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When I wrote about hotel chain elite status a few days ago, I mentioned that many major chains were taking a “wait and see” approach to the extension of elite status. With nearly all travel on hold, it definitely doesn’t make sense to set members unrealistically high targets for reaching (or renewing) a desired level of status. But at the same time, hotel chains will need their most loyal members to return en masse once the coronavirus crisis has passed, so an across-the-board extension of elite status might hurt a bit during what remains of 2020…
Hilton Honors is the first hotel chain to make a move. And it’s a generous one…
2019 Status Extension
All members whose 2019 status was scheduled to be downgraded on March 31, 2020—whether it’s Diamond, Gold or Silver—will automatically receive an extension through March 31, 2021.
This is extremely generous, as it is based on how much you travelled in 2018 or earlier.
If, like me, you were scheduled to drop one or more levels of elite status on 1 April, 2020, you will receive a reprieve. This is quite clever… members who once were loyal could easily be tempted back to Hilton Honors once travel restrictions are lifted.
2020 Status Extension
We are extending your 2020 member status through March 31, 2022. This means you will continue to enjoy all the Diamond, Gold or Silver benefits you have access to today for the next 24 months.
This policy was always a reasonable expectation… because elite members will only be able to travel for a portion of 2020.
Instead of worrying about re-qualification, Hilton Honors has simply extended your status for another year. Simples…
We will pause the expiration of all Points scheduled to expire between now and December 31, 2020.
Hilton Honors points expire if you do not have any account activity during a period of 12 months. Even though there are easy ways to avoid the expiration of your points, many members don’t read blogs and won’t be aware of them. So this change in policy will help infrequent guests keep their points alive until the end of 2020 at least…
Your Travel Flexibility
We remain committed to offering you flexible booking options. Given these unique circumstances, we are making further adjustments to our individual booking policies:
Existing Reservations. All reservations—even those described as “non-cancellable” (“Advanced Purchase”)—that are scheduled for arrival on or before June 30, 2020 can be changed or cancelled at no charge, up to 24 hours before your scheduled arrival day.
New Reservations. Any reservations you make—even those described as “non-cancellable” (“Advanced Purchase”)—that are booked between today and June 30, 2020 for any future arrival date can be changed or cancelled at no charge, up to 24 hours before your scheduled arrival day.
Basically every Hilton reservation is now flexible, for stays up until 30 June, 2020…
The Missing Element
Most of the pieces of the elite status puzzle are in place. But I would expect to see a further relaxation of the elite status criteria for 2020. Why? Because even though it was generous to extend my Gold status until 31 March, 2021, there’s no real prospect of me reaching the standard criteria of 20 stays / 40 nights for Gold or 30 stays / 60 nights for Diamond –> to keep or upgrade my status for 2021 and beyond. So I still wouldn’t bother to stay with Hilton Honors, despite the extension. As anybody who cares about elite status knows… the re-qualification chase is just as important as the perks…
What do you think of this announcement? Do you expect more from Hilton Honors, perhaps later in the year? Let us know in the comments section…