Hilton Announces Hotel Redemption Category Changes And… Only 11 Hotels Are Moving Up (or Down)?

Back in 2013 Hilton substantially raised points prices and changed the way they price within categories.

They no longer shift hotels across categories once a year, either. Instead they make the changes quarterly and they would just post them on a web page. (Savvy members can create a change detection for the page (like I do).)

Conrad Bangkok

  • When you make these changes several times a year it’s easy to make any given cohort of changes seem small.

  • In the last 6 quarters of announcements we’ve seen 154 hotels go up in category and 113 go down.

  • Hilton no longer has to raise hotels up a category to increase price since they now have a range of prices within several categories. And there are no announcements when hotels get more expensive within a category.

The Hilton site listing changes will show those changes with an effective date of January 11 tomorrow but Hilton sent them out today. There are 11 hotels going up in category and none going down in category.

  • Hilton Urumqi (Urumqi, China) – New Category: 3 / Previous Category: 2
  • Hampton by Hilton Newport /East (Newport, United Kingdom) – New Category: 2 / Previous Category: 1
  • Doubletree by Hilton Newark – Fremont (Newark, California) – New Category: 5 / Previous Category: 4
  • Hilton Oakland Airport (Oakland, California) – New Category: 6 / Previous Category: 4
  • Embassy Suites Hotel Tampa / University South Florida / Near Busch Gardens (Tampa, Florida) – New Category: 5 / Previous Category: 4
  • Hampton Inn Cornelia (Cornelia, Georgia) – New Category: 3 / Previous Category: 2
  • Hampton Inn & Suites Meridian (Meridian, Idaho) – New Category: 4 / Previous Category: 3
  • Embassy Suites Hotel Baltimore / Washington International Airport (Linthicum, Maryland): New Category: 5 / Previous Category: 4
  • Hampton Inn Bar Harbor (Bar Harbor, Maine) – New Category: 9 / Previous Category: 7
  • Hilton Santa Fe Buffalo Thunder (Santa Fe, New Mexico) – New Category: 5 / Previous Category: 4
  • Hampton Inn & Suites Dumas (Dumas, Texas) – New Category: 4 / Previous Category: 2

These category changes are a non-issue for most. What’s more relevant is the change in pricing within a category and Hilton doesn’t announce those.

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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. Just treat the highest price as the default and you don’t have to worry about dynamic prices. And then if you happen to get a category 10 for 70,000 not 95,000, treat it as a bonus.

  2. This used to be the best branded frequent stay reward in the business. Now you have to move out of your home and pay to live in every Hampton Inn from Jersey City to Eugene just to redeemake a weekend in Youngstown, OH. After 30+ years of almost total brand loyalty, I can’tell earn or spend Hilton Honors points in ways that I choose. So sad to watch a reward become a tease. I guess you just keep working and be quiet

  3. @Jerry LOL and perhaps I will spare DCS the writing – I feel bad for him; his fingers must get sore.

    Let’s just say that if you honestly “can’t earn or spend” hhonors points then the problem is with you, not them. With all promotions and CC points I usually earn at a minimum 35 points per dollar of on-property spend. That is the rock bottom. Recently I have been earning almost 10k points/stay on stays in the $70-80/night range due to the numerous stacked bonuses. Even at that 35 point/dollar floor, to earn a night in a 90,000-point property requires a spend of $2600. Considering that a typical property of that caliber would command rates in the range of $400-500 or more, that is a cash return of 15-20%. Judicious use of points, such as at select international properties and by employing points + money or 5th-night-free, can wring much, much more value out of those points. I have stayed at some very nice hhonors properties all over the globe, and I am not a big spender by any means. It is simply about looking out for the good deals and also being patient with points – sometimes it is not a good idea to redeem, and cash is a better value.

    I understand that different people like the different chains for different reasons based on their preferences – Hyatt and SPG are generally more luxurious and have some better guaranteed benefits, for example – but hyperbole and histrionics like yours simply make the writer look silly.

  4. The Newport hotel moving to Category 2 leaves no Category 1 hotels left in the UK. There is also only one Cat1 hotel left in the USA, in Columbus, GA out by the airport.

    I really think the average travel blogger should stop using Category 1 hotels as a reference for how cheap redemptions of HHonors points can be or as a data point of how valuable an offer is.
    Like here:
    and here
    and here.

    It’s really not all that relevant to most of the blog readers and gives a false impression of value.

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