I will be the first to admit I am not the expert on Hilton HHonors points.  Nothing against the program or the hotels (well, until now at least), it just hasn’t been the program I have used most frequently.  So, until several HHonors users emailed me in the last couple days, I had no idea that there was a massive point devaluation underway with Hilton.  This Flyertalk thread gives a great account of the problem.  We aren’t talking about a 10 or 20% devaluation, we are talking well over a 75% point devaluation in some cases for many top Hilton properties!   An example posted by deant on this very alarming Flyertalk, shows that it was possible to previously get a four night award in Bora Bora for 145,000 points – now the lowest you can get would cost more than 600,000 points!

What is most alarming about this is that it doesn’t seem to be a fluke, a “high season” issue, or an IT problem.  This post by Flyertalk member jasonvr (who is one of the persons who alerted me to this problem), shows that Hilton is well aware of this intentional change.

Hello Mr. jasonvr,

Thank you for your message to Hilton Reservations and Customer Care. It is my pleasure to assist you today regarding your concerns with Premium Rewards.

We apologize for the inconvenience this has caused. With the new Reward offerings provided by HHonors, some of our hotels only offer Premium Rewards. Because rooms at some of our Resorts offer additional features or are not standard hotel rooms (i.e. bungalows) all room types for these hotels are now considered Premium Rooms and the point values will now reflect this new change.

Forgive my “Mommy ignorance” here, but my definition of “Premium Room” would be one that implies that you are getting a room better than other rooms offered at that property.  So, if all rooms are “Premium Rooms”, then I am a little confused about what makes them so “Premium”.  It was almost humorous that the email I received from jasonvr alerting me to this problem was in my inbox right next to an email from Hilton announcing their “Big News!” that you can now use your points to book premium rooms, anytime, anywhere.

Well, sure you can if you have a gazillion points to burn!  If you are just a regular person, like me, who works hard for every point that you get, then saving 600,000 points for a four day stay in Bora Bora is just completely unrealistic.  I don’t care if I can always be sure that a “Premium Room” is available, because I will never have enough points to reserve that room.  I would much rather have affordable rewards only available at certain times, than outrageously priced rooms available all the time.  At least then I would have a shot at using my points eventually.

Loyalty Traveler offers a very detailed explanation of this problem and provides some specific examples of this change if you want some additional specifics.  Even though I am not a regular Hilton HHonors user myself, I am still offended by these changes.  I love points and I love loyalty programs.  Heck, I started a blog just because I think points are that fantastic.  I also understand fully that the loyalty programs exist so that the hotels, airlines, etc…. can build loyalty and make a larger profit.  However, that doesn’t mean that it is acceptable to make such a radical change like this overnight.  People were probably saving their points for honeymoons, once in a lifetime trips, etc… and now they are left with nowhere near enough points to make that trip.  At least British Airways has forewarned us that a “big change” is coming soon with their program.  Hyatt also recently gave fair warning about properties that were changing award categories.  Heck, just like with the weather, you can’t stop a tornado from coming, but at least sound the alarms so that people can prepare.

Seriously, Hilton, make whatever change you feel you need to from a business perspective.  I get it.  I also know point valuation may some trivial to some, but for others who have been saving their points from a long period of time, it can be a very big blow.  At least work in some grace period here.  I don’t know if that will be enough to keep some top members from jumping ship, but it would go a long way to show some goodwill toward those who were very much looking forward to several days away at some of your top properties.  Just a thought.  :)

If you want to reach out to Hilton to let them know what you think of this change, you can do so by emailing them at hhonors@hilton.com or tweeting them at @HiltonOnline.  They only know you are upset with the changes  if you (politely) tell them.

Are you a HHonors member?  How does this effect your trip plans and/or future loyalty program plans?

 

Posted by Mommy Points | 17 Comments

17 Responses to “Is There a Massive Hilton HHonors Point Devaluation Happening?”

  1. sharon says:

    It was the whole Kardashian clan going to Bora Bora that was on TV. It brought way too much attention to a property with a great point redemption rate. I’m sure bookings with points went way up at only 50k points a night. Thanks reality TV.

  2. Jamison says:

    i’m a Diamond member and have no intentions of re-qualifying next year…. the points really have devaluated. I’m not seeing any cash+points properties as well.

