Master List: Extensions On Hotel Free Night Certs, Elite Status & Points Expiration
Each major hotel chain is providing various types of extensions on hotel free night certs, elite status, awards, point expiration, etc. In this resource, we want to give you all of the relevant information on what the brands are doing. We will cover free night awards, elite status, and points expiration changes and extensions. Each will be addressed brand by brand.
Hilton published its first policy regarding changes amid the COVID-19 outbreak back on March 12. A lot has changed since then. They increased that to allow for flexible changes to bookings, even those sold as ‘no refunds’ or ‘advanced purchase, no change’ rates. Here’s where things stand with Hilton brand hotels.
Hilton was the first hotel chain to extend elite status. On March 25, 2020, they published new policies here. Anyone with status was set to expire in March 2020 had their status extended to March 2021. Anyone who earned status for the 2020 year will hold it through March 2022. This applies to all levels of Hilton Honors status.
Free Night Certificate
Your hotel free night certificate from Hilton will not expire on the original date in 2020. All free night awards have been extended. The new expiry date is August 31, 2021 for any awards previously issued. Free night awards you will receive later this year (May 1-December 31, 2020) will be valid for 24 months. Additionally, free night certificates that were for “weekend nights” are now valid for any night. Lastly, if you have resort credits from the Hilton Aspire Card, you can apply these to US restaurant purchases, including takeout and delivery, from June 1, 2020 through August 31, 2020. See more info here.
No points will expire in 2020. Any points set to expire in 2020 will now expire after January 1, 2020. Expect them to make future announcements on this, because many people still won’t be traveling by that date.
World of Hyatt, the loyalty program of the Hyatt hotel chain, has also extended hotel free night awards, their elite status expiration dates, and extended points for members. Their policy was updated April 3, 2020 and is found here. It’s also important to remember that Hyatt had planned changes to award categories for numerous hotels, but they’ve delayed this in the wake of COVID-19 upending the world of travel.
Whatever status you held on March 31, 2020 will be extended. This applies regardless of status level. Your status level will be extended to February 28, 2022. These should be live in your World of Hyatt account by now.
Free Night Certificates
Along with your hotel free night awards, Hyatt is extending Suite Upgrade and Club Lounge Access awards previously expiring in 2020. They’re also careful to note “This includes existing awards and awards that may be earned throughout this year with a 2020 expiration date.” They are extending the awards automatically to now expire December 31, 2021.
Hyatt points do not expire. The only way to lose points is if your account is inactive for over 24 months. At that point, points are forfeited. Hyatt is suspending these account forfeitures and losses of points for all of 2020.
IHG and its chain of hotels also extended benefits, since no one is traveling. Their policies are found here. Rather than only status, IHG also reduced the effort required to qualify for awards and elite status for next year.
IHG extended status levels for all members. Your current status is now valid through January 2022. On top of that, they’ve also reduced the requirements for earning status this year, in case you want to qualify for a higher level of status with IHG Rewards Club next year.
Free Night Certificates
IHG divided their hotel free night certificates into 2 groups. Free night awards set to expire before March 31, 2020 were extended to December 31, 2020. Free night awards received after that will expire after 18 months from the date received.
Additionally, those at the highest level (Ambassador) will receive a 3-month extension on weekend night awards. IHG is contacting these members directly.
Points only expire for those on the lowest tier: Club. Points expire after 12 months of inactivity, but IHG has paused all expirations in 2020.
Marriott hotel group and its Bonvoy awards program also made extensions. Their policies are listed here. This comes on the heels of Bonvoy also recently increasing the number of elite night credits you can earn each year from credit cards.
Bonvoy status earned in 2019 and valid for 2020 will be extended. Rather than ending in January 2021 as planned, your status level will be extended automatically, expiring in February 2021.
Free Night Certificates
Any hotel free night awards and / or suite night awards you hold will be extended. Free night awards set to expire in 2020 now are valid through January 31, 2021. Suite night awards for Platinum and Titanium Elite members are now valid until December 31, 2021.
Marriott Bonvoy points expire after 24 months of inactivity. However, no points will expire until February 2021. This should give people time to actually use their points.
Final Thoughts On Hotel Free Night Certs, Elite Status & Points Expiration
It’s good to see hotel chains making moves that are friendly to customers. No one is traveling right now. Letting points, hotel free night awards, and other perks expire during this time would be a bad move on their part. These moves will earn them goodwill with their customers going forward. People will remember how businesses treat them during this pandemic. Did your brand throw us under the bus, or did you make customer-friendly moves, so we want to use your services again in the future when travel is possible? Right now, these hotel chains are doing the right thing. Customers should remember that.
Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.