Can You Convert a Paid Hotel Reservation to an Award Night at a Sold Out Hotel?

On Monday I explained when hotels make reward nights available, essentially most chains have gone to a model where if there is a standard room available then you can claim that room night on points — although occasionally some hotel properties will play games with the definition of a ‘standard’ room.

Lucas has a question about what constitutes ‘available’ in the Hilton HHonors program.

I had a question I’ve been running into a problem trying to book a honeymoon trip for the Conrad Maldives. To keep it short I didn’t have all the points I needed to book the hotel and the first night I wanted was already sold out so I contacted the hotel about booking the stay and they were able to process it. I booked the refundable rate.

When I received the confirmation it was two different confirmation numbers one for the first night which was sold out then a four night stay. I was able to change the 4 night stay to the axon rate. I keep calling and getting a different response from everyone about changing the first night stay to points. They either tell me it can’t be done because the property is sold out or because I’m not a diamond member or because they forced sold me the room so they cant make any changes.

When I get on the Amex website it says that there are no blackout dates as long as the class of room is available. My thought is that it should be available to me considering I have already booked the room.

Do you think I will find someone who will be able to change it or do you have any suggestions for me, I’ve tried the diamond desk and the corporate guest assistance?

Congratulations on your pending nuptials! I expect you’ll much enjoy the Maldives, I did on my own trip there earlier this year.

Unfortunately, Hilton is correct here.

The hotel is currently sold out. Sometimes they will force a reservation, overselling the hotel, which it sounds like they’ve done. They will do that on a revenue stay (and often only for Diamond members) but not on award stays (something they used to do for Diamonds, before they began allowing booking any room at the hotel for additional points).

The fact that you have a reservation now means the hotel is oversold by more than it would otherwise be. It sounds like the hotel would still be sold out if you cancelled the reservation.

That’s not in any way a violation of the policy that if there is a standard room available at the hotel you can book it on points. The test is, if you call up Hilton now or go to, is a standard room available for booking?

Hilton does make better than standard rooms available at its hotel properties for (sometimes substantially) more points. They may put you in that premium room and let you spend your whole trip in it, or they may prefer that you switch rooms (in which case just taking the same, standard room for the entirety of the trip may be more convenient).

And of course there could be cancellations at the hotel between now and the time of your trip, so you may want to keep checking to see if award nights open up.

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. Why would you want to change the first night anyway? I always pay for the first night in hopes of a good upgrade and benefits then use the rest of the stay on points or award. Just convert one of the other four nights to a reward.

  2. I would try to get as many if not all the rooms on points. My motto: the less cash out of my pocket, the better. Second, as a Hilton Diamond member it is a shame to see the diamond award perk go away. I used it at beach/resort properties during peak season a couple times a yr. Too bad .

  3. The troubling thing to me and a very quiet under the radar thing is that previously you could book all 4 nights on points and convert to an AXON award
    Now you have to cancel the entire award to do so and if the standard room is gone you are simply out of luck!

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