Stack Promos to Fly Virgin Australia Business for ~$1,500

There’s currently a Virgin Australia promotion being offered that will allow you to fly on Virgin Australia’s amazing business class for around $1,500!

There are two versions of the promotion. The first allows you to earn up to a 40% bonus when transferring points from select partners to Virgin Australia until May 31, 2018. To receive this 40% bonus, you need to transfer a lot of points but more importantly those points need to come from Australian-based rewards systems including:

  • Australian American Express Card Members, including David Jones American Express Card Members enrolled in the Membership Rewards program (this offer excludes American Express New Zealand Card Members)
  • NAB Rewards
  • Citibank
  • HSBC Rewards (Platinum and Premier credit card holders only)
  • Diners Club Reward
  • Card Services Rewards
  • Bank of Queensland and Q Rewards (Platinum credit card holders only)
  • Suncorp Bank Rewards

SPG 20% bonus

They are also offering a 20% transfer bonus from the following partners:

  • ANZ Rewards
  • ANZ Business Rewards
  • flybuys
  • Shangri-La
  • Accor hotels
  • Hilton
  • SPG Starwood
  • IHG
  • Choice hotels

SPG is going to make the most sense here since it will allow you to fly The Business for cheap. 

When they offered this 20% promotion last year, I jumped on it accidentally. I needed to transfer SPG points to Virgin Australia and I had no idea this promo was going on in the Land Down Under until I checked my points balance and saw a hefty bonus.

This is exciting because there’s currently a 35% bonus promotion on buying SPG points. (It also ends May 31st). This means that you could purchase 30,000 SPG miles for $682 (plus tax). If you did that twice (you’d need two SPG accounts with the same address to freely transfer the points), that’s be 60,000 SPG points which converts to 75,000 Virgin Australia points.

With the 20% bonus that’s 90,000 Virgin Australia points which is just 5,500 miles short of being able to fly The Business between Sydney and the US. You could use a third account to purchase those miles or purchase them through Virgin Australia.

I recently flew this product and loved it. The tickets can cost up to $8,000+ so you’d be able to get a ticket for somewhere around $1,500 purely by purchasing points. Or you could go for a Marriott card which would earn you 33,000 SPG points and lower your cost.

Either way, this promotion is one of the best ways to fly Virgin Australia’s business class for a fraction of the price. Booking Virgin Australia with partners like Delta is difficult because they usually only allow you to book rewards a couple of weeks from departure so if you’re trying to plan in advance, this is actually a great opportunity.

H/T: Frequent Miler

Marriott Releases Sneak Peak of New Award Chart

Under the new Marriott award program which will be launched this August, Marriott will launch a new award chart. This award chart will replace the old Marriott award chart along with the separate award charts for Ritz-Carlton and SPG. Both Ritz-Carlton and SPG had different tiers and prices so many people are anxious to see where the SPG properties will land in the new Marriott award chart.

A first look at the new Marriott award chart

Well, now we have a glimpse into what the new chart will look like with some SPG Properties. Marriott shared how the new chart will look for the following destinations: Bali, Caribbean and Mexico, Dubai, New York, and Paris. 

This list does NOT include every property in those cities, as I’ve noticed several missing. However, the chart below will give you an indication of where Marriott is headed with its new award chart. It’s important to note that according to Marriott, more properties will be moving down in price than moving up, though we’ll have to wait and see which tiers are affected most by the changes.

And don’t forget, next year they will implement peak and off-peak pricing.

The sneak peak

Current Points RequiredNew Award Chart Points RequiredPoints DifferenceNew Award Chart Category*
Courtyard Bali Seminyak Resort2500017500-75003
Fairfield by Marriott Bali Legian2000017500-25003
Four Points by Sheraton Bali, Kuta120001750055003
Four Points by Sheraton Bali, Seminyak120001750055003
Courtyard Bali Nusa Dua Resort3000025000-50004
Le Méridien Bali Jimbaran3000025000-50004
Renaissance Bali Uluwatu Resort & Spa3000025000-50004
Sthala, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, Ubud Bali3000025000-50004
The Stones Hotel - Legian Bali, Autograph Collection3000025000-50004
Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort3600035000-10005
The Westin Resort Nusa Dua, Bali3600035000-10005
The Laguna, na Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, 3600050000140006
Nusa Dua, Bali
The Ritz-Carlton, Bali4000050000100006
W Bali - Seminyak9000060000-300007
The St. Regis Bali Resort9000060,000 (Effective August) -30,000 8
85,000 (Coming 2019)-5000
Caribbean & Mexico
Current Points RequiredNew Award Chart Points RequiredPoints DifferenceNew Award Chart Category*
JW Marriott Hotel Santo Domingo3000025000-50004
The Westin Resort & Spa, Puerto Vallarta210002500040004
Hacienda Puerta Campeche, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Campeche3600035000-10005
Hacienda Santa Rosa, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Santa Rosa3600035000-10005
Hacienda Temozon, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Temozon Sur3600035000-10005
JW Marriott Hotel Mexico City350003500005
La Concha Renaissance San Juan Resort4000035000-50005
Marriott Cancun Resort4000035000-50005
Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa350003500005
San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino4000035000-50005
Sheraton Grand Los Cabos Hacienda del Mar3600035000-10005
The Westin Cozumel3600035000-10005
The Westin Puntacana Resort & Club300003500050005
The Westin Resort & Spa, Cancun2100035000140005
W Mexico City3600035000-10005
Hacienda Uayamon, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Uayamon6000050000-100006
JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa450005000050006
The Ritz-Carlton, Cancun500005000006
The St. Regis Mexico City6000050000-100006
The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba600006000007
The Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach 3600060000240007
Resort & Spa
W Punta de Mita600006000007
Current Points RequiredNew Award Chart Points RequiredPoints DifferenceNew Award Chart Category*
Dubai Marriott Harbour Hotel & Suites4000035000-50005
Four Points by Sheraton Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai300003500050005
Grosvenor House, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Dubai3600035000-10005
JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai350003500005
La Ville Hotel & Suites CITY WALK, Dubai, Autograph Collection350003500005
Lapita, Dubai Parks and Resorts, Autograph Collection350003500005
Le Méridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre300003500050005
Renaissance Downtown Hotel, Dubai350003500005
Sheraton Dubai Creek Hotel & Towers300003500050005
Sheraton Jumeirah Beach Resort3600035000-10005
Sheraton Mall of the Emirates Hotel, Dubai3600035000-10005
Le Méridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina3600050000140006
Le Royal Méridien Beach Resort & Spa3600050000140006
The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai7000060000-100007
The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina600006000007
New York
Current Points RequiredNew Award Chart Points RequiredPoints DifferenceNew Award Chart Category*
Courtyard New York Manhattan/Central Park4000035000-50005
Element New York Times Square West3600035000-10005
Four Points by Sheraton Manhattan Midtown West3600035000-10005
Residence Inn New York Manhattan/Central Park4000035000-50005
New York Marriott East Side450005000050006
New York Marriott Marquis450005000050006
Renaissance New York Times Square Hotel450005000050006
Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel3600050000140006
The Algonquin Hotel Times Square, Autograph Collection450005000050006
The Westin New York at Times Square6000050000-100006
The Westin New York Grand Central6000050000-100006
Gramercy Park Hotel, New York, a Member of Design Hotels™600006000007
Hotel Americano, New York, a Member of Design Hotels™600006000007
The New York EDITION600006000007
W New York - Times Square600006000007
W New York - Union Square600006000007
11 Howard, New York, a Member of Design Hotels™9000060,000 (Effective August)-30,000 8
n85,000 (Coming 2019)-5000
The Chatwal, a Luxury Collection Hotel, New York City9000060,000 (Effective August)-30,000 8
85,000 (Coming 2019)-5000
The St. Regis New York9000060,000 (Effective August)-30,000 8
85,000 (Coming 2019)-5000
Current Points RequiredNew Award Chart Points RequiredPoints DifferenceNew Award Chart Category*
Le Dokhan's, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, Paris3600035000-10005
Le Méridien Etoile3600035000-10005
Paris Marriott Rive Gauche Hotel & Conference Center350003500005
Renaissance Paris Republique Hotel4000035000-50005
Sheraton Paris Airport Hotel & Conference Centre3600035000-10005
Le Metropolitan, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, Paris3600050000140006
Paris Marriott Opera Ambassador Hotel4000050000100006
Renaissance Paris Arc de Triomphe Hotel450005000050006
Renaissance Paris Le Parc Trocadero Hotel4000050000100006
Renaissance Paris Vendome Hotel450005000050006
Hotel Bel Ami, Paris, a Member of Design Hotels™600006000007
Hotel de NELL, Paris, a Member of Design Hotels™600006000007
Hotel Vernet, Paris, a Member of Design Hotels™600006000007
La Maison Champs Elysées, Paris, a Member of Design Hotels™600006000007
Le Roch Hotel and Spa, Paris, a Member of Design Hotels™600006000007
Les Bains, Paris, a Member of Design Hotels™600006000007
Paris Marriott Champs Elysees Hotel4500060000150007
The Westin Paris - Vendôme600006000007
W Paris - Opéra600006000007
Prince de Galles, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Paris9000060,000 (Effective August)-30,000 8
85,000 (Coming 2019)-5000


