Hilton HHonors currently has bonus miles offers for 19 airlines. Many of these offers apply to hotel stays globally and some are limited to regional hotels in the Americas, EMEA and Asia Pacific for 2x to 4x miles per hotel stay. 

Choosing to earn Points + Variable Miles favors the big spender in normal circumstances with one mile earned per dollar in hotel spend. The points-to-miles transfer rate is so low with Hilton HHonors, earning miles from hotel stays is the better option, if you need miles as an HHonors member.

Hilton HHonors eliminated the earning choice of Points + Fixed Miles in January 2014. This was a favorable earning mode for low spenders since 500 miles as a Points + Fixed miles earner was a better value than 500 points on a $100 hotel stay for a Points + Points earner.

Currently there are promotional 2x to 4x bonus miles promotions members can earn on Hilton Worldwide hotel brand stays with nearly 20 airlines. Each of these bonus miles offers requires promotion registration.

This post organizes the offers by end date of each promotion. Some end April 30 and new offers were added recently for April 1-June 30 hotel stays.

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Hilton HHonors has decided to establish a presence on FlyerTalk with a corporate representative. That is a good sign of change for hotel loyalty members. And Hilton’s fresh start includes a link to the webpage for hotel reward category changes taking effect next week along with a list of all new Hilton brand hotels in 2014 with their associated reward category.

14 hotels drop in HHonors category.

HHonors 2014 hotels down

Barcelona, Spain sees a double category drop at two category 7 hotels reduced to category 5 effective on Tuesday, April 15. D.C. and Richmond, VA area also see some hotels dropping category.

25 Hotels Increase HHonors Reward Category.

HHonors 2014 hotels up

HHonors 2014 up-2

Conrad Algarve Portugal makes a double category jump from HHOnors category 7 to category 9. That is quite a leap.

List of 2014 New Hotels in HHonors

One of the other useful features added to the website is a list of new hotels and their corresponding reward categories.

HHonnors 2014 new hotels cat

Hilton is growing fast globally. In January 2014 alone, HHonors added 21 new hotels.

  • January 2014 = 21 new hotels.
  • February 2014 = 9 new hotels.
  • March 2014 = 25 new hotels.

This is a pace of more than 200 new hotels for 2014. The list of new hotels is useful information to help members keep aware of new opportunities for hotel stays.

HHonors Points Search Tool

Keep in mind that the Hilton HHonors category only indicates the range of points needed for a hotel reward night. To pin down the actual hotel reward rate, HHonors members must check the http://hhonorspointssearchtool.com/ link to see the reward rate for month of travel.

Related post: Hilton HHonors Seasonal Reward Rates clarified (Jan 24, 2014)

An email just came my way from Hilton HHonors corporate indicating the adjustments to hotel rewards on April 15, 2014 will be a small proportion of hotels affecting 39 properties. There will be 25 hotels moving up in reward category and 14 moving down. This is good news for 2014 considering that is less than 1% of hotels in Hilton brands globally.

Also, Hilton HHonors will move away from an annual reward category reassignment and adjust hotels periodically throughout the year, apparently with greater transparency.

Overall, good news I think.

Effective April 15, 2014, 25 of our hotels and resorts (0.6% of our properties) will be increasing hotel category, and 14 of our hotels and resorts (0.3% of our properties) will be decreasing hotel category. We’ve made these modifications based on periodic reviews of our hotel reward categories as new hotels join the program and market dynamics change. The Hilton HHonors Standard Room Rewards Point Pricing Tool will reflect these changes as of April 15.

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In addition, we will be shifting away from the cycle of annual reward category announcements. I believe that through transparency in our communications, we can develop a greater level of trust, which is critical to a healthy relationship with our members. To that end, we want to give members full visibility into any hotel category adjustments – including the introduction of new redemption hotels – so we will be sharing an updated list of adjusted hotels on HHonors.com on a periodic basis. HHonors members will be able to see which hotels are changing categories, as well as the category assignments for new hotels. This list, the Standard Room Rewards Update, can be found on the HHonors.com Using Points page under Standard Room Hotel Categories.

Mark Weinstein, Vice President HHonors and Parnerships

[from email I received today]

The seasonal reward pricing introduced in 2013 really makes annual adjustments unnecessary with Hilton HHonors, since hotels in the upper levels can adjust regularly each month across a 30,000 points spread.

Here is an article I wrote in January 2014 to help comprehend HHonor seasonal rewards: Hilton HHonors Seasonal Reward Rates Clarified.

Up to this point in time, as RoomKey.com enters its third year of operation as a pop-up annoyance when searching hotel chain sites, the greatest use I have derived from the company is a t-shirt I picked up at a TBEX conference in 2012 and still wear regularly. RoomKey is owned by hotel chains including Choice, Hilton, Hyatt, InterContinental and Wyndham. The idea is to try and draw you back into a chain hotel booking after leaving one of the the hotel chain’s booking sites when you see the RoomKey pop-up screen. So when you check a Hilton hotel for New York, RoomKey displays other hotels in its network of chain hotels with rates.

RoomKey is planning enhancements to its website that may make the site more desirable than annoying.

Welcome to Room Key

Founded by the world’s leading hotel companies, hospitality is who we are and what we do. Featuring 100+ brands you trust across 159 countries, each time you book direct through Room Key, you earn your qualifying hotel rewards. For maximum value, link your hotel rewards programs to compare member-only benefits on Room Key…then simply Search hotels. Book direct. Relax.

RoomKey.com

Tnooz.com has an interview article with Room Key CEO John F. Davis III discussing a new concept to be introduced in 2014. RoomKey will allow members to register their loyalty program memberships. RoomKey.com will then organize hotel rates at hotel chains where you have status. Clicking on the hotel will detail the benefits you can expect at the hotel based on your loyalty membership and elite status. You can check your nights and stays and point balance in different hotel loyalty programs. There is a RoomKey.com hotel loyalty program dashboard image in the Tnooz article.

Perhaps even more significant is the article suggests the recent UK ruling on hotel rates price-fixing by Expedia, booking.com and hotel chains means members of a closed group like loyalty program membership can be offered lower rates than publicly available. Hyatt is already doing this with their 20% off Elite Member discount.

Hotel stay promotions may move beyond targeted personalized points offers like IHG Big Win to targeted loyalty member discount rates.

RoomKey.com as a standalone website.

The growth of mobile booking in the hotel industry sounds like it has been an impediment to RoomKey.com growth. The website changes with hotel loyalty membership registration are aimed at making RoomKey.com a direct hotel booking destination website since pop-ups do not work in a mobile environment.

For me, a dashboard of loyalty program data while I am planning hotel bookings is a desirable feature.

If RoomKey.com can also add promotion bonus data to room rate searches, then that would be a major innovation. It would be a great convenience to know that booking the next Marriott stay would earn a free night with MegaBonus or that Hyatt Place night comes with an extra 1,000 bonus points.

roomkey

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Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.

Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

Normally Hilton HHonors and Marriott Rewards have announced hotel reward category changes by this date. Were last year’s changes so drastic that these companies do not need to reassign hotel reward categories in 2014?

MarriottRewardsInsiders has a rumor thread started January 8, 2014 about a new category 10 level for 2014.

A respondent listed dates Marriott Rewards category changes were announced over the past few years.

  • February 4, 2010
  • March 2, 2011
  • February 27, 2012
  • February 11, 2013
  • 2014?

Marriott Rewards added category 9 hotel rewards in 2013 and reassigned 370 hotels in category 4 to category 5. This was more than 50% of the existing hotels in category 4. The change greatly devalued the free night certificates limited to category 4 hotels from Marriott Rewards Visa card enrollment and Marriott MegaBonus promotion nights limited to category 4 hotels.

Loyalty Traveler: Marriott Rewards May 16, 2013 hotel category reassignment: An Overview (February 13, 2013).

Here is my analysis of the 2013 hotel reward impact of San Francisco Marriott brand hotels. Marriott Rewards Points Analysis San Francisco (April 10, 2013).

2013 Marriott Rewards changes:

1% of the properties decreased by one or more categories (< 40 hotels).

36% of the properties will increase by one or more categories (> 1,300 hotels).

I do not think Marriott will add a category 10 reward this year, but I do think there will be more hotels going up in category in 2014. And based on other loyalty programs dropping hotel reward category for Asia-Pacific hotels, I expect Marriott will follow suit.

I expect the Marriott Rewards announcement on hotel reward category changes to appear any day.

Hilton HHonors made crazy hotel reward category changes in 2013. What is in store for 2014?

Hilton adopted a 10 category system in 2013 and implemented a crazy seasonal hotel reward schedule in 2013 where higher category hotels float between several point prices for reward nights. You have to check the month to see if a category 8 hotel is 40,000 points or 50,000 or 60,000 or 70,000 points per night.

HHonors Points & Money reward nights are 50% points compared to the standard rate, however, category 8 has no meaning in the new HHonors system since that does not define the reward night cost except to provide a lower and upper range limit.

You need to check the HHonors Point Search tool to know the reward cost for a specific hotel in any month. Hilton HHonors Seasonal Reward Rates clarified (Jan 24, 2014) is my post explaining how the new system works.

Hilton HHonors can change reward categories by month and may no longer need to make annual hotel reward reassignment.

For these two major hotel chains to bypass the annual hotel reward category reassignment in 2014 might be welcome after last year’s changes.

But I doubt that will happen. We will likely hear about hotel reward category changes sometime in the next couple of weeks from these two big players in the hotel loyalty world.

*****

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.

Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

Hilton HHonors offers double miles with American, Delta, United and six other airline partners on stays at participating hotels in Latin America by April 30, 2014.

Participating airlines and travel partners:

    •  Aerolineas Argentinas
    •  Aeromexico
    •  Aeroplan (Air Canada)
    •  American Airlines
    •  LifeMiles (Avianca)
    •  Delta Air Lines
    •  LAN
    •  Multiplus (TAM)
    •  United Airlines

HHonors promotion registration is required.

Participating Hilton brand hotels in Latin America and Caribbean.

HHonors 2x miles

Members may select as an earning option HHonors Points and Miles:

10 HHonors Base Points (except 5 HHonors Base Points at Home2 Suites by Hilton®) plus one airline mile per eligible U.S. dollar spent, except for some airlines which offer different miles per eligible U.S. dollar spent: miles vary by airline (up to 100 miles per stay at Home2 Suites).

Hilton HHonors dropped Points and Fixed Miles as an earning option which was the better miles earning option for low spenders with 500 miles per stay. Earning miles pegged to the dollar amount in hotel spend is better for high spenders or stays at Hampton Inn where the old fixed miles option only gave 100 miles.

Basically earning Points & Miles is an alternative choice to 5 HHonors points per dollar with Points & Points earning.

A $300 hotel stay earns 3,000 HHonors points and 600 miles for a Points & Miles earner compared to 3,000 base points and 1,500 bonus points for 4,500 points as a Points & Points earner. 600 miles is likely a better value than 1,500 HHonors points for many members.

*****

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.

Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

The Hilton IPO of December 2013 resulted in more portfolio transparency with public access now available to Hilton Worldwide hotel data. Finally, I can create a table of numbers for the ten Hilton brands from the company’s quarterly financial report covering 2013 full year and Q4-2013.

One of the most annoying aspects of Hilton Worldwide the past few years is the company did not publicly release information about its hotel numbers and room rates across the hotel chain. Basic data was not easily accessible for stuff like:

  • How many Hampton Inn or Hilton Garden Hotels are open?
  • What are average room rates at different Hilton hotel brands?
  • Which hotel brands are in different regions?
  • How many Hilton brand hotels are outside the USA?

Gathering these pieces of data with other hotel chains is simply a matter of checking the quarterly investor financial reports publicly available on the web. Hilton Worldwide as a private company until late 2013 did not post most of this data and their website was always hard to determine which data was accurate since some webpages citing hotel brand statistics were several years old.

The fall 2013 Hilton IPO changed all that.

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Hilton Minneapolis is one of the hotels I visited earlier this week. This post is a hotel review in pictures. The hotel is a large urban hotel with 821 rooms. There are 40 King Junior Suites and floors 24 and 25 are reserved for Executive Lounge level with 77 rooms and suites. Hilton Minneapolis is HHonors category 5 hotel at 35,000 points per reward night and 5th night free for VIP elite members.

Hilton Minneapolis

The Skyway connects many of the major hotels in downtown Minneapolis. The Hilton Minneapolis is a block from Starwood’s The Ivy, Luxury Collection hotel and I traveled between these hotels using the second story Skyway system.

Skyway

Minneapolis Skyway connects 69 blocks of downtown Minneapolis with 8 miles of elevated walkways between buildings.

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This post summarizes dozens of hotel loyalty promotion offers in the major hotel chains for the month of February 2014.

Le Club Accorhotels – 5x points for first stay in 2014. Must book hotel by February 18.

This Accor promotion offers 5x base points for a member’s first stay in 2014 when booked by February 18, 2014. Loyalty Traveler post: Le Club Accorhotels 5x Anniversary Points (Feb 3, 2014).

Le Club Accorhotels 1 Million Points sweepstakes for stays by March 16, 2014. Each week has a winner for 25,000 points. All hotel guests worldwide who are residents of USA/DC and Canada (exc. Quebec) are eligible.

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Best Western Rewards – Online Booking Bonus Feb 3-April 6, 2014.

1,500 bonus points per stay for reservations booked online. Registration required. Elite members earn an additional 500 bonus points for 2,000 bonus points per stay booked online. Loyalty traveler post Feb 3: Best Western online booking bonus 1,500 or 2,000 points per stay Feb 3-April 6, 2014.

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Club Carlson38,000 Points after three nights. Jan 6-April 13, 2014.

Note: Nights do not need to be consecutive.  Loyalty Traveler post Jan 6, 2014.

100,000 Points Twitter Sweepstakes Jan 6-March 31, 2014.

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Tutorial for finding HHonors Standard and Points & Money Rewards

Now that you just transferred all your Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles into Hilton HHonors points before the February 6 devaluation when the rate changes from 10,000 VS miles = 20,000 HHonors points to 10,000 VS miles = 15,000 HHonors points, here are some tips to help you find Hilton HHonors Standard and Points & Money Reward availability.

HHonors search page

First, go to Hilton HHonors hotel search page and click the box “Use HHonors points”.

The “View Demo” link is a basic overview, however, the video fails to show the most useful feature of the HHonors website for finding reward availability.

The box “Use flexible dates” is key to quickly finding HHonors reward availability.

New York City

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