Hilton HHonors Members Angry over Category Step Up

Hilton HHonors is changing the hotel redemption categories and HHonors elite member VIP Reward Tables January 15, 2010.

Discussion on FlyerTalk over the past two weeks with input from HHonors Representative regarding the impending HHonors changes suggests the Hilton HHonors category changes may indeed be across the board with most Hilton brand hotels being repositioned one category level higher for 2010.

Loyalty Traveler blog posted a table October 13 showing HHonors elite member VIP Reward changes by hotel category for 2010 compared to 2009. Today I saw some posts on FlyerTalk saying the tables I created were misleading.

Upon re-reading the FlyerTalk quote I responded to with a link to the Loyalty Traveler  tables  of October 13 I realize this is not the information the original poster was seeking. The comments inspired me to create another table showing the changes in the points required for VIP Rewards in 2010 combining the impact of both the HHonors free nights redemption with the new Category 7 along with what looks to be a massive shift of hotels across the chain one category level higher for 2010.

This table shows the effect when the hotel stay you enjoyed in summer 2009 using a Category 5 hotel VIP reward in 2009 requires a Category 6 hotel VIP reward in 2010 using the new HHonors free nights tables. The combined effect of a new 50,000 points per night Category 7 hotel along with a category level increase for virtually all hotels creates a 20 to 28% differential in the overall cost in points for many HHonors elite member VIP Rewards in 2010.

HHonors Representative said in this FlyerTalk post the category levels of hotels for 2010 will be released in about two months.

I created this speculative table for today’s post to show the points cost changes in 2010 for HHonors elite member VIP rewards if a hotel increases by one category.

The table displayed in this post shows points needed for a VIP Reward in 2009 compared to the points needed for the new VIP Rewards in 2010 with the assumption that a hotel will be one category level higher for free nights using points for 2010 reward stay of 6 to 14 nights in the new Category 1 through 7 redemption table.

For example, a 6-night HHonors VIP reward at a Category 5 hotel in 2009 is 150,000 points. The same hotel, if increased to Category 6 redemption level for 2010 will cost 180,000 points for the same 6-night HHonors VIP reward; a 20% increase in points for the same hotel in 2010.

The decision on hotel category placement is not finalized yet. “HHonors Representative” posting on FlyerTalk stated the 2010 hotel category placement will be released in late-December or early January. FlyerTalk threads like this will get some attention and perhaps lead to more favorable distribution of hotels in the new Category 1 to 7 scheme than just an across the chain category increase for 2010.

HHonors VIP Awards in 2010 for a hotels one category higher than 2009

HHonors VIP Rewards in 2010 for a hotels one category higher than 2009

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. Old Cat 5 for 4 nights with AXON5 = 125,000 points
    Old Cat 6 for 4 nights with AXON6 = 145,000 points

  2. Yes, it is true there is a different level of points required for Hilton HHonors American Express card members who already have access to 4-night reward stays at category 5 and Category 6 hotels using AXON rewards.

    We will have to see how these rewards change since the new 2010 4-night Category 5 VIP reward is fewer points (119,000 points) than the 4-night AXON5 category 5 reward (125,000 points).

    The 2010 4-night Category 6 VIP reward is fewer points (136,000 points) than the 4-night AXON6 category 6 (145,000 points).

    Will card members have access to even better discounts on Category 6 and 7 rewards?

  3. In 2010 the American Express AXON7 reward at 145,000 points is a great credit card benefit for a 4-night reward at a HHonors category 7 hotel.

    The normal rate for a 4-night HHonors category 7 reward is 50,000 points/night x 4 = 200,000 points.

    HHonors VIP 4-night category 7 reward for HHonors elite members gives a 15% discount = 170,000 points.

    AXON7 at 145,000 points is a 27.5% discount on the regular HHonors category 7 nightly rate for HHonors American Express cardmembers. This is likely the biggest improvement of the 2010 hotel reward category changes.

    HHonors category 6 night = 40,000 points or 160,000 points for four nights in 2009.
    2009 AXON6 = 145,000 points. (9% discount)
    2010 AXON6 = 125,000 points (21.8% discount)

    VIP category 6 reward = 136,000 points. (15% discount)

    The price of 2009 AXON5 was 125,000 points. Most HHonors category 5 hotels from 2009 became category 6 rewards in 2010. There was no increase for HHonors American Express members in the cost of a four-night reward for these same hotels. The cost of the AXON7 in 2010 is still 145,000 points so the HHonors category 6 hotels shifting to category 7 in 2010 had little effect on American Express cardmembers.

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