Register for the New 2018 Hilton Promotion Now

Last week, I announced details for the new 2018 Hilton Honors promotion. This is a pretty lucrative promotion, especially when compared to the recent promos from Marriott/SPG. But like most other hotel promotion, you need to register for this promotion in order to earn anything. 

The new 2018 Hilton Promotion

Here are the details for the promotion

  • Registered Hilton Honors members earn Double Points on every stay 
  • For every $1 spent on stays, you’ll earn 10 Base Points, plus an additional 10 Bonus Points (5 Base Points plus 5 Bonus Points at Home2 Suite by Hilton and Tru by Hilton).
  • Silver, Gold & Diamond members will earn their Elite Tier Bonus on top of that. 
  • Promotion Stay Period May 1 – August 31, 2018 
  • Offer available at over 5,000 hotels worldwide 
  • No caps and no minimum stay requirement 

This is a solid promotion because there’s no minimum stay requirement so you’ll start earning points right from the jump. There’s also no cap on points earned. In addition, you’re earning twice the base points on every say as opposed to a fixed amount of points that diminishes your return percentage as you spend more. In this promo, you’re rewarded for more spend and if you can get the Hilton Aspire credit card you could be earning as much as 44 points per dollar!

New Hilton Promotion, Earn Double the Points

The new Hilton Honors promotion is called “Double Points!” It will be starting May 1 and allow you to earn double the points on every stay through August 31. And unlike other promotions we’ve seen recently from Marriott/SPG, there is no cap or minimum stay requirement — you’ll start earning double the points even on your first stay. 

Here are some additional details: 

  • Registered Hilton Honors members earn Double Points on every stay 
  • For every $1 spent on stays, you’ll earn 10 Base Points, plus an additional 10 Bonus Points (5 Base Points plus 5 Bonus Points at Home2 Suite by Hilton and Tru by Hilton).
  • Silver, Gold & Diamond members will earn their Elite Tier Bonus on top of that. 
  • Promotion Stay Period May 1 – August 31, 2018 
  • Offer available at over 5,000 hotels worldwide 
  • No caps and no minimum stay requirement 
  • You’ll need to register but that’s not live yet — registration will likely open up next week. 

Is this a good promotion?

Earning an extra 10 base points on stay can be very lucrative and is like earning an additional 4 to 5% back on dollars spent at Hilton properties. This can be quite lucrative if you have elite status with Hilton.

For example, if you spend $200 and are a Hilton Honors Diamond member, that’s 3,000 Hilton points you’ll be earning since with the new changes Diamond members earn an additional 10 points per dollar spent on top of base points. And if you use a card like the Hilton Aspire (which comes with automatic Diamond status) that’s an extra 14 points per dollar spent for a total of 44 points per dollar.

At a valuation of .4 cents point, that’s 17.6% back on stays, which is great. If you value Hilton points at .5 cents per point, that’s a return of 22% which is very strong compared to the return of other hotel programs.

In the meantime, you can still earn points with the Points Unlimited promotion, which is still running until April 30.

Delta Lowers Award Prices on Partner Bookings to Europe

Delta doesn’t have a published award chart which essentially gives them free reign to do whatever they want to do with their award pricing whenever they want. The negative side to this is that we’ve seen a number of devaluations without any notice. For example in April 2017, we saw Delta hike up the prices for partners on certain routes, raising the price from 70,000 to 85,000 points for Virgin Atlantic routes from North America to the UK. Later on we saw domestic redemptions increase in price as well. All of these changes came without notice.

