Hilton Honors Makes Changes To Their Airline Partners

Some significant changes will be coming to the Hilton Honors program tomorrow, which I’ve outlined before. Among these changes is that Hilton is eliminating the ability to earn both Points & Miles for hotel stays, in an effort to simplify the program. Hilton says that fewer than 1% of members took advantage of this.

Personally I never found it to be a particularly good value, and I don’t remember the last time I chose to earn Points & Miles for a Hilton stay. I know for certain people it made sense, like if there was a promotion with an airline, or if someone consistently made short stays at very inexpensive properties. So personally this change doesn’t bother me.

While it will no longer be possible to earn miles directly for hotel stays, it will still be possible to convert Hilton Honors points into airline miles. What’s interesting is that Hilton Honors is changing up their airline partners, as outlined by Head for Points. What’s changing?

Hilton Honors is dropping 11 partner transfers

As of April 2, 2018, it will no longer be possible to convert Hilton Honors points into the following 11 currencies:

  • airBaltic PINS
  • airberlin topbonus
  • Air China PhoenixMiles
  • China Southern Sky Pearl Club
  • Czech Airlines OK Plus
  • Gulf Air Falconflyer
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Multiplus
  • OK Cashbag
  • SriLankan FlySmiles
  • Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus


China Southern is being removed as a Hilton Honors transfer partner

Hilton Honors is adding nine partner transfers

As of April 2, 2018, Hilton Honors is adding the following nine airline partners, with the following transfer ratios (Hilton Honors:partner):

  • AirAsia BIG (10,000:2,000)
  • Asiana Club (10,000:1,000)
  • China Eastern Eastern Miles (10,000:1,000)
  • Emirates Skywards (10,000:1,000)
  • EVA Air Infinity MileageLands (1,000:100)
  • Finnair Plus (5,000:1.000)
  • Garuda Indonesia GarudaMiles (10,000:1,000)
  • SAS Eurobonus (8,000:1,000)
  • Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles (10,000:1,000)


Asiana is being added as a Hilton Honors transfer partner

Hilton Honors is improving transfer ratios with two partners

As of April 2, 2018, Hilton Honors is improving the transfer ratio for two of their airline partners, as follows:

  • The transfer ratio for Lufthansa Miles & More will go from 5,000:500 to 5,000:625
  • The transfer ratio for Singapore KrisFlyer  will go from 4,000:400 to 4,000:500

Why you shouldn’t convert Hilton points into airline miles

While you can transfer Hilton Honors points to a bunch of airline loyalty programs, you really shouldn’t, as it’s not an efficient use of points. Personally I value Hilton Honors points at ~0.4 cents each, and the absolute best transfer ratio you see here is one airline mile for every five Hilton Honors points (and in most cases it’s a 10:1 ratio, and not 5:1). Personally I’d take 5-10 Hilton points over one airline mile (you’d have to value airline miles at 2-4 cents each for a transfer to make sense).

I’m sure some people will still transfer points, but it really isn’t how I’d recommend using them.

The way I see it, there are only two circumstances under which it makes sense to convert hotel points into airline miles. That includes:

Does anyone disagree, and actually convert their Hilton points into airline miles?

Comments

  1. “Hilton says that fewer than 1% of members took advantage of this.”

    Hilton said that fewer than 1% of (IIRC) members who joined in the last year took advantage of this. But as most of those people were ‘forced’ to join because hilton.com wouldn’t let them book lower ‘member rates’ unless they did, and that ‘points and points’ was the default choice for these people, I don’t think that is a reasonable sample set!

  2. This is kind of silly. Hilton points are becoming more and more worth-less, meaning the value of their points are downward trending and don’t see any improvement in sight. There can be some sweet spots with the Hilton portfolio but for every 1 great property there are 10 that aren’t tolerable. Ones that I’m considering using Hilton points for are Conrad Maldives, Conrad Koh samui, or the new Curio in St. Lucia. Hilton is based out of the Washington, DC area and I can tell you they are outdated properties for the most part and are stingy when it comes to Suite upgrades for their diamond members. Hyatt Globalist has gained my loyalty as of late and couldn’t be happier.

  3. I generally agree with Ben that it’s not really cost/value effective to exchange Honors points for airline miles, and I probably wouldn’t do so. That said, where I split company with Ben is that there can come a point where it’s no longer worthwhile to accumulate more Honors points and getting airline miles becomes more attractive. Case in point is myself. I already have over 1.6 million Honors points and Diamond status. Since I rarely redeem the points for stays (my wife says I am a “serial saver”), getting more really doesn’t excite me. I continue to stay at Hilton for business travel because I value the chain’s footprint and like my Diamond status (having become disenchanted with Hyatt/WoH). However, because I already have more than enough Honors points, I was actually one of that “1% of Honors members” that did not “double dip” Honors points for stays but instead bifurcated stay earnings between Honors and airline miles (American in my case). I like to redeem American for international travel, but rarely fly them for business. WN is my “go to” domestic carrier and I consistently earn Companion Pass and A-List Preferred status with them year after year. And with close to 1.3 million Rapid Reward points, I really don’t need anymore of those either. So in those circumstances it made sense to split me Hilton earnings between Honors and AA miles (can’t do that anymore though). It’s not the exactly the same as outright converting to miles, but it has functional similarities to that – and illustrates how certain circumstances can otherwise trump what is normally a poor cost/value proposition.

  4. With 130,000 HH points that cannot be used for Hilton stays any longer, I am end-played because my only choice, now that HH is Amex card, to use them for air miles, Hilton should have grandfathered existing points to be used in the Hilton family of hotels.

  5. There might be a more worthless currrency than HH points but right now I can’t think what it is

  6. OK Cashbag really has to be the worst loyalty program name every created in the history of humans!

  7. Another good opportunity to talk about that HH has become a completly useless junk currency. Going through AMS next week and the Hilton there goes for 239,000 HH a night. On my way back through Munich the Hilton at the airport goes at 169,000 HH a night. Sign up for the Hilton Amex today and you can afford roughly half of a night in a fairly standard Hilton, if you´re lucky…

    Makes IHG currency look like the Krugerrand in comparison.

  8. Actually, the only viable option to xfer Hilton Honors points is TO Amtrak.
    I personally value Amtrak points at 3 CPM, because I travel very often between DC and NYC on the train.
    NE Regional Biz class is excellent because it is the same price as coach if booked a couple of weeks in advance, and the biz class tix are fully flexible NO QUESTIONS ASKED.
    100,000 Hilton points can become 15,000 Amtrak points, actually putting you on top, if you use the Lucky valuation of 0.4 CPM for HH.

  9. Guys, OK Cashbag is not an airline currency. It’s South Korean general point currency that can be earned in many different ways. Let’s say it’s similar to Plenti. Also, it’s not related to Czech Airlines (which has OK Plus)

  10. After 11 years with HH’s most of which at Diamond level ,I finally realized the poor value offered my the program . Further customer relations even at Executive level is atrocious,no worse than atrocious,non existent. Regardless of the unwavering support to the groups hotels I was treated with the utmost disdain when I highlighted an anomaly with the points allocated. The matter was never rectified so I am now with Marriott/SPG where members are respected. The move to Marriott /SPG has provided the perfect means for comparison and my only comment is “I regret not moving years ago” !Hilton is only interested in rapidly increasing its member base but those that actually offer high end spend are dismissed as irrelevant. Extremely disappointed I wasted 11 years of expenditure on a company I now disrespect.

  11. I used to be the 1%. I used to stay at Hiltons infrequently so getting miles was worth something.

    I changed it to Points and Points, not Points and Miles, when I started to stay at one of the Hilton brands more often.

    I see the April 2018 changes as bad because silver and gold treatment is worse. Furthermore, there are fewer promotions so that getting 10,000+ points for a stay is becoming a thing of the past.

  12. Hey Ben – the transfer ratio for Air New Zealand Airpoints has changed too – no longer need 10,000 points to transfer, only 5,000 points needed now. I think maybe you should mention that with KrisFlyer as well, you used to need 10,000 points to initiate a transfer, and now you only need 5,000, plus you’ll get slightly more miles too. Doesn’t make it worthwhile, but at least increases flexibility of transfers slightly for those with less points due to the deletion of the points + miles earning option.

  13. Where’s DCS? People are saying vaguely negative things about Hilton. Where’s their Apologist in Chief?

  14. For everyone who says HH points are worthless, let me tell you about my last redemption. 10k points for the Doubletree in Agra, India. I was upgraded to the Presidential Suite. Wonderful breakfast the next morning as well after an early morning at the Taj Mahal.

  15. @Steve. Not worthless. Just worth less than other chains. As are the hotels. As is top tier status. Just a lesser proposition overall.

  16. Amazing how, after so many “lectures” on the relative values of points currencies, there continues to be such a total lack of evidence of intelligence on the subject.

    People see a transfer ratio of 10HH:1mile and go “10:1? Woah! Useless points currency!”, forgetting that one typically earns 10 **base** HH points per $ on revenue stays, whereas airline **base** miles are earned at roughly 1 per $. The transfer of HH points to most airline miles is thus essentially 1:1.

    However, it makes no sense to transfer HH points to other programs because the rule of thumb is that points currencies are generally worth the most when redeemed within the program they were earned. The only possible exception to that rule is the starpoint, which became more popular for redeeming for award tickets than award nights – a flawed model that likely contributed to the demise of Starwood because starpoints that could have been redeemed for award stays and thus would have contributed significant revenue to their hotels were being transferred to airlines, which benefited. Worse, starpoints were being earned, not through revenue stays at Starwood hotels, but through credit card signup bonuses, or through unbonused spend on the SPG AMEX CCs. Huge numbers of starpoints were being earned by folks who never set foot inside a Starwood hotel, which they then redeemed for tickets. That was akin to taking business away from Starwood and sending it to airlines.

    Hilton’s clearly more successful model is fundamentally different because it made its loyalty program the driver of the company’s bottom line — the whole purpose of having a loyalty program. The following is from Hilton’s (mandatory) 2017 Form 10K filing to the SEC:

    [***below indicates key features of the HH program that demonstrate that it is thriving and explain why.]

    “Hilton Honors is our award-winning guest loyalty program that supports our portfolio of brands and our owned, leased, managed and franchised hotels and resorts. The program generates significant repeat business by rewarding guests with points for each stay at any of our nearly 5,300 properties worldwide, which are then redeemable for free nights and other goods and services. Members can also use points earned to transact with nearly ***130 partners***, including airlines, rail and car rental companies, credit card providers, Amazon.com and others. The program provides targeted marketing, promotions and customized guest experiences to approximately 71 million members, *** a 20 percent increase from December 31, 2016***. Our Hilton Honors members represented approximately ***57 percent*** of our system-wide occupancy and contributed hotel-level revenues to us and our hotel owners of over ***$19 billion*** during the year ended December 31, 2017 . Affiliation with our loyalty programs encourages members to allocate more of their travel spending to our hotels. ***The percentage of travel spending we capture from loyalty members increases as they move up the tiers of our program*** [i.e., if you give status, they will come!]. ***The program is funded by contributions from eligible revenues generated by Hilton Honors members and collected by us from hotels and resorts in our system. These funds are applied to reimburse hotels and partners for Hilton Honors points redemptions by loyalty members and to pay for program administrative expenses and marketing initiatives that support the program.***”

    The company’s philosophy enunciated above is likely why Hilton has discontinued the points&miles earning options, and clamped down on how travel bloggers promote their new line of co-branded AMEX cards (especially the ASPIRE card, with gazillion exciting features). HHonors does offer members the option to transfer HH points to other programs, but it does not actively promote it as Starwood did because it is economically boneheaded.

    Any questions?

  17. DCS is worse than Alex Jones of Infowars, claiming that the SPG Amex was so successful it took down Starwood. SMFH

  18. Educate yourself. Since Cornell isn’t.

    Your claims are about as bad and Ill informed as much of the supposed Deep State nonsense infecting our society

  19. A few other points to educate DCS since he apparently is incapable of doing so himself:
    1. When members of programs transfer out points to other loyalty programs, it’s not like the “home” program just misses out on revenue…they are compensated for it. Just like hotel and airline programs are for the banks selling said hotel and airline miles. He probably isn’t aware of this.
    2. Loyalty members drive lots of business – this is not something specific to Hilton, despite what he thinks. Per Starwood’s 2014 10-K: “In 2014, SPG members purchased over 50% of our room nights.”

    Now go feel free address (in other words, insult) all the prior posts talking about 1) 6 figure nightly points redemptions at basic HH properties, 2) perception of worthless points, 3) poor status recognition.

