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Hilton, which overhauled its Honors Loyalty Program earlier this year, launched a new tool for members to share points this week. Called Points Pooling, the program allows up to eleven members of the program to pool points into one account, potentially making it easier to book high-ticket items like free award nights or swanky Hilton Experiences.
Members need not be of the same household, unlike a similar program at Starwood, though transactions are capped. According to View From the Wing, the program is currently limited to:
- Transfers in increments of 1,000 Points up to 500,000 Points
- Send up to 500,000 points and receive up to 2,000,000 per calendar year
- Make up to 6 Points Pooling transactions per calendar year
- A total of 11 accounts can combine points towards a redemption (receive points from up to 10 members in a single account)
Hilton’s points sharing program is one of several functionalities that the hotel launched earlier this year rethinking the way that Honors members use award balances. Among other tools, the new program also launched a mechanism to pay for award nights with points on a sliding scale, ostensibly turning them into a direct form of currency (though Hilton controls the exchange rate).
By allowing Honors members to pool points and book partial awards, Hilton is seems to be preparing its program to the next generation of travelers. Multiple studies have shown that younger audiences participating in loyalty programs value smaller-scale awards over larger redemptions such as a free plane ticket or a hotel room. By opening up options for those with smaller award balances, Honors is now better-accessible to those who spend less and earn fewer points.
That strategy has also been echoed in other loyalty programs across the industry. Within the last year, Delta and United have both started hawking small-scale award purchases such as lounge drinks or airport amenities for hundreds or thousands of points, while earning miles and points across the industry has also become easier (unless, that is, you’re actually flying).
Given the lack of development at the merging Marriott/Starwood and a program that effectively shuts down budget travelers at Hyatt, Hilton seems well-prepared for the next generation of travelers. Full terms and instructions for pooling accounts is available at the Honors website.