Hilton HHonors hotel reward category changes October 8, 2014 is an announcement from Hilton that 20 hotels will increase in reward category and 12 hotels will decrease. One hotel made a two category jump from 1 to 3, effective September 10, 2014.
One of these hotels already jumped two reward categories on September 10 with Hampton Inn Florence-Midtown, Florence, Alabama rising from category 1 at 5,000 points per night to category 3 at 20,000 points per night. Ouch!
London, Dublin, Boston, Medford Oregon account for half the hotels jumping to a higher reward category. The D.C. area from Richmond to Maryland accounts for a few more. Waldorf Astoria Chicago was formerly the Elysian, a big splash when it opened on Chicago’s Gold Coast at the height of the great recession in February 2009. By 2011, the struggling hotel was acquired by Hilton Worldwide and rebranded as Waldorf Astoria Chicago February 2012. No surprise for me to see this award winning hotel rise to the top of Hilton HHonors reward categories.
Poland and Turkey add three more hotels to the 1% of Hilton brand hotels in category 1 for 5,000 points. Three hotels dropping to category 1 and two hotels leaving category 1 gives a net gain of one new category 1 hotel for value seekers stretching HHonors points. Poland is a safe western European place to hang out for a cheap vacation these days. On the other hand, Turkey is experiencing a rougher side of tourism with its proximity to the Syria and Iraq war zone. Istanbul still keeps opening luxury hotels, so there are safe havens in Turkey. Hilton Seychelles drop from the top elite category. Perhaps Mauritius and the Maldives are more popular destinations these days.
Hampton Inn hotels outside city centers dropped. Henderson is the suburb of Las Vegas about 15 minutes drive from the Strip. Jacksonville East is farther from the beach. Tucson North is another descriptor indicating these are car travel places.
I kind of like the quarterly announcements of hotel reward category changes from Hilton HHonors. The impact is far less overwhelming than getting hit with hundreds of category changes in an annual adjustment.
Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.
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