  20. FYI, I educate the leading scientific minds of tomorrow, not at one, but at two Ivy League medical universities. You cannot educate anyone about anything because, other than surprisingly discounting the existence of some “deep state” cabala, there is nothing remotely accurate in your claims. Hotel points that are earned on credit cards rather than on activities directly related to a hospitality company’s bread and butter, and then are redeemed for yet more unrelated activities are revenue going up in smoke. It’s not rocket science. Anyone who would pay 6-figure nightly points for an award or perceives HH points to be worthless or believes that the program has poor status recognition deserves to be insulted because s/he is ignorant. So, just stop the drivel.

    Few would argue against the picture I painted of what starpoints had become. When Starwood went on the auction block at a time of tremendous growth in the hospitality industry, its growth had stalled, properties were dropping the company left and right, stockholders were bitching, its CEO got canned, his replacement immediately bailed out to go run an entertainment company, etc. Why do you think that happened, and ONLY to Starwood?

    You have no leg to stand on because, while Hilton is experiencing incredible growth and its loyalty program is alive and soaring, Starwood is now a Marriott company and SPG’s days are numbered. Those are the facts.

    G’day.

  21. @UA-NYC

    Besides the fantastic Doubletree Agra redemption I had, how about my most recent one: 5 nights at the Conrad Maldives. Redeemed 360,000 points for 5 nights in a Water Villa. Paid an $80 a night cash upgrade fee to stay in a superior water villa with private jacuzzi. Included breakfast as a diamond as well as a daily evening happy hour. One of the best redemptions of my life and an experience I will never forget.

    Point is, there are opportunities to be had in the Hilton program.

  22. @Steve sez: “Point is, there are opportunities to be had in the Hilton program.”

    That sounds almost like an ‘apology’ when none is necessary. Being able to redeem 5 nights (5th free) at Conrad Maldives — a redemption value of nearly 2cents/HH points or 4x-5x the average value [1] — is something that many only hope they could experience. You actually did it. I reported about my 5-award nights at Conrad Koh Samui, and can report about other similarly lucrative and ‘aspirational’ award stays at Hilton properties around the world [1], year-after-year, the past 7 years. Hilton Honors does not just offer “opportunities to be had”; it actively CREATES them for loyal members.

    For years, but especially the last 3-4 years, no program has been more rewarding for its members or more programmatically innovative than H Honors. It’s offered nonstop global and lucrative targeted promos that even diehard HH detractors in travel blogging world have been forced to acknowledge, and it has introduced transformative programmatic changes, each of which the usual suspects assured us would “kill” the program [1], but have strengthened it instead.

    In the meantime, the other programs have floundered, with very little show. How long did it take before we saw a substantive WoH promo? And SPG? Well, the much vaunted program’s parent went belly-up and on the auction block where it got bought by Marriott, and is now in the last throes of its overhyped existence.

    [1] Link provided in next post.

  23. Anyone who believes Hilton Honors points are “worthless” or “worth less” should read a comprehensive post titled “No, There Has Not Been A Big Devaluation In Hilton ‘5th Award Night Free’ Benefit. Au Contraire!”, which I wrote ostensibly to prove the point in the title, but ended up being more general in debunking the claims that many parrot here about how HHonors or its points currency is “worthless” or “worth less”. It is a must-read:

    [1] https://goo.gl/qZpjPh

    If you are open-minded, you’ll conclude as one commenter did after reading the post:

    “As usual, a clear and documented example of the Hilton Awards program. It is always good to see actual documentation of how changes in redemption policy affects the value of the program.

    It would be refreshing if travel bloggers would utilize similar techniques when posting stories about perceived alterations in specific travel programs.”

    Remember that accolade the last time you feel like calling me names… 😉

    G’day.

  24. I get that you can often find the most valuable uses of such points within the “home” program. However, while flights are somewhat amenable to off-the-wall routing that allows you to get to your destination, hotels ARE the destination, and my experience is that redemption rates at convenient locations is not good. Having said that, you also must consider that getting enough hotel points for a trip may not be feasible, and a bad xfer ratio that allows redemption is better than letting points expire or sit there for years.

  25. @Andy sez: “Having said that, you also must consider that getting enough hotel points for a trip may not be feasible, and a bad xfer ratio that allows redemption is better than letting points expire or sit there for years.”

    I wholeheartedly agree, which is why I have in the past done the generally unfavorable transfer of United miles to Marriott Rewards points, 1:1, through the RewardsPlus program because that allowed me to do a redemption that would otherwise not have been feasible. However, I would also make sure that the resulting Marriott redemption would yield an outsized value that would beat the always present option of simply paying cash…

  26. @Steve – funny that the Conrad Maldives always seems to end up as a textbook example of “look at these great Hilton properties!”, along with the same other 3-4 Conrads. That is nice that you have made them work.

    However, it’s pretty well known that there just aren’t that many aspirational Hilton-program properties. The bulk of the chain is Hampton, HGI, other limited stay options, without much at the high end. For some people, that’s perfectly fine.

  27. Also, to debunk one of DCS’ talking points, since because despite his claims about his educational background, he keeps promoting outright “alternative facts” (since it fits his anti-SPG, pro Hilton diatribes):

    “Hotel points that are earned on credit cards rather than on activities directly related to a hospitality company’s bread and butter, and then are redeemed for yet more unrelated activities are revenue going up in smoke. It’s not rocket science.”

    He apparently isn’t aware that airlines/hotels earn hundreds of millions of dollars annually (with multi-year contracts in the billions) selling points/miles to the credit card companies. It is quite lucrative.

    Additionally, hotels can actually be MORE profitable realizing the gains by members transferring out points to other travel partners, as that is revenue directly recognized at basically zero cost, versus a hotel company either 1) receiving only a token payment from hotel owners/franchisors during low occupancy (often just tens of dollars), or 2) paying the rack rate in times of high occupancy to them. This is fairly well known.

    But of course it’s easier for him to continue his conspiracy theory that the SPG AmEx was so good it took down Starwood…yup that definitely makes a lot more sense.

