Hilton HHonors has just updated its terms and conditions with new requirements to qualify for elite status in 2013.
The nights you’ve spent in 2012 will still get you 2013 status, this change isn’t retroactive. Rather, this changes the number of stays and/or nights you need in 2013 to earn status for the remainder of 2013 and 2014.
- There are no changes to the qualification requirements for Silver.
- Gold goes from 16 stays, 36 nights, or 60,000 base points to 20 stays, 40 nights, or 75,000 base points. Each qualification method increases.
- Diamond goes from 28 stays, 60 nights, or 100,000 base point to 30 stays, 60 nights, or 120,000 base points. Stays and base points increase, albeit less dramatically in percentage terms than they do for Gold, and the number of nights required doesn’t change.
This makes no sense to me whatsoever. You can now spend 30 nights at Hilton properties to earn Gold status, or get a co-branded credit card with a $95 annual fee. You can spend $40,000 in a year on their Citibank Hilton Reserve Visa or the American Express Hilton Surpass card and earn Diaond. Or you can stay even more with Hilton than before. Status becomes increasingly out of reach through actual stays, but has become much easier just by getting a co-branded credit card. (See Why Hilton Gold is Worth $95 and Two Free Nights More than Pays that Back)
And I’m a big advocate of Gold over Diamond status with Hilton. Of course in absolute terms Diamond is a more rewarding level. But it isn’t so much more rewarding as to be worth much extra effort in my experience. Gold is a good enough status level, and it’s become a giveaway — to all but Hilton’s own most frequent guests.
The only thing I can imagine is that the status ranks have swelled so much with how easy Hilton has made things given their credit card relationship, that they’re trying to manage the number of elites at each level — and the easiest way they have to do this is to make qualification as a hotel guest harder.
As for the way this is rolled out, I don’t like changes to the terms and conditions of a program being made without an announcement coming out first. It’s not great when we have to learn about changes by having someone read the terms and find them. It’s certainly still possible that Hilton could make big announcements of these changes. Presumably they could still do so during the month of December and it’ll still be before folks are actually making 2013 stays.
But with prepaid hotel stays, many have already made non-changeable plans for 2013. Plans that they could regret if their decisions were predicated on earning elite status through their loyalty. Hilton won’t actually make this exception, but it seems to me that no-notice or such late-notice changes to elite status qualification ought to serve as justification for penalty-free cancellation of prepaid, otherwise non-refundable hotel reservations.
(HT: mtlfire on Milepoint)