Hilton Honors Is Introducing Diamond Status Extensions Next Week

At the beginning of February we learned about some major changes that Hilton is making to their loyalty program, including the following:

  • The name of the program is being changed from Hilton HHonors to Hilton Honors
  • The introduction of points pooling, where you can pool points with up to 10 Hilton Honors members at no cost
  • The ability to redeem points for Amazon purchases; this isn’t something any of us will likely ever use, but I can see value in this for the “average” person
  • The ability to extend Diamond status for free as a one-time benefit, assuming you’ve earned Diamond for three years and have at least 250 lifetime elite qualifying nights or 500,000 base points
  • The introduction of Points & Money awards, and in the process, Hilton is getting rid of their traditional award chart

Hilton Honors_Logos

As of now we’ve seen the name of the program changed, and just a couple of days ago we saw Hilton introduce Points & Money awards, which are a mixed bag depending on your redemption patterns.

Hilton-4

While points pooling (yay) and the ability to redeem Hilton points for Amazon purchases (yawn) are being introduced in the coming months, we now have a date where the next new feature will be introduced.

Starting Monday, March 6, 2017, Hilton will be introducing Diamond status extensions. As a reminder, this will allow eligible Diamond members to extend their status for an additional year beyond when it would have expired as a one-time benefit.

Hilton-Diamond-Extension

This can be done starting Monday, either by calling up Hilton Honors, or through Hilton’s website. As a reminder, in order to be eligible for this you:

  • Must currently be a Diamond Member, have earned Diamond status for at least 3 years, but the years do not need to be consecutive
  • AND Have completed stays totaling at least 250 nights, paid or reward
    OR
    Have accumulated 500,000 Base Points or more since joining Hilton Honors

Hilton-Queenstown - 11
Suite upgrade at the Hilton Queenstown, which I received as a Diamond member

Bottom line

Hilton’s Diamond status extension opportunity is a fantastic gesture that I wish we’d see from more loyalty programs. Sometimes people just have an uncharacteristically slow year of travel, for whatever reason, so it’s nice when a loyalty program stays loyal to you during that time.

Any eligible Diamond members plan on using their status extension?

Comments

  1. Hi Ben, I personally fulfill all the conditions, but I do not see where those numbers (number of nights stayed since the beginning of time, years as Diamond) are reflected on my account. Do you have any insight on whether we will see that information or will have to call and ask?

  2. I think this is great but I’m assuming that it’s a one-time extension per account, right?

    It’d be great if activating that one-time extension “resets” the criteria where you’d be eligible for it again after meeting the criteria again, presumably 4 years from the time you request the extension.

  3. Any chance CC earning will count towards base points for the purpose of the extension request? I’m assuming not.

  4. Hey Ben, I know you got status matched to Hilton Diamond last year and so did I. My understanding was that the status was going to expire at the end of Feb but my profile is still showing Diamond. Is this the case with you as well? Any idea how much longer we’ll be Diamond with Hilton for those that status matched last year?

  5. @ Luis — Hmmm, in the case of my account, it seems to be valid through March. I think that’s when it expires.

  6. Marriott has extended my status, quietly without my asking, several times over the years…

  7. I would qualify but i am going to be Gold next year anyways…could i engage it in 2018 if I have no status at all? That would be very useful in deed…

  8. @David:

    You have to call into their service center to find out the #of nights you have accumulated since joining.

  9. I just used the chat box on the Hilton Honors page and the rep was able to tell me how many lifetime nights I had. I was blown away. I was wondering if I had surpassed the 250 mark… Turns out I blew it out of the water with well over 500. My God, I’ve spend a year and half of my life with Hilton!

    This is great news on several fronts. I’m also a Hyatt fan (Globalist) and this will be a shot across their bow!

  10. As a Diamond continuously since 2009, who’s qualified on base points (BP) every year, I must now have nearly 750K BP just from being a Diamond [qualification was 100K/year and then it moved to 120K/year the last 2-3years), and I may be approaching 1M BP if I include my few years before that as a Gold [no easy CC qualification option back then!].

    I am sure that once this perk is rolled out, either customer support or a web portal will be able to provide info about lifetime accumulations (BP, nights) and the number of status (re)qualifications…

  11. @Lucky sez: “We saw Hilton introduce Points & Money awards, which are a mixed bag depending on your redemption patterns.”

