Skift Take

Hilton and Lyft's new loyalty partnership is a win-win for travelers. On one hand, Hilton members get completely free points for riding in Lyfts. On the other, it'll also soon be possible to book rides with extra loyalty points.

Road warriors have a new partnership between Hilton and Lyft to look forward to. Starting this week, the hotel giant and its ridesharing partner are linking loyalty programs to allow Lyft passengers the ability to earn Hilton Honors points with every ride. Later in the year, it’ll also be possible to use Honors points to pay for shared car rides.

Loyalty members need to link programs at before taking advantage of the partnership. After that, Honors points are earned automatically at a rate of three points per dollar spent on a Lyft ride or two points per dollar on a shared Lyft Line car — exclusive of taxes.

A passenger riding between Chicago O’Hare airport and downtown could thus expect to spend $40 on the ride and earn slightly less than 120 Honors points. For perspective, an award night in the Hilton network can cost as little as 5,000 points, though rooms in most major metro areas cost upwards of 60,000–80,000 points per night.

Hilton wasn’t ready to confirm the rate at which Honors points could be redeemed for Lyft rides nor the timing for the launch of that half of the functionality at press time. “We are really excited to get this partnership out to our members, so we’re launching with the earnings feature and working through the details around the redemption side,” said Mark Weinstein, Senior Vice President and Global Head of Customer Engagement, Loyalty, and Partnerships at Hilton. “We expect to have more on that exciting addition to share later this year.”

This isn’t the first time that a hotel chain and a rideshare partner have linked up to reward each other’s customers. In 2015, Starwood and Uber launched a partnership that awarded hotel loyalty members with points for every dollar spent in a shared vehicle. That project sunsetted in 2017 as the Starwood program started to merge into Marriott’s. American Express and Uber also have a similar partnership that allows those riders to redeem credit card points for rides.

Points Gain Currency

This is, however, the first time that hotel partners have been able to book shared rides using a loyalty currency.

Much of that functionality is an extension of a tacit approach to loyalty that Hilton has taken over the last several years. Early in 2017, Hilton relaunched its loyalty program to treat its points as more of a currency, creating a direct link and ratio between Honors points and perks like Amazon gift cards. Internally, it was a step toward openly pinning loyalty points to a certain dollar value — something relatively uncommon in airline and hotel loyalty programs. But as an extension of that move, that value can now be used to translate Honors points to dollars on Lyft’s booking platform.

Once Hilton comes out with a ratio between Honors points and Lyft credit, the community will get insight into how expensive it’ll be to book cars with the loyalty currency. Until then, Lyft riders can at least enjoy some free hotel points.

Grant Martin [[email protected]] curates the Skift Business of Loyalty newsletter and is a director of product marketing at TripActions. Skift emails the newsletter every Monday.

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Tags: hilton, hilton honors, loyalty, lyft

Photo credit: Starting this week, Hilton Honors members can earn free points for riding with Lyft. 331664

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