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Some interesting facts about Hilton Honors and what they mean

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When Hilton announced the changes to the Hilton Honors programme recently they included the following slide.  It contains some fascinating statistics about the scheme:

HH slide

It is worth having a look at what some of these numbers mean.

60 million members is a stupidly high number – and this is still less than IHG Rewards Club which quoted 70 million last time I looked.  We are talking about managing a customer base which is basically the size of the UK population.  I’ve no idea how many people Hilton has to employ to oversee all this but it must be huge.  Even if only 1% of members had the need the contact Hilton in any particular year, that would be 600,000 calls or emails.

(For comparison, Avios has 7 million members.  There is also duplication here from people who have BA, and potentially Iberia Plus accounts and so get counted three times.)

7m award nights were redeemed in 2016.  This is huge.  Hilton has 4,700 hotels in its system.  This means that the average property is doing four reward rooms per night, every night.  In reality, those redemptions will be skewed towards specific properties in specific cities.  One of the side effects of the changes to the programme will be to make redemptions at ‘average’ properties more attractive, especially off peak.

95% of members book direct.  I am very surprised by this, because Hilton has been at the forefront of aggressively promoting direct booking versus using Expedia etc.  As members make up 55% of room nights, and 95% of that 55% is booked direct, you need to question how much of a problem indirect booking via Expedia etc really is.  Even if half of all bookings via non-members came via third party channels, that would only represent 25% of total room nights.  In reality it will be smaller as much of the business from non-HH members will be groups who contract directly.

Signing up 9m new members last year is a major achievement.  It isn’t surprising, of course, given that the Hilton website now tells you that you will get a better price if you join, but the sheer scale of this is impressive.

If you ever believe that the major hotel loyalty programmes are sideshows to their core business, think again.  As you can see from the numbers above, you are dealing with a membership base the size of a major country.

How to earn Hilton Honors points and status from UK credit cards

How to earn Hilton Honors points and status from UK credit cards (December 2022)

There are various ways of earning Hilton Honors points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.

Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Hilton Honors Gold status for as long as they hold the card?  It also comes with Marriott Bonvoy Gold, Radisson Rewards Premium and MeliaRewards Gold status.  We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and unbeatable travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Did you know that the Virgin Atlantic credit cards are a great way of earning Hilton Honors points? Two Virgin Points can be converted into three Hilton Honors points. The Virgin Atlantic cards are the only Visa or Mastercard products in the UK which can indirectly earn Hilton Honors points. You can apply here.

You can also earn Hilton Honors points indirectly with:

and for small business owners:

The conversion rate from American Express to Hilton points is 1:2.

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which can be used to earn Hilton Honors points

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Comments (38)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Monopolies commission says:

    7M award nights redeemed…but nothing to say how many are subsequently cancelled or moved…hotels might have fewer overall than it first appears.

  • BoJo says:

    “Major country” is pre or post Brexit?

  • Tony says:

    It would be interesting to see similar stats from BAEC.

  • Al says:

    Be careful with processed statistics

    • Al says:

      Also, from a semantic perspective, what does “95pc of members book direct” mean? If I am a member, and I sometimes book direct (and sometimes not), am I part of the 95pc or the 5pc? Remember this statements refers to the members, not the bookings.

    • CV3V says:

      yes, an interesting statistic is that 6 out of 10 statistics are made up, or was it 7 out of 10, no matter…..

  • Dale says:

    The Hilton App figure is interesting, as someone who uses a Blackberry it simply does not work, even if you download it from Amazon Store. In fact I can’t get rid of the bloody thing!!

  • Graham says:

    Are you sure that M = a million?

    From previous work experience with Americans I know that USA tends to use the old Roman notation. So M = 1000.

    Does this make more sense for the figures?

  • Robert says:

    “95% of members book direct.” I suspect a lot of corporate travel is considered to be booked direct. I book mine via our business travel agent, but from a points/promo perspective, it always seems to work as if it’s direct.

  • alex says:

    Hilton has this ridiculous policy of zeroing your miles after only a short period of inactivity (12 months i think): why would you stay at a chain like that??!

    • ThinkSquare says:

      That’s only problem if you DON’T stay with them.

      • Peter K says:

        Most loyalty schemes have a redundancy date on the rewards!

        • Peter K says:

 Welcome rewards expire after 12 months without activity. IHG (non-status) likewise. And Accor. And……….

    • John says:

      Once Hilton sends your miles to the airline, it can’t zero them.

    • mark2 says:

      activity includes lots of things apart from stays e.g. get a Hilton Visa card ( a good idea anyway) and make an occasional purchase.

    • Hannah says:

      Its easy enough to keep them valid even without a stay if you keep on top of it – I usually just buy 1000 if needed. I did have mine zeroed when I forgot though and when I spoke to them they reinstated them as a goodwill gesture but said they would only do it once!

    • Alan says:

      Because it’s incredibly easy to keep them active? AF/KLM Flying Blue is much worse – you need to fly with SkyTeam every 18 months – at least with Hilton you don’t actually need to stay, just have some points activity!

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