The problem is that sometimes these price variations are subject to “IT glitches” or at least that’s what Delta attributes them to at times. Other times, Delta implements new prices and then inexplicably retracts those like when they increased the fees on Virgin Atlantic flights and then almost instantly rolled them back.

The sneak devaluations and lack of transparency are two major reasons why I’m not a big of Delta SkyMiles. But with all of that said, Delta just did something that I’ve got to give them props for.

Lower award prices for some partners

Delta has lowered some of the partner redemption rates to Europe. (This comes only a couple of weeks after they lowered the redemption cost for award flights between the US and North Asia.)

Partner awards in coach dropped from 35,000 to 32,500 each way and partner awards in business class dropped from 85,000 each way to 75,000 each way. This means that roundtrips will still cost 150,000 miles which is quite high but that’s still 20,000 miles cheaper than it was before.

Because Delta miles are so easy to acquire, I cut them some slack on their outrageous prices when it comes to the miles. However, the fees getting a roundtrip ticket to Europe with Delta miles can still be very expensive as shown by he $481 fees for the business class roundtrip seen below. There are many options that are significantly cheaper than that for getting roundtrip tickets to Europe.

Doesn’t apply to Virgin Atlantic

The major caveat here is that Virgin Atlantic flights are still priced at 85,000 miles each way so it’s only other partners that are getting the discount. However, if you’re able to add a connecting flight to or from the UK, you should be able to get the rates down. So for example, flying Virgin Atlantic JFK->LHR would be 85,000 miles but flying Virgin Atlantic + KLM JFK->LHR->AMS should price out at 70,000 miles.

The fees going out to the UK are negligible at $5.60 so 75,000 miles plus about $6 to get to the UK isn’t bad at all. I recently used 85,000 Delta SkyMiles to fly Virgin Atlantic from LAX to LHR. While I wasn’t overly impressed with the Virgin Atlantic 787 experience, the flight still presented some great value in terms of cents per mile.

Final word

Overall, it’s great to see back to back decreases in award prices for Delta, although those prices were already very high so the decreases just put Delta closer to being competitive and don’t really distinguish them from their competition.


New Marriott and SPG 2018 Promotions

Both Marriott and SPG have announced promotions for Q2 of 2018. These aren’t especially attractive offers given the bonus rates but they are still worth registering for in case you’ll be benefiting from the promotions. Here are the details of the new promotions:

Marriott MegaBonus

  • Earn 750 points per night on every stay, starting with your third night.
  • Register by June 30, 2018 for stays from April 16, 2018 to July 20, 2018.
  • Promotion capped at 36,000 Marriott points.
  • You can register here.

SPG More Nights, More Starpoints

W Hollywood.

As the merger of Marriott and SPG becomes closer to being finalized it seems that the promotions for these two programs are becoming more aligned. In this case the promotions are virtually identical. SPG points can be converted to Marriott points at a 1:3 ratio and Marriott points can be converted to SPG points at a ratio of 3:1 so these promotions are identical (aside from SPG having exclusions).

Are these good promotions?

I don’t think these bonuses are very lucrative.

750 Marriott points per night is like getting $6 back. Other promotions in the past have offered more substantial returns. For example, the last Marriott promotion (ending April 15th) awarded 2000 bonus points per stay starting with your second stay plus 1000 additional points for stays that included a weekend night. So starting with your second stay, you could earn up to 3,000 points even on one-night stays. In that case it was easy to net a $24 return with only a one night stay.

With this promotion you’ll earn points on nights rather than stays. For example, after you hit your third night, a four night stay would only net you 3,000 points while before you could break that up into four stays and earn substantially more points per stay/night.

Final word on the Marriott and SPG 2018 promotions

I like to think about how these promotions can work in conjunction with status challenges since you can often mitigate the cost of status challenges if you play the promotions right. In this case, I think this new promotion is one of the less valuable promotions in terms of value potential for mitigating the cost of a status challenge.

Barclays Entering Transferrable Points Game!?

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus mysteriously disappeared recently and many of us were stumped as to what’s going on. Then we learned that Barclaycard was undergoing a rebranding process in which they will be known as Barclays. With that rebranding, a new Barclays Arrival card will enter the market and it looks like it could potentially be a pretty solid travel rewards credit card.

