No Big Changes to Hilton Award Categories This Year

Last year’s changes were, apparently, enough that they don’t feel the need to go back to the well in a major way with more award chart devaluations this year.

And they even seem to recognize that they’ve done real damage to trust in the program.

They’re not taking actual substantive steps to undo any of the changes they’ve made, but they promise to be transparent.

Here’s a note I’ve just received from Mark Weinstein, a Vice President at HHonors.

I wanted to personally let you know we are updating a few hotels’ reward categories as part of our periodic review process and, even more specifically, share with you that this year we will not be making any major reward category changes or introducing new hotel reward categories. We are taking steps to be even more transparent by better communicating adjustments within the reward categories directly to members and advocates like yourself.

Effective April 15, 2014, 25 of our hotels and resorts (0.6% of our properties) will be increasing hotel category, and 14 of our hotels and resorts (0.3% of our properties) will be decreasing hotel category. We’ve made these modifications based on periodic reviews of our hotel reward categories as new hotels join the program and market dynamics change. The Hilton HHonors Standard Room Rewards Point Pricing Tool will reflect these changes as of April 15.

In addition, we will be shifting away from the cycle of annual reward category announcements. I believe that through transparency in our communications, we can develop a greater level of trust, which is critical to a healthy relationship with our members. To that end, we want to give members full visibility into any hotel category adjustments – including the introduction of new redemption hotels – so we will be sharing an updated list of adjusted hotels on on a periodic basis. HHonors members will be able to see which hotels are changing categories, as well as the category assignments for new hotels. This list, the Standard Room Rewards Update, can be found on the Using Points page under Standard Room Hotel Categories.

I welcome your thoughts on this new process and if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out.

IHG Rewards Club promised yesterday no changes at all for 2014 hotel categories.

So early indications are that last year was the big hotel devaluation year. I’m hopeful that Marriott’s massive changes last month will wind up an anomaly overall for 2014 in the hotel space.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Off-topic – I just got a notice from Amex about the ‘Morgan Stanley Credit Card from Amex,’ i.e. my PRG. Apparently airfare will go down to 2x, but US restaurants, department stores and car rentals go up to 2x as of May 2014? Can you confirm?

  2. I really couldn’t get much worse could it? I mean once a fish is gutted, what more is there to do?

  3. With AirBnB and other hoemaway and home/vacation renting services coming up, I hope people show the same type of “respect” and “loyalty” and “trust” to Hilton as Hilton showed to their HiltonDishonor customers…

  4. This is an AMAZING lesson in corporate speak…

    “we will be shifting away from the cycle of annual reward category announcements…we will be sharing an updated list of adjusted hotels on on a periodic basis.”

    Absolutely amazing! In the interest of transparency and valuing their members, they are ending annual updates, which could at least be anticipated and guessed at, and instead going to a system of no-notice-given “updates” whenever they feel like it without any warning whatsoever. All to make their members happier!

  5. Patrick nailed it…….Hilton is DEAD…….NO PULSE…….to more revenue for you Hilton…..I’m burning my miles and NEVER to stay in your properties again……….EVER…….I am cutting up my Diamond card and mailing it back to you…… is of NO VALUE!
    Thank you Hyatt Diamond challenge…….23 nights already booked……….

  6. My issue with Hilton is I have encountered some pretty shoddy treatment as a Diamond, it really is a world away from Starwood Platinum, and worse than Marriott Platinum as well, where you at least feel welcomed, even if you dont get the upgrade. I really felt like they gave me one of the worst rooms on property “because” I was a diamond staying on points. Ain’t got time for that…

  7. Gary you’re misreading the message in the email. It’s not becoming more transparent. He just said instead of annual updates they will make changes whenever they please…

  8. I actually like this communication. First, using Gary as a means to communicate with highly-motivated “sophisticated” loyalty travelers (as opposed to “ordinary” travelers) is a good idea. His comments don’t demean the intelligence of his audience (none of the “enhancement” nonsense that most loyalty programs regularly spout).

    As far as not making adjustments an annual event, I don’t blame him one bit. It’s not like these announcements are likely to result in changes that customers will like — more hotels are always going to go up in cost than down. So why make it an “event”? Seems like good marketing to me. When hotels do change point levels, Weinstein would be wise to give members something like 30 days notice to book under the old level. That’s how you foster “trust.”

  9. This is still a very bad news because Hilton didn’t reduce reward category. They should have realized what they have done and should have made a minor improvement on the Hilton honors program

  10. I haven’t made a revenue stay at Hilton since the massive deval. and will now avoid at all costs. I hope that they are feeling the love big time. It is a shame as Hilton has good geographic coverage but the HHonors program is no longer competitive.

