Hilton HHonors has new program redemption features of Points & Money, Premium Room and Room Upgrade Rewards. HHonors loyalty program launches the biggest reward improvement options in more than a decade just two weeks after issuing a Hilton HHonors press release announcing a global promotion going beyond points to honor its members. I think the new reward options are a more attractive message for loyalty members seeking HHonors experiences.
April 8 Update: New reward options are now showing on Hilton website.
Hilton FAQ document states these rewards are a pilot program that will roll out worldwide through 2011.
The Hilton website is in the process of updating its system to manage these new reward options. Customer service agents state these reward options should be available online sometime this week.
Since many of the reward details are not available at this time, I have listed the new reward types and comparable rewards with other hotel loyalty programs.
Points & Money Rewards
HHonors follows the lead of Starwood, Carlson and IHG in offering discount rewards for points and cash.
Hotel Category Points & Money Rewards
- Category 1 Unavailable
- Category 2 6,250 Pts + US$30
- Category 3 12,250 Pts + US$40
- Category 4 15,000 Pts + US$50
- Category 5 17,500 Pts + US$60
- Category 6 20,000 Pts + US$70
- Category 7 25,000 Pts + US$85
- Waldorf Astoria® 30,000 Pts + US$100
Basically the Points & Money reward option costs 50% HHonors points of a standard reward and a cash supplement. The real value here is the ability to stretch HHonors points by using money for 50% of the reward cost. The cost to buy points is far lower through Points & Money rewards than buying points through Hilton HHonors.
In general, the cost to buy points is $3.20 to $3.50 per 1,000 points with a Points & Money reward compared to $10.00 to $12.50 to buy or gift points directly from Hilton HHonors. Using Points & Money rewards saves HHonors points for other reward options.
HHonors Premium Room Rewards
This reward option allows members to use HHonors points to book reward stays in premium rooms including suites using only points. There are no details yet for sample reward cost.
Marriott Rewards has point upgrades for reward stays and charges 5,000 points per night for a room upgrade. Some hotels and resorts require two or three upgrades at 10,000 or 15,000 points per night depending on room type.
Starwood Preferred Guest has all-suites hotel properties and charges double points for these standard rewards. Starwood Hotels without standard rooms available for standard rewards will sometimes charge more points for higher category rooms. A category 4 hotel at 10,000 points per night for a standard reward is 20,000 points per night for a suite upgrade. Upgrades using points only on reward stays can be arranged through SPG customer service line.
Hyatt Gold Passport has suite upgrades on points for 50% more points, but requires a 3-night minimum stay at Grand Hyatt, Park Hyatt, Andaz, Hyatt Regency and Hyatt Resorts.
HHonors Room Upgrade Rewards
This reward option allows upgrades using points on paid nights. You can book a premium room upgrade and even a suite if available using points to upgrade your paid stay reservation. Variable price depending on hotel, room type and dates. No sample price details available yet.
Marriott Rewards allows members to upgrade paid room nights with cash. The cost is variable and dependent on hotel, dates and room type. This option does not require any points.
Starwood Preferred Guest allows members to upgrade paid nights to a suite for the cost of a standard reward night. For example, a category 4 hotel will take 10,000 points for a suite upgrade. Room upgrades like preferred view are generally 1,000 to 3,000 points per night depending on hotel reward category. The rate must be BAR, COR or SET rate.
Hyatt Gold Passport allows points upgrade on paid nights for up to four night stays, however, terms state minimum prevailing rack rate required for points upgrade option. This option may still be an overall good rate deal at 6,000 points for a 4-night suite upgrade.
Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond members receive 4 confirmed suite upgrades per membership year for use with paid nights and valid for up to 7-night stays. The main problem with these suite upgrades is the variability in type of upgrade. I have spent some upgrades and only received a junior suite and other times received a full suite. The type of suite upgrade provided is at hotel’s discretion, although since these are confirmed at time of reservation you will know what type of upgrade to expect.
Hilton HHonors steps up its game
These are significant changes improving the value of HHonors points in a program that has seen many devaluations over the past decade. The only real program improvement in years was the launch of 4-night and 5-night VIP rewards in January 2010. Points & Money, Premium Rooms and Room Upgrade Rewards using points are significant enhancements showing Hilton HHonors is back in the loyalty game as a big league player.
Loyalty Traveler will provide additional analysis once these rewards are officially announced by Hilton HHonors and more details become available.
Hilton HHonors Hotel Rewards – the new reward options posted April 8 on the Hilton website.