Breaking – Major Negative Hilton HHonors Changes Confirmed…again

Hilton has just confirmed several changes to their HHonors program including the addition of a tenth hotel reward category and an increase in award prices for several properties due to the new “seasonal hotel rewards”. Seasonal rewards increase the price of a redemption based on the hotel’s busy season. For example, the Hilton Barbados, a category 7 property, used to be 50k points for a standard room all year long, but would now increase to 70k per night from December – March. Hilton also announced that they will now provide a 5th night free benefit to silver, gold, and diamond members. However, sticking with this example, the average rate for 5 nights would increase to 56k per night instead of the previous 50k during the prime season, but would drop to 40k in the off season when taking advantage of the 5th night free. I’ve just start browsing through their seasonal chat, but I’ve yet to find properties where the redemption rates have actually dropped from the old pricing during the off season. For now this looks like an increase only…

  • Reward Categories – We will be expanding to ten hotel reward categories to account for all of the new hotels and resorts that have opened in the past few years. With 3,900 hotels and resorts in 90 countries you are sure to find the perfect place for your next reward stay.
  • Seasonal Hotel Reward Pricing – For most of our hotels and resorts, we will introduce seasonal pricing for reward stays. The amount of points needed for a Standard Room Reward and a Points & Money Reward will vary during certain times of the year.
  • 5th Night Free – Now members with Silver, Gold or Diamond elite status will get a free night* when they book a Standard Room Reward stay of five or more consecutive nights.

Changes go into effect March 28, 2013, and any bookings made before then still correspond to the old terms and conditions, even for stays post March. I’ll be taking a look through the reward categories and seasonal pricing charts tonight and will have an updated post later this week. You can check out the full details and the updated reward category and seasonal pricing charts here. This link will allow you to see the new reward chart but also has search functionality to assist in determining the rate at a given property based on time of year.

Update – I’m still going through the list looking for some positives based on the seasonal pricing (feel free to comment if you find one) but here’s another negative. Hilton Phuket, category 3, currently pricing at 25,000 points per night will become 40k per night Dec-Feb and then drop to 30k per night for the rest of the year. 5th night free brings the rate to 24k in the off-season and 32k in prime season.

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  1. Do you know if we can combine “”Axon” awards with this 5th free night offer, where you get 4 nights for 145000 points at category 7 hotels?

  2. Eugh, I really want to pick somewhere nice for next Jan, I have Marriott, Priority Club, Hilton…all being horribly devalued. Although I think this one is going to hurt me most.

  3. Seems that the AXON and GLON are going away… I checked the Maldives and no surprise it is going to Cat 10.. even with the extra night free you are looking at 380K for 5 nights with the new program instead of 200K GLON award currently… Rough times ahead.

  4. I already thought their program was one of the worst but not it really is. No more Axon rewards and increases in prices. 70,000 points per night is outrageous

  5. What the hell? This sucks and now I have my new Hawaiian cards that i was using for hilton miles. I guess I might be booking a flight to hawaii instead.

  6. Hilton may want to rethink this. I’m burning all of my points and I’m sure many others are as well. I have no incentive to earn any additional points going forward.

  7. AXON is pretty much the only way I redeemed. Luckily for me, I’m leaving today for 8 nights at the Conrad Maldives on 2 AXONs for 145k each.

    The BIG question is what will become of AXON ?

  8. This is the most egregious bait and switch tactic that I’ve seen in the travel industry in all my 30 years of travel. Each year I use an award in NYC and the points for 1 night have doubled in goig from 40,000 to 80,000. Hilton must be trying to improve their balance sheet so they can more attractive to be sold to make such a BOLD move. This short sighted strategy will backfire as their best customers will continue to flee in droves once they learn of the changes. I hope that those that are in the legal profession will initiate a class action law suit against Hilton. The atrocity of these program changes will spread like wildfire through the internet and I’m sure competitors will capitalize on it to gain market share.

  9. It’s a disgrace!!! I sent them an email venting my frustrations… They apologized and sent me 5000 points… What a slap in the face?? What am I going to do with that?? I hope they lose customers in droves…

  10. Say what you will. It costs nothing to join the loyalty program. Your price for a hotel is the same whether you are a member or not. Go somewhere else; if all programs are devaluing, it won’t make much difference if you choose to stay where the program is also being devalued.

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