HHonors 2010 Hotel Category Shift – It is bad!

USA Hilton Brand Hotels Category Shift for 2010

USA Hilton Brand Hotels Category Shift for 2010

Here is a table showing the hotel category shift for USA hotels.

USA properties comprise approximately 88% of total Hilton portfolio.

The average cost of a free hotel night did rise 19.3% for USA properties. I added the cost for each hotel in each category in 2009.

2009: 73,747,500 points / 3,109 hotels = 23,721 points

2010: 88,610,000 / 3,132 hotels = 28,292 points

(28,292 – 23,721) / 23,721 = 19.3% increase for USA. This is in line with all the reports of the past few months of a 20% points devaluation. Of course it is a bit higher if you are redeeming points for a Category 7 hotel in 2010.

80% of the hotels in California, almost 200 hotels, have increased at least one category, and 16 of these hotels increased two categories. Only one hotel of the 243 in California went down one category. 47 of 243 hotels remain in the same category.

San Francisco and San Diego reveal plenty of Category 7 hotels at 50,000 points per night.

This is just my preliminary run through of the numbers.

More analysis to come later.

I will probably just add to this post as I come up with additional analysis today. Check back later.

Related Post: http://loyaltytraveler.boardingarea.com/2010/02/08/hilton-hhonors-2010-hotel-category-shift-analysis/

This is a thorough analysis of the HHonors reward category changes from February 8, 2010.

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.

More articles by Ric Garrido »



  1. Hey Ric — I’m sure you’ll have an extensive analysis at some point over the next few days, but you don’t happen to know an easy way to compare the current categories (post Jan 15 2010) to the same hotels Pre-Devaluation?

    ie, any links that should all (or alot) of Hiltons world wide & what category they are/were in?

  2. FlyerTalk member BlondeBomber has maintained a spreadsheet of Hilton HHonors properties for the past several years. This is the best source I know.

    HHonors is more difficult than Marriott, Starwood, and Hyatt to easily find information on hotels in a certain category since the website search function requires the member to search by state or country. There is no way to just see all the Category 7 hotels in the world in a single search.

    I created a Hilton HHonors hotel category spreadsheet in 2004, but I didn’t maintain it. I started again to create my own spreadsheet from scratch in December 2008, but I stopped after about 40 hours of work and went back to using BlondeBomber’s spreadsheet.

    It takes quite a bit of time to look up 3,300 hotels.

    Blondebomber’s spreadsheet is available for download. It is a large file over 1MB.

    Here is his spreadsheet download page with several other valuable resources:

  3. Based on various sources where hotel points are quantified in various ways, I’ve gained a general feeling that Hilton points are worth about half as much as Marriott points and maybe 3/4 of Priority Club points. The Hilton points have been easier for me to earn in higher numbers and greater comfort. I guess this devalues them for use on hotel stays, but what I think this means for me is that I may be using Hilton points primarily for conversion to airline miles going forward. My stays are driven more and more by the bonuses given in promotions. Thus, I’m most interested in the limitations to certain categories which may or may not be on the free stay certificates being awarded in the 2010 Q1 Hilton “Have a Free Night on Us” promotion.

  4. Alex – You should take a look at the tables I compiled last month comparing hotel points to airline miles conversion for the major loyalty programs.

    HHonors ranked at the bottom or near the bottom for most airlines.

    USA Domestic Airlines

    International Airlines

    The Have a Free night promotion certificate has no category restrictions or property exclusions as far as I know. Of course, you have to be able to find an available standard room.

    I made a comparative analysis of New York City properties across the hotel chains for free night redemption last month. The Waldorf Astoria was the only hotel among all the chains that did not have an award night avaialble for the April 2010 dates I used in the analysis.

    I also offered my valuation range for hotel points in different hotel loyalty programs in that post.

  5. Thanks Ric! Your posts have a huge impact on where I choose to stay (and I’m in hotel rooms about 330 nights/year).

  6. What Hilton bascially did was create a new level (7), and move all the hotels up one level. You can see this pretty clearly in Ric’s chart.

  7. Thanks for some of the analysis. I am SHOCKED to see some of the category increases.

    Taking a look at Orlando, where the hotels are no more than ~ $200/night, the NEW hotels are cat 7’s @ 50K points/night so ~ .4 CPM.

    In CC spend that means you are getting 1.2 CPM per $$ on the AMEX.

    In stay you get 10 points/$ so getting about 4 CPM (not as bad).

    Compared to Starwood, this program is nony around 1/2 the value per $ spent on CC.

  8. I really didn’t think Hilton HHonors would make such a wholescale upward shift in redemtpion categories despite all the news reports to the contrary stating a 20% increase.

    There are still great values for points at many hotels, but in many places like San Francisco the major Hilton Hotels are only $99 per night for many days during the year.

    50,000 points or $99 ($115 after tax in SF) is a no-brainer for spending cash rather than points.

    The bottom line is more cash for Hilton and more points sitting in members’ accounts looking for good value redemption opportunities.

    Hopefully HHonors will bring back a hefty listing of PointStretcher hotels for 40% discount award nights in 2010.

  9. Reading this analysis from the Hyatt in Waikiki. Last year we spent the same long holiday weekend at the Embassy Suites Waikiki. Was a no-brainer to switch loyalties.

  10. This is as bad as anticipated. Unbelievable.

    Ric – What in your mind is the best value, Starwood, Marriott, Mbrship Rewards, or Diner’s? I am sure you have posted on this in the past; please forgive my laziness.

    Thank you for your service to this community.

  11. Starwood works the best for me as a leisure traveler, but that is based on my travel pattern and freedom to travel where and when I want. SPG has always been the best to me for complimentary suite upgrades, but I also had good luck with Hilton providing regular upgrades when I was a Diamond member. I rely on backup hotel loyalty programs for places where Starwood is not.

    Marriott has great vacation deals (Miles + Points) if you have the ability to earn lots of points. I like Marriott’s hotel redemption value. I think Marriott and IHG offer good value for points.

    Hyatt is great value when redeeming points. Hyatt’s full service properties can be expensive if you are paying your own way, but their promotions make any hotel easily within reach when spending points or using free night awards earned through promotions. Hyatt’s small geographic coverage (400 hotels) relative to the other programs (1,000 to 4,000 hotels) makes it difficult to maintain Hyatt as your sole hotel travel program.

    Hilton is a good deal for earning miles with hotel stays and reward stays counting for elite credit. The Hilton credit card is a good deal and if you have the ability to spend $40,000 annually you can buy yourself Diamond status. No other program has that option.

    IHG Royal Ambassador gets rave reviews if you live an InterContinental life.

    I like Diners for its reward partners and the fact that it is a MasterCard.

    AmEx is unbeatable if you have a high spending pattern since AmEx Membership Rewards points can be exchanged into so many airlines. And you can buy up to 500,000 AmEx points if you need a boost for an award ticket. AmEx is great for the high spending traveler.

    Mix and match your loyalty programs to your travel profile is the best advice I can give.

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