    Well, maybe. I did some semi-quantitative modeling yesterday using REAL DATA that had collected specifically so that I can do a ‘before’ vs. ‘after’ comparison of C+P awards to try to make sense of it all.

    The exercise was quite interesting and it brought forth a few salients points or “lessons”:

    — LESSON #1: “Old-style” Hilton Honors C+P awards were really hard to come by, likely because they were capacity controlled!

    — LESSON #2: Hilton Honors C+P awards did not universally offer good or “best” value!

    — LESSON #3 or BOTTOM LINE: Because old-style C+P awards were not universally better than the new awards, on AVERAGE the new C+P awards are quite competitive, especially since their availability is sky-high, while old-style awards were tough to find. The ridiculously high availability of the new C+P awards, which has turned HH points into a pseudo hard currency, more than compensates for the great value that one could get for SOME old-style C+P awards that will be impossible to get with the new awards. May it not be said that I never say anything good about other hotel loyalty programs: HGP (now WOH!) C+P awards are more valuable, which is why I’ve purchase HGP points every year for redeeming primarily as C+P awards. I’ve used HH C+P awards only as ‘points stretchers”, whereas HGP C+P awards have served me well as both “points stretchers” and “value maximizers.”

    Where or how then to set the new HH C+P award slider? The semi-quantitative modeling I did suggested that setting it at 50% would yield on AVERAGE what one got with old-style C+P awards, EVERYTHING (availability, relative redemption value) considered. However, there is one new and important consideration:

    • Hilton Honors members will now earn points on the cash portion of a C+P award.

    That new policy, which is a departure from the past, is yuge, offers new possibilities, and would need to be taken into account in determining whether a new-style C+P award offers good value.

    You can find the above, with Tables, Charts and Figures and much more in a post I wrote yesterday, entitled:

    “Hilton Honors C+P Awards Just Went “on Steroids”: A Quantitative Analysis of Potential Implications”

    It demystifies the new changes quite a bit and I believe you will find it to be highly informative. Really.

    Here’s the link: https://goo.gl/sSY9Gd

    I did the math so that you would not have to, so…enjoy!

  12. Ben, your blog is awesome. Thanks for doing what you do… I honestly can’t wait to read what you guys post next.

    HILTON HONORS IS BECOMING THE BEST LOYALTY PROGRAM THERE IS.

    I only stay in Hilton and Hyatt, staying in whichever gives me higher dollar value in points in return. Hilton gives you so many promotions it’s a no brainer! Proud to support Hilton as my favorite hotel brand.

    (I.e. – on average I earn $44 at Hilton and $38 at Hyatt in points based on a $150 hotel stay)

    **they offer 2x points on bookings while Marriott and spg do not! Also, much more affordable and bang for your buck with Hyatt and Hilton.

  13. My experience is Hilton gives away Diamond status like candy. I stopped staying at Hiltons when they massively devalued the program ~4 yrs ago. Now I only stay with them once or twice a year when there’s no Hyatt or Starwood convenient. Yet every year they keep renewing me at Diamond level. Kinda absurd…maybe even desperate.

    Exhibit A of devaluation: before devaluation we stayed at Grand Wailea Resort for 8 nights on points. After devaluation the same number of points got me 2.5 nights.

    Exhibit B: Last year I decided I needed to use the mountain of points that had been languishing in my account for years. So booked a suite at the Conrad Singapore…my 750,000 points got me only three nights!

    Hilton points have very little value anymore. It’s no wonder DCS talks his way into upgrades all the time…elite travelers with more sense abandoned them several years ago, so more upgrades now available

  14. @ Ron — The saving grace with cluelessness is that all one needs to do is to let it shoot its mouth off and it unmasks itself.

    I will start with your Exhibit B because even you would understand how truly clueless (that’s the nicest word I can find) it is. To pay 750K HH points for 3 a-night award stay at Conrad Singapore means that you paid 250K per night. However, the highest standard award rate in Hilton’s just-eliminated award chart was 95K/night for “aspirational” category 10 hotels like Conrad Koh Samui, where I redeemed “just” 380K points for a 5-night award stay. As a category 7 hotel, the top award rate for Conrad Centennial Singapore, where I’d also once redeemed a 5-night award stay, was 60K/night. That anyone in their right mind would spend 750K HH points — 3/4M, plenty for a 10-night award stay at Conrad Koh Samui — for a 3-night award stay at a ho-hum category 7 hotel and then turn around and blame their cluelessness on the loyalty program is the ultimate, well, in cluelessness!

