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
No, it isn’t.
Andre, changes happened last night, at least for Grand Wailea. If it was old news other bloggers would have already broke it. Gary it first yet again!
Time to Dump Marriott in the trash where they belong.
Just one more reason to keep my Hyatt Globalist and not worry about chasing Hilton Diamond and Marriott Platinum requalification this year. Even with the smaller footprint, Hyatt delivers more benefits to its elite tier customers than any other major hotel chain.
@Gary, if you search Conrad Maldives for stays longer than one night, there is a lot more availability at standard points redemption levels. Which BTW reinforces that the hotel is playing games with inventory.
Just give it a few more months. Marriott is destroying its brand and making it like IHG, Wyndham and Radisson likely because those brands are their competitors. Owners can easily deflag from Marriott for IHG, Wyndham or Radisson, all of which offer lower costs than Marriott. That’s why everything Marriott does from new hotel development and remodels to the Bonvoy loyalty program is 100% focused on reducing costs for owners. You hardly hear of a Marriott property becoming a Hyatt or Hilton.
Just finished a Hilton 5 night resort stay on points and got bonvoyed. The hotel fail me as a Diamond and gave me the worst room of my category and lied about the room. I did not accept the room and took a std room at 50k/nite. I complained to both the hotel and Honors and got a reduction of points. Unfortunately I was hoping this stay would deplete my points and I could switch to just paying cash. But between the rate actually being lowered a couple months ago and my compromised deal with the hotel, I’ll have more points than I started with. So now I have to put myself through the anxiety of Will they or won’t they recognize my staus and not stick me in a bad room again using points.
@Daryl Higgins: I really, really wish Hyatt would buy Omni and Radisson. That would help the full-service Hyatt footprint. Hyatt seems only focused on (1) resorts and (2) limited-service properties. It doesn’t seem like there are many new Hyatt Regency properties opening up these days.
@Daryl, unfortunately, Hyatt doesn’t deliver (probably) the most important benefit: location. Their footprint really is quite poor in many areas (and excellent in many others).
I was lucky enough to magically find 3 consecutive standard award nights at the Waldor Astoria Maldives in July yesterday, which I got on the phone asap and booked with my free night certificates. My plan was to book the other 3 nights at the Conrad Maldives at 95,000 points yesterday, which was widely available. I focused on getting my flights arranged first with miles and when I went back this morning to add standard room night awards at Conrad for 95,000 points, all the availability was gone and the standard points needed were raised to 120,000 points. Literally, so much change in award availability and points needed in 12 hours. Crazy!!!
For what it’s worth – I can vouch that the stand-alone standard room award nights available at Waldorf Astoria Maldives were all showing at 120,000 points a night. This morning, all standard room award nights have changed to 150,000 points.
patiently waiting for DCS to arrive
If only there were a failed blogger available that could explain to everyone why this is a net positive for Hilton loyalists.
@Brutus – He’ll be trotting along shortly, regaling us with the splendors of Hilton. Never fear.
Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam also went up to 110k points per night from 95k just yesterday. Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh Caledonian for some standard room awards I saw priced at 80k yesterday for June this year is now 95k.
@Brutus @Christian I’m perched on the parapet with my binoculars and I still don’t see him or his giraffe touting his surplus of Hilton suites available as a Diamond
@TA “still don’t see him or his giraffe…” made me lol, thanks for the humor today.
Since migrating to dynamic award pricing in 2017, Hilton Honors has kept their standard award rates capped at 95K/night, except at their two uber-aspirational properties, WA Maldives Ithaafushi and WA Los Cabos Pedregal, where they can go as high as 150K/night. Therefore, standard award rates creeping up at other top-end hotels after so long is not at all surprising, especially with members flushed with points after being unable to travel and redeem points for a couple of years.
However, while standard award rates have been and will be raised above 95K at select high-end properties around the world, my search of such awards at WA, Conrad and LXR hotels in the US, including Hawaii, revealed only a grand total of 2 that have exceed 95K:
1) Waldorf Astoria Grand Wailea to 110K, as pointed out in the post
2) Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills to 120K
Not yet much a devaluation out of more than 6K hotel to worry or write hyped posts about.
Importantly, the rate increase at these top-end hotels has nothing to do with the fact that Hilton uses dynamic award pricing because despite moving to the system in 2017 – 5 years ago – the program has kept its top standard award rate at its pre-dynamic pricing level of 95K/night. That, along with Hyatt’s recent massive devaluation of its program’s top-end awards despite having a ‘fixed’ award chart, make it clear that it is simply silly to automatically equate dynamic award pricing with ‘devaluation’.
