Here’s What’s Changing About Hilton Honors Next Week

Hilton Honors has made some significant program changes the past couple of years, and for the most part they’ve been positive.

In 2017 Hilton Honors made some radical changes, adding new Points & Cash redemptions, introducing points pooling, giving members more ways to redeem their points, and even giving Diamond members the chance to extend their status by a year. I tend to think these changes were positive, especially for those who just occasionally stay at Hilton properties.

Then at the beginning of this year, Hilton Honors announced some further changes to their program. My previous post has all the details, though to briefly recap:

  • Honors is eliminating the ability to earn Points & Miles for stays in order to simplify the program; rarely was this actually a good value, and Hilton said that fewer than 1% of members took advantage of that opportunity
  • Honors is adjusting how many points members earn at different tiers; for example, Diamond members will earn the same number of points as before, while non-elite members will potentially earn fewer points
  • Honors is introducing Milestone Bonuses for frequent guests, where you can earn 10,000 bonus points after every 10th night, starting when you reach 40 nights in a calendar year, plus 30,000 bonus points after staying 60 nights in a year
  • Honors is introducing elite rollover nights, where you can rollover nights beyond your qualification to the following year
  • Honors will give members who stay 60 or more nights in a calendar year the ability to gift Gold status to someone, and those who stay 100+ nights in a year can gift Diamond status to someone

Anyway, we’ve known that these changes would be introduced in the spring, and specifically in April. We now have an exact date. These changes to the Hilton Honors program will be kicking in as of Monday, April 2, 2018. So whether these changes are positive or negative really comes down to the type of stays you make. For Diamond members who spend many nights per year with Hilton, this is great news. For the less frequent guest who was still savvy, this is potentially not good news.

Regardless of whether or not it impacts which hotel group you stay at, it’s at least worth being aware that some things are about to change at Honors.

How do you feel about the upcoming changes to Hilton Honors? Will they hurt or help you?

Comments

  1. Lucky, are you an experienced travel blogger or an reposter of fancy pr statements? Too bad it seems the latter.

    In February and March I made 11 stays with Hilton and earned XXX HHonors points and 26000 Miles&More miles (1/2 TATL C OW). Starting 4/2 I would earn XXX+x HHonors points and 0 miles.

    Lucky’s reflection on that:
    Honors is eliminating the ability to earn Points & Miles for stays in order to simplify the program; rarely was this actually a good value

    Hell yeah! I hope you’re very well paid by Hilton at latest.

  2. “Honors is eliminating the ability to earn Points & Miles for stays in order to simplify the program; rarely was this actually a good value, and Hilton said that fewer than 1% of members took advantage of that opportunity.”

    Hey, look at that. I finally made it into the 1% of something!

  3. I’ve been a consistent Silver member for 10 years averaging 10-12 stay per year. This “improved” Honors plan is a very significant devaluation as the 5 points or miles bonus per $1 spent is gone. Even though I’m not their big spender, I’ve already migrated to SPG for 2018 and expect to be Gold status in the next couple weeks.

    Their points and cash also used to have some great redemptions . I’d see $125 rooms offered for $40+8,000 points. All gone.

  4. very torn on Hilton. never had been interested as there was no viable path for me to earn sustained Diamond, and i’m not a fan of Gold (the non-guaranteed lounge access is a total buzzkill). then, the new Amex card comes out and I can be Diamond simply for the cost of one hard pull, and small the annoyance of accessing the various statements credits the card provides…but is it worth it? the exec. lounges i’ve tried are very nice abroad and fairly lousy in the US. whether you love or hate Hilton, i’d be curious to hear your exec. lounge experiences. thanks all.

  5. As a gold member now,, I really hate Hilton’s 48 hour cancellation policy. I have been caught twice on this policy.. I am a business traveler, and my plans are subject to change quickly.. I usually have one day notice NOT two days,. I lost two nights at a cost of more than points are worth.. looking at other option now.

  6. Ha ha elite members will earn more points, worth… what? Now that the award chart is concealed and the surreptitious devaluations occur daily?

  7. Hiltons lounges within the US are so poor now I don’t stay in their hotels
    Hilton has allowed full service hotels to offer the fare typically found in limited service properties shockingly poor and pathetic
    Even airline lounges are starting to do better
    Yet oddly Hilton International is doing a fantastic job offering Diamonds the restaurant or club lounge or both!
    I stick with Hyatt in the US who mostly get breakfast right
    Only international does Hilton outperform Hyatts club /breakfast offerings

  8. Got back last month from a five night stay at Hilton Rose Hall in Jamaica on Honors points. Earlier this week, I booked a five night stay in an overwater villa in the Maldives which gives me a value of about 2 cents per Honors point. Spending four nights next month at the Hilton Paris Opera on Honors. All with no cash payment. There is value to be claimed if you look in the right places!