  28. “However, it’s pretty well known that there just aren’t that many aspirational Hilton-program properties. ”

    There is no other commenter in all of travel blogosphere who simply parrots bogus claims peddled by self-anointed travel gurus without any evidence or considering the changing landscape. Since those claims were first made years ago, Hilton has added several Conrad, WA, and, yes, Curio luxury hotels around the world. And, yet, this commenter has been completely oblivious to it all. What’s more, how many so called ‘aspirational’ hotels does a program need? Lastly, what good does it do to have gazillion ‘aspirational’ properties that cannot be afforded because they are ridiculously expensive to redeem points for, as are nearly all top-tier Starwood properties? Why do you think starpoints became more popular as airline miles than they ever were as a hotel points currency? You got it: starpoints were largely useless toward redeeming award stays at Starwood’s gazillion ‘aspirational’ properties that this commenter keeps going on and on about. What good are ‘aspirational’ hotels that few can afford??????

    Hilton has it just about right: it has several ‘aspirational’ properties around the world for folks who live for that sort of things, and it has lots and lots of mid-tier properties for folks who simply want to use points to pay for or to help offset their travel expenses, especially when traveling as a family. It is why many play the game and, thankfully, do so with a “full deck”, without listening to all the fluff that this commenter would have you believe is the ultimate wisdom…

    Hang it up!

  29. “He apparently isn’t aware that airlines/hotels earn hundreds of millions of dollars annually (with multi-year contracts in the billions) selling points/miles to the credit card companies. It is quite lucrative.”

    Selling points to banks and credit card companies is not what hospitality companies thrive on. It just a small portion of the whole loaf of bread. The bigger piece of the loaf that will make them thrive is putting heads in beds , lots of them. It is the “raison d’etre’ of loyalty points, whose premise is that they would create repeat guests for a hospitality company. However, that won’t happen if all the points that members earn are spent on activities that have nothing to do with the program that awards the points. Doing things that you are advocating is why Starwood got in trouble; they were getting much less than half of the loaf.

    I cannot explain this to you because you will never get it, so we are done here.

    G’day.

  30. @DCS: “Anyone who believes Hilton Honors points are “worthless” or “worth less” should read a comprehensive post titled “No, There Has Not Been A Big Devaluation In Hilton ‘5th Award Night Free’ Benefit. Au Contraire!”, which I wrote ostensibly to prove the point in the title, but ended up being more general in debunking the claims that many parrot here about how HHonors or its points currency is “worthless” or “worth less”. It is a must-read:”

    And to save everyone from clicking on the link, it’s the usual DCS modus operandi – in citing himself as proof that he is correct, he cherry-picks examples that fall in line with the point that he is trying to prove, when the reality is often not close to what he is saying.

    For reference, the policy change to which he is referring is the Honors change in the calculation of the Fifth Night Free in October 2017 — the fifth night discount used to be the average of the five nights deducted at the end, but now simply has that fifth night automatically set at zero.

    The stated policy benefit of Hilton was to make the calculation simpler, which it probably does – A+B+C+D+E, where E=0, is a mathematically simpler calculation than the old way, which involved the calculation of (A+B+C+D+E)/5*4. DCS’s original defense of this was that is was “necessary” math as a result of the change to the revenue-based award chart. This was and continues to be a ludicrous argument – both are just math, and as long as you have known variables, both can be solved regardless of how the variables are calculated.

    This has led to DCS’s defense of this change as a good thing, just as he will defend everything that Hilton does as a good thing (no matter how bad the change is). However, as I pointed out when the calculation was made and will continue to do so, DCS’s assertion that there was not a big devaluation of the award is wholly dependent on the property and what the award prices will be on any given day.

    For those people who didn’t read the linked post by DCS, it (as is usual for his posts) is full of cherry-picked examples where there is either no difference in the award cost, or the award cost reduces under the new calculation because of the math. I have always acknowledged that this could occur — the award price will always be lower under the new calculation if E – the award cost for the fifth night – is higher than the average of the five nights, then the price of the award will decrease. If the award cost for the fifth night is lower than that average, though, then the price of the award will increase.

    That is a pure function of the math involved here, whether DCS likes it or not. People may be better off under the new calculation, and they may not. Whether it is, in and of itself, a devaluation is wholly in the eye of the beholder — how it affects any individual redemption will wholly depend on the numbers that are involved in that redemption, no matter how many examples that DCS will cherry-pick to the contrary.

    If anything, though, DCS’s attempt to defend Honors point value using the policy change of the Fifth Night Free actually goes to show how much the value of an Honors point has decreased over time, if he wants to use one of the more watered-down aspects of the program as an example. Last week, I made a post in reaction to DCS’s illogical statements regarding Honors points and inflation, pointing out the numerous changes to the Honors program in recent years that have resulted in a reduction in value of the program.

    For those of you who may not have seen that post, when I first became Honors Gold back in 2002, it was possible to get one night at just about any Hilton property in the world for no more than 35,000 points, or a six-night stay at a Premium hotel (under the old categories) for 150,000 points, which worked out to a discount of 28.6 percent. Over time, the award charts expanded – in the number of available properties, but more importantly, the categories and the prices required:

    2003: Category 6 hotels are added, with the price increased to 40,000 points per night. The GLONP (the 6-night award for the Premium hotels, which now applies to Category 6) increased to 175,000 points, which reduced the discount for the 6-night award to 27.1 percent.

    2010: Hilton adds Category 7 hotels, with a maximum of 50,000 points per night, but eliminates the GLON and GLONP awards in favor of the Going Global awards, with prices dependent upon the category of the hotel and the number of nights involved. The award chart for the Going Global awards result in a discount of anywhere between 15 and 25 percent off the regular rates, with the six-night Category 7 award — the new GLONP award equivalent — costing 225,000 points, or a 25 percent discount compared to the regular price.

    2013: Hilton goes to the current 10-category system and eliminates the Going Global awards in favor of the Fifth Night Free. The calculation of the award — a reduction equal to the average of the five nights — automatically means that the fifth night is a default 20 percent discount over the regular price for a five-night stay.

    If you wanted a six-night stay, though, you were paying for that sixth night at the full price, meaning that the discount for the six nights, with the Fifth Night Free, actually then drops below the 20 percent. As an example, if you have six nights at 40,000 per night, then the six-night award under Fifth Night Free (at 200,000 points total) is only a 16.7 percent discount compared to the regular price of 240,000 points.