    If Hilton wants to win our business back it needs to either revert to the prior chart, implement a 3x points bonus, or overhaul elite perks. Doesn’t sound like they get it.

  11. I now consider Holiday Inn a better option for the city that has no Hyatt or Starwood property……….I’d rather sleep in a rental car than to pay for a Hilton……..

  12. In my limited recent experience, Hilton seems to have confined their 2014 customer screwing to the check-in process. To be fair, this has resulted in some additional bonus points that will apparently not be further devalued this year… so that’s nice.

  13. Back in the day Jeff Diskin and Adam Burke ran a great program at Hilton and always made sure there members were happy promotion time or not with good/reasonable value.
    Today the program has been damaged beyond repair
    Diamond Force/Special Arrangement is gone award nights can be had for half in competing programs in cities like New York. The one thing positive left double dipping with points and miles has been destroyed with meager mile earnings and HH points that make the Peso look valuable.
    Why on earth would anyway stay at Hilton unless you are deaf dumb and blind or clueless about competing programs
    One would have to be desperate to go back to Hilton
    I would stay Radisson before Hilton
    I was a Hilton Diamond member for over 15 years
    Now they have none of my business of 75 nights
    Hope their devaluation worked for them
    These people should be fired for destroying HH

  14. @CW “This is an AMAZING lesson in corporate speak…”


    Frankly, I prefer an annual announcement, which will be featured on the blogs, along with a multiple month period to book for the next year at the old rate.

    If I know what’s coming, I can pre-book. If they just put it up on the website on random days, what am I supposed to do, check in daily to see if they did anything overnight? And while there seems to be an implication that we can book before the changes, assuming we know of them, it certainly was not spelled out that it is guaranteed.

    I can only hope that AA feels the negative consequences of its horrible devaluation the way that Hilton has felt it.

  15. Conrad Algarve was a steal at category 7. Shame to see it jump two levels to category 9. Still a fantastic property, though.

  16. I was a Diamond member before devaluation.
    When the devaluation came, I used all my points at properties such as Conrad Rangali in Maldives, Bora Bora and in Seychelles.
    They have put my account in Negative which does not make sense for their screw up. The customer service sucks!
    I had just booked the Cat 2 in Tangier, Morocco with 10k points, and wanted to modify it while in Spain. They property reservation manager name Tarik Boukhari basically “Stole” my points and refused to modify the reservation to a later date or not to refund me any of it. He took away 60, points for 6 nights.
    I have been calling the HH Diamond desk and all I get angry women yelling at me and they have no regards for the fact that I am in Spain now and really they do not give a “S*i*”.
    I am so pissed off about the HH program that I have not given them any business in three years, except a stay at Paris airport out of desperation and the Cash and Points for the Narita Hilton a few weeks ago and a short stay in Istanbul because it was cheap.
    We should all boycott Hilton and abstain from staying at any of their properties and teach them a lesson.
    Specially with Airbnb and lot of boutique hotels to stay at great values. For instance, when we were in Thailand a few weeks ago, instead of staying at a Hilton in Phuket, we found a small boutique hotel by the name of Avista Hideaway on HotelTravel for 60 bucks per night with breakfast. Instead of the BKK or the Conrad in Bangkok (for my 50th birthday they would not even offer me an upgrade unless I booked a higher category and even then I would have been upgraded to a deluxe room-I told them to screw themselves and their nasty cake)… so we went and stayed at Anantara by Riverside for 65 bucks per night with breakfast on a promo rate on line.
    Why waste money just to think you might get a free room someplace that is going to cost you three times the points that would cost you at Marriott or SPG or elsewhere?
    Boycott Hilton!
    An organization they do not appreciate your business. I use to go out of my way to stay at Hiltons all the time and I do not have a job that my company pays for it. I pay for all these expenses out of my own pocket.
    For me the luxury was when I could use my points in Maldives for 37,500 points per night and now they want over 100k points per night which does not make sense whatsoever.
    The conrad Rangali resort in Maldives is pretty much empty during the off season which is May-Sep and we just went to Maldives for my birthday and stayed at a small boutique bed and breakfast and really enjoyed the private beach tours and excursions, fishing, private island stays and hanging out with locals without paying an arm and a leg for it.
    Do not stay at Hilton properties. Let them feel the pain of loosing money and then they will think twice.
    People that decided to devalue the points should be fired!

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