It is, apparently, hotel loyalty program devaluation season. Since the first of the year Priority Club introduced a new 9-tier reward chart, Starwood raised the price of cash and points awards, Marriott introduced a new more expensive award tier and a points price increase for 36% of their properties. Just this morning I shared news that we’ll get a new devalued Wyndham Rewards chart on March 14.

And in the coming days we should expect the annual category changes from Starwood. I would expect a whole lot more hotels to go up in category (and thus cost more points to redeem) than down, because their categories are tied to each hotel’s average room rates and prices have been on the rise.

That makes Hyatt’s changes — more hotels getting less expensive than more expensive and only 17 hotels affected overall — seem like a downright anomaly. Although as part of cleaning up little used benefits that are expensive to maintain they did Platinum Extras benefits and also eliminated Passport Escape awards.

Now it’s Hilton’s turn and their changes are really significant (i.e. bad).

Effective March 28 several changes go into effect.

  • Like Starwood and Marriott they will be offering fifth night free on awards – for elite members only but the benefit simply requires Silver status to obtain.

  • They will also be introducing a new award chart

  • And they will be introducing seasonal award pricing.

Currently there are (7) categories for all of their brands except Waldorf=Astoria properties.

Now they are going to have (10) categories, and seven of those will have separate high and low season prices.

Here’s the new award chart that will be going into effect:

Previously a category 7 property topped out at 50,000 points per night. Some of those hotels will now be category 10, where high season rates are 95,000 points per night. That’s a whopping 90% increase. Wow.

Here are the new and old award chart prices side-by-side:

There go the great values in the program. I used to value Hilton HHonors points at roughly half a cent apiece, recognizing of course that at the very top end I could do much much better — grabbing a $700+ ocean villa with private pool at the Conrad Koh Samui for instance for just 50,000 points per night. With award pricing now going as high as 95,000 points per night those amazing values are no more. The hotel now runs 80,000 points per night in February and March and 95,000 points per night the rest of the year.

The Conrad Hong Kong goes from 50,000 points to 80,000 points per night, year-round.

Among the full-service Hiltons in New York, the Hilton New York will range from 60,000 to 80,000 points per night, the Conrad New York from 70,000 to 80,000 points per night, and the Doubletree Guest Suites Times Square from 70,000 to 95,000 points per night. (That’s more than the Waldorf=Astoria which tops out at 80,000.)

At least they’ve published what category each hotel will be in in advance of the changes, something that Wyndham has failed to do.

Not yet announced, but this has to affect the valuable ‘AXON’ awards which offer 4 nights at a category 7 hotel for 145,000 points. Especially since category 7 is no longer the top redemption tier.

Of course you can make bookings now — including speculative bookings — at the current rates for future stays. Make your reservations now, cancel them within the cancel rules for your points back if you wind up not needing the reeservations. I really should be dropping my current half million point HHonors bank on some hotel nights just in case I want them, before they become much less valuable.

Ultimately more reward categories, and multiple prices within most but not all of those categories, complicates the program. And Hilton HHonors is already – by far- the most complicated program. They have ‘premium room awards’ and ‘cash and points’ awards but the prices of those vary. You can choose to earn points and fixed miles, points and variable miles, or points and points. And you don’t earn fixed miles on award nights, if you don’t change your earning style away from that when redeeming points you’ll leave points on the table. Just to give a few examples of the complexities that exist in their program before adding this new layer.

But in some ways none of this should be a surprise. Three years ago, Jeff Diskin who runs the HHonors program said he learned that he needed to keep members on the treadmill — running bonus promotions to give them more points and then charging more for room nights. Because members didn’t ‘get’ actual value.

  1. Jeff said,

    Happy to have recently unloaded all of my HHonors points on 7 nights at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island. It is–of course–95,000 pts in the new system.

  2. Jose A said,

    Will AXON reservations for stays after 3/28 be honored?

  3. Apu said,

    How about the cash+points redemptions ? What are those rates?

  4. PSL said,

    In a spirited contest, Hilton wins the dubious “Hhonor” of most drastic devaluation thus far. I certainly hope SPG is nowhere near this ridiculous.

  5. FlyingBear said,

    Damn it. Gotta figure out where to use my points quickly

  6. Kay @ Travel Bug Diary blog said,

    Does Hilton make a list of hotels by category available?

  7. Apu said,

    Anyone, which is the most expensive Hilton in New Zealand?

  8. Pointsloverrrrr said,

    10+ years as a Diamond (over 75 room nights per year). As matter of principle I’m done with Hilton starting today (minus blowing all my points of course)! This evening I’ll be canceling the rest of my paid stays for the year.

