Hilton HHonors gives another blow to the program for low spend guests who earn 500 miles per stay as a Points & Fixed Miles earner. As of January 6, 2014 there will only be the choice of earning Points & Points (15 points/$1) and Points & Miles (10 HHonors points + 1 mile/$1). Hilton HHonors has more airline partners than any other hotel loyalty program.
Over the several years I held HHonors Diamond status, my earning style was often Points & Fixed miles. Since my travel pattern was typically a one-night $100 hotel stay I earned 1,000 base points + 500 miles with United Mileage Plus for most hotel stays.
500 airline miles per Hilton stay as a Points & Fixed Miles earner provided more value to me than 500 bonus HHonors points earned as a Points & Points earner. I rarely stayed at Hampton Inn hotels where only 100 miles are earned as a Points & Fixed Miles earner. And when I did stay at Hampton or Homewood, I made sure to change my earning preference to Points & Points for the hotel stay.
POINTS & FIXED MILES (HHonors Base Points + fixed airline/rail miles)
Maximize the miles you earn during shorter stays with this earning style. Earn 10 HHonors Base Points per eligible US dollar spent on your room, plus 500 airline/rail miles per hotel stay. (For stays at Hampton Inn™, Homewood Suites by Hilton™, and Home2 Suites by Hilton™ hotels, earn 100 miles per stay.)
Hilton HHonors even promotes ‘Fixed Miles’ for guests on short stays which I equate to low spend stays. This move to 1 mile per $1 reduces the cost to Hilton HHonors paying for airline miles earned by HHonors members on cheap hotel stays.
HHonors Points & Fixed Miles is somewhat of a competitive advantage for the program with the opportunity to earn a good chunk of miles without a lot of hotel spend. A frequent guest like me with a pattern of one-night inexpensive stays on the way to 30 stays to qualify for Hilton HHonors Diamond elite, could earn 30,000 HHonors points and 15,000 miles on $3,000 hotel spend. This was more valuable than getting 15,000 additional HHonors points as a Points & Points earner. In 2014 this same $3,000 in hotel spend will earn only 3,000 miles instead of the potential 15,000 miles from 30 cheap $100 hotel stays.
This is not that big a deal if your travel pattern is primarily Hampton Inn, Homewood Suites and Home2 Suites since these brands only earn 100 miles as a Points & Fixed Miles earner. And these brands add up to more than 50% of all Hilton HHonors hotels globally. Assuming $100 hotel night for a Hampton Inn, the value of 500 HHonors points as a Points & Points earner is generally more than 100 airline miles earned as a Points and Fixed Miles earner.
POINTS & POINTS (HHonors Base Points + HHonors Bonus Points)
For the fastest way to a free night with Hilton HHonors™, choose this earning style. Earn 10 HHonors Base Points plus 5 Bonus Points per eligible US dollar spent on your room. (For stays at Home2 Suites by Hilton™ hotels, earn 5 HHonors Base Points plus 2.5 Bonus Points per eligible US dollar spent on your room.)
Note: All Hilton brands earn 10 points per $1, except Home2 Suites which has very few properties. The fact that nearly every Hilton brand hotel earns 10 points/$1 is a competitive advantage of Hilton HHonors over Marriott Rewards whose extended stay brands Residence Inn and TownePlace Suites make up about 25% of all Marriott brand hotels and earn only 5 points/$1. IHG Rewards Club extended stay brands Staybridge Suites and TownePlace Suites also only earn 5 points/$1.
HHonors Points & Variable Miles
The new Points & Miles earning option for 2014 is the same as what is now Points & Variable Miles.
POINTS & VARIABLE MILES (HHonors Base Points + variable airline/rail miles)
Turn longer stays into free nights and reward flights with this earning style. Earn 10 HHonors Base Points plus 1 mile per eligible US dollar spent on your room. (For stays at Home2 Suites by Hilton™ hotels, earn 5 HHonors Base Points plus 1 mile per eligible US dollar spent on your room, up to 100 miles per stay.)
Points & Variable miles was often the better choice anyway if hotel spend was over $500 per stay for most brands or over $100 per stay at Hampton Inn and Homewood Suites.
The only real losers here are Hilton HHonors members with a travel pattern of frequent one-night stays since 500 miles per stay was often a better earning option than 5 points per $1 as a Points & Points earner.