At the end of the day, 95K standard redemption was too low given some of the room rates at these properties. Cash rates for luxury properties are up 50%, 75%, 100%, 125% from pre pandemic levels in a lot of cases in the US. And these prices are sticking. What else is to be done?
Supply and demand people. Get over it. So your “free” points (that most of you got on company paid travel and credit card promotions) aren’t worth as much. Tough shit! Get over your selves and be happy for what you get since you really didn’t pay for any of it
LOL. Such nonsense. To claim that Hilton’s ‘gutting’ of its program gets limited attention when this site jumps at and hypes the program’s smallest defect — this post being Exhibit A — is simply laughable.
The reason Hilton’s ‘gutting’ of its program gets limited attention, despite the predictable hyping by this site, is that the purported ‘gutting’ is generally milder compared to the competition’s. Case in point: compare this purported “devaluation” Hilton’s high-end awards that elicited that silly claim with the recent massive devaluation of World of Hyatt’s high-end awards. See?
Hilton Honors is a stable, mature and extremely well run program, which is why it currently stands head and shoulders above the competition and its ‘gutting’ gets limited attention, despite self-anointed “travel gurus” disparagement while crowning a small, expensive, and average program as ‘best in business’.
Given Hilton Hhonors frequent sales to buy points at half a cent each, this makes WA Grand Wailea’s effective cost based on purchasing full points from $425 to $550…..and with 5th night free on awards cost is $2200 instead if $1700 for a five night stay, versus a easily 5 figure amount it costs for same stay in cash. This is still a killer deal IMHO and fair enough for them to do compared to outright gutting done by Bonvoy & Hyatt.
The Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam for next Thursday night is 1679 Euro or 695,000 points for the night. It has usually been in the 200,000 points range when I was looking at other hotels in the area. Don’t know if the Waldorf’s have their own category?
It’s moot for most as standard awards are rarely available.
Conrad Midtown New York addressed this by carving suites up into tiny rooms. So no longer an all suite hotel.
The real devaluation comes from the practice of creating artificially narrow definitions of a base room so standard awards are rarely available.
@Luke – Precisely. The recent whirlwind of devaluations by major hotel loyalty programs clearly puts in evidence why, despite being placed on an undeserved pedestal, World of Hyatt is a weak program for not offering its members the 4th or 5th award night free as does its competition.
Thanks to the 5th award night free perk — the single most valuable in hotel loyalty — one can still afford and get outsized redemption values at Hilton’s top properties whose standard award rates just got raised. By contrast, World of Hyatt members redeeming points at, e.g., PH Paris after it got raised to category 8 will feel the full sting of the massive devaluation of that highly coveted hotel’s awards.
This site can go on writing about how Hilton has “gutted” its the program by “stuffing it up”, but those who actively patronize Hilton Honors know better: the program’s unlimited complimentary room upgrades, including to suites, now innovatively automated globally (@Gary Leff: i.e., ‘confirmed’ so please update the posts!) are highly competitive with any other type of upgrade.
In addition, for some of us who have requested late checkout (as late as 6pm at) — a perk that I rank very low — and have never been denied, to use the lack of a 4pm “guarantee” as evidence of Hilton “stuffing the program”, while ignoring Hyatt’s glaring failure to offer even its top elites a free night on an extended award stay as the competition does, is truly out-there myopic.
They make up bogus standards of excellence out of thin air, fall for their own deception and then begin peddling it as if it were gospel truth!
Oh my, awards cat fight! Meow!
Very entertaining reading…..
No resort fees, club access, and free parking more than makes up for the no 5th night free on award stays for top tier Hyatt elites. Resort fees and parking rates at high end locations can easily top $100 a day.
I regularly get late checkouts, especially when I mention I have a late flight out. 4pm is typical, that’s what we got at Conrad Maldives. Hilton Copacabana gave me 6pm for the 1155pm AA flight.
Also, surprised no prominent bloggers have reviewed Mango House in Seychelles. I booked it for a trip this summer back when bookings first opened (95k/night). It’s definitely showing 110,000 per night as standard room now.
I’ll take 5th night free Over access to a club in which most are closed and the breakfast benefit shrinking and I rarely ever park a car
Not even close! Educate thyself rather than getting all your info from clearly biased travel blogs!
I do not drive while traveling so free parking is irrelevant to me, but you do not know that, in addition to getting the 5th award night free, Hilton Honors elites pay no resort free on award stays, and Diamonds are guarantee executive lounge access, while Golds also get access if they are upgraded to the exec floor or equivalent, right? In addition, ‘Aspire’ Diamonds like me do get resort fee credit of up to $250 even on paid stays. Clearly, the 4th/5th award night free perk remains a differentiating programmatic feature!
