A sign of greatness is when high-level performers want to get better. That is also true of Hilton’s loyalty program.

Hilton’s HHonors loyalty program has been incredibly strong and vibrant for quite some time. Now, the iconic brand overhauled the loyalty program, dropping the extra H, while adding new rewards and benefits, and increasing the flexibility of points.

Aaron Glick, vice president of Hilton Honors, talked to Loyalty360 about the factors that prompted the changes to the loyalty program.

“It’s our deepest ambition to become the most customer-centric loyalty program in the industry,” Glick explained. “Customers are already noticing and signing up for the program in increasing numbers. In 2016, we increased enrollments by 55 percent! For over two years, we’ve made every effort to anticipate the needs of our members and listen to their feedback about the types of perks they want and how we can improve the program. Based on what we heard, we’ve made changes big and small, all the while keeping the Hilton Honors benefits our members know and love.” 

Glick believes the program changes will “revolutionize” the way its members can use their Hilton Honors Points, including the industry’s most flexible Points & Money offering (launching at the end of February), Points Pooling (by the end of April), and Amazon Shop With Points (by the end of July).

“And last but not least, we wanted to show our loyalty to some of our most loyal members,” Glick said. “So, starting in March, when life throws the occasional curveball that takes a Diamond member off the road for a while, he or she can extend their status for one year should they be unable to re-qualify for any reason. What’s most exciting is that by making these changes, we’re unlocking 15 billion points sitting idle in members’ accounts, truly making Hilton Honors a club for everyone. From an occasional traveler who previously didn’t have enough points for a hotel award, to a parent who wants to buy something for their kids on Amazon, we’re the program that offers more of what really matters.”

Offering guests the option of combining points and money for a hotel stay is a “pretty simple” thought process for Hilton.

“Our guests said they wanted more flexible ways of using their points and to be able to use them more quickly,” Glick said. “When it comes down to it, we want to make sure all of our members – from our most elite to those who signed up yesterday – feel they can enjoy their points. The Points & Money slider does just that: It allows guests to start using their points after just a few stays.”

In addition to still being able to book an award night, Hilton Honors members can choose nearly any combination of points and money using a slider.
 
“This is a first for the hospitality industry and gives our members even more flexibility and control to choose their preferred combination of points (starting at 5,000, increasing in increments of 1,000) and money to pay for any hotel stay at more than 4,900 hotels,” Glick said. 
 
What’s more, Glick said Hilton “co-created” the new benefits with its guests.
 
“To put it into context, we did more than 4,000 hours of research among nearly 7,000 people in multiple countries,” Glick said. “It started with our members telling us that they want to be able to do more with their points – frequent travelers told us they want more flexibility with their points, and less frequent travelers have said they want more ways to use their points and use them faster. And our most loyal members want to make sure they can keep their status despite changing travel schedules and life events. It was with this in mind that we developed these new benefits.”
 
Hilton officials took it a step farther.
 
“But we got even more granular with it,” Glick said. “As an example, when developing the slider, we weren’t sure whether it should be a nob or a drop-down menu or a slider, but through focus groups and loads of conversations, we landed on the slider.”
 
Glick said Hilton is on a “journey to give our guests more of what matters. Whether that’s a more flexible program with our new slider, or a more valuable tool like Points Pooling so members can enjoy trips with family or friends (or both!), or the ability to buy whatever your heart desires on Amazon, we’re putting our guests at the heart of everything we do to become the most customer-centric loyalty program. Innovation is core to everything we do and we are continuously collecting customer feedback to invent new, differentiated benefits for our members. This announcement is a testament to that mentality. Every one of these four new perks is an industry first.” 

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