Guest Post: Hilton HHonors – Not All Doom & Gloom

This is a guest post by contributor Thrifty Tourist, who will be making frequent posts on Travel Summary going forward. Thrifty Tourist is just getting started in social media and can be found on Facebook and Twitter.

A lot has been written over the past 24 hours regarding the devaluation of Hilton HHonors points as of next month, and for the most part everyone is correct. This is a horrendous devaluation and as a Diamond Member, I can’t see myself working toward re-qualifying for my Diamond status with such a large downgrade in not only the point values, but previous downgrades in amenities as well.

But I also wouldn’t rush to spend my hard earned points that I have stored up because of the oncoming devaluation. I actually found that the new point system is actually a benefit at some of the higher end Hilton properties. For example, just last month I stayed at the Grand Wailea – A Waldorf Astoria property and had researched redemption values over the past 6 months and therefore have  a great understanding of the month-to-month changes in the number of points needed to redeem a single night. Currently, you can search Hilton’s website for Award Redemption Bookings at the Grand Wailea and you will find that the lowest available is 80,000 HHonors points for a single night throughout 2013.

However, with Hilton’s new point system, you can stay at the Grand Wailea for at least 7 months out of the year for only 70,000 points! For example, a search today shows that during the months of May and June, redemption rates range from 80,000 to 103,000 for a one-night redemption.

WaileaNewPoints

Searching Hilton’s new point system website you can see that a Standard Room at the Grand Wailea is actually scheduled to be only 70,000 points during May and June. It is also only 70,000 points in September, October, November, January and February, actually. From my personal experience of searching throughout last year for my trip to the Grand Wailea, I never saw a room available for as low as 70,000 points.  If Hilton’s new website is accurate and true, this is a great benefit of the new Hilton HHonors point system and I will actually hold onto my points as me and my wife would love to plan another stay at the Grand Wailea.

 WaileaNewPoints2

This new benefit isn’t only limited to high-end or Waldorf properties, it’s beneficial to some lower end properties as well. I also was planning a trip to Phuket this year and knew from my research that the Doubletree Hotel Phuket – Surin Beach had redemption values that ranged from 25,000 points to 70,000+ points. For most of the year it is 25,000, so let us base our valuation of the new rates off of that level.

PhuketOldPoints

Using Hilton’s new point system website shows that a one-night redemption rate is now only 20,000 points for the entire year. Every month is listed at only 20,000 points.  Now again, if the website is accurate and true, then this is a only a slightly better redemption rate than previous rates, but the fact that the points don’t fluctuate so dramatically will allow travelers to plan and organize trips throughout the year with a constant redemption value in mind, as opposed to having to check for rates for a specific date.

 PhuketNewPoints

I also found that Hilton’s All Inclusive Resort Properties, such as the Hilton Puerto Vallarta is not changing redemption values. Rates were constant at 60,000 per night in the old system and will be 60,000 per night under the new system.

While these are just three examples of the many that I have found, it does provide some insight that it is not all doom and gloom with Hilton’s new point system. Again, it is a massive devaluation and something that I am very upset about.  But at the same time, I’m going to spend the next month researching the different properties that I want to visit and see if I can actually benefit from waiting until March 28 or if speculative/early bookings will benefit me.  The goal of travel bloggers and advisors is to find that one gem of a deal, the needle in the haystack, in a travel market filled with bad deals. Hilton’s new point system just gives us one more haystack.

I’d like to hear if anyone else has found any other Hilton properties where the new point system may actually be a benefit versus devaluation. Let me know.

Comments

  1. ArizonaGuy says:

    You’re assuming that you’ll find 70K awards. What you’re seeing in the 80-100K plus for the Grand Wailea is a premium rate award. Nothing has been said whether that’s going away so you may still see it require that much, possibly more, and never find the “low” 70K rate just like you don’t see the 50K rate today.

    I don’t care about the lower end. I’m not earning Hilton points for the privilege of redeeming them at the same terrible rate at a the Hilton Garden Inn in booming Bastrop, Texas, for example.

    • Thrifty Tourist says:

      Yes it is an assumption as I mentioned that this was all relative to Hilton’s new website being accurate and true, and everything is always based on availability.

  2. There were sure to be SOME positives. This is a good start…hopefully we can find some more before the deadline.

  3. I saw similar results for the Hilton Waikoloa Village – 50k for all months but December, when it raises to 60k. The current Category 7 price is 50k points, so it appears to be unaffected by the devaluation…assuming we can continue to use GLON and AXON codes!

  4. I for one am booking a trip to the Maldives tonight.

  5. That’s funny – I’m thinking of cashing out my points at this same hotel (Grand Wailea) based on the same award chart you are looking at. The difference is that with a family with kids (my situation), I’m limited to spring break, Christmas break and summer break for our travel to Hawaii. All of these (with the exception of June) are going up to 95k per night. As an example, we’d do 7 nights in August. Right now I’m looking at that costing me 420 points (60k per night). Under the new scheme, that’d cost 570k points (6x95k and the 5th night free). That is a 35% increase – not too bad compared to some other increases. We just got back last night from an eight night the Conrad Hong Kong (fantastic stay btw – absolutely first class). That cost 290k using 2 back to back AXONs – I don’t even want to do the math on what that increase would be. I guess it just goes to prove that the change (especially the seasonality) works for some but not for others.

  6. I think one point everyone is missing here is that some hotels may not react as fast as others to the devaluation in changing their point structures. As this gets implemented you might find that some hotels that are not changing will catch on and up there category as this goes forward.

  7. Just a side note. I stayed at the Hilton Doubletree on Surin beach this past December and checked out after only the first night to relocate to the Hilton Acadia. Service was terrible at the Doubletree, Surin Beach is very small and does not offer the relaxing ambience or common amenities that the other beaches in Phuket offer. Just my .02 also don’t discredit some of the other “no name” properties. I stayed at a hotel called the ACCA Patong at Patong Beach, only one road off of Soi Bangala for only $40 a night and this hotel would of put every Hampton inn I’ve stayed at to shame and was better then half of the Garden Inn’s I’ve been in. Either way, enjoy Thailand.

    Matt

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