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Upcoming Hilton Honors Changes Are Good for the Few, Bad for the Many

Hilton titled the news release announcing upcoming changes to its Honors loyalty program as follows: “Hilton Honors Delivers Even More to Its Members in 2018 with Industry-Leading Earn Rates and New Benefits.”

In fact, for the majority of Honors’ 70 million members, the program will deliver less.

The changes, which are set to take effect in April, summarize as follows:

  • Members will earn points only—no more points and miles or points and points
  • Blue (non-elite) members will earn 10 points per $1 (versus 15 currently)
  • Silver members will earn 12 points per $1 (versus 16.5 currently)
  • Gold members will earn 18 points per $1 (versus 17.5 currently)
  • Diamond members will earn 20 points per $1 (versus 20 currently)
  • Elites can rollover elite-qualifying nights
  • Gold and Diamond elites can gift elite status to another
  • Gold and Diamond members will receive milestone bonuses

The changes are a significant devaluation for Blue and Silver elite members, who will earn fewer points for every $1 spent at Hilton, with no compensating benefits additions. For Gold and Diamond elites, the combination of rollover nights, elite-status gifting, and milestone bonuses will make the program modestly more valuable.

Hilton claims the changes are being made “in direct response to extensive member feedback, as the latest chapter in the continuous evolution of Hilton Honors.” Given how much of a downgrade the changes represent for the majority of program members, one can only wonder which Honors members’ feedback Hilton took into consideration. It certainly wasn’t Blue and Silver members.

Bottom line: More for the few, less for the many. But that doesn’t make a good news release title.

Reader Reality Check

How will these changes affect your relationship with Hilton?

More from SmarterTravel:

After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.

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