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Hilton Sees Another Big Surge in Membership and Engagement

July 24, 2019
3 min read
Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort and Spa - lagoon bungalow
Hilton Sees Another Big Surge in Membership and Engagement
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Hilton is continuing its momentum with impressive Q2 2019 results. Following a 20% surge in membership just a quarter ago, president and CEO Chris Nassetta reported on Hilton's earnings call on Wednesday that it now has "more than 94 million members, up more than 20% year-over-year with meaningful increases in engagement."

Nassetta added that "active members account for more than half of [Hilton's] global members." The number of loyalty-program members hitting 100+ nights annually in Hilton properties is up nearly 60% from last year.

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Interestingly, he also elaborated on Hilton's drive to see incremental improvements on engagement at lower levels. While Hilton no doubt appreciates points and miles hounds that scrape together enough Honors points for a weeklong stay in Moorea, it's focused on connecting with those who stay less frequently. "The more engagement, the more share of wallet we get," said Nassetta. "The more that people are using their points and doing things with it that get them active in our system — that get them in our app and get them thinking about us — the more they spend with us."

Hilton Moorea is home to some of the most stunningly positioned overwater bungalows in the world (Photo by Darren Murph / The Points Guy)

We also learned that aspirations and actions are quite different. In answering an investor question on Hilton's foray into luxury, Nassetta offered the following: "While people aspire to go to the Maldives, that's not actually what they do. More often than not, they use [Honors points] for the mundane things in life, like going to New York City for a weekend or to Pennsylvania for a soccer tournament with their kids. They use the points they earn traveling on business to satisfy the needs of their personal life."

He reiterated that while luxury was a part of Hilton's overall equation, "it's a relatively small part of it in terms of the other parts of the ecosystem that help drive loyalty."

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(Photo by Scott Mayerowitz / The Points Guy)

In February 2019, Hilton tiptoed around investor questions on the reason for the recent surge, not wanting to directly cite Marriott's documented IT woes following its merger with SPG.

This quarter, it's enjoying a 20% increase in net income from the same period in 2018, as well as an 11% uptick in adjusted EBITDA, exceeding the high end of guidance. Revenue per available room (RevPAR) was up 1.4% year-over-year on a currency-neutral basis, which means that people are paying more on average for each stay.

Hilton opened 17,100 rooms across 123 hotels this quarter. That includes the newly-opened Waldorf Astoria Dubai International Financial Centre and the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi, contributing to the company's goal of growing its luxury portfolio by 17% in 2019.

Featured image by Hilton Moorea only has three Lagoon Bungalows, which offer lower rates but maintain excellent views (Photo by Darren Murph / The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
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  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
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Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees