Hilton Honors Extends Benefits, Reduces Elite Requirements

Filed Under: Hilton
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We’re continuing to see loyalty programs extend status, points, and perks. Back in late March Hilton Honors announced several program extensions, and today we’re seeing even more of those. In no particular order, here’s what Hilton Honors members can expect:

Hilton Honors extending status through 2022 for everyone

Long story short, anyone who has status right now will continue to have status through March 31, 2022.

Back in March the following had been announced:

  • Hilton Honors extended the status for those who earned it in 2019 (for the 2020 program year) through March 31, 2022
  • Hilton Honors extended the status for those who earned it in 2018 (for the 2019 program year) through March 31, 2021

In other words, with this latest announcement those who had status in 2019 (earned in 2018) but were supposed to be downgraded are getting an additional one year extension. Clearly Hilton doesn’t want to lose formerly loyal guests.

Hilton Honors status is being extended for all

Hilton Honors reduces 2021 status requirements

Hilton Honors will lower elite status requirements by 50% for all tiers in the 2021 program. This means that the requirements for stays, nights, and base points, are all being reduced by 50%. This is in addition to all 2020 elite nights automatically being rolled over to the 2021 program year to give members a jumpstart on earning status.

With the 50% reduction in requirements:

Hilton Honors lowers Milestone Bonuses thresholds

Hilton Honors has a Milestone Bonuses feature, whereby you earn 10,000 bonus points for every 10 nights you’ve stayed in a calendar year, after 40 nights.

For 2021 you’ll start earning Milestone Bonuses after 20 elite nights, rather than after 40 elite nights. You’ll still earn 10,000 bonus points for every 10 nights (in other words, that’s not being reduced to every five nights).

Hilton Honors makes gifting status easier

Hilton Honors Diamond members who pass a certain number of elite nights are able to gift status to others. The requirements for that are being lowered for 2021:

  • You ordinarily need 60 elite nights to gift Gold status to someone else, but will only need 30 elite nights in 2021
  • You ordinarily need 100 elite nights to gift Diamond status to someone else, but will only need 60 elite nights in 2021

Hilton Honors is making it easier for members to gift status

Hilton Honors free night award certificates extended

All free weekend night reward certificates issued in 2021 can be used for any night of the week, and the expiration will be extended to December 31, 2022. Existing free night awards have largely already been extended and are valid any day of the week, so this latest change doesn’t apply to those.

This is a fantastic change, and will give members a ton of flexibility, especially for free night award earned with co-branded Hilton credit cards.

Hilton Honors Amex benefits extended

Base points earned on Hilton Honors American Express cards will continue to count as base points towards status on eligible purchases through December 31, 2021. In other words, spending on Hilton credit cards will count towards elite status, including lifetime Diamond status.

Hilton Honors points validity extended

Hilton Honors points won’t expire until December 31, 2021, at the earliest. Ordinarily Hilton Honors points expire after 12 months of inactivity, though that policy was paused earlier this year.

Hilton Honors points won’t expire until 2022 at the earliest

Bottom line

It’s fantastic to see the extent to which Hilton Honors is extending perks, ranging from points validity, to status, to free night certificates.

Personally I earn Hilton Honors status through the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card (review), which I consider to be well worth it. What I’m most excited about is the extension of free night certificates, including the elimination of the typical weekend requirement.

What do you make of these Hilton Honors program extensions?

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Comments
  1. Hilton’s response to their members has been great during this period. I was splitting my stays between Hilton and Marriott properties, but the way Hilton is being flexible has helped me focus back on Hilton again. They’ve been awesome to work with during this crazy time and have been really flexible in many situations.

  2. Now IHG is the only holdout on extending nights and benefits. I assume they are going to wait until the last minute because that is how they did it in April.

  3. So would this mean we could combine our free night awards from the aspire from 2020,2021,2022 to get a 3 night stay (virtually) anywhere for free?

  4. To same effect as Jack’s question, a post with extended award night policies/expiration dates across all brands would be useful (and lend itself well to referral links)

  5. Does this mean can we stay 15 nights this year under the Double Elite nights promo, which makes it 30 elite nights and then roll this over into 2021 and qualify for diamond till 2023?

  6. @Lucky, is there a way on Hilton’s website to check your progress on lifetime status? If there is I’ve never been able to locate it.

  7. Copy from the Hilton’s website:
    Members who do not have eligible activity as defined in a. – d. below in any 15 consecutive month period may be removed from the Program and are subject to forfeiture of all accumulated Points. At the discretion of Hilton Honors, such Members may be permitted to remain in the Program and removed after five years of inactivity. To keep accumulated Hilton Honors Points, the Member must take one of the following actions within a 15 consecutive month period:
    You said above:Ordinarily Hilton Honors points expire after 12 months of inactivity
    What’s the different between the 15 months and 12 months?confused

  8. This is entirely consistent with the program’s long-standing philosophy which is enunciated every year in theHilton’s Form 10K filing to the SEC:

    Affiliation with our loyalty programs encourages members to allocate more of their
    travel spending to our hotels. The percentage of travel spending we capture from loyalty members increases as they move up the tiers of our program.

    That is why Hilton makes it so easy to earn HHonors elite status. It has nothing to do with ‘cheapening’ the program. It is a brilliant business move: Give them status and they’ll come!

  9. You cannot see that information online, as far as I know. You need to email Hilton Honors and ask for your lifetime diamond current status. The last time I checked was in late 2017 and they sent me back my number of years as diamond and number of paid stays, with requirements being 10 years of diamond (non consecutive) plus 1,000 paid stays or 2,000,000 base points.

    DLPTATL says:
    October 27, 2020 at 11:50 am
    @Lucky, is there a way on Hilton’s website to check your progress on lifetime status? If there is I’ve never been able to locate it.

  10. @DLPTATL:

    I have never found the place to check lifetime status progress, but if you call their member service center, they can tell you.

    I know for Lifetime Diamond, you need to earn Diamond 10 years (need not be consecutive), and have 1,000 paid nights. When I spoke to someone back in Jan of 2020, they said they are considering to count redemption nights towards that 1,000 total, but I haven’t seen anything come out. I’m close on the years, but still 300 nights to go. I’m not sure what the requirements are for Lifetime Gold.

  11. So with Hilton’s current promotion, we get double stay credit. With them cutting the requirements in half next year, does that essentially mean that each night spent at a Hilton over the next two months is really worth four nights?

  12. HILTON as its best !!
    As a frequent traveller with some status in several hotel loyality programs, I think Hilton is doing a very good job in this complicated times.
    Accor, IHG and Marriott Bonvoy need to improve…
    Well done HILTON !

  13. Hilton changed the DFL requirement from paid stays to stays (including reward nights) several years ago (5?). Have they reneged on this?

    Having “earned” DFL in approximately 2016 according to my records I have still not been able to convince HH that their accounting is crap and that they mis-count.

    Every year I have had to correct the number of nights and stays. It appears that the corrections never are counted in the DFL which has led to several hundred missed nights by HH.

    If you want to ever receive DFL it is important to maintain accurate records going back to the start of the program. Unfortunately I did not do this from 1996 to 2015 so have no way to make HH correct their records and update my files.

    Sad – with over 16 years of Diamond and 21 years in the program one would think that just from those minimum requirements that the 1000 nights would be long in the past. HH doesn’t see it that way. Beware.

  14. This was absolutely fantastic news to wake up to this morning (we’re now living in Bali) and really good of Hilton Honors to be on the front foot now in October rather than leaving it until January.

    It’ll be interesting to see what other travel loyalty programs come up with. We’re especially interested in finding out what Marriot Bonvoy and British Airways Executive Club will be offering.

  15. “anyone who has status right now will continue to have status through March 31, 2022.”

    Any idea if this applies to current Diamond status obtained through holding AMEX Aspire? May as well cancel the card since I get the status through 2022 anyway.

  16. @ezez — The HH Diamond status through the Aspire card is good only as long as one has the card. If you cancel the card, every benefit associated with it, including the Diamond status, will cancel as well.

    Why anyone who is serious about holding a Hilton status, which means staying quite a bit at Hilton properties and spending real money there, would want to cancel the Aspire card is a puzzle to me, considering the out-of-this-world benefits that one gets for “just” $450, including earning industry-leading 14x on any money spent at Hilton hotels.

    Not exactly rocket science…

  17. 20 nights for Gold seems to be a great deal.

    It seems I will earn 60 nights with Radisson this year, making me Platinum in their programme, so that would give me some space to spend 20 nights somewhere else without sacrificing Radisson (where I stay the most, due to their footprint).

    I quite enjoy Hilton properties and the programme. What bothers me is that they tend to be lousy with late check-out, which is a dealbreaker for me.

    By the way, how are European Hilton properties these days? Are they doing the US-style Covid theatre, or is more localised, i.e. based on rules in the specific location? I would have to give up buffet breakfast or have to wear a mask in otherwise mask-free location.

  18. They’re almost making it too easy at this point. With the rollover and requirements cut in half, I’ll retain Diamond without even setting foot on a Hilton property next year.

    Hotels and airlines are going through a lot of effort to make status easier for everyone who’s not traveling these days. What do those of us who are still on the road getting in return? A sorry excuse for breakfast and a sticker on the door that says my room has been cleaned… thanks.

  19. I quite enjoy Hilton properties and the programme. What bothers me is that they tend to be lousy with late check-out, which is a dealbreaker for me.
    — Samo

    I have never been denied a late checkout request in many years as a HH Diamond or as a HH Gold before that. On the other hand, I have gotten checkout requests as late as 6pm approved many times — try that trick with your “guaranteed” 4pm late checkout (“Sorry, the guarantee is only to 4pm”). What’s my secret? I’ve revealed it in this space multiple times before: I play the game with a “full deck”, so I always know ahead of time when I would need a late checkout and make sure to request it when I check in. Try it next time…

    As far as hotel elite status perks go, I rank late checkout pretty low. At the top of my list is the ‘fifth award night free’ perk, which the much touted Hyatt Globalist status does not get. That would be a deal breaker.

    G’day.

  20. I’m confused. I have only 15 nights this year and still a lowly silver. I reached out via chat and quoted the article “Hilton Honors Diamond status will require 30 nights, 15 stays, or 60,000 base points” and they said “Hilton Honors will lower elite status requirements by 50% for all tiers in the 2021 program.
    You will need half of the nights to get the Diamond for the following year.
    A member need 30 stays or 60 nights to get the Diamond so you will have to complete only 15 stays or 30 nights.”

    What am I missing here?
    Thanks in advance

  21. When you’re participating in the Hilton Double Nights Program, your 15 nights in 2020 counts double and you can rollover those 30 nights into 2021 = Diamond

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