When Gale Flake tries to convert his Hilton points to Delta SkyMiles, something gets lost in the translation. Can the conversion be undone?
Question: I recently read your story about how persistence pays and it inspired me to write to you about my problem with Delta and Hilton HHonors. I’m a gold member of HHonors, Hilton’s loyalty program, and have saved for many years to plan a trip to Paris. I have accrued 550,000 points, and wanted to redeem them for a flight.
Nate Bear has been a Hilton frequent guest for more than a decade, having earned Gold VIP status during hundreds of hotel stays. One of the benefits he likes the most is Hilton’s No Blackout Dates rule that seems pretty straightforward: “If there’s a standard room available at any Hilton Family hotel or resort worldwide, you can redeem points for it. No exceptions, no fine print. It’s that simple.”
In 1991, Robert Annenberg paid $150 for life membership in Senior HHonors Gold VIP program. Last year, Hilton terminated his membership without warning. Is Annenberg’s elite status gone?
My initial response — and one I’ve repeated to several Hilton guests with the identical problem — is that he’s probably lost his HHonors status for good. The lawyerly terms and conditions for Hilton’s loyalty program is crystal clear that it can basically change its contract any time, for any reason.
But the more I thought about it, the more I thought how wrong that was. The terms are irrelevant — lifetime means for the rest of my life.