In a HUGE Negative Move, Hilton to Eliminate Award Categories Entirely

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Hilton Honors Award Chart Eliminated

Hilton Honors Award Chart Eliminated

Tricky little Hilton. Earlier I covered the upcoming changes to Hilton’s Honors loyalty program. Among the changes announced are positive ones like points pooling and more flexible points & cash bookings.

Unfortunately, like loyalty programs tend to do, Hilton buried the lead. In addition to the four positive changes comes a HUGE NEGATIVE. Apparently Hilton will now be ditching their award categories.

According to One Mile at a Time (who seemingly met and spoke with a Hilton rep), “As part of this, Hilton is also ditching their current system of having hotel categories.” Ben goes on to say, “That sounds horrible on the surface for aspirational redeemers (it reminds me of Delta eliminating award charts), but it’s not — Hilton won’t charge more than the current maximum being charged for a given category. In other words, the top hotels will continue to cost no more than 95,000 points per night.”

I disagree with Ben. This is not good or even remotely good news. Without award categories there is no transparency as to what they will charge. Prices may stay bound to the current maximums for awhile, but we know that most likely won’t be the case in the future. Additionally, this makes it much more difficult for customers to save for an award since they cannot peg what the price actually will be. This just paves the way for huge price increases down the line.

Good job Hilton. You took four small steps forward with your additions and then one monumental leap backwards. This is not good and I fear it means lower category properties will end up costing A LOT more in the long term.

What are your thoughts?


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25 COMMENTS

      • Hehe, I particularly enjoy how the “Alternative forms” was the first thing you read on the link. Ahhh, sometimes it’s the small things that I enjoy about reading the comment section!

  1. Agree, it may be like delta or it may be more like southwest. I would think the points will be a variable value. the slider is interesting.

  2. I’m with you. I’m actually surprised Ben went along so we’ll with what the Hilton rep told him. It’s pretty clear that this is a negative change. I also think the points and cash changes are negative. This basically fixes the value of a point at less than half a cent. Currently, though you can’t always find availability, you can often get FAR more on a cash and points booking.

  3. Unbelievable! They just had a MAJOR DEVALUATION within the past 2 years. Now they get rid of award charts entirely. Who the hell is going to want to earn Hilton points when they treat their currency like trash.

  4. I am not quite sure how this will work. Is it similar to Delta’s roving award amounts? I have just come from a less than ideal stay at a nice Hilton property. I am a guest who does not like having to have his room card re-keyed six times during a one night’s stay. So this has put me in a negative Hilton mood right now.

  5. I totally agree. What loyalty program managers never “seem” to get is that for many people the free night or free flight is a dream. They are earning points or miles for a dream trip. If they can’t attach a cost to that dream it makes it hard to save up for that dream so the dream is killed before it started. I know this type of dream doesn’t apply to everyone but for the random traveler that doesn’t play the game or maybe even read blogs like this one it is the dream that keeps they coming back.

  6. But… the award categories didn’t mean anything anyway, since the award costs per category were always given in ranges. Really wide ranges, like 30,000 – 50,000. Not only was it impossible to predict the cost for a particular hotel based on its category, the cost for the SAME ROOM would vary widely depending on the date. At least that’s been true in the Chicago market, which is where I have used my Hilton points so far.

  7. It’s not a big change. Their categories meant nothing anyway.They priced many hotels far out of the ranges shown, so it’s business as usual. I actually like this better because now I won’t be mad when they tell me the 50,000 point room will be 135,000.

  8. It is all about the stockholders these days, not the customer … we’ll see how they like it when people take their business elsewhere!

  9. And I thought IHG was the worst program but after this Hilton moves to the bottom for me.

    And Shawn, the home page of your blog is really confusing. It’s hard to read the title of the white text over the pictures. Can’t figure out which ones are new posts. And, hard to see the link to navigate to more posts.

  10. […] Even if Hilton points are some of the least valuable out there, if you have Diamond status, they should give you a bit more value. Best redemptions are in the lower categories with Hilton and I like to keep points around for when I can find a gem of a redemption or for the occasional good value cash + points redemption. Read more about their recent changes and the removal of reward categories. […]

  11. What does this mean for booking all inclusive resorts with Hilton points? For the properties I’ve checked, it seems that it only allows me to book the room rather than all inclusive room type.

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