Travel has shut down worldwide to a degree never seen in my lifetime due to the novel Coronavirus pandemic. Billions of people around the world are told to stay home and stay safe and travel is not in the cards for even the most avid travelers. But what does that do to the elite status many frequent traveler have in hotel loyalty programs? Are you going to loose your much coveted status because you can’t travel? Probably not – many of the largest chains have put in place status extensions to maintain your loyalty for the time after the Great CoVid Lockdown! Find out the current offer for the major hotel chains below!
Hilton Hotels was the first to announce a status extension for elite members of their Hilton Honors program. For anybody who earned elite status in 2019, it will be extended to March 2021 and if you have already earned status in 2020, it will be extended through March 2022! The expiration of points and free night awards has paused. Thats a generous and forward looking policy. Hilton has been leading in this difficult time with customer friendly policies and I’m sure I’m not the only frequent traveler who has noticed and will pay back the loyalty shown by Hilton after travel opens up again! Read all the details to Hilton’s coronavirus policy here!
Marriott Hotels wasn’t dragging its feet on customer friendly policies, but followed Hilton in all aspects and has now responded as well: Marriott extended the status travelers have earned in 2019 in the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program until February 2022. There are no ifs and buts, so this is a very generous offer and even if you don’t set foot in a Marriott property at all in 2020, you’ll keep your previous status. In addition, the expiration of your points, free nights and Suite Awards will also be extended by a year. You can find the details here!
Accor Hotels is not quite as generous. After already having a customer-unfriendly policy with regards to cancellations (read more here), they are also less helpful with regards to status. For their ALL Loyalty Program, they have posted 50% of the nights and spend required for the status you achieved in 2019 into your account for 2020, giving you a leg up in renewing your status. While this might be helpful for some, I have to cancel a lot more nights than that for 2020 already, making this a lot less customer friendly than the approach Hilton and Marriott are taking. Unless the Great Lockdown is over soon, this will make it difficult to renew status for many members!
InterContinental Hotel Group (IHG) is even less helpful on all counts: They will reduce the number of points or nights required to achieve elite status in the IHG Rewards Club Program by 25% or more, depending on the elite level. They are also extending the expiration of points and free nights to the end of 2020 – which might not help much if the coronavirus crisis isn’t over soon!
While elite status in hotel loyalty programs isn’t top of mind in a crisis like this, it does say a lot about how companies value their customers – and it’s worth remembering when we are free to travel again when deciding with whom to spend your money. Loyalty goes two ways and I will certainly change my stay preferences taking customer friendliness displayed in difficult times into consideration! Stay safe, stay home, and keep this in mind when booking your post-corona travels, hopefully again soon!