My chat with the head of Hilton Honors about their radical changes

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Hilton Honors will make a major announcement today about changes to the programme which will take effect this Spring, starting later this month.

I spoke with the head of Hilton Honors last night and we talked through the changes for half an hour.  The devil is in the detail, of course, but on the face of it – at least in the short term – it seems positive.

(First change – the second ‘H’ has gone from what was Hilton HHonors!)

This is the big change – Hilton is introducing a radical version of ‘points and money’ which is unlike anything else we’ve seen.

There are two elements to this and it is easier to explain if I look at them separately.

Hilton_Honors new logo

Firstly, for every standard room redemption, you will be able to pick a combination of cash and points.  This will be driven by the points value and the Hilton HHonors member cash rate.

Let’s assume that a particular hotel is selling for 50,000 points or £200.  You will be able to pick any combination of the two as long as you use at least 5,000 points.  You can pay 50,000 points or £200 or 25,000 points + £100 or 5,000 points + £180 etc.

The key reason for doing this is to allow members with small points balances to get some value from their points.  A key secondary reason, I think, is to drive more direct bookings rather than via Expedia etc, since obviously you can’t use this facility via a third party.  This may turn out to be smart – it is similar to what BA has done with ‘part pay with Avios’.

Here is the second change.

The maximum points price for a room will be no higher than it is today.  However, off peak points prices will fall sharply.  This effectively puts a floor under the value you will get for a Hilton point.

You will remember in our review of the Gran Hotel Montesol yesterday that it was selling for 95,000 points or €600 in August but 95,000 points or €270 in May.  Under the new system, it will remain 95,000 points in August but the May price will fall to, I imagine, something around 50,000 points.  You will then be able to pick your preferred combination of 50,000 points, €270 or something inbetween.

So far, so good.  I honestly cannot see any downside in the short term.

The risk is in the long term.  Hilton is scrapping redemption categories entirely.  Whilst Gran Hotel Montesol will have a maximum price of 95,000 points this year, there is no reason why it cannot quietly drift out to 120,000 or 150,000 points next year.  Without any category caps to act as a constraint, it could easily happen and before you know it you have a purely revenue based redemption system on your hands.

I doubt Hilton would do this, because I think it understands the value of offering ‘outsized’ redemptions at various hotels (such as Montesol in August), but the risk is there.

There are other changes coming too:

free points pooling amongst friends and family

the option for selected Diamond members to pause their membership for a year for any reason, possibly during a period of redundancy, changed travel patterns, maternity leave etc

for US members, the option to redeem points for merchandise from amazon.com

These changes are further down the line.  The move to ‘points and money’ redemptions will take place first, in late February.

For probably the first time ever following a scheme change, I am not encouraging members to burn their points quickly!

The only thing that gets worse is that the current ‘points and money’ redemptions – which were not often available – are being scrapped and replaced with the new system.  If you were looking at a ‘points and money’ reward then I would make sure you book that over the next 3 weeks or so.

The rest of us can wait to see how the new model unfolds.  An off-peak example I was shown gave a value per point of 0.5p – if that is really where it ends up, and remembering that you would be able to get that value on any standard room on any night – then the scheme will be much improved.

I will write more on this in the coming days when I have seen the official details.

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Comments

  1. After their last major change a few years back, Hilton points redemption rates on anything but their lowest category hotels had become uncompetitive compared to other chains. It is not surprising that they are doing something about this.

    My concern is that the main area where I saw real value in Hilton Honors, the 5k and 10k a night hotels (Category 1 and 2) , will go. If there are no longer categories, I suspect these will just become more expensive. That said, in reality there were very few Cat 1/2 hotels in places where I actually needed to stay.

    My suspicion is that the most expensive redemptions get a little cheaper during quiet periods and all the low category redemptions go up in price. For me this would not be an improvement.

    If however the current mid to higher category hotels are actually available during quieter times for a much lower rate, then this could be good e.g. if a currently 30k a night hotel is available for 10k on a slow weekend then I would see this a clear improvement. I am not holding my breath.

    • Edit: they say each hotels maximum points price is not increasing…which I assumes means the 5k and 10k hotels will not change in price. If this holds, then maybe not such a bad thing.

      • Simon Schus says:

        Aye, I’d be interested to find out how long that is guaranteed for. For a specific period (as Raffles seems to imply, unless I am confusing time) of indefinitely (then again, ‘indefinitely’ could change to ‘until….’ very easily).

      • That sounds like a pretty short term promise to me, plus with them taking down their website that listed the points rates there’s no easy say to keep track either!