  9. Hilton has become so bad even fanboy DCS is defecting from them on his trips, realizing that Hyatt and others are far better

  10. In defense of Hilton, it is sometimes hard to compare as they typically give out a ton of points per $ spent, you could almost call them HonorPesos. As a % of amount spent, they are fairly attractive. That’s probably the argument DCS tries to make but that gets masked by his angry frustration at times.

    The other advantage is just the volume of hotels is ridiculous. Hyatt and SPG tend to work better for business travelers in major cities.

    As for redemptions, unless you’re DSK and traveling to cool locales, you’re getting 0.4-0.5 cents per point where 0.6-.0.7 was very common not long ago. Sorry, blowing 30,000 points on a $120 Hampton Inn does nothing for me. At least with SPG, you can find a craptastic Sheraton for 3,000 points.

  11. Who would try to earn more Hilton points when the point is worth between 0.0045 to 0.0055 a pt since the program went revenue-based last year?

    10,000 points for milestone award, is worth about $50 – who cares?

    We let our Golds elapsed and could not care more as the program basically has destroyed its last value after first eliminating the point + cash at fixed levels, then went to revenue-based completely. Twice AMEX sent us targeted offers to upgrade our no fee cards to the $65 and now $95 fee cards. We passed.

    Only when we anticipate a lot of full service stays at Hilton OVERSEAS would we then consider getting the Gold status via the CC – else we can just let our current balances sit with occasionally taking the AMEX offers so there would always some small earnings going thru and keep the accounts alive.

    SPG with its 1 to 3 to Marriott has made the Marriott program superior in many fronts for our travel needs – whether it is the full service Marriott overseas or the Springhills for a road trip domestically – the value proposition cannot be beat by any other program, for now.

  12. I have been a Diamond since 2003 but am not even close to DFL for some reason – mainly because HH cannot ever seem to get their rewards correctly posted. Case in point – stayed 8 nights at the Hilton Puerto Vallarta All-Inclusive last November. They managed to reward 1 night and about 5000 points. So their accounting system is horridly error prone and I have no faith that they can count past 5.

    One of the major benefits to HH in the past was the 500 airline miles per stay at most properties (250 at Hampton) plus 10 HH points per dollar spent. The airline benefit was always the more valuable perk. Then a few years ago they changed the airline double dip to 1 mile per dollar spent. Now the benefit becomes just an “extra” that set HH above the competition (everyone gives approx 10 points per dollar when you look at the various reward schemes). The loss of the double dip is actually harmful to me as even the mile per dollar should have resulted in 1200 miles for the Puerto Vallarta stay because it is about $250 a night inc tax.

    Raising the Diamond benefit to 20 points per dollar does not come close to the overall benefit that was enjoyed with double dipping. However having said that it will make returning to Rangali Conrad all that much easier as long as they do not change the redemption cost.

    But I suspect that fixed redemptions at the better resorts is doomed. Perhaps it will happen as late as next year after everyone has forgotten about this year’s rotten changes.

    The perks of being a Diamond while travelling to resort areas of the world are the only things that make the program attractive enough to continuing the quest for Diamond. Conrad Hong Kong, Bali, Rangali Island and Bora Bora are still very good redemption values at least at present levels. If this changes then all bets are off.

    It is going to be very interesting to see how the Marriott/Starwood program merger works out. They have an opportunity to become the best program in the industry.

  13. @Azamaraal – SPG/MR pre-real integration is already far, far superior to Hilton. You have, I don’t know, ~8x the number of “better” properties globally relative to Hilton (StR, R-C, JW, LC, plenty of Ws and LMs, etc.). Top tier status that you actually have to earn and thus is worth something. And a stable currency.

  14. I think the best change they made recently was dropping the extra H and changing from HHonors to Honors. Now if they would just fix the spelling to Honours…..

