Hilton Honors has announced several big changes to their program in recent months, including a new award pricing system, a new option to put your Diamond status on hold, and a plan to let you redeem your points at Amazon.com. But I think the most meaningful change for me is the ability to pool your Honors points with other people.
One of the biggest issues that some people have redeeming miles or points is that they can’t get enough in one account. The most aspirational awards are often the most expensive: you can probably pay for a domestic flight in coach, but you need to rely on miles if you’ll ever fly in international first class. Likewise, a long stay at a resort hotel requires many more points than a weekend in the suburbs.
To create a points pool, visit Hilton’s website and enter the names and email address of each person (up to 10) who will join the pool. You’ll receive a confirmation, and they’ll receive an invitation. Each pool participant must have been a Hilton Honors member for at least 30 days. (See Hilton’s website for more FAQs.)
Up to 11 members can be part of a pool, and each of those members must have at least 1,000 points to join. Each member can contribute up to 500,000 points to the pool each year, although only 2 million points can be shared with a recipient. That means not everyone is going to be contributing the maximum amount to the pool. For example, 10 people can each contribute 200,000 points, or four people can each contribute 500,000 points and the other six contribute nothing.
While many other hotel loyalty programs allow customers to share points or redeem them on behalf of another person, this is often hindered by restrictions. Hyatt, for example, only allows a transfer for the necessary points to complete an award. Starwood requires that two members share an address for at least 30 days. Hilton’s policy is much more flexible.
By pooling thousands of points from multiple accounts in one place, it’s also easier to be choosy about who books the stay. A group of people, one of whom is a Diamond or Gold elite member, may prefer that the elite member books the stay for extra benefits.
Has this policy change made it any easier for you to redeem your Hilton Honors points? Where are you planning to stay next?