Update: This is even more widespread than I’d first thought.
Hilton’s gutting of the Honors program gets limited attention, because of how much they’ve already stuffed up the program.
- For elites it isn’t just that they do not promise upgrades to available suites, they do not even promise late checkout. The one real benefit used to be free breakfast, but now that they provide a food and beverage credit at U.S. properties that often doesn’t come close to covering the cost of breakfast.
- A decade ago they wouldn’t charge more than 50,000 points a night, now the top point cost is triple that, and with the elimination of ‘double dipping’ which the program was known for base earning isn’t even as good as Marriott, IHG or Hyatt (though promotions can make up for this).
Marriott is getting heat for eliminating award charts at the end of this month, but Hilton already did this in 2017 while claiming award prices wouldn’t go up. And every time a program has dropped published price lists, that’s meant an irresistible temptation to raise the cost of awards. They don’t even have to tell members that they’re doing it.
Hilton has just increased pricing at some of their best properties, though it will take a comprehensive review to identify just how many and how much. For instance:
- Grand Wailea Maui, Waldorf Astoria Resort went from 95,000 to 110,000 points per night
- Conrad Maldives went from 95,000 to 120,000 points per night
At the Conrad Maldives, one of the most popular aspirational redemptions for Honors members, there’s only standard room availability in March and April of this year and nothing at all after that (which is highly suggestive that the hotel is playing games with inventory). Here’s April, showing standard room availability at 120,000 points per night.
Seeing these two get more expensive I wondered whether the Waldorf Astoria Maldives went up. That’s already 150,000 points per night, and remains so.
In 2019 that hotel opened with a then highest-ever Honors price of 120,000 points per night.
Hilton said there were no plans to more any other hotels up to that price, but they added another hotel at the price point mere months later. Now Conrad Maldives is there (while Waldorf Astoria Maldives saw a big increase during the pandemic).
Credit: Waldorf Astoria
I also wondered whether the Conrad Bora Bora went up, but do not know because as of this writing the hotel isn’t showing a single night with award availability for the entire next year.
Marriott gets a lot of ink for the way it fails to meet customer expectations. That’s largely a function of the gap between promises and delivery that we’ve seen since the launch of the Bonvoy program. And it doesn’t mean that Hilton or IHG are objectively better. Those programs simply don’t promise much, so they fail at delivery less frequently. The grass isn’t always greener, as they say.
LXR Mango House is now 110k. WA Beverly Hills is now 120k. It’s all over the place 💩
— Saianel (@saianel) March 10, 2022