  15. @Michael great being a Hilton diamond overseas. Not the best for U.S. locations. Occasionally, you will have fantastic service in the U.S. including upgrades but it is rare. Also, as you know the lounges in the US suck or they are non-existent. In the overseas locations especially in Asia, they have lounge offerings and with that you not only get breakfast, but you also have afternoon tea and happy hour. Also, Conrad Macau treats gold and diamond very well. Oh, if you are a diamond, you get upgraded really well. I booked the most standard room and I was upgraded to a room that was the size and beauty of a luxury NYC midtown apartment overlooking the Macau Eiffel Tower.

  16. Once again Hilton Honors downgrade members benefits . A dedicated HH’s Diamond member for years but enough is enough . The customer service provided by HH’s is atrocious. There were simply too many instances which confirmed Hilton has little to no interest in retaining elite members . This lack of competent service encouraged my move to Marriott and I can only say I regret not doing so years ago .The difference is palpable .
    I was totally oblivious to just how appalling Hilton treat their most loyal until I experienced the hospitality of Marriott/SPG . I will never consider a Hilton property again .

  17. Like the saying goes, “Ignorance is bliss”, and I’d say that there is quite a bit of bliss and “irrational exuberance” in here today!

    Now, here’s the hard cold fact: there is currently no hotel loyalty program out there that comes close to being as rewarding as HHonors, and there has not been for, at least, the past 3 years. HHonors been the dominant program and there are no indications that that’s going to change any time soon. How bad are things elsewhere? So bad that they feel like they must resort to making stuff up, like this:

    @UA-NYC: “Hilton has become so bad even fanboy DCS is defecting from them on his trips, realizing that Hyatt and others are far better.”

    First, that is both desingenuous and stupid because I can paste right here my comment a few days ago telling this person that the reason I chose to stay at Park Hyatt Seoul rather than at one of three Hilton properties in the city, was that, though we were still in Q1, I was already sitting on a stash of Hilton points that was almost as high as my past YEARLY hauls, thus allowing me to begin diversifying and accumulating points in WoH, my fallback program (Marriott Rewards is #3, and I stay at SPG properties only if forced to, as I was recently at Sheraton Plantation FLL by meeting organizers.)

    Second, my conference here in Seoul just ended, so I checked out of PH Seoul. However, because I had planned to have some leisure time for myself in this great city before returning to NYC, I left PH Seoul and checked in at Millennium Seoul Hilton (so much for DCS avoiding Hilton hotels!). This is my 3rd stay at this property in the last couple of years so I now feel right at home, especially after what I noticed for the first time as I was checking out of PH Seoul that made me even more baffled about why self-anointed travel gurus were so enamored with the now-defunct Hyatt Gold Passport? Of my total bill for the 4-night stay at PH Seoul, which was US$2130, I noticed that according to the footnote on the bill, just US$1500 would be considered eligible spend for the purpose of earning redeemable points!!! Why was that? Well, because the T&Cs of the bloggers’ #1 program state that members will received no points for incidental spend on a whole bunch of items, including on booze purchased as part of a meal in a restaurant on the property!!! I was flabbergasted. If this were a Hilton stay, only 10% (the VAT) of the $2130 folio would have been considered ineligible spend. In contrast, fully 70% of the total bill for my PH Seoul stay, including the 10% VAT, is considered ineligible to earn redeemable points, and that is INSANE!!!

    What the above means is that contrary to the prevalent model, WoH awards are, in practice, much more expensive than HHonors’ or Marriott Rewards’ because one has to spend a lot more in hard currency than previously thought to afford a single award night at Hyatt properties. In fact, considering the paucity of WoH promos, the costs of their awards may now be almost as exorbitant as SPG’s, i.e., almost an order magnitude more expensive than Hilton’s or Marriott’s!

    Well, glad I am now in familiar territory at Millennium Hilton, enjoying a fantastic view of Seoul from my exec floor room upgrade, ready to earn points on every penny of my incidental spend (including on booze) @ 20/$ as a HH Diamond, and then, additionally, more points @ 14/$ for the same spend because I will pay for the stay with my HH AMEX Aspire card. It is because of this ease of earning HH points that I decided to stay at PH Seoul and earn some point for my fallback program, and not because I thought HH was awful. Au contraire, there is no way to try to denigrate HHonors right now without coming across as the biggest ignoramus because there is simply no competition out there to, HH, the overwhelmingly dominant hotel loyalty program for the past 3+ years.

  18. What DCS said….I’m hoarding Hilton points like they’re going out of style. Just need to find a good redemption to get a minimum of .6 cpp.

