Another Hilton Devaluation – HHonors Discontinues Points and Fixed Miles Earning Option

by on November 4, 2013 · 25 comments

in Hilton

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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.

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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.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Annalise Kaylor

    This is an interesting change, indeed. I am by no means a road warrior, but I’ve stayed enough at both Hilton and Starwood in the last year to earn a decent level of status at each. Though I’m only two stays short at Starwood for their next tier, I’ve been choosing Hilton because of the many points promos they’ve had (and because of a less-than-stellar 25 day stay at a Sheraton). As a Delta Medallion, this little change by Hilton definitely means I’m going to get those two Starwood nights in before the year’s end and start shifting over that way. With Crossover Rewards, I see little incentive to stay with Hilton now.

  • Ruthlessly Absurd

    In fairness, this was always a bit too generous

  • CJ

    I dropped Hilton entirely already. I’m SPG Platinum and haven’t looked back.

  • Betsy Wuebker

    We pursued and achieved a status challenge with Hilton last year and I don’t know why. We’ll be redeeming our points for a stay at the Athenee Palace in Bucharest early in the year and that’ll be it. Seriously underwhelming by comparison with SPG or Carlson.

  • Zila

    I will be a gold HHonors for 2014, and after that , no more…I will work on my Hyatt points instead…too bad, I stayed at some of the best hotels in Europe thanks to my HHonors and I have lots of great memories….So “Thanks for the memories…”

  • michel

    Brian they also just sent out another note to members (at least I got one) stays between now and the end of the year will count toward 2015 status once you register.

  • Allen

    I dumped Hilton earlier this year. All of my stays are now with SPG.

  • shay peleg

    SPG is so amazing

  • Cas Milner

    I’m two stays away from the next tier at Hilton, and could easily get there, but decided some time ago not to bother. I’m giving up on Hilton. They are good internationally (especially in Tokyo, where I have stayed at Hiltons several times), but mediocre in the US. There’s always a better option in the US, from both the rewards point of view, and from the experience as a guest. Its just nothing special anymore, and the elite lounges are sub-average. // I’ve stayed several times at the San Francisco Hilton Union Square this year, which could be described as a youth hostel with chandeliers in the lobby. In lieu of an.elite lounge, they give you a coupon to use for breakfast at the Starbucks in the lobby. I’m not making this up. There’s a Kimpton across the street that is far better and usually cheaper, so that’s where I usually stay.

  • Confucius Jackson

    Marriott has received 18 room nights this year at limited service locations compared to 4 at Hilton. And I was a Diamond for nearly a decade. I would still stay at Homewood Suites because I liked the rooms, and the 1000 Virgin Atlantic points didn’t hurt. Now, those nights will go to Staybridge/Springhill instead unless Hilton is really competitive on price.

  • EG

    I requalified for Diamond in April this year. Now my stays at Hilton have gone down drastically since the devaluations earlier this year. Still have 200k HH points to burn and its almost comical how little that gets me with the new rewards levels. This additional move is just salt in the wound. So done with you Hilton.

  • All about the points

    I am Hilton Diamond and use Fixed Miles. Loved it! Now will consider switching. What are your thoughts about Marriott’s program?

  • Danny

    Marriott points are not as valuable as SPG points, but you can earn a ton of them relatively quickly with the right strategy. Base is 10 points per dollar, and if you get to platinum it’s +50% to make it 15 points per dollar. Get the Marriott Visa (50K sign up bonus) and that gives you 5 more points per dollar spend at Marriotts, so you can get up to 20 points per dollar spent at marriott properties.

    Now, those aren’t as valuable as SPG points, but they’re good if you know how to use them. If you rack up a large number, the travel packages are a fantastic deal that let you transfer 1:1 to a large number of airlines for airline miles. And Marriott’s biggest advantage is simply that they’re everywhere – their map coverage is by far the best imo and they have tons of hotel partners like Rtiz-Carlton, AC, Edition, Gaylord, Renaissance, Bulgari, etc as well as the 8-10 Marriott brands.

  • Fanfoot

    I don’t see the points + variable miles option for 250 miles at Homewood Suites. If I go here:

    and expand the Fixed Miles Partners: The Americas and look at say American Airlines, I see:

    “Earn 500 AAdvantage miles per stay at Waldorf Astoria, Conrad, Hilton, DoubleTree, Embassy Suites, Hilton Garden Inn and Hilton Grand Vacations. Earn 100 AAdvantage miles per stay at Hampton Inn, Homewood Suites and Home2 Suites.”

