Hilton Honors gets an upgrade; Hyatt falls in line with 48-hour cancellation policy

Hilton Honors gets an upgrade; Hyatt falls in line with 48-hour cancellation policy

TORONTO — More perks, but less flexibility: the hotel industry is walking a fine line as it woos its most lucrative segment – corporate travellers – with new loyalty incentives, while at the same time keeping tight control of bookings in a last-minute world with increasingly strict cancellation policies.

Hilton Hotels & Resorts announced today that it is upgrading Hilton Honors to offer what it says is the highest elite point earning potential in the industry.

The loyalty program’s 70 million+ members of Hilton Honors also get the option to rollover nights and the opportunity to gift status. The program is free to join.

Hilton says it upgraded the program to make it easier for members to earn points and unlock rewards. The changes take effect April 2018.

Mark Weinstein, Senior VP and Global Head of Customer Engagement, Loyalty and Partnerships at Hilton, says “We have heard our Hilton Honors members loud and clear … they are looking for simple, straightforward ways to earn more points and rewards the more they stay with Hilton. Now more than ever, every stay counts – there’s always another milestone to reach, benefit to unlock, reward to earn.”

Hilton says it announced the Hilton Honors changes as part of its plan to offer the most customer-centric loyalty program to its members, designed in direct response to extensive member feedback.

“Over the last several years, we have been evolving Hilton Honors to ensure our members receive the best hotel stay experience with perks like free WiFi and member-only rates when they book directly with us. Last year, we introduced even more ways for members to use their Points with more flexibility and ease, including Amazon Shop with Points and Points Pooling. Now, in 2018, we want to give our members more ways to earn their Points and show our loyalty back to our most elite members,” said Weinstein.

Starting in April, all members will continue to earn points the way they always have, while enjoying new elite tier bonus rates for Silver (20%), Gold (80%) and Diamond (100%) members.

Hilton Honors members will earn 10,000 Bonus Points on every 10th night, once members reach at least 40 nights in a calendar year. It’s not a limited time offer, no registration is required and there is no cap- the more members stay at Hilton, the more Points they earn. On top of that, for Diamond members, there is an additional bonus at 60 nights in one year, a 30,000 Bonus Points reward.

Starting this year, Silver, Gold and Diamond members can rollover qualifying nights earned beyond their current elite tier requirements to count towards their elite tier status the following year.

Members staying 60 or more nights in a calendar year will also have the ability to gift Gold status to their favorite travel partner. Stay 100+ nights and that gift gets upgraded to Diamond.

Many of these changes begin in April, however a number of new benefits and ways to earn are already available to members in 2018, says the company, including breakfast perks at a host of Hilton brands, plus for Gold and Diamond Hilton Honors members, free continental breakfast or a food and beverage credit at all of Hilton’s luxury properties, including Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts. Starting Jan.18 members will also have access “to the most rewarding credit cards Hilton has ever offered” with the four new American Express cobranded cards.

The Hilton Honors news came just as another major hotel chain, Hyatt, announced a tightening of its cancellation policy. Hyatt guests now face a cancellation fee if they cancel a reservation within 48 hours or less.

However it’s not as if Hyatt is going it alone with its new 48-hour cancellation policy.

In June 2017 Marriott announced a 48-hour cancellation policy, upping the penalty window from 24 hours.

And in July 2017 Hilton followed suit with its own 48-hour cancellation policy.

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