As one door closes for fans of Hyatt's loyalty program to earn and redeem points at hundreds of boutique hotels around the world, that door will swing open for travelers with Hilton points.
This week, Hilton announced a surprising new partnership with Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) is in the works. Almost everything about how that partnership will work for Hilton Honors members is up in the air, from when it will go live to how it will work to which of the hundreds of SLH properties will be bookable – and what they'll cost.
Hilton said only that members “will soon be able to dream, book and earn and redeem points for stays at participating properties in the SLH community of 560 luxury boutique hotels spanning 90 countries.”
That brewing partnership comes at the expense of Hyatt and its years-long bond with SLH. A Hyatt spokeswoman confirmed to Thrifty Traveler the two companies “mutually made the decision to end our relationship … in the near future.” It's also unclear when the ability to earn and redeem Hyatt points at these locations will end.
Small Luxury Hotels of the World is a portfolio of boutique properties scattered across the globe, but they’ve been a bright spot in Hyatt’s portfolio for years. What they might lack in extra-special treatment for travelers with top Hyatt status, they more than make up for it with unique inns, resorts, and properties in great locations with complimentary breakfast travelers can book with Hyatt points. These aren’t your normal, stuffy big-box hotels.
For example, there’s Cape Fahn in Thailand: A resort on a private island just off the coast of Koh Samui with private pool villas. In Istanbul, Tomtom Suites is an incredible SLH boutique hotel with an even better daily breakfast spread in the perfect location to explore the city. Oh, and it’s got a Michelin-star restaurant on the top floor.
Again: We don't yet know when SLH properties will be available to book through Hilton nor when World of Hyatt members will lose access to them.
For now, a Hyatt spokesperson said World of Hyatt members can still book SLH hotels through Hyatt. And nothing is changing for those who already have a stay at one of these properties on the books. Both Hyatt and Hilton said more details will be shared in the coming months.
While it might be an unanticipated addition for Hilton members, the news that Hyatt and SLH are splitting up isn't a huge surprise.
Last spring, Hyatt announced it was acquiring Mr. & Mrs. Smith, a London-based hotel booking platform with over 1,500 boutique and luxury properties worldwide. Mr. & Mrs. Smith operates in the same market as SLH, leading to speculation that the partnership could soon be coming to an end.