See how deficiency is so-called “best top elite status any of program”?
All jumbled up!
Try again: “See how deficient is so-called “best top elite status of any program”?”
Was just thinking about switching my business stays from Hyatt (Globalist) and Marriott (lifetime Platinum) back to Hilton (lifetime Diamond). But so much for that. I will continue to be a free agent and will avoid any thought that Hilton can be trusted as a place to save up points. It’s “earn and burn” folks. I spend my points on aspirational properties, including the Conrad Maldives and Conrad Bora Bora, the W=A, Cavelleri, Trafalgar, and they just gut-punched me. No loyalty to us means no loyalty from me.
I’m an avid points and miles junkie, but lucky in that I don’t expect much ‘for free’. I do expect eye-watering redemption rates at seriously big-shot Hiltons, and I do expect that I’ll not be able to waltz over the website and book whatever I want whenever I want. So I am always happy as a HH Diamond. The new CR in lieu of breakfast is wonderful because I don’t want food at all until at least noon. I don’t expect special treatment at a hotel, but most Hiltons treat me quite well and give me the idea that I could ask for anything and they’d come up with it. I’ve not been so impressed with InterContinental over the years, but I’m hoping for some program improvement later this month.
The way I play the game these days, is by using Chase Sapphire Reserve cards for monthly expenses, … then you always have a nice store of Ultimate Rewards to take the sting out of the 100K rate at Hilton.
Well said SST, and hueyjudy,
Chase Sapphire and Chase Ultimate Rewards are excellent, and the earn and burn awards strategy is the only way to go with points and miles, especially post-pandemic.
@STT – You comment makes no sense. You never had any intention of switching back to Hilton, because if you had this mild devaluation compared to the competition, following 5 years of HH maintaining a capped top award rate despite predictions to contrary, should should incentivize and not dissuade you! But why do you even care if you have lifetime status with HH? You clearly thought that Marriott and Hyatt, especially after drinking too much kool-aid, would offer you nirvana as promised by travel bloggers but found two lacking programs instead.
No, DCS, your arrogant comment aside, I stay somewhere for about 3-6 nights a month plus my vacations. I have plenty of stays to go around. Hyatt’s latest changes were a big bummer, and Marriott somehow decided to give us all the finger this past 18 mos. Your beloved Hilton program stayed pretty Sane and constant over the last three years—- but no more. Now, increasing rates from 95,000/night to 125,000 a night (30%?) is a gut punch and there’s no reason to subject myself to Hamptons and crappy beat-up Doubletrees ( or W=A properties with no benefits) to collect up Hilton points instead.of simply PICKING THE MOST CONVENIENT AAND NICEST PROPERTY WHERE I’M HEADED. Your blind, knee jerk reaction on here to anyone who comments negatively on Hilton’s program has blinded you to the point of my comment: in my case, I see no particular advantage to putting my loyalty toward any one of these charlatans, since they will devalue any points you save up in their program. Earn and burn, as I said. You do your program (and hopefully get some counseling) and I will do whatever the hell I please, which is NOT shifting stays to Hilton but using them when it makes sense.
More of your silly nonsense cheerfully ignored, G’Day.
@STT – I stand by my “arrogant” comment. You make no sense to anyone who knows the first thing about how the game is played.
You are already complaining about how
When “my beloved” Hilton is, in fact, pretty much the only program that you’ve patronized that will not subject you to Hamptons and crappy Doubletrees because of (a) ease of of earning loads points, (b) 5th award night free, (c) huge footprint, and, at least so far, (d) only a very limited number of properties have crossed the 95K/night threshold !!!
If you are familiar with Hilton’s Points Explorer online utility that allows one to search award availability in whole cities or countries at once, you ought to do yourself a favor and quickly find out how many properties in your favorite destinations have crossed the 95K/night threshold before claiming that Hilton Honors has joined the rest on the insane ‘far side’ (I used to love that comic strip!) Do it and call me in the morning to apologize and I will accept the apology.
Nevertheless, even at 120K or 150K per night, award stays at Hilton’s uber-aspirational properties remain quite affordable. I booked a 5-night award stay (for the second time!) at WA Maldives Ithaafushi for Jan 2023, and it cost me “just” 480K points at 120K/night with the 5th night free, for a redemption value approaching 4 cents/HH point. And after redeeming those points, I still have over 1M HH points in the bank !
Ignore my “nonsense” if you wish, but that won’t change the truths in them from which someone like you could learn to play the game with “a full deck”.
Remember that there are people in Ukraine that would love to be in a warm Motel 6 tonight!!!
