With hardly anyone traveling due to the Covid-19 outbreak, it’s going to be tough to retain elite status and keep activity-based points from expiring.
In light of this, hotel chains have been making special accommodations
- IHG has extended elite status for members in China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, while reducing the elite qualification criteria by 25-30% for 2020
- World of Hyatt has extended elite status for all members in the Asia-Pacific region
- Accor has extended elite status for members in China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, while reducing its elite requalification threshold by 50% for 2020
- Shangri-La has extended the Golden Circle tier status for all members until 31 Dec 2021
- Marriott has…rolled over, scratched its bum, and went back to sleep. OK fine, they did extend elite status for members in China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, but apart from that there’s been no news out of them
Now it’s Hilton’s turn. The chain just announced a raft of positive updates, including an extension of elite status and a pause on points expiry until the end of the year.
Hilton is extending elite status for all members worldwide
The biggest news is that Hilton is extending elite status for all members worldwide. As per their website:
- 2019 Status Extension. All members whose 2019 status was scheduled to be downgraded on March 31, 2020—whether it’s Diamond, Gold or Silver—will automatically receive an extension through March 31, 2021.
- 2020 Status Extension. We are extending your 2020 member status through March 31, 2022. This means you will continue to enjoy all the Diamond, Gold or Silver benefits you have access to today for the next 24 months.
In other words, if you didn’t stay enough in 2019 to requalify for status in 2020, Hilton is extending your status till 31 March 2021.
If you did stay enough in 2019 to requalify for status in 2020, Hilton is extending your status until 31 March 2022.
This obviously doesn’t affect you if you received elite status from a credit card (e.g Hilton Gold with the AMEX Platinum Charge). That status remains valid so long as you maintain that card.
Points will not expire until 31 December 2020 at the earliest
Hilton points normally expire if you have no account activity in a 12 month period. An account activity refers to earning or redeeming at least 1 point.
Hilton is pausing the expiration of all points scheduled to expire between now and 31 December 2020. In other words, if your points were due to expire on 1 April 2020 (because your last account activity was on 1 April 2019), there’s no need to do anything until the end of the year.
Hilton extends flexible cancellation policies
Hilton previously announced that any reservation booked by 30 April 2020 for any future arrival date could be cancelled or changed at no charge, up to 24 hours before arrival.
They’ve now extended that to all bookings made by 30 June 2020. This means you could even book cheaper non-cancellable rates, with the reassurance that you can get them fully refunded even if you decide not to stay later. It also means you can make speculative award bookings at resorts that normally adopt 30+ day cancellation policies (common in the Maldives).
No one should be traveling overseas right now, obviously, but I see no harm in booking a couple of “enhanced” reservations for 2021.
Kudos to Hilton for adopting such a generous elite status extension policy. Although I personally don’t benefit from it, I can imagine many grateful Hilton members this morning. It’s the kind of thing people remember, and I’m sure Hilton will reap the financial benefits later on.