Hilton Honors has made some major changes this year, including changing their name (slightly), introducing points pooling, letting select members extend Diamond status by a year, adjusting how they price awards, and introducing new Points & Money awards.
One of the major changes that Hilton Honors made is that they no longer have an award chart with categories. Instead they have variable award pricing, which may seem bad on the surface, but I’ve actually been impressed by how they’ve implemented it. When you combine that with Hilton’s new Points & Money awards, more members than ever before have the ability to redeem their points.
While certain loyalty programs have eliminated award charts in order to be less transparent, that’s not what Hilton Honors is doing. They’ve been very open in communicating their intentions.
While Hilton doesn’t technically have an award chart anymore, they’ve said that the cost of award nights at a given hotel won’t be higher than the previous highest cost when they did have award charts. That means Hilton’s top hotels won’t cost more than 95,000 points per night, etc.
While there’s not an award chart anymore, Hilton does have an online tool where they’ll let you look up the maximum number of points required for a stay at a given hotel.
Hilton has reached out to say that as of July 7, 2017, they’ll be adjusting the maximum number of points that may be required for redemptions at four properties:
With continued rapid growth in China, DoubleTree Hangzhou East’s top price will move from 10K to 20K Points, DoubleTree Jiaxing from 5K to 10K Points, and DoubleTree Wuhu from 5K to 10K Points. Also, with a major renovation now complete at Hampton Inn Universal Orlando, their top price will move from 20K to 30K Points. As a reminder, those Points prices are the most a member would pay. Points prices can still be lower when the hotel’s paid rate goes down.
This is the first time that Hilton has increased the maximum number of points required for specific properties since their new pricing system went into effect in March. These changes seem fair to me, and I appreciate that they’re communicating them.
I think long term it’s to be expected that the maximum number of points required at certain properties will change, just as they did when Hilton had more traditional award pricing. For various reasons, revenue rates at hotels can fluctuate significantly, and award pricing for hotels will always reflect that.
I continue to get the sense that Hilton Honors isn’t pulling a fast one here, and that they’re committed to running a stable program. It’s my understanding that they’ll continue to update the online tool that shows the maximum number of points required for each property, which is a useful reference point.
So I don’t view this as the start of them raising the cost of awards at hundreds of hotels, increasing the cost of redemptions at their top hotels to 200,000 points per night, etc. Instead I think every so often we’ll see the maximum number of points required for a small percentage of properties increase, which is fair enough.