Over 750 Hilton Hotels In The US Aren’t Participating In Hilton’s Promotion

Yesterday I shared the details of Hilton’s first of two global HHonors promotion in 2015, entitled Double Your HHonors.


Through this promotion members can choose either double HHonors base points or double airline miles for stays at qualifying hotels between March 1 and May 31, 2015.

Non-participating Hilton hotels

While the details of Hilton’s promotion were released yesterday, they only unveiled the list of non-participating hotels today.

As is the norm, there are a number of Hilton family properties that chose not to participate in their global promotion.


In this case, 776 Hilton properties are choosing not to participate… and 755 of those properties are in the US. Hilton has 4,200 properties worldwide, so globally over 18% of hotels are choosing not to participate.

In the US, nearly as many hotels have opted out of the promotion as have opted in.

Why do so many hotels opt out?

To be clear, I’m not blaming the individual hotels here. A lot of Hilton’s limited service properties (like Hampton Inn) are franchised, so they’re run in a lean way with a very small marketing budget.

I get why many hotels don’t see the upside to participating in a promotion:

  • They assume that most guests stay at their property because of price and/or location, especially since they largely have pretty “secluded” locations
  • They assume they’ll already get some “spillover” from people that registered for the promotion, without looking at the properties that chose not to participate

And I actually don’t think they’re wrong. Nowadays hotel promotions just aren’t as lucrative as they used to be. I don’t remember the last time I saw a promotion from Hilton HHonors which I thought was worth switching hotels over.

What does that say about loyalty programs?

It’s interesting to compare Hilton to Hyatt. At Hyatt, every hotel participates in every global promotion. At the end of the day Hyatt is a smaller chain and has fewer limited service properties, but clearly they’re able to communicate their vision to their hoteliers, and they buy into it.

Which makes you wonder what kind of a sales pitch Hilton HHonors is doing to hotels. Clearly they’re not doing a good job selling hotels on the value of a loyalty program if they can’t get the individual hotels to buy in. And if the individual hotels aren’t buying into what they’re offering, maybe it’s time they switch things up.

Bottom line

This is nothing new, though it is interesting to see that literally more US properties are opting out than are opting in with this Hilton promotion.

What do you make of the number of hotels opting out?


  1. Feeling pretty lucky myself… Just checked the list and out of 7 stays in 4 different states I have coming up, only 1 property was not participating. Took about 1 minute to cancel the Hilton Garden Inn and book the Hampton Inn across the street for almost the same rate.

  2. I have 7 Hilton properties booked for March and switched 2 of them away from properties that opted out. But the average traveler does not go through the trouble of sifting through the list and figuring that out.

  3. @Lucky — you got this one also totally wrong. Please look at the list. It is made up almost exclusively of mom & pop type Hilton properties: Hampton Inn, Homewood Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, and some Embassy Suites. And look where most are located? “Rural” America and very few overseas. Not a single “world class” or big-name property opted out and none in metropolitan cities.

    These mom & pop properties are Hilton’s “Hyatt Place”. They are places where no one would not want to stay for a night or for glamour. They are mom & pop properties, almost literally.

    So, here is what it all means:

    As a franchise in which anyone can purchase a property and affiliate it with the Hilton name and everything else that goes with the brand, individual Hilton properties enjoy quite a bit of autonomy or independence, as long as the business model remains true to the brand. What that exposes, however, is how Americans and other “Westerners” who affiliate a property with Hilton Worldwide are different from almost everyone else around the world: they refuse to play ball when it comes to the loyalty aspects of Hilton. They do not see HHonors as a moneymaker; instead, they feel like it creates self-entitled, insufferable “elite” guests. As result, if you go down the list of non-participating properties you will see that a large number of them are in places like Tennessee (I did not realize there were so many Hilton properties there!) and “rural” (loosely defined) America where such a mentality is prevalent. Properties in most large metropolitan cities did not opt out, nor did any of the “world class” or big-name properties that deal with all kinds of people and must be open-minded.

