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Hilton wants guests to pool their unused hotel points with 10 of their closest friends

Reuters/Athit Perawongmetha
Getting it together.
By Leslie Josephs
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Hilton has a problem with hotel points. “People hoard them,” Mark Weinstein, who heads the hotel chain’s loyalty program, tells Quartz.

In an effort to get loyalty program members to stop treating their accounts like they hold their life savings and get more heads in beds, the hotel chain will start allowing members of its Hilton Honors program from late April to pool their points with up to 10 other people: family members, friends, hairdressers, a favorite barista. The person who initiates the pool will be the only member of the group who can view the total balance and, ultimately, book the trip.

“They’re more fun to use,” says Weinstein. “Don’t plan for five years from now.”

Hilton currently charges Honors members $12.50 to transfer 5,000 points, even to spouses in the same household. Hilton’s competitor, Marriott, charges $10 to transfer points to another account while Hyatt does not charge a fee to combine points with another account. (The value of a point varies by hotel chain).

The new program is meant to get frequent travelers to cash in on their points faster. A large pool of points means those planning big group events like family reunions, bachelorette parties, or weddings may choose one of Hilton’s 4,900 properties rather than turning to Airbnb or other home-rental services.

Even if some of the guests are getting a free room (thanks, Aunt Gladys!), Hilton is betting they will probably end up spending money at the hotel’s bars, restaurants, or spas.

It’s likely going to be a program that tests your loyalty not only to the hotel chain but to your friends and family, too. Hilton Honors has more than 60 million members from which to choose your 10 fellow poolers. So pick your most honest and responsible friend or relative—not that brother-in-law who went on a bender in Vegas last year.

Correction: An earlier version of this article stated the rates to purchase loyalty points from Marriott and Hyatt, not the cost to transfer or combine them.

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