Changing your Hilton Honors Points+Miles preferences – what to look out for

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The Hilton Honors hotel loyalty program has one unique feature that makes it of particular interest to points hackers – it lets you earn both hotel points and airline miles from stays! Whats more, Hilton often does special deals with airlines, offering bonus miles, such as the up to quadruple Avios we covered yesterday.

However, there are a few non-ideal “features” of the Hilton Honors IT systems which can catch the new traveller out, and may mean you miss out on points….

Firstly, setting your preferences. If you log into your Hilton Honors account and click the Edit Preferences link of your account, then scroll down, you’ll get to a section looking something like this:

Here we see an account set to Points and Miles, with British Airways Executive Club Avios as the chosen program. You might think that seeing that all is set, but you might be wrong…

When you toggle your account between Points and Points (15 base Honors points per $ spent) and Points and Miles (10 base Honors points per $ spent, plus airline miles), generally that takes effect almost immediately. I’ve heard that changing it by checkout is enough, but changing it by the day of check-in should be safe (has always been for me!). This bit seems to get picked up by hotel systems and the Hilton Honors systems in near-realtime.

The problem, though, is the preferred airline. This is much stickier than you might really like.

At any point, you can log into your Hilton Honors account, head to Edit Preferences and change your preferred airline partner. For example, having read about the up to quadruple Avios offer yesterday, you might want to change to BA now.

Unfortunately, most (but not all) Hilton hotel systems pick up your preferred airline at the point of the booking being made, and remember that. Changing your airline online won’t generally have any effect on existing bookings, only new ones. If you swap your airline options as often as I do, to take advantage of time-limited offers, that’s a problem!

At check-in, at pretty much every Hilton hotel, you’ll be given a form to check and sign. In the top left you should find your Hilton Honors number, but also your chosen airline partner details. If this is wrong, you need to ask then and there for it to be changed. Tell the check-in clerk you need to update it, tell them what airline to change it to, and give them your number. Get them to do it then, if you ask for later, they often forget…

Now, a few problems you may face. Check-in staff may say they can’t change it. They’re wrong! If they say that, ask for a manager. Check-in staff may say they can only change it for this reservation, which is fine, just let them know you changed it online already. Check-in staff may look at you like you just landed from Mars… No really, I get that one a lot… Ask them to get a manager, they’ll know where the field in the system is. Check-in staff may say “it’s ok, we’ll change it later” and not type anything into a computer. Sadly, you need to insist, as in my experience if they don’t do it then, they’ll forget to ever make the change, and the wrong airline will get credited, and credited without the bonus you wanted!

So, if taking advantage of these frequent Hilton airline details, make sure you check your registration form and check-in, and make sure things get updated in the computer before you leave the desk!


  1. Craig Sowerby says

    Helpful tip about Double Dip.

    However, I find that each hotel shows whatever details were live on my Honors profile at the time of reservation. As long as I change them online before check-out, I actually receive whatever combination of miles/points I intend. Whatever the hotel lists is irrelevant since they don’t actually process the miles and points. So I’m pretty sure you can just leave the poor front desk staff alone…

    • Nick Burch says

      Maybe we’re staying at hotels with different systems, but the ones I tend to be at, it’s always the Frequent Flyer program on the registration form / final bill folio that determines what points I get. Last week I was at a hotel that I’d booked with Iberia selected. At checkin, the form showed Iberia. I asked them to change it to AA, but didn’t push. I did a quick checkout, final bill that was emailed still showed Iberia (so they hadn’t changed it). Despite my online account being set to AA, 2 days later the stay posted with the miles going to Iberia (what was on the checkin form + final folio)

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