Hilton scrapping ‘points and fixed miles’ earning from January

Hilton lost a lot of friends back in February when it unveiled a massive devaluation of the Hilton HHonors programme.  Prices of rooms at top properties jumped from 50,000 points to a maximum of 95,000 points!

Add in other recent changes – some hotels starting to offer a reduced level of free breakfast to Gold card holders, the reduced food and drink offering in UK executive lounges this year, and the way that some hotels used the introduction of ‘premium rewards’ to reduce standard room reward availability – and you might think they would have had enough.

But no!

Hilton Gold

An email arrives:

On January 6, 2014, we will discontinue the Points & Fixed Miles Earning Style. At this time, you will automatically start to earn variable miles, or 10 HHonors Base Points plus one airline mile (or kilometer) per eligible US dollar spent for most stays. This will appear as Points & Miles in your HHonors account profile.

This was one of the few redeeming features of the Hilton HHonors programme.  Although, if I’m honest, it was disproportionately generous and therefore was always on life support.

At present, if you choose ‘points and fixed miles’, you will earn (per Hilton stay) Hilton HHonors points plus 500 Avios points (in BA), 750 Avios points (in Iberia Plus) or 1,000 Virgin Flying Club miles.  (Back in the old BMI days, you get a ludicrous 1,000 BMI miles per night!).

Under the new structure, you will earn 1 airline mile per $1 spent (2 per $1 with Virgin).  This means that, for stays costing less than about £475, you will be worse off if you collect Avios.  For Virgin miles, you are worse off on stays under £325.

This is not the end of the world – Hilton remains, after all, the only programme where you can collect points and airline miles.  You also have the option to not take any airline miles at all and earn a larger number of Hilton points instead, although since they were devalued it is debatable if you want to build up those too much.

(To see our complete list of all current hotel promotions for the major chains, click here to visit our ‘Hotel Promos’ page or use the link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

15% off a British Airways flight to the USA and Canada
Do not apply for a BA or SPG Amex on Tuesday or Wednesday!
About Head for Points

We help business and leisure travellers maximise their Avios, frequent flyer miles and hotel loyalty points. Visit every day for three new articles or sign up for our FREE emails via this page or the box to your right.

Comments

  1. Sharjah, UAE Hilton is exempt for the 1000 bonus Avios I’ve learned the hard way.

  2. Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

    I think VS will stay at 2pts/$, but this is still a real pain.

    Hopefully Marriott will bring back status challenges – I might defect if they did.

  3. Is the 1000 avios promo for BA over?

  4. What's the Point says:

    I am hoping that the Hilton will continue to do bonus airline points for certain stays in 2014, which you have to opt into to receive. This will benefit the loyal customer, rather than rewarding everyone with 500-1,000 airlines per stay.
    As for collecting HH points to use on reward stays, the top end hotels are just not worth collecting for. I average around 2,000 HH points per night, so effectively would need 40+ nights for just one night at their top tier hotels…..ridiculous!

    • Even the hotels dislike this. The owner of a couple of Hiltons in New York recently blamed falling profits on a drop in occupancy caused by the collapse of HH reward bookings at his property.

      • mrtibbs1999 says:

        I read that and did some further digging. Very insightful regarding the economics of the holiday reward points system. The idea that points collectors have higher in property spends etc on the items that they make massive margin on had never occurred to me. I imagined everyone was a cheapskate like myself 😛

  5. pazza2000 says:

    Sorry to see the end of this, although I agree it was super generous at times. Back in January I earned 5k VS miles on a £47 night. On a separate note, does anyone know how long it usually takes for IB miles to post? It’s been 2+ weeks since my base miles posted from a stay, although no sign of the IB miles I had my account set to receive. Seems a little longer than I’ve waited for BA/VS in the past.

    • Last time took 3 weeks for me. I’m also waiting on another IB Avios stay posting, from 2 1/2 weeks ago.

    • Did five Hilton stays in September, and almost every time the Avios arrived in my IB account within a few days. Regarding the last stay though it took over a week. 3,750 Avios + HH points… another 2 stays in December and that’ll be the end of this nice earning option.

  6. Iberia+ fixed miles currently earns 750 per stay BUT the ‘enhancement’ will be to 1 Avios per $10, not 1/$1 as with BA.

    I imagine this will be regularised in due course, but I will be changing from Iberia+ to Virgin Flying Club for 2 VS miles per $.

  7. 2013 has been a bad year in terms of points devaluation, and 2014 obviously won’t be much different. (Against the backdrop of these recent developments, I am about to give up hope of another half-decent Tesco CC – Avios conversion bonus, too.)
    Always look on the bright side: I will not have to move from one Hilton to another neighbouring one anymore just to earn these extra Avios (well, maybe in order to maintain gold status…), but from now on I will enjoy spending a few nights in the same room lol
    In the future, I will be double-dipping HH points as I am quite happy with their redemption options. There are still some decent points + cash redemptions available, and in the past (before achieving gold), I sometimes got a very pleasant upgrade for as little as 800 points.
    For the time being, Hilton will remain my no. 1 choice; you can usually easily avoid the less nice properties by reading reviews prior to travelling, and I have been very satisfied with the brand so far.

  8. gnarlyoldgoatdude says:

    By the end of the year I would have earned about 55k Virgin miles from about 30 Hilton Stays. Not bad considering that I’ve never set foot on a VS plane. Instead of earning 1000-6000 miles per stay, I’ll be down to about 230. It’s starting to make IHG’s airline earning rate look generous.

    • Hmmm, that seems a little bit of an exaggeration 😀 I think from now on we should avoid the word “generous” when talking about hotel loyalty programs…