    Everyone’s bitching isn’t a surprise. Post an article about United messing up, everyone bitches. An article about American, same thing. An article about Southwest, yep you’ll find some bitching although much less than for the big 3. Same thing with hotels.

  19. “Honors is eliminating the ability to earn Points & Miles for stays in order to simplify the program; rarely was this actually a good value, and Hilton said that fewer than 1% of members took advantage of that opportunity”

    What is left unsaid in Lucky’s post, of course, is that this is the final cut to the points and miles program that, in January of 2014, was “enhanced” to remove the fixed miles per stay option that I (and likely most people) used for the bulk of stays. It’s not shocking that less than 1 percent of Honors members used the program after this, because they effectively killed the attractiveness of double dipping four years ago.

    Once upon a time, it was possible to get 1,000 BMI miles per night for up to 3 nights on a stay (which turned into Avios after BA bought them out), or 0.5 WN Rapid Rewards credit (before the program went revenue-based), which made the double-dip extremely lucrative while these programs existed in the form they did. Even after BMI got bought out and WN went revenue-based, the ability to earn 1,000 VS miles per stay was still an attractive option, even if one wanted to earn Honors points, because of the ability to convert VS miles back to HH points (the 1,000 VS miles could have become 2,000 HH points), meaning that someone who had a $100 stay could earn four times as many HH points by selecting VS miles and converting them, as opposed to taking the bonus HH points directly.

    There are still instances where taking the variable miles would still be worth it (as I’ve pointed out before, they’re a good easy way to earn for extending expiration dates on programs here and there, and the bonuses that have been offered often make the miles option more attractive than earning more points). Again, though, the fact that Hilton has said that virtually no one uses this program anymore should not come as a surprise to anyone, given that this is the thousandth cut in the proverbial “death by a thousand cuts” for this feature of the Honors program.

    @DCS: “What the above means is that contrary to the prevalent model, WoH awards are, in practice, much more expensive than HHonors’ or Marriott Rewards’ because one has to spend a lot more in hard currency than previously thought to afford a single award night at Hyatt properties. In fact, considering the paucity of WoH promos, the costs of their awards may now be almost as exorbitant as SPG’s, i.e., almost an order magnitude more expensive than Hilton’s or Marriott’s!”

    Speaking of things that are left unsaid, it is convenient that DCS omits the fact that, at four different brands in the Honors portfolio, incidental charges don’t earn points, either. Thus, while there may be an advantage in point earning between Honors and SPG or WoH (which is debatable in and of itself), it’s not an absolute advantage, given that these four brands together (Hampton Inn, Tru, Homewood Suites, and Home2 Suites) make up a plurality, if not a majority, of the Honors portfolio.

  20. Yup, “Hampton Inn, Tru, Homewood Suites, and Home2 Suites”, the type of properties, like Park Hyatt, where folks are just dying to redeem their points for free stays… (I never have redeemed points at those 4 properties in more than 15 years of patronizing HHonors, so the “omission” can be “forgiven”, but it is clear that we are talking about apples and oranges).

    G’day!

  21. @DCS: “Yup, “Hampton Inn, Tru, Homewood Suites, and Home2 Suites”, the type of properties, like Park Hyatt, where folks are just dying to redeem their points for free stays… (I never have redeemed points at those 4 properties in more than 15 years of patronizing HHonors, so the “omission” can be “forgiven”, but it is clear that we are talking about apples and oranges).”

    I shouldn’t have to keep pointing this out to you, DCS, but not everything is about you.

  22. @DCS: “Except that it is not. It is about me because YOU keep making it that way. Wise up!”

    I’d say that you’re funny, but the fact that you actually believe what you said there is more sad than funny.

    Again, because you missed the point, DCS, the fact that you don’t redeem at those properties doesn’t mean that people aren’t “dying” to redeem points there. A lot of people do – they might not be your first choice or even my first choice, but I don’t proclaim to speak for the desires and demands of all Honors members (and you don’t get to, either).

    Further, given that you were originally speaking of *earning* levels at Honors properties vs. WoH or SPG, I fail to see why the demand for *redemption* at any property matters, let alone your demand for redemption at these properties.

    Then again, you’ve proven yourself quite adept at moving the goalposts on your arguments when it suits you, so I’m never surprised when you do it anymore.

  23. Remember that you first faulted me for omitting to mention that those 4 HH brands do not award points on incidentals. Then I just pointed out that those properties and Park Hyatt are not in the same league. Not by a long shot!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Get a grip for a change.