Barclays Arrival Premiere

Via DOC, here are the perks of the card that will be known as the “Barclays Arrival Premiere.”

  • Annual Fee: $150
  • Global Entry credit
  • Annual spend bonuses:
    • 15,000 points after $15,000 spend
    • 10,000 points after another $10,000 spend

It’s unclear what the sign-up bonus will entail. I’m hoping to see a bonus near 50,000 points but it’s hard to tell. With an annual fee of $150, I think Barclays has to come with something in the sign-up bonus department to justify the higher fee.

The annual spend bonuses are decent, too. Assuming 1X on non-bonuses categories, that’s like earning 2X on everything up to $25,000 and $15,000 is a pretty obtainable goal for many (and $25,000 isn’t that bad, either).

Transfer partners?

One HUGE additional fact of this card (via The Frequent Miler) is that it is supposed to include at least a half dozen transfer partners. 

Barclays already has relationships with several major airlines.

These include:

  • American Airlines
  • Frontier Airlines
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • JetBlue
  • Lufthansa

And they’ve had relationships with other airlines in the past such s Icelandair and China Airlines.

It makes sense that at least a few of those airlines would be among the transfer partners. It would absolutely be HUGE if AA were to become a transfer partner, though it would likely mean SAAver awards might be even tougher to come by. Rumors are that Citi was unable to secure AA as a transfer partner due to costs, so I’m not sure if Barclays would be able to seal the deal.

But I wouldn’t be surprised to see other airlines included in the transferrable list. Other contenders might be Virgin Atlantic or BA given the UK connection or Singapore or Flying Blue since they like to be partnered up with everyone.

And what about hotels? Wyndham is a partner and being able to transfer points over to them could potentially be worthwhile.

One also has to wonder what airlines or hotels might join in the future since new partners seem to be constantly being added to these programs.

Another question is what will these transfer ratios look like? Something tells me that we’re not going be seeing a 1:1 transfer across the board like Chase, especially if JetBlue is in the picture.

Final word

Overall, we still have to wait to find out more about the Barclays Arrival Premiere. If we end up seeing a sign-up bonus anywhere near 50,000 points this will potentially be a fantastic option. It will also be interesting to see how the details emerge regarding the travel partners.

New 2018 Hyatt Promotion

Compared to other hotel loyalty programs like Marriott, Hilton, and IHG, Hyatt hasn’t been as generous with their hotel promotions. However, Hyatt just decided to get on board with the generosity and is offering a new (and every worthwhile promotion).

The new 2018 Hyatt promotion

  • Earn up to 1,000 Bonus Points per night, for a total of up to 25,000 Bonus Points
  • You must be a World of Hyatt member and register for the promotion between February 15, 2018 and March 31, 2018
  • All eligible nights under this promotion must have a checkout date from February 15, 2018 through May 15, 2018
  • For the purpose of this promotion, an “Eligible Night” is defined as any night where a member is paying an Eligible Rate or redeems a free night award for at least one night of their stay

This is a great promotion because you can earn 1,000 Hyatt points even on award bookings. You typically see promotions limited to paid stays so this is a nice departure from that norm. It’s essentially like getting a 1,000 point rebate on your award stays and if you value Hyatt points at 1.8 cents per point, that’s about $18 back per night (which is excellent).

Most Hyatt properties will earn you 1,000 Hyatt points per night but Hyatt House and Hyatt Place will only earn you 500 points per night.

Here is the list of eligible properties:

It literally only take two seconds to register for this promotion so I recommend you to just jump on the registration right now.

SPG Status Challenge Available, Get Gold or Platinum Through 2020!

SPG doesn’t offer status matches where you can get your elite status matched from another program but they do offer status challenges where you can obtain a certain elite status level by booking a certain number of stays or nights in a designated time period.

How to qualify for the 2018 SPG status challenge

With the status challenge, you’ll be able to obtain SPG Gold or SPG Platinum status.

  • SPG Gold requires 9 nights
  • SPG Platinum requires 18 nights

Here are the qualifying terms to reach Gold:

You are eligible if:

  • Are an SPG Preferred member.
  • Have not held SPG Gold or Platinum status in the last five years.
  • Have not previously completed a Status Challenge promotion. 