    And that brings us to the 2017 change, which could make the discount for five nights more or less than the 20 percent (or even the same), depending on the points involved. If I use the example of a hotel that is 40,000 points per night for the first four nights and 50,000 points for the fifth night, the regular price of 210,000 points and the Fifth Night Free price of 160,000 results in a discount of 23.8 percent. However, if you switch it around, and the first four nights are 50,000 and the fifth night is only 40,000, then compared to the regular price of 240,000 points, the Fifth Night Free discount of 200,000 points is only a discount of 16.7 percent.

    In other words – you win some, and you lose some under this change.

    And again, if you want to make a true comparison to the six-night awards, the percentages would only drop even further than the above. For the first example, a sixth night at 50,000 points would mean a discount of 19.2 percent (260,000 points as the regular price, compared to 210,000 for the Fifth Night Free), and for the second example, a sixth night at 40,000 points would mean a discount of only 14.3 percent (280,000 points as the regular price, compared to 240,000 for the Fifth Night Free).

    When you look at the big picture, you see a program where the points are worth significantly less than they used to be. That happens — it’s the nature of inflation in a currency, be it the US dollar, any other fiat currency, and even currencies for travel (such as hotel points and frequent flier miles). To suggest that this hasn’t occurred with Honors, though, as DCS seems to want to do on a regular basis, is plainly absurd, and the devaluation of the multi-night rewards to the current Fifth Night Free policy – both in terms of the award cost and the discount received from the policy – is a pretty clear example of that.

  31. This is truly incredible. Do you see that mind-numbingly long ‘thesis’ just above this comment? That is from someone who has been a HHonors member, and a Diamond at that., from years, probably longer than I have been. And do you know why he is among one of my most consistent detractors, even though he has never actually proved me wrong on anything, ever? Because it irks him that I know as much as I do about HHonors, and that I make everything about me rather than about, maybe, him?

    You figure it out. I have no time to read his mind-numbing jeremiads (a nicer word than drivel).

    Hey, @Mikey, you are barking up the wrong tree.

    Goodbye, and enjoy your HH Diamond status that you have apparently kept for years…without liking the program? I do not know, but OCD or unhinged comes to mind…

  32. @DCS: “And do you know why he is among one of my most consistent detractors, even though he has never actually proved me wrong on anything, ever? Because it irks him that I know as much as I do about HHonors, and that I make everything about me rather than about, maybe, him?

    You figure it out. I have no time to read his mind-numbing jeremiads (a nicer word than drivel).”

    I love how DCS believes that he never has been proven wrong and yet, at the same time, never reads anything that anyone else reads. The only reason why I don’t laugh at this sort of absurdity is that, in his narcissistic fog, he actually believes this to be true.

  33. @Mike – he will keep posting lies, half truths, and conspiracies as long as it suits his narrative. No Hilton loyal criticizing Hilton is ever wrong – according to him they are stupid or ignorant. Just like according to him there is nothing good about SPG whatsoever. He is just jealous tha year after year Hilton doesn’t get any love from bloggers.

  34. @Mike sez: “I love how DCS believes that he never has been proven wrong and yet, at the same time, never reads anything that anyone else reads. The only reason why I don’t laugh at this sort of absurdity is that, in his narcissistic fog, he actually believes this to be true.”

    You suffer from OCD, which means that you repeat the same things over and over and over again, compulsively. Before I knew better, I made the mistake or reading your jeremiads, and that’s when I realized that you were simply rehashing the same points over and over again.

    I just briefly looked at your mind-numbing screed above, and, sure enough, it is the same nonsense, where you accuse me as before of cherry-picking evidence to make what is an air-tight case. Remember that (a) that post was publicly debunking a travel blogger’s claim and he could have defended himself, and (b) it was posted publicly where it invited dissenting voices to post counter-examples, and I got none. For you to now claim that you know better than everyone and are able to prove me wrong is simply the apex of self-delusion. I cherry-picked nothing and my methodology was clearly stated up front for all to examine it. You provided no evidence that my examples were cherry-picked. That, in a nutshell, is why I no longer waste any time reading your screeds: they are utterly predictable.

    BTW, now I fully understand why you insist on believing that my informed commentary here is a sign of narcissism: You believe that YOU, as a long-time HH Diamond, and no one else should be making all the arguments for the program. It is the only thing that would make sense of your repeated accusations that I make it all about me, when all I do is present my informed view of the program. It is also the only thing that would explain why you, as long-time HH Diamond, would be my most consistent detractor, who would say “B” if I say “A”, regardless of the topic

    So, will now just take you jeremiads elsewhere to someone who would actually give a damn what you think?

  35. LOL – @UA-NYC, after getting a humiliating trouncing, comes out of the woodwork believing that his equally unhinged con padre would give him leg to stand on. You’ll need to get yourself a better crutch!

    My points have been made. I gotta go!

  36. @DCS: “BTW, now I fully understand why you insist on believing that my informed commentary here is a sign of narcissism: You believe that YOU, as a long-time HH Diamond, and no one else should be making all the arguments for the program. It is the only thing that would make sense of your repeated accusations that I make it all about me, when all I do is present my informed view of the program. It is also the only thing that would explain why you, as long-time HH Diamond, would be my most consistent detractor, who would say “B” if I say “A”, regardless of the topic”

    Actually, the signs of your narcissism are obvious here, just as they always have been:

    1) Rather than engage in constructive debate with anyone, you insult people with whom you disagree.

    2) You make absurd statements about how things “always” or “never” happen that are false (e.g. I’ve supposedly never proven you wrong about anything).

    3) You selectively ignore the meat of an argument and focus only on the things that make you look bad (e.g. completely ignoring the parts about the devaluation of Hilton points over time and only keying in on your cherry-picking of statistics).

    4) You gaslight people by pretending that you’re a victim, and instead project issues onto other people (e.g. other people criticize you because they have OCD or are jealous of you, not because you’re an asshole).

    5) You repeatedly wave your academic credentials and accomplishments around as if they matter one bit in a discussion about hotel points.

    I’d go on, but yet again, I think I’m only feeding his NPD more than it’s already being fed.

  37. Whatever. Only once of us has OCD, which means that I have got to do us and everyone a favor and end this charade or it will never end.

    Good luck, Mikey.

  38. @DCS: “Whatever. Only once of us has OCD, which means that I have got to do us and everyone a favor and end this charade or it will never end.”

    See number 4 above.

  39. In DCS’ mind he is the only expert. Because the bloggers speak kindly of SPG and neutral to poorly of HH, they are all stupid and ignorant. And he is incapable of seeing it any other way.

