Why Every Hotel Chain Should Offer Rollover Nights

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“Rollover nights” is an element of hotel chain loyalty programmes that doesn’t normally get much attention. The idea is basically to entice members to continue staying beyond the bare minimum needed to earn (or renew) a given level of status. Currently, only Hilton Honors and IHG Rewards offer “rollover nights” as a feature of their loyalty programme, but other programmes have used “rollover nights” as part of their COVID-related plans to retain their best customers.

This autumn, however, I am finding that “rollover nights” is a very powerful way to incentivise members to choose one hotel chain over another.

What are “Rollover Nights”?

Here is Hilton’s standard explanation of rollover nights.

Elite rollover nights provide a faster way to earn elite status. Starting at Silver, at the end of the calendar year, any qualifying nights in excess of those required to qualify for your elite status level will be counted toward your elite status qualification for the following calendar year (January 1st to December 31st).

Example: If you reach Silver status after completing 10 nights, but end the calendar year with 30 nights, 20 nights will roll over into the following year.

Where things get confusing is when members are rolling nights forward year after year. Although you can only rollover nights for one year, the fact that you have rolled over nights does help you bank more “rollover nights” going forward.  Here’s a generic example:

  • Year 1 – 90 actual nights – since 60 is required for Diamond, 30 would rollover to Year 2
  • Year 2 – You start with 30 rollover nights and stay 50 actual nights –> 20 nights would rollover to Year 3 (i.e. the excess of 30+50 minus the 60 needed for Diamond)
  • Year 3 – You start with 20 rollover nights and stay 45 actual nights –> 5 nights would rollover to Year 4 (i.e. the excess of 20+45 minus the 60 needed for Diamond)

Why Rollover Nights is such a powerful incentive

In 2021, ALL nights that Hilton members accumulate will rollover to 2022. This means that all nights spent at a Hilton in 2021 will count for 2022 status renewal.

Because the competition is not (yet) offering rollover nights, this is giving me more than enough reason to choose to stay at a Hilton. Here’s why…

My main hotel chain programmes are:

  1. Hyatt Globalist – requires 30 nights in 2021
  2. Marriott Platinum – requires 50 nights in 2021, although 25 were complimentary
  3. Hilton Diamond – requires 30 nights (or 15 stays) in 2021

At the moment, neither Hyatt nor Marriott are offering compelling promotions and I have already reached the renewal criteria. Try as I might to convince myself that an average Hyatt or Marriott stay should be “better” than a Hilton stay, I cannot shake the feeling that any additional nights this year with those chains would be “wasted”.

But every night I stay at a Hilton will help me qualify for Diamond in 2021 and renew it in 2022. So Hilton is receiving all of my hotel business at the moment. Perhaps in 2022 I will stay very few nights at Hilton, or perhaps I will be interested in rolling over more nights to 2023…

It also works for those who aren’t “Travel Hackers”

Even if travel hackers juggling multiple elite statuses are rare, the concept of rollover nights also helps to attract those who just want a single hotel chain to focus on. Since an elite night is never “wasted” with Hilton Honors, why bother with a backup?  If I worked in a job where one year I might spend 100 nights on the road but just 20 nights the next year, would I rather choose Hilton with:

  • Year 1 Diamond
  • Year 2 Diamond (40 rollover nights + 20 actual nights)

or Marriott…

  • Year 1 –> Titanium (75 nights)
  • Year 2 –> Silver (20 nights)

If I cared at all about elite status, I would choose the hotel chain that offered rollover nights…

Bottom line

I’ve never previously thought too much about rollover nights. But thanks to Hilton Honors, I am now realising what a powerful incentive it can be… and wishing that Hyatt and Marriott would do the same…

What do you think? Powerful incentive? Or too confusing to understand? Leave a comment below…

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