Hilton is finally removing the extra 'H' from its award-winning loyalty program - the newly-branded Hilton Honors (yes with one 'H' now) will feature a number of changes to the way points can be utilised for award nights. The changes seem to be largely positive at this point but time will tell when the full details of the newly-revamped program are launched. Here is a summary of the upcoming changes.
1. Free Nights - Full and Partial Redemption (Late February 2017)
Standard Reward Nights are not really going to change - so you can still spend 5-nights at the HIlton Tokyo for 200,000 Hilton Honors Points (unless there is change in category of course). Elite members still get the fifth-night free on award night redemption but they can now potentially benefit from lower point requirements on free stays.
According to what Hilton Honors has unveiled so far, the new flexible points pricing will only adjust the lower bound of the reward point price range (as shown in the example above). If this is indeed the case, members can benefit from spending less points on free nights when the demand for a hotel is lower.
A flexible point payment system will also be implemented late-February 2017 - members will then be able to make partial point redemption and pay the rest by cash. It is unclear how much each Hilton Honors point will be valued at this stage but more information will be shared once I have it.
2. Pool Hilton Honors Points for Free (April 2017)
You can currently transfer Hilton Honors points to another Hilton Honors member for a charge but the new Hilton Honors program will allow you to pool your Hilton Honors Points with up to 10 other members for free. These points can then be utilised with no restrictions (just like the regular points you earn) - whether this will open up a black market for selling Hilton Honors points remain to be seen. There is also no information right now on whether or not you can change or remove any one of the nominated members.
3. Redeem Hilton Honors Points on Amazon (July 2017)
The least exciting part (at least for me) is the ability to use Hilton Honors Points on Amazon from July 2017. It will probably not entice us members in Singapore as much but hey if you wish to have another outlet to make terrible decisions, here it is!
4. Extend Hilton Honors Diamond Status Once for Free (March 2017)
In recognition that travel plans and frequency may change, the new Hilton Honors program will allow Diamond members to extend their Hilton Honors Diamond status once for free - that's right, you get a free year's worth of status without having to qualify for it. Existing Diamond members will only be offered this opportunity if you fulfill the following requirements:
- Have been a Diamond member for more than three years (not clear whether it needs to be consecutive); and
- Have 250 eligible nights OR 500,000 Hilton Honors base points (since joining the program)
At this moment the upcoming changes to the newly-refreshed Hilton Honors program seem to be fairly positive. The most direct impact that these changes will have on an average member is most probably the required Hilton Honors points for redemption - only time will tell whether or not these impending changes are positive.