To ensure that it continues “to be a world-class guest loyalty program”, the Hilton HHonors frequent guest loyalty program will expand to ten hotel reward categories; introduce seasonal pricing for reward stays; and offer the fifth night free of charge for you — if you are a VIP member with Silver, Gold or Diamond elite status — when you book a standard room reward stay of five or more consecutive nights.
The changes will be effective as of March 28, 2013 — but you have the opportunity to redeem your Hilton HHonors frequent guest loyalty program points before then at the current rates for any future stay. However, if you modify the reward reservation after March 28, 2013, the new reward rates — whether increased or decreased — will take effect.
The following is a chart which lists the upcoming standard reward rates which will become effective as of next month:
|CATEGORY||CURRENT RATES||NEW RATES|
|1||7,500 Hilton HHonors points||5,000 Hilton HHonors points|
|2||12,500 Hilton HHonors points||10,000 Hilton HHonors points|
|3||25,000 Hilton HHonors points||20,000 Hilton HHonors points|
|4||30,000 Hilton HHonors points||20,000 to 30,000 Hilton HHonors points|
|5||35,000 Hilton HHonors points||30,000 to 40,000 Hilton HHonors points|
|6||40,000 Hilton HHonors points||30,000 to 50,000 Hilton HHonors points|
|7||50,000 Hilton HHonors points||30,000 to 60,000 Hilton HHonors points|
|8||Not Applicable||40,000 to 70,000 Hilton HHonors points|
|9||Not Applicable||50,000 to 80,000 Hilton HHonors points|
|10||Not Applicable||70,000 to 95,000 Hilton HHonors points|
Hotel properties with an all-inclusive reward category — where everything such as food, activities, amenities and other services and items are included in one price — will still be available. Also, Waldorf=Astoria hotel and resort properties — not included in the above chart — currently range between 50,000 and 80,000 Hilton HHonors frequent guest loyalty program points before the impending changes on March 28, 2013.
At first glance, the above chart for point redemption awards is similar to the Wyndham Rewards chart for point redemption awards where many categories appear to require fewer points for a free standard reward night — but do not be fooled, as even though the amount of Hilton HHonors frequent guest loyalty program points will be reduced at some individual hotel properties to at least reflect the new lowest level, the amount of Hilton HHonors frequent guest loyalty program points will be increased at other individual hotel properties to fill the three newest high categories.
By my count, the standard room rewards at 3,981 hotel properties worldwide will change categories effective as of March 28, 2013, according to a document 77 pages long released by Hilton HHonors in which the affected hotel properties are listed in alphabetical order — but there is no indication as to which hotel properties increased or decreased in category; nor is there any indication as to how many categories by which each hotel property will change.
I find that rather vague at best. Is Hilton HHonors attempting to be sneaky here?
To be more accurate — there are ten hotel properties which are expected to move into the new Category 10, which clearly indicates an increase in the amount of Hilton HHonors frequent guest loyalty program points which are needed to redeem for reward nights. Those ten hotel properties are as follows:
- Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort & Spa
- Conrad Tokyo
- Conrad Maldives Rangali Island
- Conrad Koh Samui
- Grand Wailea
- Doubletree Guest Suites Times Square-New York City
- Hilton Seychelles Northolme Resort & Spa
- Hilton Odawara Resort & Spa
- Hilton Maldives/Iru Fushi Resort & Spa
- Hilton Labriz Resort & Spa
The aforementioned list of Category 10 hotel properties have the potential to require as much as 95 percent more Hilton HHonors frequent guest loyalty program points after March 28, 2013 — but that is still not nearly as bad as an unannounced increase of almost 282 percent at one particular hotel property in New York in the Wyndham Rewards frequent guest loyalty program. That increase has since been reduced from almost 282 percent to a “more reasonable” 87.5 percent.
Well — unlike Wyndham Rewards — at least the changes in categories for individual hotel properties have already been released and not cloaked in mystery. You will just have to spend some time and do some work as to figure out how each hotel property has been affected, if at all.
That is just what I want to do when I redeem points: spend valuable time and work harder for the potential of an opportunity to secure a reward stay with free nights. Did I not already work for my free nights? All I want to do is use the points I already earned — but with as little time and effort as possible.
I suppose it is not only frequent flier loyalty programs of airlines which are getting increasingly — and, may I suggest, needlessly — complicated…
…and what does this mean for premium room rewards, which were already considered a “massive devaluation” by FlyerTalk members in October of 2011? What about Point Stretcher rewards, VIP rewards and AXON rewards?
All of this is in addition to the increase in qualifications for Hilton HHonors VIP elite status, which were quietly implemented last month.
While there are a few positive minor benefits amidst all of the bad news, it will most likely be of no surprise to you that most FlyerTalk members are unhappy about the changes to be implemented to the Hilton HHonors frequent guest loyalty program, calling them “ridiculous”, “insane” and “absurd” as they threaten to “burn” their Hilton HHonors frequent guest loyalty program points and leave for competitors such as Starwood Preferred Guest, Marriott Rewards, Hyatt Gold Passport, Club Carlson and Priority Club Rewards — although the points used in some of those frequent guest loyalty programs have been “devalued” as well.
FlyerTalk members found out that when searching for hotel properties in Categories 4 through 10 that the lower part of the point redemption range was either few and far between, or difficult to find and book — again, bordering on what can be perceived as deception, as the “high season” pricing is apparently much more readily available for much of the year.
I asked this before of you, and I will ask again: is collecting and redeeming miles and points really still worth it — or is it time to give up?