Dubai – the place where your Hilton HHonors points do have some value!

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.

Waldorf Astoria Palm Jumeirah Dubai

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.)

Bookable from 2pm-ish: new list of 5,000 points per night IHG PointBreaks
New IHG PointBreaks list of 190 x 5,000 point hotels, book on Monday
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  1. I managed to get EUR 2c/ HH on cash&points at the HGI Stuttgart, as they had raised the cash rate to something extortionate due to some event at the stadium, though the actual value based on normal rates was 0.2c/ HH

  2. Any recommendations for a hotel near the burj Khalifa? We were thinking about the Sofitel downtown (the trip in feb on the etihad 380 🙂

    • And follow up; is the WA the palm worth the cost?

      • Big resort, big rooms, few guests, very high build quality is what I have heard. Service is wobbly everywhere in Dubai so don’t rely on that.

        Can you pay less for a smaller room in an overcrowded beach hotel with beat-up furnishings? Of course.

        • plastikman says:

          Somewhat ironically, the service I received at “Raffles” in Dubai I would rate as the best I have received anywhere in the world.

    • There are a number of hotels in the Dubai Mall / Burj complex – The Address, Armani etc and cheaper options literally across the road. Not a bad place to stay if not bothered about beach.

      Emirates Towers is a short cab ride and comes with beach passes and Wild Wadi water park passes – not a bad compromise if you don’t want to pay beach prices. Note that Wild Wadi is now £55 per head, inc kids, if you pay.

  3. Those numbers look similar to what you can get at the Conrad in HK.
    Added to that, not only did they confirm connecting rooms at the time of booking, with my Gold Card all 5 of us (2 adults & 3 kids) were upgraded to a harbour view room on the club floor…..

  4. Any idea what breakfast costs? With 2 children (7 months and 3 years) what are the options? 2 rooms? Can you get the somewhat inconsistent discounted adjoining room or is that only hiltons?

    • You might find you can get 3 plus a cot – space is not an issue clearly.

      I would expect at least £30 per head for breakfast – I think it is Dh 200 where I am. I imagine there is a lounge where you can order, say, a pastry basket and coffee for less. The Flyertalk Hilton forum probably has info.

      You could nip down to Waitrose and buy some cereal, plastic bowls and milk to eat on your balcony of course.

      I should dig out the Flyertalk link about the guy who took a portable BBQ and all his supplies to the Conrad Maldives to avoid paying for food!

  5. erico1875 says:

    Although maybe dated, what the Sheraton Jumeirah has is SPACE. The rest of the hotels along that strip are all so busy

    • I was told yesterday by a senior hotelier here (you see, I have meetings even when away!) that some beach hotels are deliberately becoming run down.

      With most Russians gone post the Rouble collapse, the high end is saturated. Charging less for an outdated hotel is a real option now vs a refurbishment and higher rates.

      • If you’re heading to Dubai and plan on doing excursions and visiting water parks, buy yourself The Entertainer Book. It’s full of 2-4-1

      • It’s always amazed me how they can charge so much at peak times 🙁

  6. I use my points predominantly for Waldorf on the Palm. I love the property and it is a decent spend. If you go off -season you can book a room for 24,000+ £60 points which is not bad at all.

    They will not upgrade you to a room or give you free breakfast but you can ask for a paid upgrade.
    I have upgraded to lounge as a Gold for a small fee of £50 per night, which made a great sense since breakfast, snacks and drinks are included. As Rob said there is nothing to do around the resort but if you have a car it 20 minutes away from places.

  7. What's the Point says:

    The rates change dramatically between April and May, with May being much cheaper.
    This applies to cash, points and cash+points redemptions.
    We stayed this year with 2 free credit card vouchers and got upgraded to a truly massive suite, which included access to the lounge (Diamond status seems to travel much better in ME and Asia than Europe and US)
    Have got 2 nights booked for next May, 24,000+460 AED per night, which I think is very good value.
    Yes its a bit out of the way, but with 3 other nights booked by the Walk it will be a nice relaxing break.
    Oh, and did I mention we were flying out in First on Etihad A380 (cheers Raffles!)

