Hilton HHonors Response to Possible Point Devaluation

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As I mentioned yesterday, there has been growing concern that Hilton HHonors quietly and significantly devalued HHonors points under the guise of proclaiming that we can now redeem HHonors points for “Premium” rooms.  The problem was that some properties were now claiming that they only had Premium rooms.  For several properties, the number of points required to redeem for these now “premium” rooms had gone up 3 or 4 times overnight.

There were reports of honeymoons being ruined due to no longer having enough points, frequent Hilton stayers saying they were done for good, and a general yet warranted uproar from HHonors members who caught on to what was happening.  Many HHonors members reached out to Hilton via Twitter, email, phone, and even snail mail to express their concern (to put it lightly) over this “enhancement” to the HHonors program.  If you didn’t already know, “enhancement” is usually a four letter word in the frequent traveler world.  While there were many responses from HHonors employees yesterday that indeed some properties now only have premium rooms, today the issue seems to have escalated to Hilton executives, and the responses have changed.

Here is the official response on FlyerTalk from a Hilton Representative:

Thank you for sharing your feedback about the new ways you can redeem points. We want to apologize for any confusion and would like to clarify a few points. We are excited to announce that members can, for the first time, use HHonors points to book more than 200,000 premium rooms and suites. These premium rooms are some of the most desired in the world. The new Premium Room Rewards and Premium Room Upgrade Rewards enable our members to book any room in any hotel around the world using Hilton HHonors points. Throughout the years, we have received feedback from many of our members requesting this enhancement. We believe having premium rooms and suites now redeemable for HHonors points is a great addition to our program. While rolling out this reward program, we did experience a technical glitch with a small handful of hotels which caused these properties to appear to have no standard rooms. We are working on resolving this issue so that standard rooms can continue to be booked with Hilton HHonors points at these properties. In addition to the three new reward products, Hilton HHonors members can continue to redeem their points to enjoy free standard rooms at the more than 3,750 hotels worldwide with no blackout dates. There have been no changes to the Standard Room Rewards product, allowing members to continue to redeem standard rooms at category one hotels through category seven hotels, like select Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts. We value your loyalty and membership to Hilton HHonors and hope that you enjoy our new offerings. -HiltonHHonors Representative
The bolding is mine.  It would be fair to say that I’m not exactly convinced.  If there were a technical glitch, then why would they proceed forward with the roll-out before fixing the glitch and why would they send emails out to all HHonors members announcing the “Big News”?  Of course, it is possible they were somehow unaware of the glitch until after the roll-out.  However, why then would so many HHonors reps state that some properties no longer have standard awards?  Did they all just independently make that up at once?  So, I’m a bit skeptical of the IT story, however I am 100% convinced that the only reason it is receiving attention this promptly from the higher-ups at Hilton is because of you (respectfully) letting them know what you think.  Whether they are simply fixing a glitch, or are re-evaluating a bad move on their part, you are the reason it is happening.
That being said, there is still significant concern over the devaluation of HHonors points.  Loyalty Traveler just posted some specific point valuation (or in this case de-valuation) details on his site.  Glitch or no glitch, I would be keeping a very close eye on these developments if I had significant HHonors points in my account.  If you have an award booking that you are looking to make, you may have the best luck contacting HHonors by phone right now to see if they can assist.  Continue to share your thoughts about these developments with Hilton.  I’ll be here cheering you on!
Here is Little C with her megaphone, also ready to let Hilton know her thoughts.  Hey, high school  football is what you do in the South on a Friday night.  🙂

Comments

  1. In the IT world, we sometimes roll out products and do not see the glitch until people actually start using them. I’m not saying Hilton is telling the whole truth, however I concede that in my experience as an IT manager this stuff does happen often. This doesn’t explain why all the reps continued to defend the policy until it got escalated. Glad to see it moving the other way for now.

  2. I’m sure it was definitely not a “technical” glitch, it was OH CRAP what the hell are these individual hotels trying to do to raise their revenue targets? Ok well get on the phone with their GMs and tell them that this is not going to happen and then say it was a glitch till we get it sorted

  3. Wow! Thanks for the info. I was not aware of this. I do have alot of hilton points and I’m poised to be earning more. Looks like I’ll need to read this thread and keep a watch on things. Thanks again for the heads up.

  4. Thanks for this blog post. Just before Hilton’s “glitch-gate” broke; I was complaining about the limited participation in the Points and Cash program.
    A room is a room is a room is a room. If a hotel’s rooms are exceptionally luxurious, that doesn’t mean the hotel has only “premium” rooms. It means the hotel’s standard rooms are exceptionally luxurious. Every hotel has to have some “standard” rooms before they can offer any “premium” room.
    I’ve already cancelled one trip this year, because the Hilton had rooms for sale, but not for HHonors members who were thinking about using Points and Cash.
    Just because I joined HHonors, does not mean I have forgotten how to use Hotwire or Priceline.

    • john, good point about Priceline/Hotwire. I vaguely remember them, too! Sometimes the best deal talks more than the points!

  5. I had denounced HHonors and formally/internally announced my dedication to the SPG program, despite having 1/4 million HHonors points. This change would not have happened unless it was due to folks in this community. I’m still sticking with SPG until this is 110% confirmed and bookable online, and even then, it may take some time. HHonors has really left a bad taste for loyal members…

    Thanks again for your help, MILF points.

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