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Hilton, Uber Get Together (But No Points)

Hilton has taken a small step toward embracing the sharing economy with its newly announced partnership with ride-sharing service Uber.

Beginning this week, hotel customers can elect to have their Hilton reservations emails include a “Ride Reminder” which, as the name suggests, will remind the traveler to book an Uber ride on the day of travel.

And later this month, the Hilton HHonors app will feature a “Local Scene” section, highlighting the most-visited restaurants and nightlife spots in 20 U.S. cities. The expectation is that hotel guests will use the list to locate a desirable location, and then Uber on over.

How meaningful are these new services to Hilton and Uber customers? Not very. But maybe that’s looking for value in the wrong place.

From a marketing standpoint, stodgy Hilton benefits modestly from its association with a millennial-favored brand. And Uber gets its name in front of some prospective new customers. There’s a win-win there, although not that much of a win for either party.

Uber already has relationships with American Express (as an earning and redemption partner in Membership Rewards) and Starwood (as an earning partner in the Preferred Guest program). Compared to the Hilton-Uber tie-up, those loyalty-program links are considerably more valuable to both the companies concerned and to their customers.

If Hilton is serious about its relationship with Uber, and about adding value to its loyalty program, it should embrace Uber as an HHonors earning and rewards partner. That’s the real win-win.

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