    • The Hilton sounds great and would definitely be an option if we could get to aquaventure easily but i don’t think we can so we stay at Atlantis, the Palm.
      School holidays are expensive, April and October, but with good timing you can get a fair chunk off the advertised rates with all their special offers. Eg we picked up a suite next April with HB for £561 a night for 2 adults and 2 children. Currently around £1000 a night which is ludicrous.
      Currently staying at the Atlantis Nassau, and still getting over last nights room service order, for 2 children’s spaghetti and meatballs, – with taxes, gratuties and service charge, per child, which added over 50% to the bill 🙁

  8. Simon Rose says:

    Just got back from 5 nights at Hilton Dubai – The Walk, the adjoining hotel to the Jumierah Resort. Can highly recommend it with it’s suite-style rooms, huge amounts of space and modern fit out, You can continue to use the resort’s facilities and make use of the link bridge to avoid crossing the road. I agree that the main resort can look a little dated, but The Walk’s interior couldn’t be further from that (and I’d go as far as to say it was one of the cleanest and best presented Hiltons I’ve stayed in).
    Service was way above what I’d hoped for as well, with the front desk noticing a brief comment in passing about my partner’s birthday while we printed something off with the concierge. Without even mentioning the room number, they left a cake, card, towel animals and a present of a £50 spa discount. Highly recommended hotel with good Hhonors redemption availability too.

  9. OT: We booked 2 rooms in the midlands one under my name and the other under hubby’s to take advantage of the IHG accelerate promo. Can I call IHG to make sure the give us rooms next to each other or would that lead to us loosing the stays?
    (both of us qualified for 1 free night with 2 stays, booked 2 rooms, 2 hotels, 2 nights on 2 accounts to get 2 free nights instead of 1) .

  10. theidlescouser says:

    Any ideas for Abu Dhabi ?

  11. Good news! Looking at Flyertalk, it seems that a recent policy change at the W-A means that Hilton Diamond members now get free club lounge access.

    This means that, as well as the club lounge breakfast, you would also get access to free drinks and snacks throughout the day. This would represent a substantial saving.

  12. What's the Point says:

    The evening snacks and drinks at the WA are top notch, and I would imagine the majority of people could actually just eat there rather than spend any money in the restaurants.

    Just like we did!

    • I’m trying to do that here, but my wife keeps wanting to order bl**dy room service just to p*ss me off 🙁
      Sorry for the swearing 🙂

  13. Thanks for this Rob.My wife and I had a free night each from the Hilton Visa.

    We are going next Easter and whilst I have a reservation for Dar Al Masyaf I have decided to reduce the nights there due to £’s saved.

    Now I need to work out how to get Hilton Gold before next Easter as mine expires on Dec 2105.

    • Hopefully the Amex Plat free HH Gold will launch soon and you will be able to get a Plat for just long enough to trigger bonus and get the hotel cards.

      As we always do day flights to and from DXB, another cost saver we have done in the past is to do first and/or last nights near the airport, eg CP Festival City. If you are landing at 10pm or flying at 9am, paying for a beach hotel for the extra nights can be excessive.

      • We do the same, but also try and fly overnight, if possible, as the kids sleep well on a flight and you don’t have to entertain them plus you save a nights accommodation win win 🙂

  14. We were in Dubai two weeks ago and stayed for 3 nights at the Doubletree Jumeriah. 72,000 points and £150 resulted in top floor 1 bed suite, free breakfast, private beach and good location. Rooms were going for £300+ in the same week. Worth remembering that WA is right around the palm. Factor in another 15 mins drive to get on off the palm etc. Plus, free breakfast was a real clincher for us at the Doubletree.

    • Doubletree does look interesting – not much feedback on it but location and the fact it has the private beach looked good, albeit not a ‘resort’ hotel.

  15. InsideFlyer Tom says:

    I love the cash and points option. It always needs a bit of maths to figure out the relative values of cash/full points/cash and points payment, but – as you rightly note – there are real bargains to be had.

    Somewhat niche, but it has always worked to excellent effect for me at the Conrad Istanbul.