoria properties for Gold and Diamond members. No sooner had those been enacted, Hilton introduces a complete program overhaul. It’s a step in the right direction for mid-tier and top-tier elites, and for those who carry no credit card status, or seldom stay with Hilton, it’s a program devaluation. Let’s a take a look at some of the changes first reported on VFTW.

Gone are the days of “Double Dipping”

Hilton used to allow Points/Miles or Points/Points on stays. That is gone. You’ll now earn straight up Hilton Honors points.

Increased Earning for Some Elites:

  • Base members
    • 15 points/$  —-> 10
  • Silver
    • 16.5 points/$ —-> 12
  • Gold
    • 17.5 points/$ —->18
  • Diamond
    • 20points/$

Gift status:

If you hit top tier, Diamond, you will be able to gift someone else status. Depending on how many night’s you’ve accrued it’ll either be Gold or Diamond.

  • 60 nights = Gold
  • 100 nights = Diamond

Milestone Bonuses:

As you can see in this graphic, members will earn 10k points for every 10 nights they stay after the 40 night threshold. They’ll also receive a 30k point bonus when they hit 60 nights.

Introduction of Rollover Nights:

If you end up going over the number of nights you’d need to qualify for status you’ll be able to Rollover those nights for 1 year.

For example: You hit Diamond status at 60 nights. For every night over that threshold you can push to the next year. Stay 85 nights, you’ll start with 25 nights already banked…

What happens now?

Hilton Honors biggest competition is Marriott. In terms of overall footprint, and diversity of properties, if I were an executive at Hilton I’d be looking to erode the competitive edge that Marriott continues to enjoy. Hyatt is too small to truly compete, and while IHG has a lot of properties, their loyalty program needs major improvements to truly attract customers because of it.

So did these enhancements narrow the gap? Yes and no.

These are all well and good benefits that Hilton has added. For me, personally, one of the best benefits elite status can give is club level. This is not guaranteed with Hilton Gold, and something that Hilton should take a close look at it if it wants to narrow the margin between itself and Marriott ( who has the best mid tier status out there that includes club level). This wasn’t addressed; however, the free breakfast now offered for Golds and Diamond at Conrad and Waldorf properties is great.

If Hilton would introduce space available suite upgrades and confirmed suite upgrades to its list of Diamond benefits, I think it would be a game changer. They could differentiate between organic diamonds and those who attain status via a credit card by only giving confirmed suite upgrades to those who truly stay 30 times or 60 nights. Give club level and space avail suite upgrades to those who have premium credit cards – I’d still get the Aspire. Do that, and I think you’d see a lot of people second guessing their loyalty to Marriott, and consider jumping ship to try out the Hilton boat. It’s something that Hyatt Globalists and Starwood Plats absolutely love, and could add significant value to HH diamonds.

Regardless…enhancements are always nice to see

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Welcome Offer

60k Points after $4k spend in 3 months

80k offer in branch currently – I think this should be online soon

Annual Fee

$95

Points Earned

Transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards

Super solid welcome offer.

If you carry this card alongside Chase’s cashback cards like the Chase Freedom Flex℠and Chase Freedom Unlimited® or the business versions: Ink Business Cash , Ink Business Unlimited you can combine the points into Preferred account and transfer into hotel and airline partners

Annual fee is quite low at $95 a year + you get a 10% anniversary bonus on points + $50 hotel credit in Chase travel.

  • 3x on dining
    •  including eligible delivery services for takeout
  • 3x on select streaming services
  • 3x on online grocery purchases
    • (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
  • 5x on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards – Chase Travel Portal
  • $50 Annual Credit on hotel stays purchased via Ultimate Rewards/Chase Travel
    • The begins immediately for new cardmembers and after your account anniversary for existing cardmembers
  • 10% Anniversary Bonus
    • Every year you keep the card, your total spend will yield a 10% points bonus. If you spend $10k in a year, you’ll get 1k bonus points
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® continues to redeem at 1.25c in the Chase Travel Portal and the slew of other benefits remain in tact including primary rental car insurance, purchase protections, etc.
  • Points are transferrable to 13 Ultimate Rewards partners
  • Redeem in the Chase Travel center for 1.25 cents per point
  • No foreign transaction fees
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    • Primary rental car coverage is my favorite

There is currently an 80k offer after $4k spend in 3 months available in branch, and up to 90k after $6k spend in 6 months. I suspect some version of this will be online soon if you don’t want the hassle of going into a branch.

We keep an up to date spreadsheet that lists the best ever offers: You can find that spreadsheet here.

Historically 60k is a very, very good offer. In 2021, we saw the offer hit an all time high of 100k. Who knows if that will ever come back. .

Main Cast: 

Cards that earn flexible points and should be used on the bulk of your purchases.

Supporting Cast:

Cards that earn fixed points in the currency of the airline/hotel and can not be transferred at attractive rates. These cards yield benefits that make it worth keeping, but not necessarily worth putting a lot of your everyday spend on. 

2 Comments

  • DaninMCI January 8, 2018

    I don’t see a major advantage to these changes. As an HH Diamond the 20x earning and weak bonuses don’t equal the hugely devalued award chart. Just do the math on how many nights you need to stay just to earn enough for a moderate free night. Marriott and IHG offer much better return on stays and bonuses I think. I will likely move more of my business toward Marriott instead of the current split between HH and IHG that I maintain with my 100+ nights a year currently.

    • Miles January 8, 2018

      Can’t argue you with you on those points. Marriott reigns supreme, IMO.

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