Hilton HHonors Fall 2015 Hotel Category Changes

As of April 2014, Hilton HHonors has shifted how they make award category changes. Rather than having massive hotel category adjustments every so often, they’re doing quarterly adjustments. That’s to say that they’re not changing the number of points required for each category every quarter, but rather are shifting which hotels belong in which categories.

Ultimately I favor anything which isn’t an award chart massacre like what we saw with HHonors in early 2013, so I guess that’s a good thing overall.

HHonors hotel category changes as of October 14, 2015

Rather than emailing members when there’s a big award chart change, Hilton now has a website where they list the category changes. And that website has just been updated to reflect the Hilton family properties changing HHonors award category this fall, which will kick in for bookings made as of October 14, 2015.

33 hotels will be going up in price:

Hilton-Increase-1 Hilton-Increase-3

On the plus side, all of the hotels going up in price are increasing by just one category.

Meanwhile 11 hotels will be going down in price:

Hilton-Decrease

Seven of the 11 properties going down in price are decreasing by one category, while four are decreasing by two categories. Hilton has over 4,000 properties around the world, so here we’re seeing the price of roughly 1% of properties change, which isn’t a whole lot.

Hilton-SFO
The number of points required for a free night at the Hilton SFO will increase

So if you want to book one of the properties going up in price, be sure to do so by October 14, 2015 — it’s okay if the stay is for a subsequent date.

Why Hilton’s hotel category changes don’t even matter

Funny-Meme

First of all, Hilton’s category changes aren’t really significant since only about 1% of properties are changing in price.

But more importantly, they don’t really matter since the Hilton HHonors program is already sort of kind of revenue based. I explained the logic in a post in April entitled “Here’s Why Hilton HHonors Has Variable Award Pricing Within Each Category.”

Hilton-3

Within Categories 4-10 there’s a huge variance in the per night cost of a stay, depending on seasonality/demand. In other words, hotels are pretty easily able to “silently” raise award costs significantly without it being published as part of a category change.

The cost of a Category 4 property can increase by 50% without any award chart changes. The cost of a Category 7 property can increase by 100% without any award chart changes. The cost of a Category 9 property can increase by 60% without any award chart changes.

That’s not my preferred way for programs to operate, since it makes aspirational/expensive properties disproportionately expensive. But I also can’t fault Hilton for choosing to run their program that way. In some cases the loyalty program has to compensate the hotel for points redemptions based on the actual rate, so why shouldn’t the cost of redemptions reflect that? Again, that’s not the most rewarding system for those who like aspirational redemptions, but it also means some members aren’t subsidizing others’ redemptions.

Bottom line

44 Hilton properties are changing categories, which represents about 1% of Hilton’s portfolio. Ultimately that’s not something to be worried about. What’s much more worrisome are hotels creeping up in cost within their category, especially for hotels which are now at “peak” pricing year round.

Have you redeemed points at any of the 44 Hilton-family properties which are changing categories?

Comments

  1. Got a bit over 500k waiting to use for for a good one, as opposed to the normal ones I stay at. Getting their card this year helped. Trouble is finding a good one and getting the time.

  2. My bottom line: Hilton is for hotels what Delta is for airlines in terms if how much value destruction they brought into their loyalty program. I have no choice but to fly Delta (live in a Delta hub) but I have a choice to chose my hotel options and I only stay at a Hilton brand hotel if my other options are at the level of a Red Roof Inn or Motel 6.

  3. @GoAmtrak

    … and Seattle, which has even more properties going up a category. Probably similar reasons.

  4. Hilton’s massive deval in 2013 and it’s subsequent deval makes HHonors program equivalent to Delta Skypesos (that says something).
    Maybe we should name HHnoros as HDishonors. It has become similar as Zimbabwe currency.

  5. Marriott’s rewards program had been devalued quite a bit also in last few years (adding 2 new categories and moving more hotels up in categories than down)

  6. In terms of devaluation, HH is more like UA than DL. I agree that Marriott is the DL of hotels: massive deval year after year.