  24. I pretty much ONLY redeem my points at Homewood Suites as I have a family to bring with me and like to keep them all crammed into one room on points and all fed.

  25. @DCS: “Remember that you first faulted me for omitting to mention that those 4 HH brands do not award points on incidentals. Then I just pointed out that those properties and Park Hyatt are not in the same league. Not by a long shot!!!!!!!!!!!!”

    You’re the one who used the incidental issue as proof that it’s easier to earn Honors points than WoH or SPG. My comment was to show that Honors isn’t as far ahead of those programs in that regard as you might want to believe, which has nothing to do with redemption.

    It’s okay to be wrong once in a while, DCS — really. The fact that you are wrong is not the fault of the person who points it out, so I think you’re the one who needs to get a grip.

  26. Preach Mike!

    Hilton is a chain defined by low and mid end properties…not one that plays much in luxury. Thus, it’s not unfair to say that points for on property spend is not a feature of Hilton program-wide.

  27. @Mike and @UA-NYC

    I’ll second the “get a grip” comment. Honors points are super easy to accumulate and use, period. How much relatively easier is irrelevant to DCS’s original comment.

  28. @Jay: “Honors points are super easy to accumulate and use, period. How much relatively easier is irrelevant to DCS’s original comment.”

    I don’t think you can say that it’s irrelevant when the relative ease of earning them was the whole point of DCS’s argument in the first place.

  29. UA-NYC –

    No, Hilton properties are primarily in the upper midscale to upscale chainscale by what Smith Travel and other industry groups label them as well – basically, the upper end of limited service hotels. Low and Midscale hotels are Choice, Wyndham, G6, LQ, etc hotels (the hotels you are referring to are either considered upper upscale or luxury). Basically, Hilton dominates between $100 and $200 per night, the brands I just listed dominate under $100/night and SPG/Hyatt dominates the $300+ (Marriotts range from $100 to $300, typically). Exceptions abound, especially in tier 1 markets like NYC.

  30. @Rob: Since this discussion centers around comparisons between Hilton and the other major chains (Hyatt and Marriott/Starwood), it’s worth pointing out that, when compared with the other chains, Hilton centers far more on the lower end of the scale than do the other chains mentioned.

    Looking at the Smith Travel chain scales, Hampton Inn, Home2 Suites, and Doubletree Club – which, added together, are half of the Hilton portfolio – are at the “upper midscale” tier. By comparison, Hyatt has zero brands within this tier, and of the Marriott/SPG brands, the only one in that tier is TownePlace Suites, which (to my recollection) makes up less than 5 percent of the total Marriott portfolio.

    Thus, while UA-NYC’s statement that Hilton’s portfolio is primarily low-end properties isn’t exactly accurate (in that we’re not exactly talking about a bunch of Best Westerns and Motel 6-type hotels), it’s certainly fair to note that a couple of thousand Hampton Inns certainly give Hilton a different portfolio build than you see from WoH or Marriott/SPG.

  31. Look–I am Marriott/SPG Platinum, Hilton Diamond and Hyatt Explorist this year. Before I was Explorist, I spent two years at Hyatt as a Diamond. I travel a lot worldwide. As I see it, each program has advantages and disadvantages. There are some great redemptions through Hilton, primarily outside of the USA, which have made the program very worthwhile to me. I have also stayed at some excellent Hiltons. The overseas Hiltons often have very good lounges. On the other hand, the lack of a guaranteed late checkout means I normally have to “negotiate” for it (“can you give me 2:30 p.m.–no, but I can give you 1:30 p.m., etc) which is annoying. I don’t have that issue with Marriott or Hyatt. Also, if there is not a “standard” room available, the rate jumps to something ridiculous and astronomical, and I refuse to use my points stupidly.

    The point totals on Marriott stays are fairly stable (yes, there are devaluations that hurt), and they have nice hotels too. Marriotts and Hiltons are everywhere. The issue for me with Marriott is the lack of executive lounges at resorts, since I get a lot of value out of those executive lounges. Also, when I have stayed at Ritz Carltons, I have to explain what a Platinum means since they don’t seem to reward status at all (YMMV). Finally, I find a lot more Hiltons than Marriotts at the resort locations I like to visit.

    Hyatt–I have really tried to fall in love with that one, but there just aren’t enough of them. When you take that small footprint and then take out the Hyatt Houses and Hyatt Places and then take out they Hyatts without executive lounges, I have trouble using those four lounge upgrades per year that come with Explorist. Also, I definitely cannot find enough Hyatts to make Globalist, and at their third of their four tiers, you don’t get a free breakfast at a full service hotel (unless the hotel has a lounge and you use an upgrade). Seriously?