    Second, your claim that Hilton’s devaluation 4 years ago was so bad you bailed out and started staying at SPG and HGP properties is just more evidence of cluelessness. Do you know (it’s a rhetorical question because we know the answer is ‘no’) that after that massive 2013 “devaluation” of Hilton points their award costs were and remain nearly the same as Hyatt’s or Marriott’s, while SPG’s top-tier awards were and remain an order of magnitude higher and the most expensive in the business? Also, do you know — not a rhetorical question and I am getting tired of pointing our this obvious fact — that 4 years after that ‘massive devaluation’, Hilton is still alive and thriving, while SPG got swallowed by a ‘lesser’ program and HGP is no more, having been disfigured into a monstrosity appropriately acronymed at WOH!? Thus, it would seem that, incredibly and paradoxically, Hilton Honors’ “massive de-value-ation” of 2013 actually increased the “value” the program…Imagine that!

    Lastly, as for “elite travelers with more sens” abandoning Hilton several years ago, I think you got that exactly backwards, otherwise how do you explain the fact that in 2013 Hilton had about 45M members and at the end of 2016 it had 60M members? The reality is that it is clueless elite travelers, which you just exposed yourself as being one, who left the program, and judging by how rewarding the program has been since, I’d say that it was unquestionably a GREAT riddance.

    Next time you open your cyber-mouth, please avoid sticking your foot to the knee in it, will ya?

    G’day.

  15. DCS, like an economics PhD your analysis is awe-inspiring but the underlying assumptions… hmm. You can castigate Ron for spending his points on an award at a stupid price – but some of the data points you’re using are also stupid prices.

    Just because Hilton publishes a cash rate that doesn’t mean people actually pay it. Nor that using points have a certain value because they will “save” you that amount that you wouldn’t have spent anyway. Some of your data points are just noise, sky-high prices displayed by Hilton.com that nobody actually pays.

    This isn’t an exact science. Best illustrated by the old joke about the Jewish father castigating his son, who said he had saved 50c by running home from school behind the bus, “You should have run behind a taxi and saved $10”.

    For a real example I often stay at the Perth Hilton whenever it’s $150/night. If the price is more, I don’t care how much more, it’s off the list unless I can use points. Say if the published rate is $300 and I use 60k points (as it will be in that case), then those points are still worth just $150 for me, 0.25 c per point, not 0.5c or whatever your analysis assumes.

    And as to your conclusions, on average the new cash+points is not the same as before – because your average includes those stupid prices. In reality the new scheme is rubbish, having eliminated all the cash+points bargains.

  16. @Harry HV —

    (a) Thank you for thinking so, but I do not have a PhD in economics.

    (b) Talk is cheap. I am assuming that you are commenting after having seen the full analysis and the methodology. If so, then please provide your own analysis with charts, facts and figures. That’s what I did. My search criteria are provided. I did not cherry-pick the cases try to reach any conclusion because I had not yet concluded anything, and it was precisely what I’d hoped the exercise would help me do!

    (c) IMPORTANTLY because this is the point that you seem to miss, the analysis did not include what people would actually have chosen. If it did, it would have been flawed. It is presented without the subjectivity of personal preference. If I had done that and used in the analysis only the rates that I considered valuable or that I believed people would have selected, the results would have offered a completely skewed picture where everything was just peachy. Well, it wasn’t.

    (d) For validation of my assumptions and methodology, I just did an identical analysis using HGP (WOH!) C+P awards data and, the exercise not only substantiated my assumptions and approach (a post coming soon on a discussion board near you), it worked out so well I am thinking about creating an app for each major program that would let people input a room rate for cash-only, points-only and C+P and it would let them know whether a C+P award is “good value.”

    BTW, since you went there, here are the facts. PhD: Biophysical Chemistry/Biophysics. Currently: Professor of Physics in Radiology, Ivy League Medical School. Research Area: Neuroscience. Training: includes 4 years at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Translation: I do complex modeling for a living — modeling award travel options is a trivial exercise.

    G’day.

  17. I had no idea where I stood to use this offer, other than 3 years Diamond. I thought why not give it a shot. I applied on Monday and received an email on Wednesday confirming the extension. Thanks for the heads up.

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