  2. Following from behind says:

    Morning all. Currently in Doha on my way to Kuala Lumpur. Flight delayed 3.5 hours. On a Qatar J ticket from London to KL (benefiting from HfP alert of Qatar sale). Anyone know the best way to complain e.g. European flight delay scheme or just direct to our dear friends at Qatar airways. What should I expect in compensation for this?

    • No compensation due I fear. Non EU carrier and delay is not at EU airport. I had the same with Etihad the other year – managed to kick up a fuss (3 of us) and got some mileage as compensation. Not much else you can do really.

      • Compensation due if within time limits – journey began at an EU airport. Compensation only due in the return direction if it is an EU carrier though.

        • No it did not and that is the problem.

          The delayed flight began from Doha, which is a non EU airport flying to a non EU airport and the airline is not an EU carrier. Thus, no compensation due.

          The ticket is not a through ticket, it is a separate ticket from Doha to Kuala Lumpar, different flight number, etc.

          • @ Matt

            I appreciate the link but that is an EU carrier, originating in an EU country, delayed in an EU country, missing a connection in an EU country.

            The relevance of the point in question is that the delayed flight here is from Doha to Kuala Lumpar, neither of which are in the EU. Neither is the carrier an EU carrier.

            Were the LHR to DOH delayed then compensation would be payable but unless that leg was delayed, then the carrier escapes compensation under EU law.

            If the ticket had been a through ticket and the aircraft merely stopped off in DOH en route to KUL, then that would be different and compensation would be due. The break of plane and ticket is, as my advice received pointed out, critical.

            If this has been back to the courts since last year then I am happy to stand corrected and submit my claim 🙂

          • Is all-on-one ticket (even with a change of plane/flight number) not covered? (you seem to be referring to a change in ticket too)

          • I appreciate that line of reasoning, however the case provides the following clarification which is relevant here:

            “the Court answers that a passenger on directly connecting flights must be compensated when he has been delayed at departure for a period below the limits specified in the regulation, but has arrived at his final destination at least three hours later than the scheduled arrival time. That compensation is not conditional upon there having been a delay at departure.”

            Given the original QR flight departed from London, the flight should be within EC261, regardless of QR not being an EU carrier. Unfortunately, there have been no cases brought to the ECJ regarding ME carriers, however I wouldn’t discourage anyone to make a claim.

    • Depends on the time the doors open on your flight at KL. Make a note on your phone and screenshot it so the time is visible in case you have to argue the case later.

      The delay on arrival at KL must be 4hrs or more to be eligible for compensation.

      I’d wait until you arrive in KL and see how delayed you are vs your scheduled arrival time. They might make the time up en route after all!

    • Others will know more than I do, but I thought EU compensation was based on *arrival* time at your final (i.e. not connection location) destination?

      • Unfortunately QR don’t value the piece of paper the law is written on, I’ve tried to claim compensation, the CAA agreed I had a case and wrote to QR, to which they received no response. So it’s now down to me to pursue a legal challenge. Civil law is only worth what you can fight in court for.

    • Following from behind says:

      Thanks all. Doors opened 4 hours 5 mins late in KL. I took a screenshot and have submitted a claim. Given the comments below, I won’t hold my breath. I’ll let you know if anything comes of it!

  3. Genghis, Alan, TRH et all,

    Looks like the new Hilton HONORS (wonder if they’ll ever add a U for Brits) promo is finally live.

    2000 points per night, expect Rob to do this tomorrow?
    http://hiltonhonors3.hilton.com/en/offers/100097966.htm

  4. James67 says:

    “The only thing that gets worse is that the current ‘points and money’ redemptions – which were not often available – are being scrapped and replaced with the new system. If you were looking at a ‘points and money’ reward then I would make sure you book that over the next 3 weeks or so.”

    I get this but I’m a little confused. Are you saying the current points and money option is better value than the new points and money option (despite being more flexible) will ever be? The way I read your post the off-peak reward rates might decrease substatially rendering tbe new scheme more valuable at these times? Regardless, locking them in now is a good idea as they can always be cancelled if something better comes along. I have points and money bookings for Prague in May and Copenhagen (still no decision made on Hilton or CP) in June so will see what happens.

    • Think Rob was hinting when P&M are offered they can be very good value per point (I agree).

      However will the new combos be as good value per point??? (Doubtful)

      • No risk in booking ‘points and money’ now and rebooking next month if the new structure is better.

      • Yeah, I hope they remain (or improve) in value. I’ve been a keen user of the £98 + 28,000 points for the five star London properties….

        Adey

        • I’ve noticed that the cash part recently increased for some hotels.

