Conrad Centennial Singapore

Conrad Centennial Singapore

The Hilton program has recently gone through some changes.
Being a Hilton Honors member for more than 10 years now - it has gone through a
devaluation (or two) and enhancements.

Personally I have enjoyed the Hilton brand over the years.
With the easy to earn Gold Status from several different methods - to countless
upgrades I have earned for myself and my family - the majority of Hilton hotels
we have stayed in have been modern, comfortable and usually ticks all our
criteria when staying in a hotel.

Recent Changes

The changes that have come into effect so far are the
following:

1. Hilton HHonors name now changed to just Hilton
Honors. Makes sense – who could pronounce 2 "H's" anyways? I suspect maybe
American AAdvantage program may follow suit sometime later?

2. Category changes – Hilton periodically changes
their Hotel categories. They range from Category 1 (lowest) to Category 10
(highest). Each category has a range of points that can be redeemed with
certain hotels.

3. Hilton Points Pooliing - Hilton are reportedly about to introduce a Points
pooling feature on their program (from April 1st, 2017). This is definitely
a highlight as it allows for example my wife to transfer points to me without a
transfer fee. This enables us to use one "primary" account to redeem all our
hotel rooms instead of 2 accounts which makes it easier to manage. So this is
similar to the Points Pooling feature with the Velocity program. With the
Hilton program – it stated that you are allowed to nominate up to 10 people to
pool points. So why not combine all your points with other families/friends and
redeem for a night (or two) at the Conrad Maldives?

4. Points + Pay feature – Hilton introduced a
sliding scale where you can now pay for the room partly with whatever amount of
points you have. Starts at 5,000 Hilton points. Interesting feature to have –
but you just need to calculate if it is worth redeem lower category Hilton
Hotel rooms with points – or is it better to pay with it with cash/credit to
earn more Hilton and Credit Card points.

5. Use Hilton Points with Amazon – you can now
start using your Hilton points to redeem for Amazon website to purchase products. Beware though – redeeming points for items here is similar to buying an expensive Toaster for 100,000 Qantas points when you could be redeeming it for close to a Business Class Flight return to Singapore for example.

6. Hilton Diamond Extension – This is a great
feature for long term Diamond members. It allows them to extend their Diamond
account for an extra year if they did not qualify for this status the previous
year.

Out of all the changes in the Airline and Hotel industry – I
would have to say two thumbs up to Hilton for actually enhancing their program –
rather than devaluing it.

The Hilton Honors Gold Membership status is what I believe
the best mid-tier level status amongst all the Hotel award programs. It
provides free breakfast, Executive Lounge access, room upgrade (if available)
are the most prominent highlights.

Quick Ways to Obtain Hilton Gold Status

To obtain Hilton Gold status in Australia – you could do the
following (rather than just staying at the Hotel):

1. Sign up to the American Express Platinum Charge
card. This card provide complimentary Hilton Gold Membership

Amex Platinum Charge Card

2. Sign up to the Macquarie Hilton Platinum Visa
Card

Macquarie Platinum Hilton Visa Credit Card

3. Sign up to the Citibank Prestige Visa Card. Note
you will only receive Gold status after the 2nd stay or 4th
night.

Citibank Prestige Visa Credit Card

 

Conclusion

With Hilton Honors going through the recent changes – it has
actually made a positive step towards being more flexible on what you can do
with the points rather than devaluing it. Mind you – they did heavily devalue
their program about 3 year ago – so I don't think it is time for a devaluation yet.
With any frequent flyer and hotel program – the lesson is to not hoard them for
too long – but to redeem them when possible. Like Currency – they devalue over
time.

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