Hilton Extends Elite Status, Suspends Points Expiration Due to COVID-19

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In a time of great uncertainty—both in travel and in general—Hilton continues to do right by its customers. Hilton recently extended the expiration date of free weekend night certificates for cardholders. Now, Hilton has announced even greater flexibility for Hilton Honors members in three categories: status, points, and reservations.

Screenshot of email from Hilton introducing policy changes due to COVID-19.

Key Terms

Status

  • 2019 Status Extension: All members whose status was scheduled to be downgraded on March 31, 2020 will automatically receive an extension through March 31, 2021.
  • 2020 Status Extension: Member status from 2020 will be extended through March 31, 2022. That means you'll keep the status you earned for 2020 today for the next 24 months.

Points

  • Points Extension: Hilton is pausing the expiration of Hilton Honors points through December 31, 2020.

Reservations

  • Existing Reservations: All reservations scheduled for arrival between now and June 30, 2020 can be changed or canceled at no charge. Changes must be made 24 hours before your scheduled arrival day. This includes non-refundable Advanced Purchase reservations.
  • New Reservations: All reservations that are booked before June 30, 2020 can be changed or canceled at no charge up to 24 hours before your scheduled arrival day. This also includes non-refundable Advanced Purchase reservations.

Elite Status Extension

Hilton's announcement essentially gives anyone with status—whether that was during 2019 or during 2020—an extra year of status. For travelers who earn Hilton Honors elite status through hotel stays, this is fantastic news. During a travel hiatus of unknown length, qualifying for hotel status through stays/nights could be quite difficult.

For those who qualify for Hilton Honors status by holding a credit card—such as the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card—this policy change presumably means you could downgrade or cancel your card and still maintain the status that comes with it. With global travel at a virtual standstill, now is a great time to assess your credit card portfolio.

Points Expiration Pause

Good news if you have Hilton Honors points scheduled to expire soon. Hilton is pausing the expiration of points through December 31, 2020. That takes the pressure off travelers that were at risk of losing their Hilton points and couldn't travel to extend the expiration date. While there are many ways to extend Hilton Honors points, this is a nice gesture.

Reservation Flexibility

Increased flexibility for booking hotel reservations gives Hilton Honors the biggest boost out of all announcements so far. Not only does this allow existing reservations to be canceled without charge, but also stir-crazy would-be travelers can take advantage of lower hotel rates for future stays without sacrificing any flexibility should such a trip not come to fruition.

For those forced to cancel trips due to COVID-19, this is a great opportunity to plan and book replacement trips. Should future plans be impacted, you will be able to change or cancel at no extra charge.

Our Take

Coupled with the extension of free weekend night certificates, Hilton has cemented itself as a hotel chain doing the right thing for its members. Hilton's generosity extends beyond its hotel loyalty program as well. Hilton spelled out in the same email how it's working to help healthcare workers and donating to organizations helping those impacted by COVID-19.

This increased flexibility in multiple aspects of the Hilton Honors program builds trust and loyalty among its members. Once business and leisure travel resumes, Hilton surely wants to maintain its mainstay of customers. Doing right by them in the meantime will go a long way in making sure that happens.

For information on how other hotel chains are dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, check out:

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Comments

  • Nice to see companies doing this since people aren’t traveling right now!

  • @Ross Denkin wrote: “For those who qualify for Hilton Honors status by holding a credit card—such as the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card—this policy change presumably means you could downgrade or cancel your card and still maintain the status that comes with it.”

    I am nearly 100% certain that anyone who holds status through a co-branded Hilton AMEX credit card like the Aspire Card would immediately lose that status because according to, e.g. the Aspire card, T&C: “If your Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is cancelled for ANY REASON, your complimentary Hilton Honors Diamond status provided with the Card will be cancelled.” There is only one way to interpret that term and condition, so that there should be no confusion about what would happen if one cancels a status-awarding Hilton AMEX card.

    • The App. is already giving me the extension, needing “0 nights to retain Gold” in 2020.
      Which one of you is right?
      Are you sure that cancelling the card cancels the status?
      Please answer…

      • There is no doubt about what the T&C state. The fact that you already got status extension has no bearing on what would happen if you cancel should the card. All associated benefits cancel automatically. Have any doubts? Try it and let us know how it goes.

