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In 2017, the then Hilton HHonors program underwent a complete refresh, with a new way to redeem points, pooling points and more. Now, beginning April 1, 2018, Honors members will see some new benefits and changes to the program, which are generally positive.
No More Points & Miles Option
In the current Honors program, members are allowed to select the option to earn Points & Miles, rather than just Points & Points. The Points & Miles option allows you to earn Honors points and miles with an airline of your choice, but of course the number of Honors points is lower than if you were to select Points & Points.
Currently, if you choose Points & Miles, you’ll earn 10 base points per dollar spend, plus one mile per dollar spent with a partner airline. If you choose Points & Points, however, you’ll earn the same 10 base points per dollar spent, but also an additional five points per dollar spent.
However, in April, the Honors program will get rid of the option to select Points & Miles entirely. You’ll now only have the option to earn Honors points with your stay. Keep in mind, however, that you’ll still be able to transfer Honors points to airline miles.
More Favorable Earn Structure
For elites, the bonus for each stay will increase. Beginning in April, here is the bonus point-earning for elites:
- Silver members — 20% bonus (previously 15%)
- Gold members — 80% bonus (previously 25%)
- Diamond members — 100% bonus (previously 50%)
As you can see, the best increase is for Gold and Diamond members. Because Hilton is doing away with the Points & Miles option for stays, this is generally good news for the highest two elite tiers, as they’ll be earning more (or the same) points per dollar spent.
The Honors program is introducing a new, permanent way to earn bonus points for your stays. Honors members will earn 10,000 bonus points on every tenth night once you reach at least 40 nights in a calendar year. In addition, Honors Diamond members will earn another 30,000 points after 60 nights in a year.
The bonuses won’t start until April, but Hilton will go back and retroactively award the bonuses for stays beginning in January. There is no need to register for the Milestone Bonus, and there’s no cap to how many points you can earn.
With the new earning structure and Milestone bonuses, here’s what the permanent earning structure will look like for the Hilton Honors program, as of April.
The biggest changes here come for Diamond members. Hilton’s top elite members should expect to reap the most from these changes, with an increased earning structure per dollar spent and the ability to earn more points for future stays with the Milestone Bonus. On the other hand, base members and Silvers won’t view these earning changes to be as positive, as the number of points you’ll earn per dollar will decrease.
Here’s a look of the changes Diamond members will see in 2018:
Gift Elite Status
Beginning in 2018, members who stay 60 or more nights per calendar year will have the option to gift Gold elite status to anyone. If you stay 100 or more nights per calendar year, you’ll be able to gift Diamond status to anyone.
Elite Rollover Nights
Beginning in 2018, elite members can rollover their elite-qualifying nights to the following year. Silver, Gold and Diamond members will be able to use nights from the previous year to count toward elite status qualification for the current year. For someone who is consistently close to reaching the next level of elite status, this could prove to be a very useful perk.
Keep in mind that with this new change, only nights will roll over — not stays or base points. As a reminder, to achieve Silver status you need 10 nights, Gold requires 40 nights and Diamond status requires 60 nights.
Overall, these changes are pretty positive for the Honors program. Those who will see the biggest changes are those at the top — the Diamonds. They’ll be earning more redeemable points for each stay, as well the ability to earn Milestone Bonuses for more frequent stays. At the same time, Gold members should expect a smaller — yet still positive — change to their earning structure, at .5 more points per dollar spent.
If you have the Platinum Card from American Express, you get complimentary Gold status, while if you have the Centurion card you’ll get complimentary Diamond status. So, while these changes shouldn’t affect you too much, know that you’ll be earning more points per dollar spent. Essentially, the value of the card just went up — albeit, not by much — thanks to the increased value of Gold status from Hilton.
For those at the bottom of the elite status pole — Silver and base members — these changes aren’t all that positive, as you’ll be earning fewer redeemable points. However, there are still some benefits gained, such as the ability to earn rollover nights and to gift status.
Earlier this month the Honors program announced more positive changes in that it was now offering complimentary breakfast for some elites at all of its luxury properties. With these additional changes, the program is off to a customer-friendly start for 2018.
Also keep in mind that beginning January 18, Hilton will begin offering its new co-branded Amex portfolio of credit cards. Check out this post for a rundown of each and which makes sense for you.
The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at SPG, Marriott, and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,140 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the $550 annual fee makes sense for you.
- Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
- Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
- 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
- 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
- Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
- Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
- $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
- Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
- $550 annual fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees