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I’m convinced that Hilton is actively pursuing the title of least consumer-friendly hotel program thanks to the fact that it has devalued its HHonors points program further by announcing that it is discontinuing the ability to earn Points + Fixed Miles as a double dip option as of January 6, 2014.
Here is the letter Hilton sent out to members of HHonors earlier today:
“Over the years, we have evolved and enhanced the Hilton HHonors™ program to provide benefits that deliver value and complement the way you travel. We have reviewed our members’ earning preferences and have decided to simplify our Earning Style Options.
On January 6, 2014, we will discontinue the Points & Fixed Miles Earning Style. At this time, you will automatically start to earn variable miles, or 10 HHonors Base Points plus one airline mile (or kilometer) per eligible US dollar spent for most stays.* This will appear as Points & Miles™ in your HHonors account profile. To learn more about this update and our Points & Points Earning Style, please visit us here.
We know the ability to Double Dip® is important to you and are pleased to be able to continue to offer this unique benefit. Hilton HHonors is the only hotel loyalty program that lets you earn Points & Miles from your choice of more than 50 airlines around the world. This update allows us to remain focused on the most widely-used rewards our members value.”
You can also find further information at the FAQ page for upcoming Hilton HHonors developments.
So what does this mean? Those HHonors members who have Points + Fixed Miles chosen as their Double Dip option earn 10 HHonors points per dollar + 500 miles per stay at Full Service hotels (Waldorf-Astoria, Hilton, Conrad, Doubletree, Embassy Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, Hilton Grand Vacations), 10 HHonors points per dollar + 250 miles per stay at Hampton Inn and Homewood Suites, and 5 HHonors points per dollar and 1 mile per dollar up to 100 miles per stay at Home2Suites.
By contrast, with Points + Variable miles, you earn 10 HHonors points per dollar + 1 miles per dollar at Waldorf-Astoria, Hilton, Conrad, Doubletree, Embassy Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, Hilton Grand Vacations, Hampton Inn and Homewood Suites, and 5 HHonors points per dollar and 1 mile per dollar up to 100 miles per stay at Home2Suites.
This option made the most sense for members whose hotel stays at full-service hotels were $500 or less, or $100 or less at a discount hotel; or those who wanted to double dip with an airline partner that does not participate in the Variable Miles earning option such as ANA, Korean or Qantas.
While this isn’t nearly as debilitating as the major program devaluation from earlier this year that nearly doubled some aspirational award night points requirements, nor the AXON award devaluation for Hilton Amex cardholders from April, it’s still always bad news when a loyalty program takes away choices from its members, many of whom are now going to have to reevaluate their earning strategy with the chain and decide whether to keep their business with Hilton or take it to another program.
This is also just one more reason why I’m not sticking with Hilton past this year. I currently have Diamond status thanks to spending on my Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve card and still think there’s value to be had from it thanks to the free weekend night certificates that come as a sign-up bonus and when you spend $10,000 annually, but after an upcoming stay at the Conrad Maldives I booked using points before the devaluation went into place this spring, you won’t find me hanging out at too many Hiltons in the future since it just keeps proving how customer-unfriendly it is.
What do those of you who have Points + Fixed Miles as your earning choice think? Will this change your hotel strategy? If so, how?
Hat tip: TPG reader Joey.