  9. RayB said,

    Are there any good programs to convert HHonor points to airline miles, (United, HawaiianAir)?

  10. IflyfromABE said,

    I think that this is an interesting change.
    (btw, here is a list of all hhoors hotels by category: http://hhonors3.hilton.com/resources/media/hh/en_US/pdf/HotelCategoryChart.pdf)

    And I think that “devaluation” is not accurate, since several properties actually cost less points per night (including a ridiculous 40K points getting you a 10 night Mexican vacation in several places if you count the 5th night free part, which is a super value, since, frankly the rate of accumulation of hhonors points is faster than any place else, still.) Lots of the mid level properties got the seasonal split (and most Hhonors hotels are cat 4 and 5 anyways and always had been). What changed and hurts? Two things:

    a. Luxury properties actually cost what they should cost in par with competitors (but again, you can accumulate faster with Hhonors) and b. lots of cat 2 properties (usually Hamptons) in the Northeast and FL, jumped up to Cat 3 and from 12.5K to 30K a night

    As far as I am concerned, b. hurts more. But the competitors never had anything like this…

  11. David said,

    This post along with your other posts about point devaluations have been helpful to me. As someone who takes a couple of big (for me) trips a year for pleasure I am finding it hard to see the value in hotel or airline programs. It has been hard for me to redeem air miles at a good value with reasonable flights. And except for Hyatt and Starwood the same has been true on the hotel front. I like the Chase Sapphire card because I can use the points to buy air tickets at the Chase site and get 20% extra. But that card and the Hyatt card are the only ones that to me have lasting value beyond the sign up bonus.

    I reckon if I traveled more I would have more opportunities to redeem at a “good” value.

    I guess I am reconsidering the utility of my being in this game at all.

  12. gavinmac said,

    The advice to make speculative bookings is very sound. Might as well, no penalty to cancel. By March 28 all my points will be tied up in future bookings

  13. goodguy said,

    Will burn my remaining hilton points and cancel my Citi hilton cards for SPG and Hyatt cards.
    There is no way I can win anything by using hilton credit cards cos hilton points are now a total worthless.
    https://www.facebook.com/HiltonHHonors

  14. RJ Brown said,

    Just makes the decision to focus on Hyatt that much easier………

  15. troy said,

    I emailed Jeff Diskin and the CEO and voiced my displeasure. I encourage you all to do the same. Without customers they have no job. I am no longer a customer at this time.

  16. RQ said,

    Are we at the point yet where maybe we can give Club Carlson a little attention?

    Because we’re at the point where aside from Hyatt, no program will allow you to redeem for aspirational properties at a semi-reasonable price point.

    You get your 2 free nights with the Citi Reserve –> You redeem them –> You close the card –> you never touch Hilton Honors again until 2 years later when you get the bonus again

    ^^^
    That’s going to be my new strategy towards Hilton

  17. Tara said,

    So who will be the first hotel chain to come up with a “Lucky Losers” promo? Club Carlson is the only one left with no devals – knock wood!

  18. A Hilton Moment - Marshall Jackson on Travel said,

    [...] been enough analysis of the meaning of this change all over the blogs, and I have nothing of great difference [...]

  19. David said,

    I’ve started a one man Facebook grievance campaign, please join me. A similar approach forced Makers Mark to keep the same alcohol content in their bourbon, can’t hurt to get drunk and flame them on FB.

  20. Jason said,

    What is the email address you have used to contact Hilton?

    I will send them an email to voice my unhappiness.

  21. RQ said,

    I don’t think this is the end of this situation. Either the devals will be cut back, or some benefits will be introduced

    Not because Hilton will listen to their customers, but because they’ll listen to AMEX and Citi

    The best chance of making Hilton reconsider isn’t to complain to Hilton…. it’s to complain to Amex and CITI. They’re the ones that have influence at HHonors headquarters

  22. MileageUpdate said,

    This is awful news. Even with the ability to earn unlimited Hilton Points at a dirt cheap price this stinks. Always inflation and no adjustment to earn more points.

  23. nsx at flyertalk said,

    No wonder Hilton ended its partnership with Southwest. If not for that I would transfer my Hilton points immediately!

    On the bright side, my point earning efforts are now simplified by the elimination of one program.

  24. John said,

    This totally sucks. Aspirational award prices shoot up. I done doing paid nts at Hilton!

  25. John said,

    What happens to AXON and GLON redemptions?

  26. afterbang said,

    Niseko Village doubles to 60k during winter. :anger:
    I’m calling Amex and Citi tomorrow to let them know if this goes thru, without a corresponding increase in earning rate, I will be cancelling my cards.

  27. cure said,

    The breakfast Gold/Diamond benefit at the Waldorf=Astoria: “Voucher for medium coffee, juice, and pastry at Starbucks”.

    Maybe a won’t bother blowing 50,000 points there. The Trafalgar in London had an excellent breakfast in comparison …

  28. I’m No Longer Bothering with Hilton HHorrors said,

    [...] 28, 2013. The gruesome details have already been covered by The Points Guy, Loyalty Traveler, and View from the Wing, among others. Essentially, they’re going from 7 categories to 10, and increasing the points [...]

  29. Adam said,

    Hah, seriously, cure? That’s actually bordering on insulting (the benefit, not your post :p). “Hi, you’re paying $300+ or zillions of points a night, and we’d like to give you a $9 breakfast voucher…”

  30. Carl said,

    These are terrible changes. Some aspirational redemptions go from 50,000 (37,500 after 25% discount) to 95,000 points (76,000 after 20% for fifth night free). Why such a huge devaluation?

    Many properties are calling it peak season practically all year.

  31. John said,

    Troy or anyone, what is Jeff Diskin’s email address?

  32. John said,

    Hilton now gets the label of Skypesos of Hotel loyalty programs.

  33. ED said,

    The Conrad Hong Kong goes from 50,000 points to 80,000 points per night, year-round
    =================================================

    Now this is funny. The cause? HKD-USD peg. Love the hotel’s lounge, restaurant, and en-suite bathroom; however, I’ve always had trouble sleeping on their bed, and after a day returning from Macau, I’ve found that there are plenty of places to take a shower. So, not worth it.

    This hotel is not worth even 40,000 points, but no doubt that the rich vs. poor in Hong Kong is causing many to the Conrad HK.

    If a company wants to pay me to stay there….well, okay.

  34. Randall said,

    @John Landpesos is fitting…

  35. Yi said,

    Glad I just put less than 10K spending on Citi Hilton Reserve. I planned to put 40K on that card to get Diamond membership. Now I think 10K spending is the maximum number, which would earn me an one-night certificate.

  36. Troy said,

    Chris.nassetta@hilton.com is the Ceo

    Jeff.diskin@hilton is the hhonors guy

    I didnt get a delivery failure so i think they work

  37. Kadence said,

    Pls provide email addresses for Citi & Amex as well and we will bombard them.

  38. ed said,

    If you think losing the value of a stash of 500k points is bad, then I think you’ve just met the biggest loser right here.

    Unlike most of you, I acquire large sums of HH points via a timeshare conversion (1:25). It’s not a great value, but ignoring opportunity cost for holding the timeshare (significant), I generally figure $1000 gets me about 5 nights at a 50k hotel — a decent trade at a place like Conrad Hong Kong, where the Diamond lounge food is spectacular, and acceptable at Hampton Inn (but not, say at the shitty Hilton Backbay in Boston).

    Well, this just destroyed the whole premise of the HGV timeshare. The flexibility of booking awards on short notice is now at drastically undercut. I couldn’t be more angered and disappointed in the Hilton chain than I am.

  39. Troy said,

    @Yi. I too was going to spend $40k on the reserve card i just got last month. I have put $13k on it so far after a month and i think im done with it. Just not worth it now.

  40. I Can See for Miles said,

    This increase is so steep, it’s absurd. You don’t charge $25 for a steak one night, then raise the price to $36 the next … unless you’re Hilton HHonors. Their loyalty program will now make hundreds of thousands of Hilton HHonors members disloyal. This is no idle threat: I, like many others, am done. Hilton HHonors is now a terrible value. Do they really think we won’t notice what a poor value the program has become.

    I own a business. I understand the need to raise prices from year to year. But I don’t understand a loyalty program instituting redemption increases so egregious that it severs loyalty.

  41. Confucius Jackson said,

    Total annihilation. This has got to be a reaction to all the credit card miles floating around out there. The least they could have done was raise earning to 12 points from 10 as a base, which would have balanced it out for Diamonds who earn most of their points in the rooms.

  42. Jack said,

    It stinks. But there are a few Cat 1′s and 2′s I can still use. That is about the only use for these points as the high end is a rip-off. Thanks Hilton, for screwing us again.

  43. sherman said,

    Before, every one knows Hilton points are the least valuable among the bunch; however, they have the same point requirement (50k) for top levels as Marriott and Priority Club, which is relatively low for their point value level, especially with AXON award that further cuts it to 37.5K. This time around they also adjusted the huge low-level gap. I think it is a more reasonable chart, whether people like it or not. Actually, there are quite a few hotels that have lower point requirements than before.

  44. trey said,

    Call write and complain… Then switch our business to Hyatt… If your not loyal to me I will not be loyal to you… Sorry Hilton

  45. ed said,

    After I posted to the HHonors Facebook Wall, my message was quickly suppressed. Another member quickly liked my post though, and I’ve been encourage. I like @David’s message above and believe a campaign is in order. I’ll gladly like whatever grievance page is made on Facebook. I’m posting the following and encourage you to do the same. Feel free to copy/paste or use my hashtags. I do think the disappointment can reach far and wide.

    @HiltonHHonors @AmericanExpress @Citibank Years of business undermined by #HHonors devaluation. HHGold turns #disloyal, joins #boycott

  46. Nick said,

    Yeah unlike Marriott where I have threatened to I probably will just cancel my credit card and be done with this program.

  47. goodguy said,

    Looking at the latest devaluation, 10 HHonors points is now worth only 1 cent. Will focus on Hyatt & SPG points now. Canceled my existing Hilton credit cards.

  48. Aznprzn said,

    I just broke 40k on my hilton reserve this year. (Big time face palm) I was looking forward to spending most stays at hilton now not so much. Just biz expenses thankfully.

  49. Jack said,

    No more Hilton credit cards for me. Hilton is dead to me now. I am simply astounded at a devaluation this large.

  50. News to Use Feb. 20, 2013 « You Can Fly There said,

    [...] There is going to be a massive Hilton devaluation on March 28. Time to redeem those Hilton points if you have any! Here are some good [...]

  51. stephan said,

    Bye, bye Hilton…plenty of better hotel chains around anyway.

  52. B said,

    Definitely got to get my awards in before the change, spend the rest of my HH points. Really bummed to because I finally made Diamond. I am going to shift to Starwood now.

  53. Phil said,

    All I can say is that I am SO GLAD that I dumped my 800,000 points when I had the chance. I converted ‘em all to AA miles back when all miles counted toward Million Miler status and haven’t looked back since. Haven’t darken the door of a Hilton property since then either. Good riddance.

  54. goodguy said,

    I recently spent 30k HHonors points a night at Conrad Hotel. Being gold membership wasn’t worth much even with the pathetic breakfast and service. Always had to go to the nearest starbucks for coffee and sandwich.

    I used 5k AA miles a night a a Thai hotel ( dusit partner) and the AA site was showing free breakfast & deluxe room upgrade. I enjoyed my stay at the Royal princess hotel and the large selection of breakfast menu and the unlimit coffee was awesome!

  55. DBest said,

    Guess I won’t miss losing that free Gold status that Gary hooked us up with. Makes the Marriott deval look positively consumer friendly in comparison.

  56. Chris B. said,

    It seems this is likely to have minimal or favorable impact to middle America.

    I just compared hhonors point per night cost at Clearwater Beach FL, Hilton Lake Buena Vista (Disney Orlando), Hilton Anaheim Convention Center (Disney CA), and Hiltons in DC (Capitol and Washinton Hilton). All had a negligible or favorable shift in point cost per night. In specific single months (based on prperty) there was a slight increase of 10k, offset by 10k decrease in the other months.

    As such, the shift mainly effects those that travel internationally orthose with hign asperational travel desires, not the average American family. Thus, the isn’t falling :)

  57. JetAway said,

    @Chris B.-the “average American family” doesn’t play the points game. And most probably don’t join and use hotel loyalty programs. These programs are largely for business travelers who want some sort of “payoff” for their long hours on the road. And they aren’t going to be happy about this.

  58. UdiA said,

    Hilton Tel Aviv – Category 8 – that’s insane ):

  59. Nick said,

    They don’t seem to want you getting good value from your points… Why don’t they just move to revenue earn, revenue redeem?

  60. MS said,

    The linked interview about keeping customers on the treadmill contains the most baffling levels of utterly incomprehensible corporate BS I’ve ever seen. Anyone who spoke in such a manner in my presence would be immediately fired.

    Hilton needs to dump Jeff Diskin before he destroys the company.

  61. cory said,

    Hey does anyone know if I can make a booking and change the date after April and use the points from the original booking so I don’t need to use the new chart? Thanks!

  62. John said,

    Bye bye Hilton. Hello hyatt.

  63. Beachfan said,

    I think emails and Facebook posts are useless. I’d suggest we all cancel our hh citicards and hh Amex cards on the same day- the day the points are devalued.

  64. Mogme said,

    Well cancel the HH Cards no Mach 28 Will be a great idea …..

  65. dwonderment said,

    The problem is here folks that unless Hilton changes course and that unlikely they have not only damaged their own program but that of all other programs who are likely to follow suit in the monkey see monkey do money grab

  66. @Noviceflyer said,

    I’m going to give Kimpton Hotels a try, they even status match too. And their top tier elite gets amazing benefits for 15 stays.
    http://www.kimptonhotels.com/InTouch/KIT_rewards-new.aspx

  67. robertw said,

    I just got the Cith Hilton cards a few weeks ago. I guess like many I will merely use the promo points. SPG has always been my biggest program. I hope there are not any drastic cahnges there. A few years ago they had a big adjustment based on property star ratings. With SPG some hotels end up as much better values than others.

  68. Michael said,

    I’ve written to both Hilton execs, I’ve “unfriended” hhonors on its Facebook site and sent it a message explaining why, and I’ve sent an email to Hhonors at its “support” page on the Hhonors web site. If thousands do the same, there will be an impact.

  69. Hotel Devaluations Galore – AKA I love Hyatt and Starwood Even More - Mommy Points said,

    [...] awards) to 80K – 95K points per night!  Crazy.  You can read all about that devaluation at View From the Wing.  Frankly I’m just not up for writing in detail about another hotel devaluation quite [...]

  70. The Miles Professor said,

    Definitely a good time to use Hilton points. I am going to book stays at Conrad Tokyo and Conrad Koh Samui and Hilton Singapore.

  71. Maury said,

    How far in advance can you book an AXON award? Thanks

  72. Mitch said,

    @cory Any changes to existing reservations after the new chart goes into effect will result in the new price being applied. Maybe book consecutive nights separately so that you can cancel some if you decide to stay fewer nights? (If that’s one of the types of changes you’re thinking of.)

  73. Why I Already Moved on from Being a Hilton Elite said,

    [...] uproar over the change in Hilton Honors’ program the last two days.  And rightfully so!  Some properties’ redemption rate has gone up by 90%.  [...]

  74. Dave said,

    I have 140k points, only 5k away from an AXON award! Since I’ve allocated almost all of this year’s vacation time for trips already, if I use them to book something before 3/28, it’ll have to be a domestic (I have the SW CP) trip on a long weekend. Any good, high-value candidates for this (if I’m able to get the remaining 5k points)??

  75. Eric said,

    The best part of Hhonors for me was ease of getting Gold status. In particular, I loved using that status overseas to get upgraded rooms and access to the executive lounge, not to mention free wifi, breakfast, and 25% earning bonus.

    I don’t stay in hotels often enough to earn a high tier status the old fashioned way. My question is, what is the fastest and easiest way to get a worthwhile status level with one of the other hotel loyalty brands?

  76. CW said,

    Was perusing some high-end domestic Hilton properties yesterday looking for summer weekend getaways. Was noticing a lot of 70 and 80k redemption levels for standard-looking rooms. I’m pretty new to the game but the same properties were showing 50 just days ago. Did they roll this out in the system already?

  77. Hilton’s New Devaluation: The Losers | Tall Travels said,

    [...] set to go in to effect on the 28th so get in now. If you haven’t read about it yet check out any of these [...]

  78. Drew said,

    I have almost NEVER gotten a Hilton room at published rates anyway. Rooms that have a TOP redemption rate of 50,000 routinely go for 185,000 per night. No thanks. I dropped this program a long time ago.

  79. Andyandy (ThePointsNinja) said,

    On the plus side, I don’t feel so bad about Hilton Amex dropping the 6x for drugstores. Now I won’t be missing out on a good earn opportunity when I drop the card.

  80. dbeach said,

    Hmm, OK. So I guess HHonors points are close to worthless now. I suppose the Citi Hilton Reserve card might still be worth having for the Gold status if you’re going to have a few Hilton stays per year, but spending on it is now out of the question, and the Amex cards are now useless. I wonder how the banks feel about this?

  81. Chris B. said,

    Sweet! I guess, I’ll be the only member of HHonors, since my family destinations aren’t effected except to lower the per night cost.

    We put it all on the line during the year for the Hilton points, especially my drill weekend stays and spend on the AMEX Hilton card, to get a week at the beach in a nice hotel once per year. I’m grateful for the change, since I just saved 25,000+ for a four night stay, and got a free night to add to it! (145k AXON at cat 7 for 4 nights to 120k for four nights plus a fifth free!)

  82. BobLStLouis said,

    I just called the Diamond desk at Hilton and found out
    they are eliminating the AXON and GLON rewards. I figure
    my 2 million honors points are now worth about 1/2 of
    what they were. What a ripoff! I just upgraded with
    Hilton and sure wish I had not!

  83. general45 said,

    Just curious how so many think that Hyatt is going to fill the void.Hyatt locations are hit or miss domestically and internationally, but I do agree they know how to treat their elite members.If it works for you, do the move.
    I also agree with the suggestions to let Citi and Amex know you are not happy campers, but I doubt if this will change things.Hilton has been run by hardheaded maroons for quite some time now.
    For the time being, I’m sticking with Hilton for now since they treat me like royalty at the properties I frequent. But if they start messing with Gold and Diamonds benefits again,I will seriously consider switching over to another program.For what it’s worth, my only other choices happen to be Marriott and IHG and they haven’t exactly been member friendly either.

  84. Trying To Add Perspective To Recent Changes In Hotel Loyalty « Pizza In Motion said,

    [...] first, the Hilton changes. View from the Wing has a ton of detail about the changes, so I’ll only offer a brief summary. It’s worth noting that while there were pockets of [...]

  85. nsx at flyertalk said,

    “I just called the Diamond desk at Hilton and found out
    they are eliminating the AXON and GLON rewards.”

    Oh for the good old days of the 100k ALON award! At least I have some vacation videotapes and some stories of the golden age of FF programs.

    Ponzi schemes are so messy when they wind down…

  86. Hilton is dead to me said,

    Despite being a Diamond for many years, I’d already decided to dump Hilton since they do not confer any sort of lifetime status to long time Diamond members, unlike Marriott and SPG. Now they pull a stunt like this, barely 3 or 4 years after the last round of devaluation. After spending my 1+ million HHonors points, I shall never stay at another Hilton property. See ya later (actually not ever again) Hilton!

  87. A Major Hilton Devaluation Is Upon Us: Here’s What to Do said,

    [...] Here’s the ugly, side by side comparison courtesy of Gary from View From the Wing: [...]

  88. Where Should You Burn Your HHonors Points Before We’re All Left Behind on March 28? - View from the Wing said,

    [...] looking to burn your HHonors points in a blaze of glory before the category changes go into effect with the March 28 devaluation, then I suggest having a look at the following [...]

  89. Whose Beds for Your Head? Here’s the Best Strategy Now That Most Hotel Programs Are Devaluing - View from the Wing said,

    [...] is expanding to 10 reward categories and adding high season to boot, points required to redeem at some properties will be going up by as [...]

  90. mj said,

    Regarding Hilton: I have directed a huge amount of credit card spend to AMEX with the agreement that I get a certain number of points for that spend, and that those points are worth a certain value. Now that value has been halved overnight. Although credit card companies- and for that matter hotel chains- do have the right to change their programs, my American Express card agreement stipulates a certain number of points awarded for certain spend. Now if those points can be halved in value with NO CHANGE to the cardholder agreement- is that even legal?? So, if all of us went out and purchased 100,000 American Airlines miles for example today, knowing that those 100,000 miles could be exchanged for a certain airline ticket with a certain monetary value, and suddenly tomorrow American Airlines would decide that an international F ticket now requires 200,000 miles instead of 100,000 when I purchased those miles yesterday for cash- is that legal? This would be a perfect example of suddenly changing redemption values and the implied associated monetary value- I ask you, would this be legal??
    I don’t think it’s an understatement to say that people are really outraged- from families saving up for a year and directing stays and spend for those points, to friends planning honeymoons, to those wanting aspirational stays- everyone really. The outrage is palpable. And most of all, it makes companies associating with this Hilton devaluation look UNTRUSTWORTHY. Hey American Express- take everyone for suckers for the past year, and now halve the value? Hmm Chase doesn’t have any programs that have decreased by half in value- why didn’t we spend with them? My point is: I think class action is entirely justified here, and I think that everyone should make a big stink about all of this. Really.

  91. CW said,

    @mj – I’m no lawyer, but I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess that Hilton and AMEX probably had a whole slew of them go over these actions before they were taken. And I’m also gonna guess that, somewhere in the million page cardholder agreement you agreed to, was a statement that you were consenting to let AMEX and Hilton do whatever they heck they want to. So I’d not think there would be recourse. Is it outrageous? Absolutely. Are they going to lose a lot of business? Probably. Illegal or basis for a civil suit? Probably not.

  92. m j said,

    Class action seems warranted for this reason: let us imagine what would happen if suddenly tomorrow American Airlines required 200,000 miles for an international F ticket. I’d imagine that buried in the fine print of any Frequent Flyer program, there would also be supposed ‘terms’ whereby they can do ‘whatever they want’. But can you imagine the outrage? Now would this be legal? If airlines cannot overnight halve the value of their programs, can hotels really? And particularly if points are associated with credit cards providing x number of points at x value, which is halved in one day? I don’t think the issue is a clear-cut ‘no class action’. At best, Hilton has pissed off EVERYONE and lost most of its loyalty business (typical short-term gain mentality- I am certain that what they lose will be FAR more than the short-term revenue bump, but this will only be apparent from next year going forward- is Blackstone preparing a sale?), but at worst, I really wish some legal frequent guests would take a look at this and make a big stink. It is just unacceptable bait-and-switch. Period.

  93. Glenn said,

    Hey Gary,

    How do you figure out how many points a night will cost AFTER March 28th? The hotel I’m looking at is category 10 so the potential range is pretty wide depending on what they consider to be ‘high season’ (either just certain weeks of the year or virtually the entire year as others have mentioned)?

  94. Gary said,

    It’s by month and there’s a link in this post to look up each property

  95. Blogs as Thought Leaders: How the World is Thinking About 2013′s Hotel Program Devaluations - View from the Wing said,

    [...] of hotel points devaluations in 2013 and focusing specifically on the big changes at Marriott and Hilton (and the less drastic changes at Starwood, like increasing the price of cash and points awards [...]

  96. Robert F Laurence said,

    Been a member since 1990 and have been extended diamond level for 10 years Also use a American Express Hilton Honors credit card, so would be interested how axon will be treated.

  97. Top 16 Hiltons to burn your HHonors points before rates go up March 28 | rewardboss said,

    [...] View from Wing does a great job at explaining the changes here. [...]

  98. Mike said,

    Just went through and cancelled all of my reservations for the remainder of the year (had weekly reservations with Hilton) due to the devaluation of the points… This is a sad time to be loyal to Hilton, hello ?????

  99. Ken said,

    Gary/anyone else that knows,

    is it possible to book in advance of the Mar 28th changes and cancel if I decide not to go? i.e. what is the cancellation policy for award stays?

  100. Gary said,

    @Ken genereally yes, cancel policy varies by hotel but is usually fairly generous (mirroring standard paid rates)

  101. Ken said,

    awesome, so typically (other than individual hotel exceptions) cancellation within 24 hrs would redeposit the points without penalty?

  102. Dave said,

    One thing I hate is that a stay at the Waldorff Boca Resort in June costs $159 if you were paying cash. Or 60,000 points (now) if you are paying with points. I could see spending 60,000 during the busy season during the winter when a room costs $400 … but in the summer when it is $159 … its pretty crazy.

  103. Using Manufactured Spend for Hilton Award Nights - Hack My Trip said,

    [...] fudging the numbers here because the new award chart maxes out at 95,000 points in peak season, so you’d actually need $31,667 in spend — but that doesn’t really roll off [...]

  104. Hilton HHonors Guts Discounted AXON Awards for American Express Cardholders - View from the Wing said,

    [...] You can read all about the overall Hilton HHonors devaluation that went into effect on March 28 as well as see the current award chart in this post. [...]

  105. hal said,

    a base room in cabos mexico hilton at 32,00 pts. and the
    king suite at 173,000 pts. the cash dif. is $209.00 USD
    between the 2 units. what sense does that make.
    i previously was able to book the base rm. for points and pay the 209.00 dif in cash, but no more.
    i just cancelled some very expensive london reservations
    and will book elsewhere. my hilton credit cards are next to go.

  106. Pat Cherry said,

    This Honors Program doesn’t really reward loyal customers anymore. When you want to travel to a city for an event that is anything of significance the rooms are not available for point use. When you want a premium type room what they want for point exchange is ridiculous. Then if you want to purchase the extra points to complete a stay it’s highway robbery. I will provide an example. I currently have 108,000 points. Since I can’t use them during a major sporting event weekend like the Indy 500 or MotoGP I decided to try and use them for a trip to Chicago with my girl friend. To stay on the Magnificent Mile cost about $700 for a 2 night stay. I wanted to use my points toward a room. Well anything that has lake view can’t be used. So they are not willing to part with the premium rooms. So then you try and get another decent 1 Bed King and those are not available either for point redemption. They want to stick you in the lower end rooms. Is this customer reward / loyalty? When you call and inquire they want you to talk to the reward program because they might be able to help you. Well when you talk to them they can’t do crap either. There hands are tied and all you get is the run around. It’s to bad because the concept works but it obvious they don’t really value repeat customers. I guess it’s time to take my 50 night yearly stays to the Marriot.

  107. My Upcoming Hilton Award Reservation is Really, REALLY Confirmed - View from the Wing said,

    [...] I did burn points in advance of the dramatic HHonors devaluation that went into effect in March, I also wound up with a decent balance of several hundred thousand points left [...]

  108. Mari said,

    I just started a petition at Change.org called: Hilton Honors Stop Restructuring Points

    Please check it out and sign on. Maybe we can turn this Titanic around!

  109. Register Now for Hilton’s 3rd Quarter Promotion - View from the Wing said,

    [...] isn’t lucrative enough that you should be shifting any stays towards Hilton, especially after this year’s devaluation of HHonors points. The bonus more or less just makes up for how much less Hilton points are worth than a few months [...]

  110. You Have to Pick Just One: Should You Be a Marriott Rewards or Ritz-Carlton Member? - View from the Wing said,

    [...] I’m warming to the Marriott program largely because of the Hilton HHonors devaluation. Ritz hotels remains priced as poorly as top tier HHonors properties but on average it takes less [...]

  111. 35% Discount on Starwood Award Redemptions at 7 Top Resorts - View from the Wing said,

    [...] after Hilton’s dramatic devaluation from March which had many members running for the exits, Starwood requires far more spend for its most [...]

  112. Embassy Suites Portland: How My Hilton HHonors Redemptions Changed After the March 28 Massacre - View from the Wing - View from the Wing said,

    [...] the March 28 Hilton HHonors devaluation, the Conrad Koh Samui runs 95,000 points per night most of the year. And instead of elite [...]

  113. Why Devaluations Can Be Even Worse for Programs Than They Are for Members - View from the Wing - View from the Wing said,

    […] CFO of the company which owns the Hilton Times Square and the DoubleTree Suites Times Square says the March 28 Hilton HHonors devaluation (bloodletting, really) is hurting their […]

  114. What is the Most Devalued Airline Frequent Flyer Program in North America? - View from the Wing - View from the Wing said,

    […] do caveat this, I am very specific in the title of the award. Airline frequent flyer program so the March 28 bloodletting at Hilton HHonors doesn’t count. (Nor does the introduction of category 7 awards at Starwood, although that was […]

  115. Citi Hilton Reserve Retention and Downgrade - Rapid Travel Chai said,

    […] ‘screw you’ to customers while in the clutches of private equity was the March 28 massive devaluation of HHonors points. Combined with new seasonal pricing, it totted up to as much as 90% increase in award prices. I […]

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  117. LCM said,

    March 28 of WHAT YEAR!!?!!?!

  118. Gary said,

    @LCM that was this year, you can see that in the post’s URL

  119. Hilton Eliminating a Mileage-Earning Option Effective January 6 - View from the Wing - View from the Wing said,

    […] program less complicated. And at the same time they’re making the program less rewarding. As if the mother of all devaluations back in March wasn’t […]

  120. Devaluations Galore... - Globetrotter HQ said,

    […] again Gary has a great summary on this and also mentions some other devaluations since the beginning of this year. I quote, […]

  121. 5% Cash Back, 35,000 Points, and Cheap One-Way Awards (Bits 'n Pieces for January 2, 2014) - View from the Wing - View from the Wing said,

    […] combine partners on a single award, and transfers to Hilton are no longer as interesting post-devaluation. It could be useful for getting to Hawaii from a city Hawaiian flies to, of […]

  122. Corinne said,

    I booked the Montego Bay Hilton Rose Hall prior to last year’s devaluation but now may need to change my travel dates. If I make this change of travel dates, will I retain the previous lower redemption value?

  123. Frequent Flyer With Low Morals Faces an Ethical Dilemna - View from the Wing - View from the Wing said,

    […] My advice: End the affair. The Hilton points are no longer worth it. […]

  124. Virgin Atlantic Transfers to Hilton Will Devalue on February 6 - View from the Wing - View from the Wing said,

    […] since Hilton’s dramatic devaluation last March this option has interested me not at all. However, it’s still something that folks out there […]

  125. You Can Use Your HHonors Award Nights in the Afterlife, or Let Your Family Use Them Here On Earth - View from the Wing - View from the Wing said,

    […] course, after last year’s devaluation, it shouldn’t be all that hard to use up every last HHonors point long before you […]

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  127. Club Carlson Reduces Points-Earning, Increases Prices on Reward Nights, and Starts Counting Free Nights Towards Elite Status - View from the Wing - View from the Wing said,

    […] Devaluations took various forms — new award categories, wholesale point increases, shifting categories, and structural changes. And they were doing in varying degrees, at the extreme end was Hilton’s absolute bloodletting. […]

  128. GO said,

    I travel a lot and belong to all kinds of reward programs. I became an Hilton Honors member about a decade ago and found out today that they cancelled my gold card membership because I have not used my Gold card in last 12 months. Disappointed and to reward Hilton it will be a lot longer than 12 months before I stay at another Hilton property again.

  129. No Big Changes to Hilton Award Categories This Year - View from the Wing - View from the Wing said,

    […] Last year’s changes were, apparently, enough that they don’t feel the need to go back to the well in a major way with more award chart devaluations this year. […]

  130. Add A Comment

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