Up until late March, one of the very best uses of Hilton HHonors points were AXON awards, which are special four night rewards available exclusively to those with a co-branded Hilton American Express credit card. I considered the best value to be a four night AXON award at a category seven property, which cost just 145,000 points. Category seven properties used to be the highest category Hilton properties and went for 50,000 points per night, so this essentially translated into a 55,000 point savings for a four night stay. It was better than a “buy three get one free” offer, essentially.
Unfortunately in late March Hilton substantially devalued their HHonors program, including introducing seasonal pricing and adding three new categories.
While there was no immediate change to AXON awards, they’re only valid for up to category seven properties, meaning they weren’t available for the new category eight, nine, or ten properties. The future of AXON awards has been up in the air till now, though the future of them has finally been announced.
The new AXON (four night) award pricing starting June 15 is as follows:
- Category five properties go from 125,000 points to 130,000 points (stays ordinarily cost 30,000-40,000 points per night)
- Category six properties go from 125,000 points to 160,000 points (stays ordinarily cost 30,000-50,000 points per night)
- Category seven properties go from 145,000 points to 190,000 points (stays ordinarily cost 30,000-60,000 points per night)
- Category eight properties will cost 220,000 points (stays ordinarily cost 40,000-70,000 points per night)
- Category nine properties will cost 260,000 points (stays ordinarily cost 50,000-80,000 points per night)
- Category ten properties will cost 300,000 points (stays ordinarily cost 70,000-95,000 points per night)
As a point of comparison, here are the standard nightly rates under the new award chart:
Hilton’s devaluation in late March was almost unprecedented as it is. In the years I’ve been watching the hotel industry I’ve never seen a devaluation as extreme. Secretly I was hoping the new AXON awards would still be a bright spot, because surely Hilton doesn’t want to completely destroy the value of their program.
Sadly I’d say these new AXON prices are almost the worst part of the devaluation.
For Hilton’s top properties you’re now going from paying 145,000 points for a four night AXON package to paying 300,000 points for a four night AXON package, so the cost has literally more than doubled. For that matter these AXON awards really don’t translate into much savings, and in many cases are more expensive than not using the AXON award. For category eight properties some hotels are 40,000 points per night (compared to the AXON rate of 220,000 points), so an AXON could end up costing 60,000 more points than just making a standard outright booking. That’s horrible. Meanwhile if you just redeemed for four nights outright you’d get the fifth night free as an elite member, and that doesn’t even require having their co-branded credit card.
If nothing else we have to give Hilton credit for consistency. They sure did a thorough job with their devaluation…