Many Hilton HHonors members, to varying degrees, felt the hotel loyalty program was devalued when Hilton HHonors made major changes to the cost of hotel award nights in March 2013.
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.
Loyalty Traveler February 19, 2013.
Even Hotel Owners think HHonors points devalued
Hotel News Now quotes Sunstone Hotel Investors CFO Bryan Giglia in its piece this week on the History of Loyalty Programs. Sunstone owns two Hilton brand hotels in Manhattan in Times Square area of New York:
- Hilton Times Square
- DoubleTree Suites Times Square.
During its recent second-quarter earnings call with analysts, executives from Sunstone Hotel Investors said the changes to the Hilton HHonors programs is affecting performance at two of its hotels in the Times Square area of New York: the Hilton Times Square and the DoubleTree Suites Times Square.
“Some of the things that will affect our (revenue per available room) growth rate for the two products we have in Times Square is the change in the Hilton HHonors system,” said Bryan Giglia, senior VP and CFO for Sunstone. “They changed the points system, materially devalued the points program across the board, but it specifically impacted our two hotels. And while HHonors has been a fairly significant driver of room nights at our hotels in the New York market, that change has impacted RevPAR growth in those hotels in the second quarter.”
Hotel News Now 11 Aug 2013
The history and evolution of hotel loyalty – Ed Watkins, editor
[Ric Garrido note: bold emphasis is mine]
Hilton Times Square is a Category 9 hotel. There is a Standard Room Award available for 70,000 points next Tuesday night August 21.
The new Hilton HHonors system is confusing with seasonal award fluctuation by month. HHonors Standard Room Hotel Categories table.
A category 9 hotel standard reward can be priced anywhere from 50,000 to 80,000 points per night. The standard reward rate will be one of the following:
- 50,000 points per night.
- 60,000 points per night.
- 70,000 points per night.
- 80,000 points per night.
The variation is called the seasonal award range which has to be checked on the Hilton HHonors beta version calendar for award level by each month.
DoubleTree Suites New York Times Square is 70,000 points per night in August for this top level HHonors category 10 hotel award. June, September and October this hotel is 95,000 points per night. That is 35% more points for a hotel night in the coming months. Doubletree Suite Times Square does not drop back to 70,000 points per night until January 2014.
This is a Hilton HHonors hotel that in 2013 costs nearly double the points per hotel award night compared to one year ago. Prime evidence of Hilton HHonors points devaluation.
And the hotel owners of the Hilton brand Doubletree Suites Times Square hotel have noticed an impact on revenue since the March 2013 changes to Hilton HHonors.
Hilton Times Square is a Category 9 hotel. The other hotel mentioned by Sunstone Hotel Investors CFO as another example where the HHonors changes have impacted RevPar. There is a Standard Room Award available for 70,000 points next Tuesday night August 21. The range for a HHonors Category 9 hotel is 50,000 to 80,000 points.
Hilton Times Square rises to 80,000 points per night in September 2013 through December 2013 before dropping back to 70,000 points in January and February 2014.
80,000 points per award night is 60% more points above the 50,000 points rate in 2012. That is HHonors points devaluation.
Of course you get 5th night free on 5-night award stays. That is a 20% discount on points when staying five nights.
Before the March 2013 change, HHonors elite members received a 15% discount in points needed for a 4-night award stay and 25% discount on an award stay of 6 to 14 nights.
Hilton HHonors points were devalued in March 2013.
And even the hotel owners have noticed the impact on HHonors customer loyalty.
Ric Garrido, writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler, shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests.