2009 Summer Promotions Hilton Honors loyalty program Hilton Hotels Worldwide

Hilton Hawaii Dollars and Breaking Up is Sometimes Best for Broken Relationships

Take this Hawaii Dollar and break it in the sand. Just step on it and let it snap like a beautiful sand dollar shell cracking under the feet of unobservant tourists. Crumble Hilton HHonors Hawaii Dollars into tiny grains since using this option for spending your HHonors points has as much appeal as a sand dollar in 100 little pieces you don’t want to bother keeping in your pocket.

Every couple of weeks I look for some new promotion to generate a spark of interest from this loyalty traveler and I just find Hilton HHonors in the dark.

One of Hilton HHonors options for redeeming points is an exchange of 25,000 Hilton points for 50 Hawaii Dollars. Two Hilton Resorts in Hawaii accept Hawaii Dollars for restaurant and spa purchases. Hawaii Dollars are accepted at Bali by the Sea® or Donatoni’s, or the Mandara Spa or Kohala Sports Club & Spa at two Hilton Hotel Hawaii Resorts. Hilton Waikoloa Village on Hawaii’s Big Island or Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort & Spa on Oahu are the only two places you can spend Hawaii Dollars.

25,000 points is almost sufficient for a free night on a 6-night VIP 175,000 points award for Hawaii. Trading 25,000 points for $50 is the type of exchange rate you expect when using a traveler’s check or cash at a foreign hotel desk to exchange money.

Hawaii is still the USA right? Obama’s birther controversy has had me wondering lately whether Hawaii might be a foreign land.

Breaking up is hard to do, but sometimes best for all concerned

Rumor has it that Blackstone Group is going to break up and sell off the Hilton chain to recoup much of the $US 26 billion investment the company sunk into the Hilton portfolio a couple of years ago.

I hope so.

The Hilton HHonors loyalty program has been gutted over the past few years. I know Hilton is still an extremely popular hotel chain, but I don’t think the hotel loyalty program is the primary incentive feeding Hilton loyalists or else they do not know there are greener pastures in the field of hotel loyalty programs.

Sure, there are good features of Hilton HHonors. Double dipping for points and miles creates a frequent flyer account boost without even flying. Or earning 50% extra points by double dipping with points and points gets a member to a hotel award faster than otherwise expected. But promotions like 10,000 points after five stays as the feature summer bonus are lame.

And not just Hilton, but all the hotel chains are relying heavily on credit card brand incentives this promotion season. VISA (Hilton, Marriott) or MasterCard (Hyatt) just to earn hotel stay bonuses is not a good strategy for incentivizing hotel loyalty when the country is reeling from a mountain of debt and consumers are curtailing spending and staying away from hotels altogether.

Are credit card purchases of hotel loyalty program points part of the US economic stimulus program? The people who rely on credit cards for earning frequent flier miles and frequent guest points are not the population segment holding back economic recovery in the USA. Credit card incentives just serve to fragment among the various hotel chains the smaller pool of travelers still traveling.