  7. Hilton is only good to use for the higher categories with the cash+points option if they are available. I just stayed at the Waldorf Astoria in Dubai for $80 + points for a $500 a night room. Spending 40.000 points for a Hampton Inn or 95000 for any hotel just make no sence. What I dont get it is how people complain about a room that cost 90.000 hh points but dont complain about a SPG hotel that is 30.000 a night when 90.000 hh points are a lot easier to get than 30.000 SPG…

  8. Hiltons program is great for those who stay there on paid nights for work. I never earn less than 20 points per dollar and I never redeem night unless I’m getting my fifth night free.

    Hilton points are worth less than hilton, and spg are so damn hard to accrue outside of paid stays. I earn 1 mm hilton points a year without counting my paid nights and only 50k spg points with more effort.

    Say what you want, but I think the hilton program is 2nd best only to hyatt due to their relation with chase UR and their killer properties like Andax Maui…

  9. I have frequently stayed at Doubletree SFO Burlingame, but other than increased frequency on its airport shuttle, the hotel is really not that great.

    Not sure what’s Hilton criteria allowing this hotel to move up! At least Hilton should make sure that these hotels have significantly increased their amenities before allowing such changes!

    A

  10. @Santastico and @ ff_lover — Yours are ignorant statements because they cannot be reconciled with reality, which is that HHonors is the most vibrant and rewarding program out there right now.

    I can no longer waste the time trying to educate folks like you who judge programs based on totally ignorant perceptions about the “value” loyalty points. @AG, in fact, just tried to inject some signal in all the noise here when s/he said: “What I dont get it is how people complain about a room that cost 90.000 hh points but dont complain about a SPG hotel that is 30.000 a night when 90.000 hh points are a lot easier to get than 30.000 SPG…” A very astute remark because to spend 30K SPG starpoints on an award is equivalent to spending 180K HHonors points on an equivalent award! That’s right, some folks here who bitch about how expensive HH awards are or worthless HH points are can gush about SPG totally ignorant about the fact the latter’s awards are by far the most expensive in the business. Do you know that the highest category HHonors and Hyatt GP awards cost exactly the same? I didn’t think so…

    @Lucky’s take on these latest changes to the HH award chart is about right: they are no biggie. With less than 1% of Hilton’s 4,440+ hotels changing categories, this whole thing is a big yawn; it’s a molehill that clueless serial complainers want to turning into a Himalaya…

    G’day.

  11. @Lucky sez: “That’s not my preferred way for programs to operate, since it makes aspirational/expensive properties disproportionately expensive.”

    As I explained before, what Hilton does in the open with their award chart to make rooms tough to redeem points for at some properties or seasonally is what Hyatt tries to achieve when they go against their own T&C and make standard awards unavailable at properties that show the same rooms to be available for booking with cash.

    I know whose way I prefer because it is at least honest.

  12. @DCS – “Yours are ignorant statements because they cannot be reconciled with reality”

    Yet again, you fail to comprehend that others’ reality is not the same as yours.

    “which is that HHonors is the most vibrant and rewarding program out there right now.”

    For YOU. Not necessarily for everyone.

    “I can no longer waste the time trying to educate folks like you who judge programs based on totally ignorant perceptions about the “value” loyalty points.”

    Then why do you keep commenting?

  13. @Brian L — Oh, it’s you…

    What are you, a masochist? If you’ve come back for more punishment, then help me calibrate the degree of pain to inflict by first telling me what’s the coldest temperature between 0 degree Celsius and 32 degrees Fahrenheit 😉

    G’day

  14. @DCS – “What are you, a masochist?”

    I could be asking you that question, since not too many people seem to agree with your comments. So again, if you can’t “waste the time trying to educate folks like you” why are you still commenting?

    “first telling me what’s the coldest temperature between 0 degree Celsius and 32 degrees Fahrenheit”

    No. That has nothing to do with Hilton HHonors.

  15. @Brian L. — LOL. If my comments here sound to you like those of someone who cares about whether or not others agree you are even more clueless than I thought. Just so that you do not remain confused let me spell it out for you: my purpose for commenting here, from day one, has been to set the record straight and not to build a fan club.

    Good bye!

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