Hilton has confirmed 150,000 points as its new highest award level, but still seems to be charging 120,000 points by mistake for the Waldorf Astoria in the Maldives, when award nights are available.
At the start of 2013 the highest price you could pay for a standard room award with Hilton Honors was 50,000 points. That year the program massively devalued. They increased the price per night for the most expensive hotels to 95,000 points (90% increase).
Then in 2017 Hilton eliminated award charts, but claimed hotels wouldn’t get more expensive as a result – in fact pricing might go down. 95,000 points was supposed to remain the top standard award price. Two years later the Waldorf Astoria Maldives opened with a price of 120,000 points.
Two years after that Hilton’s points explorer tool began showing it as costing a minimum of 150,000 points per night. That’s a 25% increase!
When I asked Hilton about the change the Waldorf-Astoria Maldives didn’t show a single night all year with standard award availability. This hotel can certainly be tough to book on points! Now it is showing a number of nights in the next few weeks where standard room redemptions are possible.
- Some nights price at the old 120,000 points per night
- And some nights price at the new 150,000 points per night
There are standard room redemptions available in May, and then not a single one for the next year.
I asked Hilton about the change from 120,000 to 150,000 points. I thought it might be a mistake. After all, rates at the hotel aren’t really higher than they used to be and the hotel was just added to the portfolio creating a new highest tier of redemption. However Hilton got back to me, arguing that the increase is justified,
We’re pleased to offer Hilton Honors members standard redemption rates at the Waldorf Astoria Maldives. The resort is uniquely set up with an all-villa offering with a private pool in each villa and, priced at a premium rate, is also one of the most highly sought after properties in our global portfolio appealing to Hilton Honors members.
The resort has seen steady traction in occupancy and offers rates of well over $1,000 per night for standard rooms, even amidst a challenging period for the global travel industry and this has resulted in a higher price cap for the resort. In addition, across our luxury properties which have a number of specialty room types, the number of rooms classified as “standard” varies across each hotel. We are pleased to share that members will still be able to enjoy the 5th Night Free benefit as well as redeem free weekend night certificates, providing our members greater value at this award-winning resort in an iconic destination.
Credit: Waldorf Astoria
It’s strange that the published minimum redemption price for this hotel has increased, yet you can still book some nights for less than the minimum.
What concerning though is that when Hilton introduced the new 120,000 price point in February 2019 they said they didn’t have plans to more any other hotels into it. Then 7 months later they reflagged Resort at Pedregal as the Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos and began charging… 120,000 points per night despite room rates often below $700 per night.
In other words, the worry is less about award price inflation at one hotel that rarely makes redemptions available except for 7 figures of points per night and more what this could mean for the continued price creep of Hilton Honors awards.
Update: Hilton tells me that 120,000 point redemption rooms remaining on some nights is not an error. Instead, “While the max point per night is now 150,000 Points, members may be able to still book a standard redemption at 120,000 Points per night, depending on the time of year and rate as a result of our dynamic pricing for Standard Room Rewards.”