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Thanks to what Hilton shared on Flyertalk, this Skift article and the detailed post from One Mile at a Time, we now know that Hilton HHonors is dropping the extra H in their name and adding four new components to their loyalty program in the process. Most of this isn’t bad news, and some of it is actually helpful for family travelers. Most notably for family travelers, Hilton Honors, as it is now known, will reportedly make it easier to share points with up to 10 others + it will also extend Diamond status to some for an extra year.
Use a mix of Points & Money to book hotel rooms. In late February Hilton Honors will begin to offer the capability to use a mix of points and money to book a hotel room. It seems that the value of the points will be at a somewhat fixed cash value with the number required tied to the selling price of the room. We will have to play with some mock bookings to see how good of a value this may offer, but more options to use points are generally a good thing.
Pool your points with others for free. This April Hilton Honors will allow you to pool your points with up to ten friends and family members for free. The ability to easily pool points to put together a family trip will be pretty handy for some, especially in the land of rewards credit card sign-up bonuses + maximizing booking from the person’s account who may have some Hilton Honors elite status.
Extend Diamond elite status for a year. Also beginning this spring, Hilton Diamond members who need to extend their status for a year can do so with no questions asked as long as they have had Diamond status for at least three years and have 250 qualifying nights or 500,000 base points. While this isn’t explicitly related to family leave, it certainly could be very useful for those who travel less for a while because a new child has been welcomed to the family. Any movement towards understanding the value of loyalty over a lifetime instead of just one year at a time is a great thing in my book.
Use Hilton Honors points to pay for Amazon items beginning in summer 2017. While I doubt the value will be enough to make me bite, Hilton will also introduce the ability to use your Honors points to pay for Amazon checkouts.
The one thing in all of this that gives me pause is that Hilton is eliminating hotel categories. While they couch this as a good thing since properties will still top out at 95,000 points and you will be able to book for fewer points when demand is lower, I’m not totally convinced that having no award chart really benefits miles and points travelers in the long run. It certainly looks like yet another step towards a revenue based redemption model, which I personally wouldn’t vote for since I like to use my points when rates are high.
What are your thoughts on these announced 2017 Hilton program updates?
Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.