Here are the qualifying terms to reach Platinum:

You are eligible if:

  • Are an SPG Preferred or Gold member.
  • Have not held SPG Platinum status in the last five years.
  • Have not previously completed a Status Challenge promotion.  

This challenge is great in that it doesn’t require you to hold a certain level of status with an outside program so it’s open to the public at large. However, notice the bolded terms that restrict people who have completed a challenge in the past or have held that elite status in the last five years. Five years is a long time for a restriction period.

How do I register for the SPG status challenge?

The terms state to “simply contact SPG Customer Care to register and validate eligibility.”

  • You can try calling this customer service line to inquire about registration: 1-888-625-4988.

You’ll be able to choose a 3 month window between now and June that works for you to complete the challenge. So for example you could choose to try out the challenge in January, February, and March or February, March, and April or March, April, and May. 

My advice would be to wait until March to qualify since the terms state “If a member is upgraded via the challenge on or before February 28th, 2018, they retain status until February 28, 2019, the following year. If they are upgraded on or after March 1, 2018, they retain status for the remainder of the year, all of 2019, up until February 28, 2020.”

That’s almost two full years of top-tier status available with this challenge but only if you wait until after the end of February.

  • Note that members must register by June 30, 2018
  • Also SPG Award Nights do not count as Eligible Paid Nights for the purpose of the Status Challenge; only paid night count.

Here are the full terms and conditions. 

Is this a good status challenge?

I would prefer to earn SPG Gold status via the Platinum Card from American Express since it automatically qualifies you with SPG Gold.

Alternatively, you could shoot for Marriott status since it will automatically give you SPG Gold status (once you link your accounts).

You could use the Ritz-Carlton Rewards credit card to earn Marriott Gold upon signing up for the card but you’ll need to spend $10,000 a year to receive it for the following years. The Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card offers Silver status but also offers ways to earn elite credits toward Gold and you can earn Gold status by spending $50,000 in a year (which I would not recommend).

So instead of paying for 9 SPG nights, you could just use those funds to towards paying the annual fee on a card like the Platinum Card.

Once you have Marriott Gold, you could always try to get Marriott Platinum status via a status challenge. You would only need to hit 9 nights assuming you’re eligible. There are ways to get those nights knocked out for very cheap if you utilize promos and stay at cheap properties on the outskirts of town. This would be my preferred method to reach SPG Platinum rather than hitting 18 nights.

Keep in mind that if you want to go the hard way and get SPG Gold or Platinum with actual hotel stays, you can earn credits for up to three qualifying nights per night.

I really like SPG Platinum because it grants you Marriott Platinum and together those statuses get you lounge access, breakfasts, premium internet, late check out, better odds of suite upgrades, and will even get you Silver status with United. You can read more about Marriott Platinum status benefits here and SPG Platinum status benefits here.

H/T: Loyalty Lobby 

Big Changes Coming to Hilton Honors in April 2018

Hilton has been on a mission to revamp its loyalty program recently. They made a number of huge changes to their loyalty program in 2017, continued to step up their promotions throughout the year, and now they are at it once again with more big changes coming in April 2018. Here’s a breakdown of the current Hilton Honors landscape.

The 2017 changes to Hilton Honors

In 2017, Hilton implemented a number of new changes to the Hilton Honors program including:

The responses to these changes were mixed. Most hated to see the award chart go (although Hilton already had a form of dynamic pricing) but some of the changes like points pooling and the points + cash slider were welcomed by many Honors customers.

During 2017, Hilton also continued to be one of the most rewarding programs in terms of ongoing promotions. For example, at one point they offered triple the points to Hilton Honors Diamond members, allowing for returns of 16% or more (which was fantastic).

Hilton also reached an exclusive card agreement with American Express and dropped Citi in the process. This resulted in new American Express Hilton credit cards that will be officially released this month and probably had a lot do with the fact that American Express improved the transfer ratio to Hilton.

Hilton Americas-Houston.

Hilton’s new changes for 2018

Hilton just announced a number of pretty big changes to its Hilton Honors program for 2018.

These new changes will be positive or at least neutral for their most elite customers while those “at the bottom” of the elite totem pole will feel the pain. 

