Small Luxury Hotels (SLH) ditches Hyatt for Hilton

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This morning, Hilton and Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) announced their new “exclusive strategic partnership.” The word “exclusive” within the announcement was clearly intentional. We reached out to our Hyatt contact who confirmed that their breakup with SLH was mutual and coming soon. The breakup with Hyatt was no surprise given Hyatt’s purchase of Mr & Mrs Smith. Hilton though? I didn’t see that coming.

Details about Hilton’s partnership with SLH

Details to-date are scant. After removing the PR nonsense, we get this:

  • When: Soon. The partnership will “ramp up in the months ahead.”
  • When will we know more? Soon. “More details of this new relationship will be announced soon.”
  • What:
    • Redeem Hilton points for SLH stays
    • Earn Hilton points for paid SLH stays booked through Hilton
    • Participating SLH properties only (this was true with Hyatt’s partnership too: not all SLH properties participated)

That’s it. That’s all we know so far about the partnership between Hilton & SLH

Details about Hyatt’s partnership with SLH

Through an emailed conversation with a Hyatt contact, we learned the following:

  • Hyatt’s partnership with SLH is ending “in the near future”
  • The breakup was mutual
  • It is still possible to book SLH properties through Hyatt for now: “At this time, World of Hyatt members can still book participating SLH Hotels on Hyatt’s booking channels, and nothing changes as of now for existing World of Hyatt member reservations.”

There are, of course, significant questions we’d like answered ASAP:

  • Is there a deadline for booking SLH stays through Hyatt?
  • What will happen with stays that occur after SLH is officially no longer a partner with Hyatt?
    • Will the bookings be honored?
    • Will guests still earn Hyatt stay credit?
    • Will guests earn Hyatt points?
    • Will guests get the same on-property benefits like free breakfast, etc. that are promised today?
    • Is there a deadline after which stays won’t earn Hyatt points & elite nights?

Details about Hyatt & Mr. & Mrs. Smith

We previously reported that Hyatt planned to integrate Mr & Mrs Smith properties in “early 2024”. We haven’t received any new news about that. The only addition is that Hyatt promises to “share details on this exciting integration shortly.”

For more about Hyatt & Mr & Mrs Smith, see: Hyatt goes next level with Mr & Mrs Smith.

My Take

While I’m sad to see Hyatt lose SLH, I’m not at all surprised. We assumed this was coming when Hyatt first announced their purchase of Mr & Mrs Smith. Hilton would not be my first choice of an SLH partner, but I think it’s much better than Capital One (see: Capital One partners with Small Luxury Hotels of the World). With Capital One, I wouldn’t expect any opportunities for outsized value when booking rewards stays.

With Hilton, due to their dynamic award pricing, we probably won’t see many opportunities for outsized point value, but I do think there will be some since Hilton tends to set max point prices for each property. So, when prices are higher than usual, we may get better value. Also, it’s worth noting that Hyatt offered poor value when cash prices were low (due to their fixed award chart). With Hilton, maybe we’ll see lower point prices to go along with lower cash rates. Plus, if Hilton offers 5th Night Free awards with SLH, that could go a long way towards improving the value of our points on those stays.

Another reason to be optimistic about the Hilton partnership with SLH is that it may offer us a great new way to use Hilton free night certificates. Personally, I haven’t been much of a fan of those certificates in the past because it always seems like I have to go way out of my way to find a good Hilton property to use them. With SLH’s added footprint, I think it will be much easier. That assumes, though, that Hilton will let us use the certs at SLH properties. We’ll see!

I loved Hyatt’s partnership with SLH for a few reasons. One was that, thanks to Hyatt maintaining an award chart, it was sometimes possible to get fantastic value when booking very expensive properties with points. For a few examples, see my reviews of Eichardt’s Private Hotel in Queenstown and Cellars-Hohenort Hotel Cape Town; and Nick’s review of the Grand Hotel Victoria Concept & Spa on Lake Como and his return visit which was even better. Another reason I loved the partnership is that it helped me maintain my Hyatt Globalist Elite status (the best major hotel-chain elite status available in my opinon) because stays earned Hyatt elite nights. With Hilton, we might still see some opportunities for great point value, but I doubt it will be as common as with Hyatt. And, personally, I don’t care at all about earning Hilton elite nights through SLH. Hilton elite status is too easy to get simply by holding a credit card (for example, the Hilton Aspire card automatically gives you top-tier Diamond status, and a number of Amex cards give you Hilton Gold).

Bottom Line

The big news here is that Hyatt’s break up with SLH is now official and that SLH chose to hook up with Hilton instead. SLH is clearly into hotel chains that start with H. The news, though, is almost completely devoid of specifics. We don’t know when any of this will happen other than it’s all happening “soon.”

We’ll report back when soon happens.

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