Was Hilton’s Lack of Award Availability for their Most Special Hotels Really Just an IT Glitch?

Last week it appeared that with the introduction of new ‘premium room awards’ (better rooms for more points), Hilton HHonors was discontinuing “standard” award rooms at properties which have only “special” room types like the Bora Bora Nui, Hilton Moorea, and Conrad Sanya. This mean spending as much as three times as many points for the same rooms, the very rooms at the very hotels which are the most aspirational — the things I save up points for.

Hilton representatives even confirmed this in writing, then indicated that there might be as few as five standard award rooms at a given property, and are now dialing back and saying that there hasn’t been any change, that all hotels still have standard awards, and that the whole thing was an IT glitch tied to the rollout of the new award scheme.

Now, it remains to be seen whether it’s truly the case that all base rooms at a hotel continue to be considered ‘standard’ and available for redemption without spending extra points. And I’m not entirely convinced that it was just an IT glitch affecting only their best properties which also happen to have really special rooms. But it’s good to hear that for now at least Hilton HHonors is committed to offering these rooms at these hotels on points without resorting to Starwood Preferred Guest’s trick of charging double points for “all suite” accommodations, when the fact that those hotels are all-suite is what drives their high room rates in the first place, which is what causes them to be in the top redemption category in the first place.

Still, I’m not convinced that Hilton will stick to this path forever, simply because they do offer a really compelling value proposition for their very best hotel properties. Roughly speaking, when Bora Bora Nui switched over from being with Starwood to Hilton, the cost of an award fell by two-thirds.

Hilton is comparatively cheap for properties like Bora Bora Nui, Conrad Maldives, and Conrad Koh Samui. So that’s how I look to spend my HHonors points. But the very best deals tend not to last forever. So spend your Hilton HHonors points on these properties while you can, you don’t know what tomorrow will bring.

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. There’s no award availability at any Hilton or Conrad in Tokyo ’til the end of the year, except the Narita airport (at 25K, I remember when it was 10K). I find that hard to believe. Can they fix that glitch quickly?

  2. And I’m looking way early for Hilton Barbados for next year and they only offer at 87k a night for some sort of premium room for the dates I need. Very frustrating

  3. Boston Hilton Logan Airport:

    KING EXECUTIVE: $409.00
    PREMIUM AWARD: 128,000
    You will need to purchase ~60,000 points for $985.57

    Oh! What a deal. Arrest the Hilton staff.

  4. Conrad maldives in sep 2012is showing 465k points PER NiGHT! I will need to puchase 2.3M points for $69 THOUSAND

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