Big hotel news from Hilton – all Hilton Honors status downgrades reversed, and your existing status extended

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Hilton Honors has just launched a very impressive response to the coronavirus crisis.  The company has really stepped up to the plate here and put down a marker.  It will be VERY interesting to see how Marriott, IHG and Hyatt respond.

What is Hilton doing about your status due to coronavirus?

Here is the one I didn’t expect:

If your status was due to be downgraded on 31st March 2020 (as mine was – I was due to drop from Diamond) you receive an automatic extension to 31st March 2021.

This is really very generous.  After all, people who did not requalify due to lack of nights in 2019 did not do so because of coronavirus.  The only real loss has been the inability to use my status during February and March 2020.

Given that Marriott Bonvoy has just dropped me from Titanium Elite to Gold Elite, I can see Hilton getting more of my business later this year.

Hilton Honors status extension coronavirus

If you earned status during 2019, you will keep it until 31st March 2022

If you have status now due to your stays last year, you don’t need to worry about requalifying before the end of 2020.  Your status is locked in until 31st March 2022.

This is a smart move.  People who did make an effort to requalify last year won’t feel let down by the fact that people like me have been gifted an additional year regardless.

There are two other announcements:

All points expiry has been paused until 31st December 2020

This isn’t really a big deal, since it was incredibly easy to avoid expiry anyway.  This article explains how to stop your Hilton Honors points expiring.

For US credit card holders, all free night awards earned by 30th August 2020 will be extended to 31st August 2021.

Hilton Honors status extension coronavirus

What are the Hilton rebooking rules due to coronavirus?

Hilton has also extended its coronavirus rebooking policy:

ALL bookings at Hilton hotels, even non-refundable ones, for stays up to 30th June can be changed or cancelled up to one day before arrival

All NEW reservations you make between today (25th March) and 30th June 2020 for ANY future arrival date can be changed or cancelled at no charge, up to one day before arrival

For clarity, this means that there is no reason not to book a cheaper Advanced Purchase room whenever you are booking a Hilton property up to 30th June, for any future date.

If you cannot make the change you need online, you can submit a request via this page of the Hilton website.  This only applies to bookings made directly – if you used a non-Hilton website or a travel agent to book you will need to speak to them.

Taken overall, I don’t think anyone could have expected more from Hilton.  Let’s hope that we see some similar moves from other chains.  With Hilton refusing to drop status for anyone it will put pressure on the other brands to act.

Virgin Atlantic offers incentives to rebook flights, Aer Lingus gives a 10% bonus and Lufthansa offers €50 - will BA follow suit?
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Comments

  1. Hilton at Gatwick called me earlier to cancel a booking that I had for 9 April. They said they would be closing. They offered me a refund or a rebooking. I asked for a refund.

  2. Can anybody repost the mobile number to transfer virgin miles to Hilton via text please.

  3. Dominic says:

    Wonderful news – I’d have never have reached status this year (staying at another chain), but may well do next year (and I probably wouldn’t try if I lost diamond this year).

    Good move by Hilton.

  4. Andrew says:

    IHG were a little ambitions when they announced two weeks ago a 25% reduction in the number of status points needed for this year – at the time I thought that was fair, but what a difference two weeks makes and now looking at very little travel for the reminder of this year, so a match to what Hilton are offering now seems much more reasonable.

  5. Novice says:

    I don’t want to be a grammar Nazi but title should say ‘news’ not new.

  6. Alex W says:

    Excellent news. If only they had a decent credit card open for applications.

  7. Cwyfan says:

    I wonder if a status match war might follow to encourage movement inloyalty?

    • May depend on how bad the situation gets. As was mentioned before BA wants to avoid future sales in case it is unable to sell the higher priced tickets when things open up again.

      Will hotels have trouble filling rooms or will there be so much pent up demand to fulfill that they will recoup most of their losses from the closure period?

      • > [..] BA wants to avoid future sales in case it is unable to sell the higher priced tickets when things open up again

        OTOH maybe businesses might just be discovering that all that expensive premium travel wasn’t quite as absolutely necessary as it was always thought to be.

  8. Bentoni says:

    I previously had an email from IHG about extending the Ambassador status by 3 months. But this hasn’t been reflected on my account.

    Though I don’t think 3 months would be any use, since it would take a bit time for me to plan a trip. Given the current situation, no one can plan anything …

  9. With regards “this means that there is no reason not to book a cheaper Advanced Purchase room whenever you are booking a Hilton property up to 30th June, for any future date” :

    One very good reason NOT to book an advance room is liquidity in your pocket. An advance purchase requires you to pay now, the flexible purchases allow you to pay at hotel. In these times, for many, keeping hold of liquidity is very important.

    • True. There is also FX to consider. The pound is pitiful at the moment so paying at the hotel – in six to nine months – might mean a far better exchange rate.

  10. John Caribbean says:

    The “any new reservations you make between today (25th)” actually goes back at least to the 12th. The website updates the date to today, every day, but it isn’t actually the case

  11. PlaneSpeaking says:

    Very impressive from Hilton and very clever too. Very unimpressive from Marriott and guess who gets 100% of my business for the next year…

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