A little perspective on our frequent guest and flyer programs during these times would be good.
If you are offended by this comment, my response to you is simply F-YOU!!!
Um, Daryl is right.
Let’s get some perspective here please…..
Agree with Darryl. I will take no resort fees and no parking fees (on award stays) over 5th night free. If I am lucky I have one hotel stay a year that runs 5N but most of the time it is 1-3 nights for a long weekend or visiting several places on a 2-week trip. The resort fees really add up when you need 2 rooms for your family. Ditto for the free breakfasts. And only Hyatt provides guaranteed suite upgrades. Sorry but if I want to gamble I will go to Vegas.
And stop misusing Bonvoyed which is exclusive to Marriott. Maybe try Hilted instead.
“Bonvoyed” has become an all purpose verb to describe “being shortchanged.” Quite a feat…..
If I played in the little league, where the extent of my travels would be to take the kids to see relatives on a long weekend or to take a 2-week trip to visit relatives in different cities, sure, I would stay mainly at Hyatt House, and not paying resort or parking fee would be great.
On the other hand, it would be silly to fly across the world to redeem one’s hard-earned points for an award stay in a bungalow on some Indian Ocean atoll, and then just spend 1-3 nights there and turn around head home. Well, the latter scenario is the one that applies to most who play the game in the big league. Getting the 4th/5th award night free could be worth up to a few thousand dollars (the nightly revenue rate for an over-water villa or bungalow). And, BTW, the perks do not have to be mutually exclusive, where you have to choose one or the other. Hilton Honors members do not pay a resort fee on award stays, and they also get the 4th/5th award night free. You can have your cake at eat it too, unless you are a Hyatt Globalist, that is.
And, as I mentioned, I have no use for parking because I do not drive when I travel.
The 4th/5th award night free trumps all for big leaguers. If it does not for you, then you are a little leaguer…
LOL. You’ve drunk too much kool-aid. Considering that all room upgrades, including Hyatt’s, depend on availability and are the sole discretion of individual properties, no program can possibly “guarantee” suite upgrades . Moreover, if you believe that Hyatt’s suite upgrades are “guaranteed” and only Hyatt offers such upgrades, then you quite likely have not heard about Hilton’s new and innovative global automated upgrades (GAU). They are like airline cabin upgrades.
Here’s how a Hilton executive described the rationale for developing GAU for HH members [the full statement, and not the one posted at the time on this site that left out the juiciest parts]:
See? Unlike Hyatt’s suite upgrades, there is no need to call anyone to ‘confirm’ Hilton’s new upgrades; they are automated; and hotels cannot opt out – a trifecta that only HH’s GAU can claim!
Time to change that tune about how “only Hyatt provides guaranteed suite upgrades”. No program “guarantees” suite upgrades, and Hyatt’s awards are not as unique as you’ve been led believe…
“…and Hyatt’s upgrade awards are not as unique as you’ve been led to believe…”
Everyone of these stories [all hotel chains] make me glad that I just made the switch to AirBnb a couple of years ago and there has been no looking back; I get a better product, better price and don’t have to play the upgrade or award availability & price game.
Confessions of someone who does not play in “the big league” of frequent global aspirational travel: One of the things I find frustrating about bloggers characterizing a program as “the best” or knocking a program is that so much depends on individual needs. The endless praise of “Saint Hyatt” is one example. Saint Hyatt can offer “generous” perks because their program is basically one tier for the relatively small group that can qualify for them. I do not spend 60 nights a year in hotels consistently– and in the few years where I do, it’s often to places where there are no Hyatts. So the only question that matters to someone in my circumstances is: How much money do I have to spend on a co-branded card or a transferrable card to get a nice vacation redemption in places I want to go? How realistic are my chances of getting an upgraded room or suite?
For me, Hilton answers that question more favorably than Hyatt. The 5th night free is a significant plus, and the new Global Automated Upgrade scored me a suite. Even though I have Marriott Platinum status, my suite upgrade certificates have not been honored once in the past two years. And the resort fees at Marriott some of the Marriott properties I’ve wanted to go to have exceeded $125 per night, combined with sky-high points pricing.
My point in all of this is that for someone in my position, Hilton status is easily attainable and financially rewarding for my travel habits. To knock it or compare it to Hyatt may make for good blog posts, but it’s much less practical than evaluating your own needs and doing the math. My chances of getting and maintaining Globalist are near zero, so it’s a non-starter.
I’m sure that flying private is nicer than Lufthansa Business Class. But one option is considerably more attainable for many of us.
@ Texan@heart — After that very thoughtful, reality-based comment, I believe you should be playing in the “big league”!