- Beginning Sept. 19, Hilton Honors' 66 million members got the option to use their reward program points to shop on Amazon, a first for a hotel brand, per a company press release.
- For Hilton Honors members the process is simple — they have to link their loyalty program account to their Amazon account and from there they can choose how many points they want to use when checking out on Amazon. The initiative is the fourth new benefit rolled out to Hilton Honors members this year joining Points Pooling, Diamond Status Extension and Points & Money Rewards hotel reward night slider.
- Five hundred Hilton Honors Points will equal $1 on Amazon according to Amazon’s FAQ and reported by TechCrunch. There are also limitations on what Hilton Honors members can use points for. Currently, they cannot be applied to Amazon Kindle downloads, digital music, Amazon Video titles, Amazon Appstore apps, AmazonFresh products, Subscribe and Save items, Prime Memberships (but gifts can be purchased with points), pre-order items, textbook rentals and Amazon Allowance or Reload gift cards.
Digital has changed consumers' expectations around loyalty programs, according to a report earlier this year from Accenture that highlighted how millions of loyalty points are not used and organizations are wasting billions of dollars each year on loyalty programs that don't work. In this light, Hilton's new partnership looks like an attempt to drive interest in earning and spending points by integrating them with a popular digital activity — shopping on Amazon.
Millennials, in particular, have new expectations around loyalty that require brands to put a bigger focus on digital-driven offerings like tokens of affection, personalization, exciting experiences, tie-ins with influencers and partnerships with other brands, per Accenture.
A number of brands are expanding how they see and use rewards programs, often with a focus on digital. Dunkin’ Donuts partnered with e-commerce destination Rue La La for an online boutique that highlights the DD Perks loyalty program where Rue La La members can enroll in DD Perks and get 30 days of free shipping. Burger King Russia turned a Whopper rewards initiative into an investment opportunity with a bitcoin derivative called WhopperCoin added to a consumers’ digital wallet with every purchase of the signature burger.