  • If only airlines did the same – looking at you BA!

    Well done to Hilton!

  • Yup, Hilton still leading the way for hotel loyalty programs where generosity of allowances due to COVID are concerned.

  • Chloe's mum says:

    Agree, Hilton has led again (yes looking at you BA – status extension like some airlines would be better than lowering the tier points). We are Hilton gold via credit card, but they have always treated us well – room upgrades and lounge access. The points expiration pause is much welcome as we wait for the passing of the virus and start our travel again.

    PS – Thanks to AW for the 10 AA points to hubby’s account, which helped to extend his over 90K miles for another year when he can use it.

  • Danny Nguyen says:

    Good for Hilton. I wonder if Marriott will bother to do anything. I probably will not make Titanium again if so.

  • Steven William Van Meter says:

    I’ve taken the time to look this deal over, and it seems to be good, except that Hilton points expire and their email spam is beyond annoying. They used to charge for wifi… not sure if they still do.

    • Wifi seems to be free as a member when we stay at Hilton properties these days.

    • And what chain, pray tell, with similar properties & service offers points which do not expire? Not Hyatt. Not Marriott. BW? Not in the same league. IHG? Sure, but with a caveat: you need maintain elite status. And IHG elite status, in my experience, is worth much less than Hilton.
      IHG elite on-property benefits pale in comparison to Hilton.

    • Wifi is indeed free for Hilton Honors membership, which is free. Here are the specifics:

      “In-Room and Lobby Wi-Fi

      – Hilton Honors members enjoy free standard Wi-Fi at any Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Doubletree by Hilton, Embassy by Hilton, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, LXR Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Curio Collection by Hilton, and Canopy by Hilton hotel.
      – Free standard Wi-Fi is available during stays at Hampton by Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Homewood Suites, and Home 2 Suites properties.
      – Premium Wi-Fi is available for a fee at select properties.
      – Diamond members enjoy free Premium Wi-Fi at all participating properties in the Hilton portfolio.
      – Wi-Fi is not free in meeting spaces or at properties with a resort charge that includes Wi-Fi.”

  • ron_vaughn@hotmail.com says:

    I expect everyone to do this, at a minimum.

  • Victoria Son says:

    That is good news. Not only is it customer friendly it builds loyalty and really shows that have the long term game in view.

    Travel industry got hammered from 9/11 but then have obviously bounced back. Hope that happens with all the airlines as well. I’m delaying a major trip now due to this scary virus.

  • I like that Hilton has done this. I just got the Surpass card and got a nasty surprise that since I held the Citi “Surpass” card I didn’t qualify for the bonus miles. I had someone write up a plea for me. I will see what happens. Amex is annoying like this. I guess right now they aren’t hurting for business. I mainly got it for the perks but the bonus would make Amex more friendlier.

  • I just got the email from Hilton that my diamond status has been extended – except I have the Aspire. What I need is an extension of the hotel night and resort credit. 🙁

  • I think steps like these are essential in the current climate, and those companies that aren’t willing to go the extra measure will probably suffer the most

  • Nice to know that companies are doing this since people is not travelling anymore. Every place should be doing this

  • Kudos to Hilton! Remember when other loyalty programs really valued our business?

  • Corey Hovanec says:

    Airlines should take note. I’m up against a few expirations and I’m hoping all companies begin to act similarly.

  • Maicon Fernandes says:

    Where are the others to repeat the example? It would be perfect

  • Bravo, Hilton. Thanks for doing the right thing.

  • I hope more hotel chains follow in Hilton’s footsteps. Nice to know we will still have a free night award to use in the future.

  • Robin Plumb says:

    This will be very helpful to us – thank you Hilton, this is the right thing to do.

  • The expiration of points delayed to the end of the year is a good things.
    Some hotel hotel chains extended the validity of points only through end of May.

  • Happeemonee says:

    Well done Hilton. Shame on you Marriott

  • Of course, airlines should do the same. It is time for AA to really do something.

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