Here’s a summary of the new changes that will come into effect April 2018:

  • No more “Points and Miles” option
  • Increased elite bonus earning rates
  • Milestone Bonuses
  • Elite Rollover Nights
  • Gifting Elite Status

No more “Points and Miles”

Hilton was unique in that it allowed its guests to choose between “Points + Points” and “Points + Miles.” Basically, you could choose if you wanted to earn 5 extra Hilton points per dollar spent or one airline mile with select airlines. (Apparently, a lot of customers never even knew about this option and only a small percentage (around 14%) actually used it according to VFTW.)

Points + Points was essentially a built in 50% bonus on base points that will no longer be available. But while Hilton is taking this opportunity away, they are increasing the elite bonus earning rates to make up for it (at least for some people).

Increased elite bonus earning rates

When you stay at a major chain hotel you earn a standard rate of base points and if you hold elite status with that hotel you’re typically given a bonus rate on top of that. So for example, a Hilton member earns 10X on every dollar spent but a Diamond member will receive a 50% bonus on top of those Hilton points for a total of 15X.

Hilton is increasing the bonus earning rates for all elite levels. Starting April 2018, elite tier bonuses will increase as seen below:

  • Silver: 15% to 20%
  • Gold: 25% to 80%
  • Diamond: 50% to 100%

Since Hilton is dropping its Points + Points feature, the practical effect of these changes will result in the following point earning rates per dollar spent:

  • Non-elites: 15 to 10
  • Silver: 16.5 to 12
  • Gold: 17.5 to 18
  • Diamond: 20 to 20

As you can see, now that Hilton is doing away with Points + Points, this means those at the lower tiers of elite status (or those without elite status) will be hurt by the changes, while those at the top (Gold and Diamond) will benefit or at least remain unaffected.

So Hilton offers us a more simplified elite earning structure but it comes at the cost of earnings for non-Gold and non-Diamond members. With the new changes, Hilton still remains among the lowest earning mid-tier and top-tier loyalty programs ay a valuation of .4 cents per Hilton Honors point. However, as shown, those Hilton promos can result in returns of 16% or greater which can often propel Hilton above the competition.

Hilton Chicago Magnificent Mile Suites.

Milestone Bonuses

Hilton is also introducing “Milestone Bonuses.” These will allow Honors members to earn additional points when they hit certain milestones. But you’ve got to stay a lot of nights.

Here’s how it breaks down:

  • Hilton Honors members will earn 10,000 Bonus Points on every 10th night, once you reach at least 40 nights in a calendar year.
  • On your 60th night per year, you will receive an additional 30,000 Bonus Points.

It’s not a limited time offer, no registration is required and there is no cap. 

This means that if you stay 60 nights in a year, you will reach Diamond status and you’ll also earn 60,000 bonus points. So it’s like earning an extra 1,000 points per stay but only if you can physically get yourself in a hotel for 60 nights.

Elite Rollover Nights

Silver, Gold and Diamond members will be able to rollover nights earned beyond their current elite tier requirements to count towards their elite tier status the following year. Note that this applies to nights and not stays. 

Also, the rollover “ends” after the second calendar year. So whatever night you accumulate in 2018, none of them will carry into 2020.

Gifting Elite Status

  • Stay 60 or more nights in a calendar year and you can gift Gold status to your favorite travel partner.
  • Stay 100+ nights and upgrade that gift to Diamond.

You’ll be able to choose one person a year to gift status to and then they will be upgraded according to your own progress. So if you gift Gold, they’ll be Gold but will eventually get upgraded to Diamond if you get make it to Diamond.

Final word

Overall, the new perks are pretty cool but only if you make a lot of actual stays at Hilton properties — if you gain Hilton Gold or Diamond status via a credit card, you probably won’t be too excited over the new benefits because you’ll be largely unaffected. The big loss though is for Silver and non-elites who take a hit in their earning structure. While the simplicity of the new system is welcomed, it’s a bummer many will be let down. At least Hilton offers great promotions throughout the year that can help out some.

And lastly, Gary from VFTW had a discussion with Mark Weinstein, Hilton’s Senior Vice President & Global Head of Customer Engagement, Loyalty and Partnerships and he confirmed that there is “no plan on the books to devalue or change the value of points across the system” so it looks like we might be in the clear for a while when it comes to Hilton devaluations? Great to hear.


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