    He is truly a psychopath. See the endless lies, insults, and obfuscations.

  40. A “psychopathic” Ivy League Professor who has hidden it for years.
    “Endless lies” that have never been substantiated
    “Insults” that simply respond in kind.
    “Obfuscations” for debunking bullshit claims.

    I would call that: checkmate.

  41. When is Hilton going to compete with the “big boys” and consider offering a “status match”

  42. Top 5 DCS lies about SPG so he can fee better about Hilton:
    1. SPG Amex took down Starwood
    2. The upgrade terms are no different for Starwood vs other chains
    3. Properties were leaving by the bunches right before the merger (was just a handful which is industry normal)
    4. High end properties are “an order of magnitude more expensive” than cheaper ones (uh no, it is a linear award chart)
    5. Starwood growth had stalled (no, it was still growing and immensely profitable, it just had fewer budget properties where there was higher growth)

    I could go on but this is a nice start

  43. @DCS: “‘Insults’ that simply respond in kind.”

    I figured you would have given up on that after the last time you trotted it out, and I pointed out at least a half dozen instances where you insulted people after they simply said something with which you disagreed (or even beforehand).

    Since I was wrong in that aspect, I guess I’ll just point out that the only thing that you’re doing is proving my points above even more with every word you type here.

  44. “Top 5 DCS lies about SPG so he can fee better about Hilton”

    Alright, let’s examine the purported lies, one by one:

    1. SPG AMEX took down Starwood — You do not know that it is a lie, and every time I raised the possibility I was clear to state that it was “likely”, and then I presented the basis for my view. It is hardly a “lie” to speculate based on credible information!!!

    2. The upgrades terms are not different — Even a first-grader would be able to read the language in the T&C of the various programs and know that it is the same language. Amazing that you still hold onto the debunked claim when no blogger now dared touch it.

    3. Properties were leaving by the bunches AND 5. Starwood growth had stalled — You make it so easy because you’re utterly clueless, allowing me I can bait you almost at will, and, like clockwork, you fall for it every single time. Remember this piece in the WSJ [1] that I have quoted you several times? Well, here are excerpts from it, yet AGAIN:

    “Starwood Hotels CEO Frits van Paasschen Resigns
    Chief Executive Frits van Paasschen faced pressure to increase the number of hotels in Starwood’s system.
    ….
    ***His sudden exit shows how hotel companies have little tolerance for mixed results at a time when the industry is booming, rising group and leisure travel are lifting revenue-per-available room to new highs, and hotels are fetching record sales prices.***
    ….
    ***Starwood’s stock returned 10% over the past 12 months, including dividends, lagging behind the 30% or more enjoyed by rivals like Marriott and Hilton.***
    …..
    Some analysts also suggested the board was unhappy with the number of hotel owners that have dropped a Starwood brand recently. ***In 2014, Starwood added 74 hotels and 15,000 rooms to its system, but it also lost 28 hotels and 7,000 rooms during the year.***
    ….
    Last year, Thayer Lodging Group said that Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa, with 998 rooms in Hollywood, Fla., would leave the Starwood brand and become affiliated with Hilton.
    “We were convinced that Hilton would be more effective at driving convention and group business to that hotel,” says Leland Pillsbury, Thayer’s CEO.”
    ———————————

    and
    4. Starwoord award are about an ***order of magnitude*** more expensive than Hyatt’s, Marriott’s or Hilton’s. The cost awards is best estimated in terms of “spend per free night”, which is, literally how much one needs to spend in hard currency to afford a free night. I did the math and produced glossy charts, but to avoid being accused of cherry-picking numbers, I will provide a link [2] to a blog that did the math and got the same numbers mine:

    SPG – Spend per free night or Revenue per Award Night: $15,000 = $1.5e+04
    HH – Spend per free night or Revenue per Award Night: $5,000 = $5.0e+03

    Log (e+04/e+03) = ~1 , i.e., about one order of magnitude.

    Q.E.D. on all counts. See why one would be tempted to call you stupid?

    Hang.it.up and this public beating beating and shaming will stop!

    [1] Link in next post
    [2] Link in next post

  45. What does being an Ivy League professor have to do with anything? Most on this site are likely doing well and many including myself have doctorates.

    Sounds like you have little man syndrome and no friends and with that attitude it’s not hard to see why.

    If I were in your shoes I too would be a professor so you can be in front of a group who are forced to listen to your bulls#%^.

    Other people are allowed to disagree and yes unfortunately you do cherrypick your evidence. Show me some value to be had in NYC or some other big city. It is VERY hard to come by.

    I do agree if you travel to other parts of the world such as Maldives, Doha, India, SE Asia there is value to be had but they are outliers. It’s not the norm no matter how much you push it is just like HH isn’t as crappy as what some bloggers lead us to believe. Like it or not I do think it’s industry leading. Not always a good thing (Delta).

  46. @Shawn sez: “What does being an Ivy League professor have to do with anything?”

    Ask the one who constantly brings it up and denigrates it, but for one thing, unless you are discounting the value of liberal education, it should at least establish my credibility as one who is able to put two thoughts together.

    Instead of starting to psychobabble about a “little man syndrome” without knowing the first thing about me”, I suggest you stick to addressing the content of my posts that are on topic rather than those that respond to personal attacks, which I will be doing in responding to yours if you go down that path. The way you just barged in here and addressed me is how things start.

    The choice is clear and yours. Then if you decide to stick to the topic at hand, start by providing me your evidence about how I cherry mine.

    G’day.

  47. I wonder if most of this is just show. People in academia aren’t generally as self-aggrandizing as this. I know I am one. It defies the whole point of research and academia to want to seek the truth, understand your limits and have discussion and discourse as it relates to new ideas.

    Rich people don’t go around telling everyone how rich they are. Except for narcissistic ones or ones who aren’t as rich as what everyone thinks they are (trump). People also don’t go around saying how nice they are, how smart they; and certainly not that they teach/work/whatever you do at an Ivy League school (or two). If you feel the need to have to always mention how smart you are there’s a reason why. It also is likely why you have no issues waving a laminated copy of HH terms and conditions and entitlement I’m sure is obvious. The fact you don’t see how crazy is surprising.

    Go stay at your Conrad in the Maldives and order room service by yourself or sit at the bar so that the bartender talks to you because they’re semi-forced.

