Barbara DeLollis published a sneak peek of HHonors 2010 category placement for a selection of Hilton Hotels properties going up, staying the same, and going down. My initial reading of her article left me confused. The numbers did not make sense to me. The confusion is apparently common among FlyerTalkers discussing her article and the HHonors hotel category changes in this thread.
The paragraph in question reads like this,
“Hilton will move 547 properties (or 16% of total) into a cheaper points category, while it will move 354 others (or 10%) into a pricier category. (These changes come on top of the 20% increase in the number of points required for a free night’s stay across Hilton’s system.)”
Here is my Loyalty traveler take:
1. The parenthetical statement, “These changes come on top of the 20% increase” is the source of confusion. That does not make any sense considering the preceding statement. There is only a 20% increase in points for a free night across the system if every hotel is bumped up a category for 2010. In other words, if a 2009 category 2 hotel becomes a category 3, category 4 goes to category 5, and so on, then there is a 20% across the system increase in points needed for a free night.
2. She cites Jeff Diskin saying 547 hotels (16%) will move into a cheaper points category and 354 hotels (10%) will be in a higher category. 74% of the hotels, 2,575 hotels will remain in the same category.
These are radically different numbers than the message I have been pushing regarding the changes in HHonors for 2010 based on earlier statements and lack of statements from HHonors representatives to clearly address the scope of the 2010 changes.
The new category chart is clearly posted on the HHonors site. The chart is displayed with the 2009 HHonors hotel categories aligned in the same column as higher level 2010 categories. This graphic display of the 2010 changes, along with statements by HHonors Representative on FlyerTalk have led members and analysts to conclude Hilton HHonors planned to increase all hotels to one category level higher with the 2010 changes.
Jeff Diskin appears to contradict this across-the-system hotel category shift in the USA Today article with a statement that 74% of hotels will remain in the same category in 2010.
3. Did social media have actionable results on the HHonors changes? Did forums like FlyerTalk, news articles, and blogs convince Hilton HHonors to rethink the 2010 hotel category changes?
HHonors is mysteriously quiet about the changes. Details on how the hotel category shift in 2010 will be implemented are still confusing after reading the USA Today article.
My advice for Mr. Diskin and HHonors.
Get the word out on FlyerTalk ASAP in a clearly worded manner if the changes are really only 10% of hotels requiring more points in 2010.
Stop the hemorrhaging of the HHonors value proposition in the minds of your frequent guests.