My Upcoming Hilton Award Reservation is Really, REALLY Confirmed

Hilton was updating systems on Saturday which made it impossible to book award nights.

While I did burn points in advance of the dramatic HHonors devaluation that went into effect in March, I also wound up with a decent balance of several hundred thousand points left over.

And I consider them stranded or secondary points — points I am not trying to conserve and don’t value especially highly. I used to save them for trips to places like the Conrad Koh Samui which has now gotten 90% more expensive.

So when I’m faced with an expensive short stay, where I just need a room, and I can get somewhere close to half a cent a point in redemption value then I’m interested in burning Hilton HHonors points rather than spending cash.

That was the case for a stay I need in a few weeks, so I went online to see what I could do. I found a room that would work (the property I actually wanted was sold out of ‘standard’ rooms and so ‘premium room awards’ were all that was available — a 50% premium for an executive floor room I’d get anyway as an HHonors Diamond, no thanks).

But i couldn’t book it. I returned to the web on Sunday and completed the reservation. I got a confirmation email. And I guess Hilton must have thought I’d be worried whether the reservation ‘took’ after the system outages that they decided to send me the confirmation again, just for good measure.

And again.

And again…

With 15 confirmation emails and counting, I’m almost getting nervous that i won’t actually have a booking when I get to the hotel.

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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. Hilton has been a disaster in the last few weeks. And they keep blaming the system updates. I just stayed with my family in a Hilton property and we had 2 rooms under my name and 1 room under my wife’s name. After more than a week later our HH accounts could not be messier. They credited 2 rooms to my wife’s account (which has no Hilton status) and no points in my account (Hilton Gold). Now they had to open a case to figure out what happened and told me it may take 15 business days to solve. I then looked at the receipts from the hotel and they managed to add my HH Gold to my wife’s name and even with a HH Gold she got basic points. In sum, a disaster!!!!

  2. I can just see the hotel Gen. Mgr. viewing this and thinking “with all these rooms booked to a Gary Leff, there must be ‘Gary Leff’ convention in town this week”

  3. Hilton’s website is pretty sad on a normal day:

    – slow
    – doesn’t show updates in real time, so if you cancel a reservation it’ll hang around in the system for some number of hours
    – if you timeout and it logs you off, you’ll get errors from the system ALL DAY even after you login (you’ll know because your name in the banner will display incorrectly) unless you delete a specific cookie.

    Then every so often if you look at your AwardWallet account, it’ll show that all your points disappeared and then showed up again, or a chunk disappeared and then showed up again. Very odd and disconcerting.

    Yet they managed to make it worse than that this weekend, and well into Monday. You couldn’t make a reservation and you couldn’t cancel one. I had a reservation I had to cancel by 6pm Monday and ended up on hold with the Diamond desk for 30 minutes–they never actually answered and eventually called the hotel in parallel (cell phone) and got them to cancel it though even they had trouble.

    Interestingly I had no trouble booking the same hotel a day later when I made the reservation on Tuesday morning. And in fact the parking lot which is generally FULL was barren on Tuesday night when I got there. I think their hotels are actually losing business as a result of these snafus.


  4. Ha! Had the same thing happen to me yesterday. I had a good laugh, but it’s true that the Hilton site makes me nervous, and calling is no treat, either.

  5. With that many reservations, you might find they’re “overbooked” and won’t have room for you.

  6. I cancelled one reservation and booked another and got a total of 40 emails also on Sunday…

  7. I’ve been having Hilton weirdness issues too. My point balance was fluctuating by about +/- 100,000 throughout the course of the weekend. Then, on Sunday I was able to make a booking for the hotel I wanted (Conrad Hong Kong; points + cash is still a pretty good deal there IMO) and it sent me the confirmation email in some sort of weird format that I have never seen before and which absolutely ate my copy of Outlook. Trying to forward it or “show images” crashes my computer down to nothing. Only that email; all other Hhonors communications are just fine. I think the system had a bug which it transmitted to mine!

  8. Your checking in might remind me of an old bit:

    Telephone rings: Hello, Leff, Leff, and Leff
    Hello, is Mr Leff there?
    Sorry, he’s at lunch.
    Ok then, is Mr Leff around?
    No, he’s at a meeting all afternoon.
    Well, okay, can I talk to Mr Leff?

  9. I think it’s something called “Instant Karma”.

    After the way they treated us with the devaluation, they deserve everything that appears to be happening to them now, as their reservation system goes into free fall.

  10. As long as all the confirmation emails contain the same booking number, no worries. Just a glitch in the system that sends the email itself.. 🙂

  11. Happened to me once, last year, we actually wound up with 4 rooms booked under my name.

    The hotel was apologetic and canceled the other rooms. I wound up not having any points deducted either, which made the whole thing a lot more confusing.

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