Why Can’t Hilton Honors Manage to Refund Points Quickly or Reset the Elite Status Counter?

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One of the main advantages of booking hotel stays using points is their flexibility. Except in rare situations, any hotel reservation made using points is refundable. Hilton Honors, however, adds an additional nuance. Since the loyalty programme has now switched to “dynamic pricing” – where reward pricing can vary instead of being based on fixed award categories – it can make sense to book speculative reward stays. You might change your mind and cancel later, but you would be smart to lock in the points price now. Wait until your plans are firm… and you might require more points than originally expected!

This strategy relies, however, on a very simple understanding – that when you cancel your award stay you will receive your points back! Unfortunately Hilton Honors seems incapable of handling this simple matter, even after updating their IT systems in October 2018. Hilton Honors requires you to have the points in your account before you can make a reward booking.

Currently point refunds are taking 24 hours or longer to process. So these simple scenarios are now impossible (unless you have hundreds of thousands of Honors points):

  • You see a cheaper rate (using points) for your travel dates – and you’d like to cancel and re-book at the lower rate
  • You want to book a different hotel and want to free up the required points by cancelling some other reward stay


I can’t really find a simple explanation, but I believe that Hilton Honors issues a “reward certificate” when you book a reward stay. This all happens behind the scenes, and is probably a holdover from the pre-internet 80s/90s when a paper trail might have been needed to reimburse hotels properly for reward stays.

But something isn’t working quite right and so, when you cancel your reward stay, the attached “reward certificate” isn’t being cancelled correctly, allowing for the refund of points to your account.

And Whilst I’m Ranting About Hilton Honors IT…

How is it possible that we find ourselves on 22 January and still see this…


Instead of spending IT resource on new capabilities, such as opening room doors with your phone, why can’t Hilton spend some money on getting the basics right?!?!  What do you think?


  1. Pangolin says

    Yeah, it’s getting beyond a joke now. Telling me to “hang tight” was okay in the first few days of the year but 3 weeks later I think I’m a bit tired of hanging tight!

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