    Nothing about 250. Based on the 100 miles/night at Homewood Suites where I stay a lot, I won’t miss the fixed miles option much at all. Certainly if I stayed at full-service Hiltons for one night stays a lot, I’d be more irritated.

    Correct me if I’m wrong.

  • Mr_Nibbles

    Hilton used to be “the” place to stay, but they’re steadily being eclipsed by Starwood Resorts (SPG).

  • Leo

    Disagree with the opening line calling Hilton the “least consumer-friendly hotel program.” You can’t judge a hotel by the points-earning reward program. You should judge it by its fundamentals — the hotel experience, and not by the entitlement-emotions of screwing the system. The point programs of these business are an added perk, and not the up-front reason to choose the business in the first place. I’ve had great consumer-friendly service from Hilton, and am glad to earn points as an aside for being a LOYAL customer.

  • Darrin Earl

    I went from staying 20-30 nights a year with Hilton for work – to 1 this year. Hopefully Hilton wonders what the hell went wrong: 20-30 nights a year, to one. 1!. I used up all my HHonors points on 2 vacations this year and aren’t looking back.

    I used to maintain status with Hilton (great coverage, decent rewards, preferred provider at my employer) and SPG (good coverage, great rewards, not as preferred) but have now switched all my Hilton business to Hyatt, and have been incredibly impressed with the Gold Passport program, service, everything… if only they had more properties.

  • Sofi

    It just gets worse and worse with Hilton. My last stay, which was in a place with none of my other programs available, I got 2 points per dollar instead of 10/$ as you are supposed to with the Citi Hilton Reserve card, plus I did not get the 1,000 points offered for booking on the app. An hour on the phone with them led nowhere.
    Hilton is so over for me. Luckily I used up most of my points at the Conrad Tokyo last spring on that 4 night points deal that used to go for 140,000 points and now costs 300,00 points.
    Interesting that I can still have Gold status through the Amex Platinum card and Milepoint for the next year even though I canceled the Hilton Reserve card. But I doubt if I’ll get much use out of it.

  • Rob

    Hiltons are great! Also being a Diamond member, stayed at many this past summer on my 6 week trip to Europe. The experience and upgrades were top notch and a couple of the people that worked at the front desk in the hotel are now friends that I keep in touch with!

  • luv2mtb

    I used to love the fixed miles double dip option. Especially when I found Hilton Garden Inns at ridiculously cheap weekend rates for like $59 and was still getting 500 miles. I’ve made nearly enough miles for a free one-way ticket off this option. I’ll miss having this available, but I’ll still stick with Hilton brands. Based upon 50,000+ highway miles over the last 3 years, there really isn’t any better value than Hampton Inn in most markets.

  • Lacey B

    Can you share the link for this Michel?
    I never receive hhonors emails as I should!

  • Michel
  • jjflysalot

    Lazy and cheap of them. First they up what it takes to re/qualify to GLD, etc now this.

  • PRagmaticGuy2

    I think Marriott and IHG are the only ones that can compete with Hilton in terms of locations, especially for lots of business travel in rural America. SPG doesn’t exist in rural America, however nice their program is. So, another year as Hilton Diamond.

  • Lgr58

    You work for Hilton Leo? That is the most ridiculous crock of stuff I have read in a long, long time. I surely can judge and rate a hotel chain by it’s loyalty programs, that is my prerogative as I come to expect “consumer-friendly service” from all of them. That should be a given and if it’s not, then shame on them or the bad apples that one may have run into. They are in competition for my “loyal” business (hint, that is why they are called loyalty programs) and it is my choice to get the biggest bang for my buck when it comes to taking the type of vacations I want to take. “Entitlement-emotions of screwing the system”, what the heck are you talking about? I am screwing the system because I choose to take advantage of what they want to offer me? Are you serious? I am totally dissapointed by Hilton with their recent devaluations and this is another reason for me to look at competing programs. You just keep right on being a LOYAL customer to Hilton while the rest of us do what we feel like we got to do and don’t let that ruffle your feathers any.

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