Posted by Ric Garrido

San Francisco is the second city in my five U.S. cities survey to show the redemption value of Hilton HHonors points following the March 28, 2013 award category changes.

I checked random dates over the next three months for Hilton brand hotels in five U.S. cities.

My objective is to see what the typical redemption value is for HHonors points. A decade ago I typically received about $1,200 to $1,500 in hotel stay savings for every 100,000 points I redeemed when I was able to book a category 5 hotel for a six night award stay. There were only six award categories and top hotels in Category 6 were a select group of VIP premium awards with high rates and even better redemption values.

Hilton HHonors has gone through three devaluations since then. $12 to $15 per 1,000 points is a rare value to find these days. Most of the category 5 hotels from 2003 are now category 7 or higher. 5th night free awards means a 5-night stay at a 50,000 points per night hotel will cost 200,000 points today.

Hotel category has less meaning now that there are also peak season rates.

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Standard Room Rewards for a category 7 hotel now can vary from 30,000 points to 60,000 points per night. This makes it very difficult to know the award rate until you check specific dates. And even then, there may only be Premium Room Rewards available at far higher points cost.

For Boston I checked for a two night midweek award from Tuesday to Thursday May 21-23. The hotel rates were very high in Boston compared to average rates around the U.S.

For San Francisco I checked this upcoming weekend April 5-7, Friday to Sunday when rates tend to be far lower than weekday rates.

SF Award Analysis

HHonors Award observations for San Francisco:

  • 4 of the 9 hotels located in San Francisco and Daly City offer a Premium Room Reward value fixed at $2.78/1,000 points. This is the same rate as many of the Boston hotels. Obviously there is a practice across many Hilton hotels in the U.S. fixing the Premium Room Reward rate at $2.78/1,000 points. This means that every $10 of BAR room rate will cost 3,600 points. For example: 50,000 points for Standard Reward on a $200 room will cost 75,600 points for a $210 Premium Room Reward. Premium Room Rewards really screw members when trying to redeem points for good value. A member with 200,000 HHonors points might only get $558 in redemption value using Premium Room Rewards. In 2003 I typically got $2,500 to $3,000 in value for 200,000 HHonors points ($250 per night room for 12 nights).
  • 1 of 9 hotels offers Points & Money Reward and that is a Hampton Inn SFO Airport hotel. $4.63 redemption value for a Points & Money Reward is a low value, although better than the $3.48/1,000 points redemption value for the standard award at 40,000 points for a $139 room rate.
  • Important to note that the published room rates shown are BAR. Discounts available with AAA and other special rates means the redemption values shown in the table are higher than when compared to other available rates like AAA.
  • Important to note that hotel tax is not considered in this survey of redemption value for HHonors points. In San Francisco the hotel tax is 15.58%. This is over $45 saved on a $300 per night room using HHonors points. The value of the tax saved with award stays on points probably makes up for using BAR rates and not considering lower rates like Advance Purchase and AAA rates when calculating redemption values.
  • Standard Hotel award redemption value range: Low – $3.48 per 1,000 HHonors pointsat Hampton Inn SFO Airport on a $139 rate for 40,000 points at a category 6 hotel.
  • Standard Hotel award redemption value range: High – $9.23 per 1,000 pointsat Hilton San Francisco Fisherman’s Wharf on a $369 rate for 40,000 points at a category 7 hotel. The fact that the redemption value is $9.23 is not a great find. $369 for this Fisherman’s Wharf hotel is greatly overpriced considering far better rooms for less cash are available at the other two Hilton Hotels in downtown San Francisco. Marriott Fisherman’s Wharf has a $229 rate.
  • Standard Hotel award redemption average value: $4.82 per 1,000 HHonors points. This is far lower than the $7.11 redemption value on HHonors Standard Rewards found in Boston Hotels. Boston room rates were far higher since that rate check was for weekday nights. 2 of 9 hotels in San Francisco did not offer Standard Rewards.
  • Hilton Garden Inn SFO Airport North offered an upgraded room category with a whirlpool tub at the Standard Room Reward rate. This is the only hotel surveyed to offer a better room category at the Standard Reward rate. The whirlpool room had a published rate of $159 compared to $119 for the basic room category at 30,000 points. I would have expected the whirlpool room to be priced around 57,600 points as a Premium Room Reward.

San Francisco shows a low redemption value for HHonors points for this next weekend. Another aspect of points redemption value is to consider the rates at competitive chains. A $350 hotel night at a Hilton might give a great redemption value, but that is a hollow gain if there are comparable hotels you can book for $200 per night.

Rates at some other hotels in San Francisco for April 5-7.

  • San Francisco Marriott Marquis = $189 (Standard Reward = 30,000 points per night.)
  • JW Marriott Union Square = $229 (Standard Reward = 35,000 points per night.)
  • San Francisco Marriott Fisherman’s Wharf = $229 (Standard Reward = 35,000 points per night.)
  • InterContinental San Francisco = $234 (Standard Reward = 45,000 points orPoints & Cash reward = 35,000 points + $70)
  • Hyatt at Fisherman’s Wharf = $269 (Standard Award = 15,000 points per night)
  • Hyatt Regency Embarcadero = $229 (Standard Award = 15,000 points per night)
  • Grand Hyatt Union Square = $284 (Standard Award = 18,000 points per night)
  • Westin St. Francis Union Square = $190 (Standard Award = 12,000 points orCash & Points award $110 + 6,000 points per night)
  • Palace Hotel San Francisco (Starwood Luxury Collection) = $159 (Standard Award = 12,000 points per night.)

Nest city in the Hilton HHonors points value survey is Minneapolis, Minnesota.

8 Responses

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  2. Interesting choice of cities. And why is NY not on the list? Guess no one travels there :)

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