Nov062013

Hilton HHonors dropping Points & Fixed Miles earning option Jan 6, 2014

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.

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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