web Musings of The Global Traveller

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Update on Hilton HHonors No Blackouts

In the couple of weeks since I previously blogged about Hilton HHonors No Blackout Dates award issues (see here and here), discussion on Flyer Talk has uncovered yet more problems.

So far the following exceptions have been identified, none of which made it into Hilton's No Blackout policy announcement (not even as fineprint).

  1. Exempted hotels - eg Conrad Maldives
  2. Exceptional demand dates
  3. Hotels that are new to the Hilton family chains - exempt for 90 days
  4. Hotels can require a large deposit that is non-refundable if you cancel the award

There is a further out, which is written into the policy, if no "Standard" rooms are available for purchase the No Blackout policy does not apply. Some hotels have no standard rooms.

For those too lazy to click on the policy announcement above, here is what Hilton HHonors says about the No Blackout policy.

No Blackout Dates

The Hilton Family of Hotels has announced No Blackout Dates for all members
of its HHonors guest reward program effective February 1. As long as a standard
room is available, members will be able to confirm that room using their HHonors
points at more than 2,900 Hilton Family hotels worldwide.

"Our goal is always to make traveling easier for our guests, and No
Blackout Dates is a significant way to offer our loyal members more flexibility
to use their points on their schedule," said Adam Burke, senior vice president
of customer loyalty for Hilton Hotels Corporation. "Members have always
considered Points & Miles a highly valuable benefit that distinguishes us
from the competition, and combining this unique offering with No Blackout Dates
reinforces HHonors as the world's most rewarding and flexible hotel loyalty

Unlike some other hotel programs:
  • HHonors program has no capacity controls. All standard rooms are available
    for rewards, not just a limited number each night.
  • HHonors does not require additional points to avoid blackout dates. Some
    hotel programs black out reward rooms and require their customers to redeem
    significantly more points to bypass those blackouts.
  • With HHonors, there are no exceptions. Every Hilton Family hotel worldwide
    offers No Blackout Dates. Some competitive programs exclude selected properties.

Hilton HHonors remains the only hotel loyalty program that offers guests the
ability to earn both Points & Miles® for the same stay at more than 2,900
hotels worldwide. Other global programs require members to choose between hotel
points OR airline miles, while HHonors members enjoy the benefits of both
currencies. Members also enjoy multiple ways to earn Points & Miles,
offering more flexibility and a faster way to earn HHonors rewards.

Hmmm. 2 of the 3 bullet points appear not to be met in some cases. As for extra points to avoid a blackout, Hilton goes one step further and requires a large cash advance which is refundable only on checking out.

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