    I could go on and on, but all three chains (lumping SPG and Marriott together) have their positives and negatives. To me, if one were clearly superior, it would get all of my business. You try and get value out of them playing to their particular strengths. No need for a “slugfest” of my program is great and your program is crap.

  32. @Rob: 2017 ADRs:
    Hilton – $145
    Marriott – $177

    Looking back at 2014, I see data for Hyatt at $182 and Starwood at $175 (Marriott was $150 pre-merger, so Starwood has raised the average upward).

    For the purposes of this board, brands like Choice/Wyndham aren’t even part of the same conversation.

    Just pointing out to the #1 insulter/Hilton raver on this board that Hilton is a more budget-friendly chain, with the least benefits on the top, and the most inflationary currency. The #1 benefit seems to be “earn a ton of points!!!” and “there’s a Hampton on every corner!” YMMV.

  33. “Hilton is a more budget-friendly chain, with the least benefits on the top, and the most inflationary currency.”

    Only in travel blogosphere is a chain being “budget-friendly” considered a negative.

    Claims of “least benefits at the top”, which were based on made up standards by self-anointed travel gurus eager to elevate their favored programs, have now fallen completely flat and been revealed to all for what they always were: utterly bogus, for which “WoH!” is a fitting epitome.

    Lastly, anyone who still yaks about how HHonors points are “the most inflationary currency”, after I’d explained ad nauseam in grade-school math and language that the claim is nonsensical, is hopelessly clueless.

  34. @DCS: “Lastly, anyone who still yaks about how HHonors points are “the most inflationary currency”, after I’d explained ad nauseam in grade-school math and language that the claim is nonsensical, is hopelessly clueless.”

    Which, I’m sure, came from cherry-picking and statistical manipulation for which DCS is notorious in his desperate attempts to show that Hilton can never do wrong.

  35. @Mike sez, likely believing it too: “Which, I’m sure, came from cherry-picking and statistical manipulation for which DCS is notorious in his desperate attempts to show that Hilton can never do wrong.”

    Don’t you get tired of playing the role of the ultimate contrarian, who would say “B” simply because DCS said “A”?

    If you understood the very simple math, you’d realize how truly pathetic that statement about ‘cherry-picking’ is: there is no need to cherry-pick anything because the numbers are what they are. Right now,

    US$1.00 = 1,065 South Korean Won.

    There is nothing to ‘cherry-pick’ about that. Those numbers just are; just as they are for points currencies. Got it? I doubt it, but…

    …the soapbox is yours. Knock yourself out…

  36. @DCS: Your so-called “argument” has nothing to do with inflation. Zip. Zero.

    Try again – and next time, try using evidence that shows the relative of Honors points over time, not irrelevant examples of currency compared to other currency.

  37. You are clueless. My argument has nothing to do with inflation because none of this is about inflation. It is simply that the person who thinks HHonors points are an inflationary currency is confused, as you are, by the large number of points required for awards.

    US$1.00 = 1,065 South Korean Won.

    There is no inflation (CPI vs. a year ago) in SK although it takes 1K in their currency to have the equivalent of US$1.

    See the relevance now?

    G’day.

  38. It’s actually kind of funny that DCS brings up a chess term to indicate his belief that he has somehow won this debate, as if it were a chess game that he’s declaring victory in. I say that because this debate is sort of like a chess game, except that instead of playing chess, DCS is playing the 1980s video game Frogger.

    And DCS’s illogical declaration of victory is, in reality, pretty much the same thing as declaring victory after jumping your frog directly into a moving car on the first move of the game.

    The only thing that DCS is doing at this point is digging a deeper hole in doubling down on arguments where it is not only clear that he is wrong, but that he has absolutely no clue of what he is talking about. I speak specifically of this statement:

    “My argument has nothing to do with inflation because none of this is about inflation.”

    Keep in mind that the original statement that he made, which I responded to and which started his illogical rant, had everything to do with inflation:

    “Lastly, anyone who still yaks about how HHonors points are “the most inflationary currency”, after I’d explained ad nauseam in grade-school math and language that the claim is nonsensical, is hopelessly clueless.”

