Jan132009

Hilton HHonors starts 2009 with a goof

The morning of the promotion meltdown for $19.28 luxury hotel rooms with the Leading Hotels of the World on October 1, 2008 I spoke with  Adam Burke, Hilton Hotels Senior Vice President, Customer Loyalty.  First question to Adam Burke that morning was “Have you heard about the LHW promotion fiasco?  The website was down and the whole promotion was a bust.” 

Mr. Burke was unaware of what had happened that morning with Leading Hotels of the World, but he commiserated with the scenario as I explained it.  He said something like ‘We (hotel promotion people) all know what it is like to be there and I don’t envy them.’

Hilton HHonors starts 2009 with a goof. 

Tuesday, January 6 HHonors Double Base Points promotion launched.  Hilton HHonors is first in starting a major hotel loyalty promotion for the 2009 winter season.  In the past week there have been three more major promotions launched in the hotel world with Starwood Preferred Guest’ 10,000 points for 10 nights, Hyatt Gold Passport 20,000 points for 8 nights, and IHG Priority Club 3,000 points for 3 nights.

Wednesday January 7, Hilton HHonors sent out a press release to promote their latest promotion for Double Base Points.  The Press release was posted in a variety of media outlets.

Hotels Magazine January 7: http://www.hotelsmag.com/article/CA6627006.html?industryid=47565

 

Colloquy, January 7

http://www.colloquy.com/breaking_view.asp?xd=5576

 

StreetInsider.com, January 7

http://www.streetinsider.com/Press+Releases/Hilton+HHonors(R)+Rings+in+2009+with+a+Double+Base+Points+Promotion/4283185.html

 

Yesterday, Monday, January 12

The Hilton HHonors Double Base Points Press Release is reissued.  The change is a reduction to the number of points earned by a member with Points & Points earning preference from 30 points per $1 to 25 points per $1.

Some news services made the update yesterday to correct the Points & Points earning for Hilton’s Double Base Points promotion from 30 points per $1 to 25 points per $1.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/CORRECTING-and-REPLACING-bw-14030947.html

 

Mistakes Happen

My thoughts this morning are from the viewpoint of a blogger and consumer. 

As a consumer writer for hotel travelers, I am disappointed that I published inaccurate information in several posts on Loyalty Traveler regarding the Hilton Double Base Points promotion. 

There might be a couple of hundred people who anticipate getting 30 points per $1 from their Hilton stays because they read it over a couple of days on the Loyalty Traveler blog and will not be back here to see the information has changed. 

I searched the Hilton Double Base points promotion on Google and inserted the links above to show some other sources where erroneous information is being disseminated around the internet on websites where the updated press release may never be incorporated into the posted web page showing 30 points per $1 for Hilton stays with the Double Base Points promotion.

As a consumer, I understand the Double Base Points calculation was only an error in the Press Release and the meaning of Double Base Points is explained on the promotion registration webpage in the fine print “Terms and Conditions” at the bottom of the page as:

“Double Base points” means you will receive a bonus equal to the number of Base points earned during a stay. Bonus points earned on Base points do not count toward VIP tier qualification.”

I understand this terminology.  Do you? 

I write the Loyalty Traveler blog to help consumers understand all this stuff about hotel loyalty programs.  I am a hotel loyalty program geek so you don’t have to be.

Hilton HHonors Terminology

Base Points: Base points are earned based on the money spent for hotel stays.  Base points are earned for the room rate (but not the room taxes and fees portion); other charges like meals and bar charges posted to room, and room service.

Hilton HHonors members earn 10 base points per $1 in hotel spending.

Points & Points: Hilton HHonors unique earning system it calls ‘Double Dip’ allows a member to choose an earning preference for either Points & Miles or Points & Points.  When selecting Points & Points a member earns the normal 10 base points per $1 and an additional 5 bonus points for a total of 15 points per $1.

Double Base Points:  The current Hilton promotion through April 6, 2009 adds an additional 10 bonus points to the normally earned 15 points if earning preference with Hilton HHonors is set to Points & Points.  The Double Base Points promotion means a member will receive 25 points per $1 in eligible spending. 

VIP Tier Qualification:  Hilton HHonors has membership levels.

Blue – less than 4 stays or 10 nights in a calendar year. HHonors is the only program to give VIP tier qualification credit for Hilton-family hotel nights using points.  Free hotel stays at Hilton properties count towards elite status. 

Silver VIP – 4 stays or 10 nights in a calendar year.

Gold VIP – 16 stays or 36 nights or 60,000 base points.

Diamond VIP – 28 stays or 60 nights or 100,000 base points.

Hilton HHonors VIP status has the primary feature of making available access to discounted hotel stays using points when it comes time to spend your earnings.  A Category 6 hotel night is 40,000 points.  A VIP member 6-night hotel stay award for a Category 6 hotel is only 175,000 points.  This stay would require 240,000 points for a member without VIP status.

The Double Base Points terms state that Bonus Points earned on Base Points do not count toward VIP tier qualification.  60,000 base points still requires $6,000 in spending even with this promotion.

Bonus Points: Base points are the 10 points per $1 in hotel spending and these points count towards elite VIP tier status and are also redeemable points for free hotel rooms.  Bonus points are all the other points earned from Points & Points bonus points, VIP elite bonus points, and promotion bonus points.  The Double Base points promotion will allow a Points & Points member to earn at least 25 points per $1 in spending.  This earning rate may be higher depending on elite status and hotel specific bonus points promotions.

Points & Miles: Hilton HHonors members registered for the Double Base points promotion can receive 20 points per $1 in spending + airline miles. 

There are two preferences for airline miles:

Fixed Miles, generally 500 miles with most airline partners per hotel stay (Hampton Inn and Homewood Suites hotel stays earn only 100 miles or 20% miles compared to other brands) or

Variable Miles: 1 mile per $1 in hotel spending for most airlines.

Well, all’s well that ends well. 

My Hilton HHonors Double Base Points promotion analysis ended better last week when the promotion was offering 30 points per $1. 

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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