Hilton announced early this year that there were significant changes coming to the Honors program, set to take effect on April 3. This is a reminder of what’s coming, and how it’s likely to affect you.
The most impactful changes take place in points-earning.
First, members will earn points only—no more points-and-miles or points-and-points.
Second, the earning rates, including elite bonuses, will change, as follows:
- Blue (non-elite) members will earn 10 points per $1 (versus 15 currently)
- Silver members will earn 12 points per $1 (versus 16.5 currently)
- Gold members will earn 18 points per $1 (versus 17.5 currently)
- Diamond members will earn 20 points per $1 (versus 20 currently)
Perhaps recognizing that the earning changes would be perceived as a net devaluation, Hilton is adding some new perks for elite Honors members:
- Elites can rollover elite-qualifying nights
- Gold and Diamond elites can gift elite status to other members
- Elite members will receive milestone bonuses (10,000 points every 10 nights beginning after 40 nights)
Winners and Losers
On the earning side, there are clearly more losers than winners. Only Gold members earn more, and only marginally more.
Points-and-miles is a program feature that had value for many members. While Hilton claims that only 1 percent of Honors members elected to earn that way, that’s still a big number (1 percent of 71 million equals 710,000 members). It will be missed.
For Gold and Diamond elites, the combination of rollover nights, elite-status gifting, and milestone bonuses will make the program modestly more valuable.
Honors remains competitive overall with the other major chains’ loyalty programs. No thanks to these latest changes.
Reader Reality Check
How do these changes affect your relationship with Hilton and Honors?
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After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.
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