This month sees the introduction of a direct-earn Hilton HHonors card into the Australian market with the launch of the Hilton HHonors Macquarie Platinum card.
Existing Hilton Macquarie Platinum customers will find themselves migrated to the new HHonors card, along with any existing Macquarie Rewards points on a 1:1 basis. The card's annual fee is $295 with an extra $49 for each additional card.
The new HHonors card will earn 1 Hilton HHonors point for every $1 spent on everyday purchases, while raking in 4 points per $1 spent within the worldwide Hilton HHonors portfolio – both of which are uncapped.
It’s worth noting that the higher earn rate applies only to amounts “charged to a cardholder’s hotel room bill and settled using the Hilton HHonors Macquarie Platinum Card upon checkout”, which rules out bonus points for spend in hotel bars and restaurants unless you’re staying in-house.
Disappointingly, this card pales in comparison to the various HHonors card offerings in North America, which offer up to 12 HHonors points for the same $1 spend.
Also, the generous benefits conveyed by the Hilton Macquarie Platinum card won’t be carried over – bringing an end to the 20% off accommodation, dining and room charges offering (including any ‘Guest Passes’ for such), as well as the $99 stays at Australian properties.
Something new: elite HHonors status
A careful read of the new product details shows that any points earned by the card aren’t treated by HHonors as ‘base points’ – rather, ‘bonus points’. It's a subtle difference, but one that prevents any card spend from directly counting towards elite status qualification or retention.
Fortunately, Hilton HHonors Macquarie Platinum cardholders will enjoy HHonors Gold status for as long as their credit card account remains open, which makes this caveat less of an issue.
Higher spenders can aim for HHonors Diamond status, which is awarded after charging $40,000 to the card account over a 12 month period – ensuring access to any available executive lounge, regardless of the room type booked or received.
To sweeten the deal
As a special promotion, cardholders who spend $2,000 on ‘eligible purchases’ before January 31 will receive one free ‘weekend night certificate’, with additional certificates given to customers charging at least $12,000 to the card account each year.
Valid for an overnight weekend stay, these certificates are valid throughout the HHonors portfolio (including the luxury Conrad and Waldorf Astoria brands), with the exception of the specific properties on the exclusions list.
While it’s great to see an Australian card affiliated with the HHonors program, the removal of the previously offered dining and accommodation discounts is sure to frustrate some.
This is particularly the case for travellers with a restrictive corporate travel policy, who may have been utilising the Hilton discounts to stay within their travel budget – while earning HHonors points and stay credit at the same time.
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