Hilton is planning on making more changes to its Hilton Honors loyalty program in April, with more points for elite members, including a bonus of up to 100% for Diamond members. To get to the point:
- Silver member bonus will increase from 15% bonus on base points to 20%.
- Gold member bonus will increase from 25% bonus on base points to 80%.
- Diamond member bonus will increase from 50% bonus on base points to 100%.
Remember that typically you earn 10 base points per dollar at most brands, or 5 points per dollar at the budget brands Home2 Suites and Tru by Hilton.
This new bonus structure also replaces the former My Way bonus that allowed you to choose from “Points and Points” (getting an extra 5 points per dollar at most hotels) or “Points and Miles” (getting some extra miles in your favorite loyalty program). In general, points and points was the way to go, and Hilton found that not only did most people choose this method but also most people never made a choice at all.
With higher elite bonuses replacing the My Way structure, the change is intended to be both simpler and also more rewarding. However, you still have the option to earn points and then convert those points to miles in other ways. Hilton’s existing airline transfer partnerships are not going away.
However, regular Blue members and elite Silver members will probably see fewer points earned under the new structure. My Way provided 5 bonus points per dollar at most hotels. Blue members will not get any elite bonus, while Silver members will see only a 5% increase, or 0.5 miles per dollar. This does not come close to replacing the 5 points per dollar they’re losing.
Only Gold and Diamond members will see an improvement, but really, most people should be able to get Gold or Diamond status since these are included with Hilton’s various American Express credit cards.
Bonus Points Every 10 Nights
In addition, members will continue to earn bonuses as they stay more nights during the year. Beginning with 40 nights per year, and every 10 nights after that, they’ll earn an additional 10,000 bonus points. There’s no cap. Diamond members will earn an extra one-time bonus of 30,000 bonus points when they reach 60 nights in a year.
This is particularly impressive when you compare it to some other programs like World of Hyatt. Hyatt offers its members an extra 10,000 points when they stay 70, 80, or 90 nights (and arguably Hyatt points are worth much more than Hilton points). However, there’s nothing at 100 nights and beyond. Tahsir commented that he stayed almost 150 nights in 2017 but didn’t realize until later that the program tapped out earlier.
Ending the year with some pretty wild stats. I also learned that @HyattConcierge doesn’t give you 10k points or 1 suite upgrade for every 10 nights after you pass 100 nights. Kind of weird. pic.twitter.com/hnw3NTxOL2
— BengaliMilesGuru (@TahsirAhsan) December 31, 2017
Just how good is this new perk? Hilton provided a comparison showing how Diamond members can potentially earn 60,000 more points when they stay 60 nights a year and were previously choosing the Points and Points earning option. Those staying 100 nights a year will see 100,000 more points. I don’t think the comparison to Points and Miles (what Hilton calls “Points Only”) is really fair as it wasn’t a good deal to begin with.
Elite Nights Will Roll Over, Ability to Gift Status
Finally, Hilton is letting elite nights roll over to the next year if you earn more than necessary for your elite tier. This is similar to a policy Marriott Rewards once had, but Marriott decided to discontinue it in 2018. Hilton will also let you gift Gold status to another person at 60 nights, or gift Diamond status at 100 nights. Now your spouse or other travel partner can share the same status you enjoy.
I’m not sure how valuable it will be for Hilton members, as you can already get Gold status easily with a credit card and will soon be able to get Diamond status, too. Gifting status and providing rollover nights are forms of recognition that won’t cost much. Instead, I think we see that the extra bonus points and how Hilton plans to reward those members who earn status the hard way.
Overall, these changes are pretty good and hard to argue with. Hilton already massively devalued its award chart over the past few years, so this is one way to make up the difference. Status was also easy to get, so I’m not sure how different this new opportunity is. What I like most is the push toward simplicity, and, as I said before, there seems to be at least some effort to differentiate between those who earn status the hard or the easy way. I’m looking forward to getting Diamond status myself as soon as the new Amex cards are available!