    It doesn’t change anything. You’re still a narcissist. The fact you’ve spent all day commenting is crazy enough.

    G’day

  48. @DCS – why should I have to tell you that 140k points a night in NYC is ridiculous. Or that over 500k for Maui. Someone would have to a mindless to use their points at that redemption level.

    The point is not everyone can or needs to go to the Maldives. They need to go to x or y at this time.

    And while I too am a Hilton diamond I recognize they often don’t provide the best redemptions. So I hold off. But not everyone can and you can consistently get a better value at WoH, SPG. I’m not saying they’re better necessarily but have a more consistent point scheme across their brand.

    With that being said I prefer HH because I find their overall product to be the most consistent. Marriott is the least a crossed the big chains at least from my experience.

    But that’s the point. People have different experiences and to bash people and call them dumb because I’m so smart or you’re just this or that does nothing for your arguement. HH isn’t perfect. It’s fine you know and love them. So do I and a lot of others but that doesn’t mean everyone else is a bunch of idiots.

  49. @Shawn – you make very cogent and rational points. Nice to see both sides represented. Now prepared to be flamed by him as that’s his M.O.

  50. @Shawn — That is again a misunderstanding of the HH program. There are no HH STANDARD awards that cost 140K per night; it clearly tells you that when it calls such awards “premium”. The maximum that STANDARD awards can cost is 95K, for formerly category 10 properties. That is no different than a top category Hyatt hotel costing 30K points per night because, on AVERAGE, one earns 3x more HH points per $ than one does Hyatt points, and 95K/30K = ~3. So, yes, one would have to be mindless you use their points to book “premium” awards. Hilton catches a lot of flak for making premium award available when there are no standard awards, but in other programs there simply won’t be ANY awards available if the inventory of standard awards has been exhausted. Pick which is “better”, but none of the options is palatable.

    I have almost always gotten standard awards that I have desired because I tend to book early. When I cannot find HH awards, I will look for Hyatt or Marriott awards (never SPG, which are ridiculously expensive by any measure). So, while I have been pegged in here as The Hilton Fanboy (largely to shoot down bogus claims by those who know very little about the program), I am an equal “opportunity opportunist”, who will almost always go where I will find “value” because I have points in all the major hotel loyalty program accounts, except for SPG.

    People are free to have their choices, but they must also let others have theirs. I became travel blogosphere’s “Rebel with a Cause” because of the derision I was subjected to when I disclosed, on this very site, that I did not agree that Hilton Honors was as bad a program as self-appointed travel gurus had convinced their followers the program was. Mere three years later, the programs (Hyatt, SPG) that were touted as the “best in the business” have been revealed for the lackluster programs that they always were.

    Everyone is a bunch of idiots if they just go around parroting unsubstantiated dogma that can easily be debunked with just a little bit of thinking and research. They’d be better off keeping quiet and enjoying their programs rather than denigrating others. My “crusade” is to drive that point home by denigrating their programs…FACTUALLY 😉

    G’day!

  51. The thing is guys that Conrad Maldives isn’t the only property that offers good redemption value. There are quite a few so the argument that “not everyone can or wants to go to the Maldives” is a bit disingenuous. There are lots of aspirational Hilton properties around the world that I don’t need to list because I’m sure you know them.

    One other thing to keep in mind is that it IS MUCH EASIER to earn HH points than any other hotel currency. So sure, it’s easy to scream “OH MY GODZZZZZZ, 300,000 HH points for the redemption, crazy.” For example, I just earned 100k HH points after my Conrad stay and that was only on $2,000 of eligible spend. If I spend $2,000 at a SPG property, how many points am I getting? Maybe 10k max. 100k HH points gets me a free night at any Hilton property in the world. 10k SPG points gets me a night at the Walt Disney World Swan (yippee???)

  52. @Shawn: “I wonder if most of this is just show. People in academia aren’t generally as self-aggrandizing as this.”

    I just saw that and will ignore it because (a) none of what I write here is for “show”, and (b) people in academia are not different from those in the general public – some are self-aggrandizing and full of conceit, others are not, but they all are very proud, which can often come across as self-aggrandizing. Your task, if you care, is to be able to tell the difference.

    Stay away from that topic, and we’ll be fine.

    G’day.

  53. @Steve — You’re right that it is silly for folks to keep repeating the long-outdated claim that Hilton has no ‘aspirational’ hotels. The company just launched its luxury Curio Collection just a few years ago and now has 63 such properties around the world. Check them out here (yes, you, @UA-NYC) and then call me in the morning to apologize:

    https://goo.gl/4KeZdt

  54. Another DCS Lie – “other programs won’t show any availability when there is no standard space”

    Both Marriott and Starwood offer this. Have taken advantage of both over the years.

    Stop the lying already.

  55. @UA-NYC — Will you stop throwing that “L” word around? You did it above, and I debunked every claim. Now you aback at it. Stupid people lie, so we know here who is likely to lie.

    If SPG and MAR have been offering ‘premium’ awards for years, then why is everyone, including you, going on and on about those ridiculously priced Hilton ‘premium’ awards, which the program does not even expect anyone with an ounce of gray matter between their ears to go for? See how silly you keep revealing yourself to be?

  56. Because you moron – Marriott and Starwood may offer them for 20-25% more on average (or 50% even), not 200%-300% as Hilton does as has been shown upthread (or as you would say, “an order of magnitude”).

    You didn’t debunk any of my “top 5 DCS lies” and I will respond to them later. All you did was obfuscate the issue.

  57. Also – it’s because you have so little clue what other programs do, that you can’t even IMAGINE that any other program besides Hilton would offer upgraded for rooms (the point gouging is a different story). You just came right out and said “other programs don’t do it”. No, they actually do, and most do IIRC, and at more reasonable levels.

    You are so blind in your pro-Hilton and anti-SPG mindset you can’t even see the other side.

  58. @Steve – I tend to earn 8x-9x dollars/point on SPG stays (more with promos, as I’m guessing you are including)…you are lowballing it if you only think SPG Plats tend to earn 5x.

    As noted upthread (by other Hilton Diamonds), sometimes 100K Hilton points won’t get you a room after all 😉

  59. “You didn’t debunk any of my “top 5 DCS lies” and I will respond to them later”

    Talk to my ghost. I have already done enough garbage-debunking for one day. Wanna see what I do with all the travel-hacking wisdom I have accumulated? Just go to InsideFlyer and search for the “Anatomies of my Year-end Asian Escapades” and wish you could do just a fraction of the things I have been able to do as s HH Diamond (please do not claim that you’ve done it all: show me because talk is cheap).

