I’m not a fan of Hilton Honors. There are some good Hilton chain properties (Conrad, Waldorf Astoria), but their loyalty program is terrible. Yesterday, they released some changes to the program. Here is a list of what they are doing:
Points Earning Changes:
- Blue: 15 points/$ to 10 points/$
- Silver: 16.5 point/$ to 12 points/$
- Gold: 17.5 points/$ to 18 points/$
- Diamond: 20 points/$
Blue and Silver members now earn fewer points per dollar. Gold members earn marginally more, and Diamond members earn at the same rate. Furthermore, Hilton is removing the points & miles earning option. Overall, this is a devaluation.
Waldorf Astoria Breakfast
Gold and Diamond members now get free continental breakfast at Waldorf Astoria properties, their luxury brand. This is an improvement to the Hilton program, but only matches other chains including Hyatt and Starwood. The only other chain that still hasn’t caught up is Marriott, which does not offer breakfast as a benefit at Ritz Carlton hotels.
If you stay 40 nights per year, you earn 10,000 bonus points. With each additional ten nights, you earn another 10,000 points. Finally, staying 60 nights gets you 30,000 more points.
Elite Rollover Nights
If you stay more than the minimum nights for status, those extra nights can rollover to count for next year.
Gifting Elite Status
If you stay 60 nights or more a year, you can gift Gold status. If you stay more than 100, you can gift Diamond status.
New Hilton American Express Credit Cards
The most interesting bit is that American Express is releasing two new Hilton credit cards. American Express already issues two personal credit cards, the Hilton Honors American Express, and the Hilton Honors Surpass American Express, which respectively have a $0 and $75 annual fee.
On January 18, there will be two new Hilton American Express cards you can apply for. American Express is adding a Hilton Business American Express, as well as the super-premium Aspire card that has an annual fee of $450.
The additional benefits are for people who stay a lot at Hilton properties. Even then, they aren’t great. Someone who stays 60 nights per year get an additional 60,000 Hilton points. As well, they can gift Gold Status.
However, I find it hard to value Gold Status at more than $50, since it is so easy to get. Anyone with the American Express Platinum Card already has Gold status. While 60,000 points sounds like a lot, their most expensive properties require 95,000 points a night, with premium rooms often costing hundreds of thousands of points.
I dislike programs that give away high status levels. With existing Hilton American Express cards, you earn Diamond Status after spending $40,000 on the card in an year. With the new cards being released, you can now buy Hilton Diamond for $450 with the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card.
Furthermore, you can easily status match to Diamond and get the status for 90 days, with no stay requirements. If you are travelling with a companion or a family, that means 6+ months of free Diamond status. It’s not terribly difficult to get many months with status.
It feels wrong that those who spend a lot of revenue and nights at Hiltons are treated the same way as someone who pays $450 a year. Starwood and Hyatt, the two most rewarding programs, in my opinion, require you to actually stay at hotels for status. I guess I’m most excited about the new American Express cards that will be launched January 18th. If you are a Canadian American Express cardholder, you may be able to get them too through AMEX Global Transfer.
What are your thoughts on the Hilton Changes?