by Michael J. Shapiro | February 01, 2017
Hilton has announced branding changes to both the company name and its loyalty program. The hospitality giant is simplifying matters in both cases, dropping "Worldwide" from its name and to be known from this point on simply as "Hilton" -- and dropping the extra 'H' in the Hilton HHonors program. The changes reflect the chain's simplified, streamlined structure, following the recent spinoffs of its real estate and time-share businesses.
 
In addition to the new nomenclature, Hilton announced a number of changes to Honors, guided by "extensive" customer feedback. Members now will have the options of combining points and money for a hotel stay, using their points at Amazon.com, combining points among family and friends at no charge, and extending Diamond status based on life events. 
 
Beginning late this month, Honors members will be able to use the Hilton Honors Points & Money slider to select how many points they want to redeem toward a stay. As a result, members will be able to redeem points faster for hotel stays, with no blackout dates. 
 
In April, Hilton will begin allowing members to pool their points with up to 10 friends or family members, for free. Shortly thereafter, sometime this summer, Hilton will become the first hospitality company to allow members to redeem points at Amazon.com. 
 
For its Diamond members, Hilton will roll out a special benefit beginning in March. Those top-tier members will have the opportunity to request a one-time, one-year status extension, for any reason that could affect their travel for that year.
 
"Frequent travelers told us they want more flexibility, while less frequent travelers want to be able to use their points in more ways and more quickly," said Mark Weinstein, Hilton's senior vice president and global head of customer engagement, loyalty and partnerships. 
 
Hilton Honors currently has more than 60 million members worldwide, more than 9 million of whom joined in 2016.