    There: I just explained why service/elite recognition seems so limited [read: bad] at properties in the US compared to, say, Asia…;-)

    The comparison with Hyatt is meaningless because Hyatt owns most of their properties and their footprint is only 1/8th that of Hilton. 18% of Hyatt properties opting out would be a big deal. 18% of Hilton’s is nothing

  4. Would this promotion work on an existing reservation I have that starts in Feb and goes into the first few days of March?

  5. @Pam – that is the 100K question: will points from the many promos that Hilton now has running at the same time stack (e.g., there are three promos now running for stays at Conrad and W=A).

    My past experience is that such points are usually combinable. So, my guess is the answer is ‘yes’.

  6. @ Pam — Per the FAQs:

    If I check-in before March 1, 2015 or check-out after May 31, 2015, do I still earn credit for that stay?
    Registered HHonors members will receive a bonus only for the nights of an eligible stay completed during the Promotion Period, regardless of a check-in date before the Promotion Period begins or a check-out date after the Promotion Period ends.

  7. I have actually cancelled reservations and moved to another hilton properties just because they don’t participate on these promotions. Even if the new hotel might cost me more (within a reasonable range), I still choose to move to that hotel. Hilton points are already pretty hard to get, so these double points matter. I want to send a clear signal to hotels that these promos are part of the factors when I book a hotel. I think Hilton also needs to sort of make sure that most hotels don’t get to opt out from these promotions more than once per year.

  8. @adrian – Good for you for choosing to take advantage of this promo, which is a lot better than @Lucky makes it sound, but that is not surprising. He’ll gush over the most insignificant Hyatt benefit, but would downplay any truly lucrative HHonors benefit. A case in point is that even though he is a travel/loyalty blogger, he did not even mention the recent truly lucrative targeted HHonors promo that awarded a one-time bonus of 100,000 HHonors points (that’s about 33,000 Hyatt GP points) to top elites just to say thank you. The promo did not stop there, however. It also offered some members who failed to requalify their status another change to get there, fast-tracked many to the next higher elite status level, and for some lucky fellows like me, who redeemed almost all our points for award stays, offered 2x bonus points during weekdays and 3x bonus points during weekends for stays until April 30 to help us replenish the points! The targeting was done very intelligently, basing it on a member’s level of activity the prior year. Interestingly, for the current targeted promo, there is no list of non-participating hotels. So, it seems to me that Hilton may already be trying to ensure “that most hotels don’t get to opt out from these promotions” all the time or at will. They might opt out of the “global” promos like this ‘double points’ promo but not out of the targeted promos like my ‘2x/3x bonus points’ that is running concurrently…

  9. “In this case, 776 Hilton properties are choosing not to participate… and 755 of those properties are in the US. Hilton has 4,200 properties worldwide, so globally over 18% of hotels are choosing not to participate.

    But more importantly, in the US more hotels have opted out of the promotion than have opted in.”

    The last statement is incorrect factually..

    There are far more than 1,600 Hilton brand hotels in the USA. More hotels in USA are participating in this HHonors promotion than opting out.

  10. @ Ric — Whoops, though I ran the numbers and they had fewer properties than that, but I could be mistaken. Do you know how many properties Hilton has in the US?

  11. @Lucky – I missed that one but you were greatly mistaken. Here’s a link to a graphical representation of Hilton hotels by continent:

    In 2013 there were 3,471 of 4,115 (or 84% of all properties) in the US. That is why trying to make a big deal out of mostly mom & pop properties opting out is a meaningless exercise, especially when no “world class”, big-name, metropolitan properties opted out…

  12. I regret seeing the Trafalgar opting out of the double HHonors points promo for the second time in a row. Hilton Tel Aviv has opted out as usual, but at least most international properties are taking part in the promo. At least with Hilton, one has a lot of choices in hotels.

  13. I happen to prefer Homewood Suites because I travel with my 8yr old and would like to keep snacks and juice in fridge for him as well as like the extra room for him to play in. The mom and pop locations are important to me. I have a 4 night stay within this time period booked and was going to book another one. Will look at my options now. Thanks for the alert, Lucky!

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