  3. Emil says:

    This is a huge blow to the program. It’s practically false advertising – you can’t say a property is a Category 6 property (etc) with awards starting at 40K points, when the lowest redemptions are thousands of points more. Once hotels can decide they can offer no “standard” rooms and price awards however they like, this throws away the whole concept of loyalty reward programs. Members no longer have a sense of how many points they’ll need for a dream vacation. I just called HHonors to express my dissatisfaction – I hope others will, too.

    By the way, they tried telling me that since hotels are independently owned and/or operated, they cannot control how hotels allocate room. I responded by saying that until recently, apparently HHonors did, by requiring hotels to offer at least some rooms at the lowest rate.

    Shame on Hilton.

  4. David says:

    I just sent a tweet.

  5. Very timely post. Just tried to book with points (have 75K – not a frequent Hhonors user but have accumulated some over the years) and was shocked at the point devaluation. Forget Bora Bora – how about Ohare airport Hilton for $109/night or 30K points? Marriott ORD hotel is the same price or 15K points. Sticking with Marriott Gold and thinking about SPG which flyertalk members and others say is the best hotel/credit card rewards program. Will tweet shortly.

  6. goheerow says:

    Very disapponting, indeed. Saving up points the last year or so may not have been worth it. *sigh*

  7. Jenny says:

    I had been working hard to save up Hilton points for a dream trip to Bora Bora. :( Now I feel soooo disappointed with Hilton and wish I had never applied for their numerous credit cards!! I cannot believe they made this upsetting move without any notice, and I’m seriously considering move out of Hilton all together.

  8. Gern says:

    I wrote a letter to Christopher Nassetta, CEO of Hilton Worldwide. Anyone who thinks this “standard blackout” won’t eventually spread to the non-resort properties is dead wrong.

    If this isn’t addressed, I’ll take my current Diamond status elsewhere. Yeah, I get that with SPG’s devaluation there isn’t much choice, but at least SPG points are also redeemable for airmiles.

  9. Max M says:

    I saw this devaluation coming in July. I tried getting a room at the Conrad Hong Kong, before the official roll out of the new premium room catagories. I was attempting an October booking, and the agent said there were no standard rooms available. The most basic room commanded 88,000 points a night, and this was basic room. I argued saying I thought the policy was there were no blackout dates on standard rooms— obviously not the case. Welcome to devaluation….

  10. paul says:

    Yeah, there’s no way about it. I had a dream vacation planned as well. Looks like Hilton has messed up a lot of our plans. Really bad business move. I don’t plan to stay at any more Hiltons.

  11. InACents says:

    This is really disappointing. I have some new news about us posting soon, and was looking at possibly redeeming our stash of HHonors, but have quickly learn that they are new worthless.

  12. bluto says:

    I am a Hilton Gold but looks like I won’t be using it anymore.

  13. Sean says:

    Thank you so much for blogging about this. I appreciate the efforts you, Ric, Gary and Hilary have made to publicize this development. I review credit cards on my website but my traffic is nothing compared to you guys. I think highly about Amex Hilton Cards but if the devaluation comes through I will have to revise my review. I myself am very frustrated since I am in the middle of building up Hilton points but would like to keep my hope up since there are some posts from FT stating this may be an IT glitch. Let’s hope that HHonors does what it is supposed to do – to keep member loyal rather than opposite!

    • mommypoints says:

      @Sean, everyone has their own take, but I think if we are going to talk about great points deals, it is important to also draw attention to potential point disasters like this. Where it was an IT glitch or a really bad decision, I am happy Hilton may be backing off on this. Fingers crossed it keeps heading in that direction. BTW, love your SPG v. MR v. UR post!

  14. [...] I mentioned yesterday, there has been growing concern that Hilton HHonors quietly and significantly devalued [...]

  15. Angry hilton member says:

    My fiance and I have been frequently staying at hiltons for years in order to afford our dream honeymoon to French Polynesia. We went to book our honeymoon a little over a month ago but decided to wait until the end of November as we had a trip to Puerto Rico planned at a Conrad property and wanted to earn more points first. Today I was in total shock when I went to reserve our honeymoon and saw that I could no longer afford the 8 nights I had saved for, but could only afford one. For 2 hours I thought I messed up and misread something a year ago when we had planned all of this. It wasn’t until I found this post and realized that I wasn’t crazy and Hilton did in fact devalue their program. I am extremely disappointed and my fiance and I both plan to convert our loyalty back to Marriott where I was initially a member of their program. This is a huge disappointment especially after all of the effort we had put into this.

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