    Whether DCS likes it or not, discussions of the inflationary tendency of Honors points have nothing to do with comparisons with other currencies. It is fundamentally no different than an examination of the inflationary tendency of the US dollar or any other currency, because at its core, Honors points are their own currency. They are earned and can be spent for various goods and services at set prices, with the earning and redemption levels varying over time and based on the specific component of the earn/redemption paradigm.

    Now, this isn’t exactly the same as the US dollar – the key difference between the two is that the earning and spending levels for US dollars are set by a full free market, whereas both the earning and redemption levels for an Honors point are set by one entity – Hilton – who tells its customers how points can be earned and at what rates, as well as how points can be redeemed and at what rate.

    No, there isn’t a CPI-type index that can measure inflation of Honors points the way that the Bureau of Labor Statistics compiles and publishes the CPI. It doesn’t take that kind of measure, though, to realize that over time, the redemption value of an Honors point is significantly lower than it was in past years. You know, the “inflationary currency” that DCS insists has nothing to do with inflation.

    I’ve been an Honors member since 2001. Back then, I was Gold — this was several years before I started traveling enough to hit Diamond every year — but back then, it was easy to get Gold. Hilton, during 2001 and 2002, ran a few promos where someone could earn Gold and get 50,000 points with four stays, and I took advantage of that.

    On the redemption side, around that time, Hilton had a total of five hotel categories – Opportunity, Executive, Select, Classic, and Premium, with per-night redemption levels ranging from 5,000 for an Opportunity weekend night to 35,000 points per night for a Premium weekend night, with other awards for multiple-night stays and 50% off discounts available as well:

    https://web.archive.org/web/20000302040702/https://www.hilton.com/hhonors/rewards/hotel.html

    The above page (which is the archived Hilton redemption cost page from 2000) also makes a mention of PointStretcher awards, which gave discounted rates at certain hotels during certain (read: low-demand) times of the year. Note one of the examples shown on that page – a weekend night at the Waldorf=Astoria for 12,500 points.

    There were also the VIP-only awards, such as the GLON (six nights at a non-Premium level hotel for 100,000 points), GLONP (six nights at a Premium-level hotel for 150,000 points), and the GLO9 (which was a GLONP plus two round-trip plane tickets anywhere in the world, for 400,000 points, if I recall).

    That was the Hilton world when I joined Honors in 2001. From there, the world has changed pretty drastically in terms of earning – it’s far easier to earn points now than it was fifteen or more years ago, both on a micro level (I made Diamond for the first time in 2005 and have been one since) and on a macro level (more hotels, more promos, and more ways to earn). With the increase in available points, though, has come changes to the redemptions as well – here are a few that come to my mind:

    2003: Hilton adds a sixth reward category, with the highest redemption now at 40,000 points per night, and shuffles the hotels around by category (with estimates at the time indicating that two-thirds of the properties had a category increase. Point Stretcher awards are also changed to vary by category, now ranging from 6,000 points to 24,000 points per night, instead of a flat 12,500 per night.

    https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/hilton-hilton-honors/128183-anybody-noticed-new-higher-honors-award-levels-6-1-2003-a.html

    At the same time, the VIP award costs also increased: the GLON went from 100,000 points to 150,000, and the GLONP (now for the Category 6 hotels) went to 175,000 points.

    2004: Hilton adds a seventh category, restoring Opportunity level hotels below Category 1, at 7,500 points per night.

    2010: Hilton eliminates the Opportunity category designation and renumbers the categories 1-7, rather than Opportunity and 1-6. At the same time, though, the levels for Categories 2-7 are all increased, with the maximum redemption increasing from 40,000 to 50,000 points per night:

    http://loyaltytraveler.boardingarea.com/2009/10/21/hilton-hhonors-category-change-in-2010-and-redemption-guide/

    Hilton also adds an eighth category – specifically for W=A properties – with variable pricing ranging from 50,000 to 80,000 points per night.

    The 2010 change also modifies the VIP rewards (GLON/GLONP/etc.) that were remaining and replaces them with “Going Global” VIP rewards, which varied based on length of stay (3-10 nights) and hotel category (3-7). For reference sake, the Going Global 6-night award for a Category 7 hotel is now 225,000 points.

    2011: Hilton adds the cash+points award option, with fixed award costs based on the category level of the hotel.

    2012: Hilton eliminates Point Stretchers.

    2013: Hilton revises the award chart again, from eight categories (1-7 plus W=A) to ten, with variable (seasonal pricing) required in the top seven categories. The award cost range changes from 7,500-80,000 points to a new range of 5,000-95,000 points.

