Hilton HHonors is the biggest hotel loyalty shock yet in 2013 with today’s announcement of changes coming March 28.
- 10 hotel award categories ranging in per night price from 5,000 points to 95,000 points.
- 5th night free for elite members. I assume this means the end to VIP awards since it makes no sense to offer 5th night free to elite members when that discount is currently already the norm.
- Seasonal award rates.
There are many program changes to HHonors award stays so I will give a preliminary analysis now and update as more information is clarified.
10 Hotel Award Categories
The new HHonors program will place hotels in ten categories. The main impact will be many of the current category 7 hotels will rise to category 8, 9 or 10.
The good news is Hilton HHonors has published the new HHonors award categories for all hotels globally in this pdf. You can book hotel awards at the current and most likely lower rates through March 27, 2013.
Hilton HHonors 10 award categories with peak season rates effective March 28, 2013.
HHonors current award chart valid through March 27, 2013.
Here are some properties rising to new higher category awards to give you an idea of the devaluation that might be in store when you redeem points after next month:
- Hilton Nashville Downtown from category 7 = 50,000 points to category 8 = 40,000 to 70,000 points.
- Hilton Whistler Resort, British Columbia, Canada from category 7 = 50,000 points to category 9 = 50,000 to 80,000 points.
- Hilton Garden Inn Portland Downtown Waterfront, Maine from category 6 = 40,000 points to category 8 = 40,000 to 70,000 points.
- Hilton Garden Inn Saratoga Springs from category 6 = 40,000 points to category 9 = 50,000 to 80,000 points.
- Hampton Inn & Suites – Berkshires-Lenox from category 5 = 35,000 points to category 8 = 40,000 to 70,000 points.
5th night free for elite members.
This looks to me like a major devaluation for elite members.
HHonors elite members already have fifth night free using VIP awards for 5 nights and this change looks like it eliminates two of the better award options.
Currently HHonors VIP awards give the following discounts:
- 4-night stay = 15% off standard reward price.
- 5-night stay = 20% off standard reward price (same as 5th night free)
- 6-night and longer stays = 25% off standard reward price.
Here is the impact of the New Award Rates using Hampton Inn & Suites Berkshires-Lenox currently at category 5 and rising to category 8 with a 6-night award stay.
February 2013 category 5 hotel for 6 nights = 35,000 x 6 = 210,000 points with 25% discount = 157,500 points.
The new rates with 5th night free mean at low season this category 8 award is 40,000 points x 6 nights = 240,000 points – one free night = 200,000 points.
At a minimum this hotel goes from 157,500 to 200,000 points.
Peak season next July or August at 70,000 points per night means this Massachusetts hotel will rise from 157,500 points for a VIP award to 350,000 points for a 6-night stay with the new 5th night free discount.
157.500 points to 350,000 points is more than a 100% increase for this Hampton Inn.
Say it with me —- HHONORS POINTS DEVALUATION.
Here are links to follow the March 28, 2013 changes:
I’ll follow up this post when I have had the opportunity to digest the changes.
Ric Garrido, writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler, shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests. You can follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.