Jun202011

HHonors Premium Room Rewards Impacting Diamond Reservations Guarantee

The HHonors “Diamond Reservations Guarantee” policy was one of the primary benefits I used as an HHonors Diamond member. Most hotel programs have a policy for guaranteed paid rooms. The valuable aspect of the HHonors Diamond Reservations Guarantee is when trying to redeem points for a hotel stay and all “Standard” rooms are unavailable. The HHonors Diamond member contacts the HHonors Diamond Member desk to assist with securing an HHonors reward room reservation with the hotel at the standard reward rate when these rewards are unavailable online.

I used the HHonors “Diamond Reservations Guarantee” for booking a majority of my 6-night VIP stays over several years as a Hilton Diamond while traveling primarily during peak holiday periods like Thanksgiving, Christmas/New Year’s and Easter as an elementary teacher on school vacation breaks.

There is a current thread on FlyerTalk indicating the rollout of the new HHonors Premium Room Rewards is having an impact on the ability of HHonors Diamond members to use the Diamond Member desk to force hotel reward night stays at the standard reward rate.

Members report hotels offering Premium Room Rewards when there are no standard room rewards available are now unable to secure the Diamond Reservations Guarantee at the standard reward rate. Apparently the new policy is the HHonors Diamond Reservations Guarantee is not available to HHonors Diamond members seeking a room at the Standard Room Reward rate when Premium Room Rewards are available.

Diamond members are being asked to pay the higher points rate for a Premium Room Reward. For example, a FlyerTalk member reports the Hilton Malta, a category 7 hotel at 50,000 points per night, required 98,000 points per night even when going through the HHonors Diamond Member desk.

My rate check of the Hilton Malta shows July 13 costing 183EUR (US$261.65) for a prepaid, nonrefundable reservation or 96,734 HHonors points for a Premium Room Reward. This is a redemption value of US$2.71 per 1,000 HHonors points.  $2.71 per 1,000 points is a relatively low redemption value for HHonors equivalent to redeeming a 50,000 points category-7 standard reward night at a hotel offering paid rooms for $135 per night.

Hilton Malta Premium Room Rewards

Another member reports an Italian resort hotel with no standard room reward availability was charging 130,000 points per night for an Executive Room. The cost for a 5-night HHonors category-7 hotel VIP reward stay with the 20% discount increases to 520,000 points at the HHonors Premium Room Reward rate compared to 200,000 points for a Standard 5-night HHonors VIP reward stay.

When I checked Hilton Sorrento, Italy for a 1-night stay July 12, 2011 there was availability for a standard guest room and these options for Premium Room Rewards:

  • 50,000 points = King Hilton Guestroom Standard reward or 128€ (US$183.26). Redemption value $3.67/1,000 HHonors points.
  • 88,061 points = King Guestroom Sea View or 158€ (US$226.16). Redemption value $2.57/1,000 HHonors points.
  • 128,089 points = King Executive Top Floor or 319€ (US$456.39). Redemption value $3.56/1,000 HHonors points.

Checking Hilton Sorrento for a six night stay from August 11-17 revealed no standard room rewards and the following Premium Room Reward options:  

  • 81,390 points = King Guestroom Sea View or 235€ (US$336.13). Redemption value $4.13/1,000 HHonors points. The price of the room is 77€ higher per night, but the Premium Reward cost is lower than the one night stay in July for this same room category. There may be a reduction in points due to a six night stay discount.
  • 121,418 points = King Executive Top Floor or 302€ (US$431.94). Redemption value $3.56/1,000 HHonors points.
  • 214,816 points = King Executive Suite or 535€ per night (US$765.04). Redemption value $3.56/1,000 HHonors points. 

Basically the new policy appears to be when HHonors Standard Room Reward availability is gone, yet a higher category room is available as a Premium Room Reward, then the Diamond Member desk will not apply the Diamond Reservations Guarantee at the HHonors Standard Reward rate.

This looks like an issue to follow if you are an HHonors Diamond seeking Standard Reward rooms with the Diamond Member desk as the Premium Room Rewards expand across the Hilton chain over the next few months.

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.

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  1. Ric, does this realize surprise you? I hate to be overly cynical but all FT programs are always looking for back door ways to devalue the program.

    For example, when you look at Starwood over the years, the aspirational hotels (and a lot of others) seem to have very few standard rooms (for awards)and standard suites (for an upgrade) available – many rooms over time seem to have had a category upgrade (though as a layman one would pressed to understand how they could possibly be an upgrade).

    One other issue on the value of points which is rarely mentioned is that points were earned in the past with higher value dollars. Companies seem to forget they got the revenue in the past and have had the funds for months or years. This multiplies the impact of the devaluation via increases in point levels, category changes etc.

  2. if true, this is a huge devaluation of HH Diamond. This is almost a targeted effort at screwing diamonds.
    No reason to get higher than gold now…….how long before they realise the error of their ways when all the diamonds are gone

  3. I attempted to book Disney Hilton for standard points and could not. So we’ll stay somewhere else. I’m not a happy Diamond. I would go out of my way to stay with Hilton, not anymore. I was more loyal to them than they were to me. Hilton is loosing more business than they realize. Sometimes business lost is not recovered!

  4. How does this effect the Diamond special arrangement for an AXON of 4 nights or more or a GLON of 6 nights or more?

    From what I read on the FT thread, it is important to contact the Diamnond desk and then request to speak with customer relations to voice opposition to the devaluation of the Diamond force policy. This is simply a stupid policy change on Hilton’s part driven by someone who is a bean counter, and it will cause them to looose the jar of customers.

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