  60. @UA-NYC

    100k gets you any Hilton property in the world when there is availability. That is the case across any program, not Hilton specific.

    The name of this game is flexibility. If you have flexibility, you can get anything to work.

  61. Dcs what exactly do you do at these Ivy League universities?

    I ask because the only person you seem to quote us yourself which, as a researcher, is totally bogus. There is absolutely no way you do any type of substantive teaching. Let me guess, you have a professional degree.

    I stand by what I said earlier. You are a pitiful person to be around who has absolutely no friends and have nothing better to do than post on OMAAT. There’s a reason you have no idea who I am and know all too well who you are. Because you have nothing better to do.

    Actually do some substantive teaching and you wouldn’t have time to post on this blog.

    G’day

  62. Call me crazy but there seems to be a multiplier effect for Hilton when only non-standard rooms are available…that seems to be a “benefit” unique to them (and not in a good way).

    Show me Marriott or Hyatt or Starwood rooms going for 3x-5x of base rooms with regularity (noted in many examples upthread) and I will happily eat crow.

  63. @steve – that’s simply not true. I want to stay at the Hilton in Sydney may 22 to 25. Please tell me how to stay there for that price. I want to stay at the grand Waimea at….(you name the one date you can find a stay for 100k). We can split hairs because I agree with your overall premise that there are some great HH redemptions. However what you wrote us simply not true unless you’re speaking to DCS’ ears. I wouldn’t be surprised if he actually had to usernames to post so it seems like someone actually agrees with him.

  64. Anyone. I repeat anyone who references themselves is an absolutely joke if a researcher.

    You’re basically saying x us true because u say it is.

    You can post on her about travel but DCS you have proven to be an absolute loser to anyone who is actually in academia. I’d like to know who you are so I can actually call you at.

  65. Anyone. I repeat anyone who references themselves is an absolutely joke if a researcher.
    You’re basically saying x us true because u say it is. You can post on her about travel but DCS you have proven to be an absolute loser to anyone who is actually in academia. I’d like to know who you are so I can actually call you at.

  66. Just going to weigh in and say that, for me personally, the program of late has been positive (devalued or not). I get access to some very attractive Hilton rates through my company and so I tend to stay at that flag for both business and work. Picking up the Aspire card earlier this year has made me Diamond (the easy way, I know) which means I am earning 34 points/dollar on my stays when paid with the card. Standard redemptions are admittedly not always easy to find, however, last year I was able to get 2 rooms in Albuquerque during the balloon festival at 20K/per when retail was north of $200. So that right there was north of $.01/point or a 34% return (technically less at the time bc I was only gold and just had the Ascend card so my earning rate was less/dollar).

    My biggest win so far (@Shawn) came just last week when I was able to lock in 5 nights at the Grand Wailea on a standard award (5th night free) for 380K during the peak Christmas and New Years window later this year(!). (The hotel had shown no availability through the entire schedule for weeks but award space suddenly materialized through the entire schedule which I gather from FT is how this Hilton managed property does things). The “retail” on that stay after taxes and resort fees was about $7200. It’s a silly exercise since I would never pay that much out of pocket, but by my math the “return” on each dollar spent at Hilton properties was over 64%.

    With a family we also have found the diamond breakfast to be excellent. Upgrades have been hit and miss (and I haven’t seen much difference as a Diamond vs Gold) but we’ve consistently gotten suites at HGI and Hampton when asking at check-in which is worth a ton when you have little ones, and have gotten decent rooms at WAs (views, close to pool, etc.).

    Also, when doing the Grand Wailea redemption I had 54K points coming over from shared accounts that were not posting as quickly as expected (pooling is a nice feature) and the Diamond desk rep offered to “loan” me the needed points to make sure I could lock the award. Totally unexpected and not sure whether within any kind of policy but she was beyond nice about it. They opened a case to track the missing points and remove them from my account once they post.

    I love Starpoints too, and clearly they’re more valuable on a 1:1 basis vs Hilton points, but I think H Honors points are like any less valuable cash currency–worth less but also easier to obtain in volume. Unlike cash, H Honors points at least have the potential for some outstanding points arbitrage opportunities for those who are diligent and persistent, plus the program offers decent (upgrades) to great (breakfast) on property benefits for elites. Overall this makes the program worthwhile IMOP.

    Oh, and on the airlines transfers, obviously that’s not a great value but its better to have options. Surely there are people out there who have locked a great J or F award after topping a FF account with some Honors points they could not otherwise use…

  67. *Both business and personal trips…long day (but with two little ones sometimes the family trips do feel a bit like “work” 🙂 )

  68. @Shawn — Only a loser would feel as threatened by another person’s credentials as you seem to be by mine. BTW, researchers referring to their own prior work in the scientific literature is time-honored. Do you know why? That’s what I thought, you ain’t got a clue.

    Stick with what you are qualified to comment on, which does not appear like much. Get irritated with my credentials all you wish; they remain what they are. Get over it or get lost.

  69. There are standard awards and “premium” awards. Anyone, Like @ Shawn”, who cannot tell the difference is not the playing the game with a “full deck” and needs to hang it up.

    With the recent devaluation of IHG’s awards, the only standard awards that are cheaper than Hilton Honors’ are Radisson Rewards’ (formerly Club Carlson). I did the math, but I will not refer to my modeling to avoid irritating unhinged and insecure elements of the forum. Rather, I will just refer to a link I posted earlier where the results are shown graphically. Go to “DCS on April 2, 2018 at 3:51 pm” a follow this **LINK**:

    [2] “How Much Does It Cost to Earn a Free Hotel Award Night?” — Travel Codex: **LINK**

    Did you see the easy to understand charts? Well, the associated math is trivial. Anyone who claims that HHonors’ awards more expensive than their competitors’ is clueless. Period.

  70. @Shawn, the answer is you won’t be able to stay at that hotel. I said you need to have flexibility to take advantage of awards and you’re asking about a popular hotel, roughly a month out, in a very popular destination, in a fairly busy time.

    Flexibility means being able to fit your trip around the hotel. By that I mean if the hotel is super important, find the dates that work for your hotel, book it, and plan the rest of trip around that. It’s actually pretty simple.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *