Since the 2013 devaluation, the value of a Hilton HHonors points – when used for a premium property – has fallen to around 0.3p.
It is, to put it mildly, not great. You can do better than this if you can find a hotel offering ‘cash and points’ (where you often get nearer 0.5p per point) or for a low-scale property (where you can get nearer 0.75p at times) but neither of these are common scenarios.
Out in Dubai last week, however, I was reminded that this is one part of the world where you can still get a deal.
Whilst Dubai has many world-class beach hotels, the best ones are not part of the major reward schemes. The Starwood options are a little dated, as is the main Hilton Jumeirah resort. IHG does not have any beachfront hotels.
The stand-out option from one of the major chains is the Waldorf-Astoria on the Palm, which opened a couple of years ago. This is a luxury beach resort.
Dubai beach hotels can be eye-wateringly expensive at peak times, which are usually over UK school holidays. Let’s take a look at the Waldorf-Astoria Dubai in the week before Easter next year:
Daily rate (fully prepaid, no refunds, including tax): Dh 2,184 = £388
Daily rate (cancellable, as a redemption would be, including tax): Dh 3,000 = £533
Hilton HHonors ‘cash and points’: 32,000 points per night + Dh 600 (£106) inc tax
Hilton HHonors ‘all points’: 80,000 points per night
Using the refundable rate as the basis of the calculation, you would be getting:
1.33p per Hilton point based on ‘cash and points’
0.66p per Hilton point based on ‘all points’
Even 0.66p is, in my book, an excellent deal for a Hilton HHonors redemption. Getting 1.33p is exceptional. Remember, for example, that American Express Membership Rewards points convert at 1:2 into Hilton HHonors – this would mean you were getting 2.66p per Amex point!
Even a conversion from Virgin Flying Club into Hilton looks good value at 2:3 when you are getting this sort of return.
It is worth noting that the smallest room at the Waldorf-Astoria in Dubai is a chunky 55 square metres, as you can see in the image above, although maximum occupancy is 3 people.
The only downside of redeeming for Waldorf-Astoria hotels is that you do not get free breakfast if you have Hilton HHonors Gold status. As this is a resort, with no walkable alternatives, you will probably have to pay up. If you are Hilton Diamond, recent reports suggest that they have recently started giving lounge access which would include the lounge breakfast plus all-day snacks.
(Want to earn more hotel points? To see our complete list of promotions from the major chains, click here to visit our ‘Hotel Promos’ page or use the link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)