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Hilton Honors has brought in 2018 with a slew of changes to their reward program. While in 2017 Hilton brought in some valuable changes (the ability to pool points), and some which were pretty worthless (using Hilton points to shop at Amazon), the changes in 2018 are more sweeping and add value to those loyal to the program.
Changes To Earning
Hilton Honors has implemented several changes to how you earn points; the key changes are as follows:
- The status earning bonus has been increased
- Points + Points & Points + Miles earning options have been eliminated
Although Hilton has not specified the exact date, starting in April 2018 you will receive the following Elite tier bonuses:
- Silver will earn a 20% bonus
- Gold will receive a 80% bonus
- Diamond will receive a 100% bonus
Before you get excited about the bonus, remember that Hilton just eliminated its Points + Points earning option. With this option you would earn a 5-point bonus per dollar for choosing Points & Points. This means that depending on your status you may have taken a hit to your earning after the change. The effective change to earnings is as follows:
- Old (15 points/dollar)
- New (10 points/dollar)
- Old (16.5 points/dollar)
- New (12 points/dollar)
- Old (17.5 points/dollar)
- New (18 points/dollar)
- Old (20 points/dollar)
- New (20 points/dollar)
If you hold Blue or Silver status, these changes are negative. Diamond members are not affected by the change, while Gold members earn an extra 0.5 points per dollar, which is hardly worth writing home about. Clearly, Hilton is focused on rewarding their most loyal members.
Milestone Stay Bonuses
Hilton has introduced milestone bonuses depending on the number of nights you stay. The new milestone kicks in after you have stayed 40 nights. You will earn the following bonuses:
- 10,000 bonus points every 10 nights starting from the 40th night
- 30,000 bonus points for staying 60 nights
With this new bonus system if you stay 60 nights you will pick up an additional 60,000 bonus points: 30,000 for staying 60 nights, plus 10,000 on your 40th, 50th, and 60th night. While 60,000 points are not earth-shattering for a program that can easily charge 90,000 points for a night at a top-tier property, it is at least a motivating factor to stay loyal.
Elite Rollover Nights
As of 2018, Silver, Gold, and Diamond members are eligible to rollover elite night credit earned beyond what is needed to qualify for their tier to the following year. So a Silver member who stays 25 nights (10 are needed to requalify), will be able to rollover 15 nights to the following year. One important note about rollover nights is that they do not apply if you hold your status via a credit card.
So if you hold Hilton Honors Gold status via The Platinum Card® from American Express, you will not be able to roll over any nights regardless of how many you stay. The only possible exception is if you stay more than 60 nights and achieve Diamond status. In that case, you may be able to roll your extra nights since you would have achieved Diamond status via stays, not via a credit card.
Gifting Elite Status
In 2018 you may be able to gift either Gold or Diamond status to a friend or loved one.
- Stay 60 nights or more, and you will be able to gift Gold status to someone
- Stay 100 nights or more, and you will be able to gift Diamond status to someone
Free Breakfast At Waldorf Astoria For Elites
Gold and Diamond members staying at Waldorf Astoria properties will now benefit from free (or discounted) breakfast during their stay, which is a nice addition for elites, who previously received no breakfast benefits at Waldorf properties2.
Hilton Honors has undergone a lot of changes over the last year or so. The newly announced changes along with 4 new Hilton credit cards hitting the market on January 18, 2018, are a welcome change, and add a ton of to the program.
While the changes are generally positive, with elites (Gold & Diamond) gaining an enhanced benefits package, lower tiers have taken a hit to their points earnings. The changes effectively add value to holding Gold or Diamond status with Hilton Honors, which in turn adds value to The Platinum Card® from American Express, and the Hilton Honors Ascend Card from American Express, which provides complimentary Gold and Diamond Status respectively.
The changes have enhanced the positives of Hilton Honors, quite welcome when most program changes tend to be around devaluations and cuts to elite benefits.
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