Hilton recently sent emails to their best Hilton Honors customers to announce some major changes to their awards program as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. It’s a very fair and positive adjustment which makes Hilton the first major hotel chain to extend elite status until 2022. But they also have a few other smart surprises.
Your Hilton Honors Status and Points
We consider it our privilege to have you as a Hilton Honors member and we want to show our appreciation by extending your benefits:
- 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 a great way to win back travelers who would have lost some status based on their last year’s travels to stay loyal with Hilton at a time when they’ll need every customer they can get.
- 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.
Effectively Hilton is saying to their elite tier, we want your business and as such are proving that loyalty is a two way street.
- Points Extension. We will pause the expiration of all Points scheduled to expire between now and December 31, 2020.
- Weekend Night Rewards Earned on Eligible Hilton Credit Cards. We have extended the expiration date of all unexpired Weekend Night Rewards as of March 11, 2020, and all new ones issued until August 30, 2020, through the end of next summer (August 31, 2021).
This is a smart move as well.
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.
If you need to adjust reservations made via the Hilton website, app or call center, you can change your reservation here or contact the Hilton Guest Assistance team. If you need to adjust reservations made through another travel site, please contact them for assistance.
These types of cancellation and change policies have been ruled out by other chains, but they’re positive and make sense, especially for non-cancelable reservations.
Supporting our Communities
We are proud to support the many communities impacted by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) around the world.
- Health Care and First Responders. We are partnering with federal, state and local governments to provide housing for first responders and health care workers.
- Financial Assistance. Our Hilton Effect Foundation has pledged financial assistance to organizations helping those impacted by COVID-19.
- Donating Hilton Honors Points. We have made it possible for our members to donate Hilton Honors Points to World Central Kitchen, Clean the World, Project Hope or Direct Relief. All Points donations will be converted into cash and sent directly to the organization.
And finally it’s nice to see what Hilton is doing for their communities, providing housing to first responders and health care workers is a really positive local initiative.
By being the first major hotel chain to extend elite status until 2022 Hilton will grab headlines, get a public relations boost and generate some positive brand awareness. But most importantly, they’re saying to their best customers that they care and they value them.
When things do get back to normal, Hilton will need to get their best customers traveling again and this is a good start. We expect and hope other major chains like Marriott, Hyatt, IHG, etc will now follow suit. But it shouldn’t be lost on the traveling public that Hilton made this call first.
Here’s a copy of the email.