Oct212009

Hilton HHonors Category Change in 2010 and Redemption Guide

Hilton HHonors has released a new hotel rewards table with 7 categories of hotels (1-7) and a separate 2010 Waldorf Astoria redemption category. Point redemption amounts have changed. Changes go into effect January 15, 2010. Members may redeem rewards using HHonors points using the current HHonors redemption table through January 14, 2010.

Update February 8, 2010: Here is the Loyalty Traveler analysis of the HHonors Hotel Reward Category Shift of Jan 15, 2010.

 Waldorf-Astoria Collection properties (19 hotels currently) will have low-season and high-season redemption rates ranging from 50,000 to 80,000 points per night in 2010.

HHonors Category 7 is a new reward redemption category and will be 50,000 points for a free night. This is a 25% increase on the current top end Category 6 free night using 40,000 HHonors points.

The release of the new hotel category placement in late December/early January will keep us guessing which properties will move up to 50,000 points per night for a Category 7 room using HHonors points.

The HHonors Opportunity category free room night for 7,500 points is currently the lowest reward category in the Hilton chain. The Opportunity name is being dropped. The new Category 1 will be 7,500 points in 2010.

 

HHonors 2010 Categories and Points (2009 Reward Levels beneath)

HHonors 2010 Categories and Points (2009 Reward Levels beneath)

Qualitative Value Table for HHonors Redemption Value per 1,000 points Spent for a Free Room

HHonors Redemption Value Quality Based on a $7/1,000 points Excellence Scale

HHonors Redemption Value Quality Based on a $7/1,000 points Excellence Scale

  1. Calculate the cost in points for the room
  2. (Room $ Cost ÷ Points Cost) x 1,000 = Redemption Value per 1,000 HHonors points
  3. Adjust the redemption value to fit your economic and travel situation. I have used $7 per 1,000 HHonors points since this gives a reasonable value at the upper end hotels. Spending 40,000 points to not spend $280 sounds like a great value to me. Spend 30,000 points to not spend $210 sounds like an excellent value to me.
  4. The problem setting up the tables qualitatively with $7.00 per 1,000 points being an Excellent Redemption Value is the unrealistically low room rates resulting in excellent and good value at Category 1 and Category 2 hotels in 2010. I maintained the same redemption value range across all hotel categories at $7 per 1,000 points rated an excellent redemption value.
  5. If you have more opportunities to spend points (i.e. road warrior) go to a higher scale where $10 per 1,000 points is excellent value and adjust other redemption values accordingly. I originally had the scale based on $10 redemption value where a Category 6 hotel would need to be >$10 per 1,000 points. In other words a $400 room rate savings would be necessary to get an excellent redemption value.
  6. When the scale is based on $7 redemption value the upper end hotels hold more realistic values for when to spend points. $10 redemption value makes low category hotels more realistic on when to spend points.

 

This is my Loyalty Traveler preliminary estimate for rule of thumb advice on HHonors redemption value.

Here is another way to show this information to help determine when to redeem points based on the hotel cost in different hotel categories:

HHonors Category 7 Points Redemption Value Table

HHonors Category 7 Points Redemption Value Table

Question for Readers: Do you think the room rate ranges and redemption value quality statements are reasonable values?

HHonors Category 6 Redemption Value

HHonors Category 6 Redemption Value

Readers: Can you regularly get more than $10 per 1,000 points in your reward night redemptions?

HHonors Category 5 Points Redemption Value

HHonors Category 5 Points Redemption Value

Do you have any problem redeeming your points for rooms when your redemption value is less than $5 per 1,000 points? 

 

HHonors Category 4 Points Redemption Value

HHonors Category 4 Points Redemption Value

Currently there are around 1,200 Category 3 hotels. How many of these hotels will remain in category 3 in 2010? How many go up to Category 4?

HHonors Category 3 Points Redemption Value

HHonors Category 3 Points Redemption Value

Will any of the more than 1,200 Category 3 hotels go down a level for 2010?

I think it is unlikely for any category 3 hotels to go from 25,000 points per night to just 12,500 points per night as a Hilton HHonors category 2 hotel in 2010. Certainly not more than a few hotels.

HHonors 2010 Category 2 Points Redemption Value

HHonors 2010 Category 2 Points Redemption Value

It would be a cool enhancement to mitigate all the bad changes with higher Category 7 and Waldorf-Astoria Collection hotels if a portion of current Category 3 hotels dropped by 50% for points redemption free night. That would be a great enhancement for the traveler who just doesn’t earn 40,000 to 50,000 points in a calendar year to buy a high category free night.

HHonors 2009 Category 2 Redemption Value

HHonors 2009 Category 2 Redemption Value

In 2009 you need 20,000 points for a free night. HHonors has an opportunity to really help travelers by maintaining at least 50% of the current Category 2 hotels in Category 2 in 2010. This would mean a 50% reduction in the points cost for hundreds of hotels in 2010.

Hey Hilton HHonors. This paragraph is for you.

I think I have a good tip for you to save your ass with these category changes in 2010. Drop the cost for a free night at 500 Category 2 Hilton hotels by keeping half the current Category 2 hotels in Category 2 for 2010 so the cost for a free night is reduced from 20,000 points to 12,500 points.

The masses will be cheering while the high end travelers lament the cheap redemption days of Paris, Miami, and New York City.

HHonors Category 1 Points Redemption Value

HHonors Category 1 Points Redemption Value

 

Hey HHonors.

Really.

Keep a good chunk of current Category 2 hotels in Category 2 to give the members some enhancement with the changes.

 

 Related links: Loyalty Traveler – February 8, 2010  Analysis of 2010 Hilton HHonors Category Shift

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

More articles by Ric Garrido »

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Comments

  1. Any idea about how to search for “opportunity” category hotels on their website? They seem to not reveal the category of the hotel in a straightforward way. I don’t have many points and I need them to stretch!

  2. Hilton’s website is horrible for quickly searching hotels in a particular category.

    You need to search by country for Category 1 hotels. There is no way to quickly see where all the Category 1 hotels are located without a country by country search.

  3. While I hate the Hilton websites, I don’t think I can fault them here much. My guess is they didn’t design it with your research in mind 🙂 The average traveler probably has a pretty good idea where they want to go and is looking for a hotel within a country.

  4. When you are an avid FlyerTalker the whole world is here for touring. Over the years I have found myself looking for a good value for my points.

    Sometimes I want to know where I can travel and stay for a week in a low category hotel. This is how Malaysia and Egypt first came in my sights.

    Sometimes I want to know where the high category hotels are located and choose from those options. Particularly when it comes to beach resorts. Maldives, Seychelles, Bali, Mauritius. Getting a listing of all Category 7 HHonors hotels can be useful when no destination is predetermined for the vacation.

    Hilton HHonors could easily provide the search option to check by category. Marriott, Hyatt, and Starwood provide this option.

  5. As a software engineer, I agree that they should be able to provide that search option fairly easily.

    As a Hilton website user, I know that they can’t even keep me logged in for more than a minute or two most of the time, and page transitions frequently lead to log-outs. I’d prefer the fix that first before adding features (but I have little hope to see that addressed any time soon).

    “Avid Flyertalkers” aren’t necessarily a huge percentage of their customer base.

  6. Everyone should send a note to Hilton asking them to publish their hotels by category in addition to having to search by city per Rick’s comment

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