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Hilton Honors has announced a substantial loosening in the requirements for obtaining elite status during the 2021 calendar year. Here’s the press release:
Extending Points Expiration so that no Points will expire until December 31, 2021.
Reducing Status Qualification Requirements by 50 percent across all tiers, including stays, nights and Base Points in 2021, to allow members to achieve status in half the time. For example, this means to earn Gold status, a member must complete 20 nights, 10 stays or 37,500 Points instead of 40 nights, 20 stays or 75,000 points. And, as previously announced, all 2020 nights will automatically roll over to the 2021 calendar year to help Hilton Honors members upgrade their tier status even faster.
Lowering Milestone Bonus Night Threshold to begin at 20 nights in 2021 (was previously 40 nights) to align with new Gold status qualification and allow members to earn rewards faster. Gold members will earn 10,000 Bonus Points for 20 nights stayed and will continue earning the additional 10,000 Bonus Points every 10 nights above that level in a calendar year. At 60 nights, a member would still earn the additional Milestone Bonus of 30,000 Bonus Points.
Extending Status to March 31, 2022 for Silver, Gold and Diamond members that were set to downgrade in 2020 or 2021. This means members can keep their status longer and continue to enjoy their benefits.
Reducing Gifting Status Night Threshold to the new Diamond status night qualification. Diamond members who stay 30 nights in 2021 will be able to gift Gold status (was previously 60 nights) or 60 nights to upgrade the gift to Diamond status (was previously 100 nights).
“We’re really pleased to announce these industry-leading adjustments to our loyalty programme, giving our guests even more flexibility as they look ahead to next year”, said Heather Laverne, Vice President for Loyalty in Europe. “We want to continue to show our appreciation and support for our loyal Hilton Honors members by making it as easy as possible for them to travel, as soon as they are ready to make new travel memories again.”
What are the implications?
Easy Diamond status based on 2020 activity
You might be aware that Hilton Honors is currently running a double elite nights promotion, with all of those nights rolling over to 2021. This promotion is so interesting that I wrote a post wondering whether it might even be worth “mattress running” for.
But with Hilton’s announcement for 2021 qualification levels, the following should occur:
- Stay 15 nights before 31 December, 2020 (including any nights you may have accumulated since the 8 September start date for the promotion) –> 30 elite night credits for 2020 (this might actually only earn you Silver status at the moment)
- On 1 January, 2021 (or shortly thereafter) those 30 elite nights will roll over to 2021
- Since you will only require 30 elite nights to qualify for Diamond status in 2021, your account will immediately be upgraded to Diamond status
- You will enjoy Diamond status until 31 March, 2023
Or you can do nothing…
When Hilton Honors first announced its extension of elite status – back in March (click here) – the luckiest members were those whose status was due to be downgraded on 31 March, 2020. These members – despite having not reached the re-qualification criteria from pre-COVID travel – received a reprieve until 31 March, 2021.
These same members are again in luck. Whatever status you hold today – Silver, Gold or Diamond – will remain valid until 31 March, 2022.
So, despite my handful of nights in 2019 and zero nights in 2020, I will hang on to my Gold status until March 2022.
This, of course, costs Hilton nothing, since I’m not actually staying at Hilton hotels. But it is definitely appreciated and avoids me walking away from Hilton for good…
…Because 2021 will be easy via the “stay” method
It’s tempting to want to stack the current “double night + rollover” promotion with today’s announcement. But Hilton’s relaxation of the 2021 elite status qualification criteria also applies to stays. As a result, in 2021 you will be able to:
- Reach Silver with 2 stays
- Reach Gold with 10 stays
- Reach Diamond with 15 stays
There’s no need to rush out and mattress run 15 nights in November and December, if you are confident of finding 15 1+ night stays in 2021 that you actually require. (even if they are just weekend getaways / staycations)
The Bottom Line
Hilton Honors has always been the hotel chain most willing to provide short cuts to elite status. I like the strategy – you aren’t necessarily going to be blown away by how Hilton treats its elite guests, but the free breakfast, lounge access, etc. benefits are always delivered reliably. This makes Hilton Honors the favourite hotel chain of a few InsideFlyer UK contributors, past and present.
To be honest, though, this announcement is most exciting for me because it might push Marriott, Hyatt and IHG to do something similar… What about you? What do you think of this news?