    The 2013 change also eliminates the Going Global awards and replaces them with the fifth night free.

    2017: Hilton eliminates the categories and fixes maximum award costs at their previous maximum, though there is no similar promise to the minimum. Since the point cost is now revenue-based, this results in a stealth increase of many lower-end hotels (whose point price is now higher under the new system than the old minimums of the 2003-2016 award chart).

    The 2017 change also eliminates the award chart for Points+Cash feature and makes it a pure linear function of the award and cash cost, which results in an increase in points and price for many, if not most, of the hotels where P+C was previously available (whether DCS likes it or not).

    Once upon a time, it was possible to get a single night in a standard room in just about any Hilton in the world for no more than 35,000 points per night. Even when the price increased in 2004, that same room could be had for 40,000, which would have been the price as recently as early 2010. Today, that maximum cost is now 95,000 — close to triple what it was back in 2003, and more than double what it was even as recently as 2010.

    And keep in mind here that we’re just talking about the award categories themselves, and not necessarily movement within the categories. The fact that there are now exactly zero Category 1 hotels anywhere in the US or Canada, let alone the movement of individual hotels over time, only adds another layer to this element.

    What is abundantly clear after all this, though, is that the inflationary component of Honors points over time is extremely evident. How much the inflation has been will depend on the user and his or her experience — where they would have stayed, when, and for how long, among other variables — so it’s going to be more significantly difficult than measuring, for example, the cost of a gallon of gas in 1956 compared to the cost of a gallon of gas today.

    However, the fact that Hilton has been hit by inflation – with the cost of some awards double or more what they were a decade ago – is an absolutely correct observation, again whether DCS likes it or not.

  39. I suppose I am an outlier. I do not require high end hotels for my road trips. Hampton Inn is clean, bedding comfy, and safe for women travelers. I have found numerous Hampton Inn locations in the south (US) for 10k points. The location I stayed at in Wiggins,MS was spotlessly clean, quiet, & new. I am new to the “points & miles” hobby. I could feel differently in a few years but for now Hilton Honors works for me. (Perhaps I am not a sophisticated traveler.) As a plus, the Hilton points are easy to acquire.

  40. @Mike – I’ve got better things to do like a flight home to catch, so I did not bother reading that long, almost without doubt mind-numbing, ‘thesis’ , but the pattern is unmistakable. Once again, you are in the throes of your obsessive compulsion and need to get out before it does you in.

    Get.a.grip.

  41. @DCS: Actually, the pattern is that when you are faced with being wrong, you insult rather than admit it.

    Grow up, and get help.

  42. @Texas Girl — Hilton Honors works for millions and counting, as the program has been briskly attracting adherents. Do not pay attention to kool-aid drinkers in here, who are casting about aimlessly like zombies, because their worldview has been traumatically shattered by the demise of loyalty programs (Gold Passport cum ‘WoH!’, SPG) that self-anointed travel gurus told them repeatedly were ‘la crème de la crème’, while Hilton Honors (and Marriott Rewards) that they were told were shitty albatrosses are not only alive and well, but thriving!

  43. In my opinion, and speaking very generally: Hilton Honors points are fairly easy to rack up, but you get the best bang for the buck when redeeming them abroad (specifically, in southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent) than redeeming them in the United States. Which is why I value retaining my Hilton Honors Gold status. Which is why I am about to upgrade from the Hilton Honors Amex card (the no-annual-fee card which replaced the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card in January 2018) to the $95 annual fee American Express Hilton Ascend card. Hopefully the customer service rep will match the 75K Honors points sign-up bonus offer I saw the other day, but even if the rep doesn’t I will gladly take my Gold status (which you have for as long as you hold on to the card) and use the hell out of the Ascend card on my next SE Asia trip in the summer. Looking forward to the lounge access, the sumptuous free breakfast, and the chance to get an upgrade to great suite…

    By the way, I’m about to get some more popcorn to accompany the DCS/Mike tennis match. Anyone else need a refill?

  44. Reality is that Hilton has devalued its points to such an extent that even diamond level rewards are pretty much useless.

    I have been a Diamond member for several years. I do not really see much benefit to it in the US. Even as a Diamond member, room upgrades are rare and very few properties have lounges.

    The one thing Hilton could have done for their most loyal, usually business, customers would be to exempt them from the ridiculous new 48 hour cancellation policy. Nope, you do not even get that.

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