          Ageas Bowl increased 25% for example!

    • Example from a booking I made last night at Hilton Vilamoura-
      standard redemption was 30K pts for a €111 cash rate room;
      Points & Money rate was 12K pts + €45 (Better value)
      Under new rules I would have had to pay 12K pts + €67

  5. I’ve been fighting with Hilton for months after my HHonors account was hacked, email address changed and the points used to book a redemption (in Aberdeen of all places!) fortunately it was only around 30k points, but the lack of help by email, chat, phone or PMing their rep on FT has made me paranoid about their scheme overall. I haven’t stayed at a Hilton property for months because of this.

    • Insult to injury, 30k pts for a stay that can be had for as little as £41.

      Even worse could of been at the Treetops before the DT refurb…. :p

      • I told Aaron last night that introducing instant Amazon redemptions would now make them a massive hacking target! Most schemes which had Amazon as an option were forced to drop it.

  6. Hmmm or maybe not, looks like its noiw down, also lacks security…

    So we still wait…

    Excludes Hamptons in China.

    FT thread on it here..
    http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/hilton-hilton-honors/1817724-2k-every-day-promotion-here-13.html

  7. Kathy H says:

    Back to the original topic – looking at booking a points and cash for a 1 nt stay at LGW for an early March stay would you recommend I book that now as in the article it seems to suggest that this element of using points will be withdrawn.

  8. Britbronco22 says:

    I’ll be interested to see how they process cancellations. If you book a points and cash night with IHG the cancellation is refunded entirely in points. If Hilton did the same thing it could be a very cheap way to pick up points.
    For example, find a property that is 50k per night or £100, pay 25k plus £50, cancel and receive 50k points. Then use the 50k points you have to book somewhere you actually want to stay which could cost £200 per night for example. If you tried to book points and cash at the second property you would be paying 25k plus £100, so this process would have saved £50 a night. There will clearly be extreme price points where this process could be exploited.
    My feeling is that cancellations will be processed the same way they were booked to avoid this, but it’s one to watch!

    • I think the cash element will be paid to the hotel at check out.

      • I am pretty sure that when we stayed at Hampton at Gatwick in Sept 16 using points and cash I paid when we got to the hotel (we were leaving at 0400).

        • Craig Strickland says:

          That was how my last points and cash redemption worked, points from the account the cash to the hotel. Or not in my case because we had an awful stay with baggage trolleys rattling past outside the room. The cash part was removed from the bill and the hotel manager took care of getting the points refunded with an extra 10k for our troubles.

  9. PeacefulWaters says:

    After spending 20 minutes on the phone to the USA number provided trying to redeem my free credit card voucher I’ll never use Hilton again.

    Diabolical service involving four transfers ending in “ring the hotel direct”.

    • Craig Strickland says:

      It’s not easy but worth persevering, managed after about 4 goes to get a night at the Hilton Tokyo with my wife’s free voucher. Normal rate is somewhere between £250 and £300.

      • I was pleasantly surprised by the voucher redemption process – yes it was a bit longwinded, but the US call centre was helpful and after 10 minutes managed to redeem both my voucher and wife’s for nights in San Francisco Union Square Hilton – all on the same call.

        They also tried to upsell by passing me through to their telemarketing team for some “unbeatable” offers. These turned out to be special offers for a handful of named hotels. As I had no plans to travel to Atlanta, Glasgow or New York in the next 3 months, it was a bit of a waste of time.

        • Hopefully you still got the bonus points for listening to the offer though? 🙂 (they’re usually Hilton Grand Vacation Club)

    • It normally goes to Glasgow.

    • My experience is the exact opposite. I spoke to a lady in the southern states of America who fixed me up in a couple of minutes and even let be book my wife’s voucher too!
      Recently I booked a Hilton Garden Inn and later, when I had more points, wanted to upgrade to the Hilton. Being unsure of how quickly the points would be returned I rang the contact centre (in the Philippines) and the agent very efficiently changed the booking. I expected to get another standard room but instead got a room on the Executive (at least 24th) floor. Is this normal?

    • Nate1309 says:

      I also struggled to use my wife’s voucher. It did all get sorted and the lovely lady on the phone said it was because she did not have sufficient points in her HH account. Even though it was for a free night the system didn’t like booking it. In the end she manually put in the 50000 points required made the booking with the voucher and then took the points back out again. Used her voucher and mine for San Diego Mission Bay, really lovely hotel, saved us $300 a night and we were upgraded for being Gold at check in.

  10. The number of points already varied by season at some hotels, but the points and cash everywhere is a big step forward.
    I think the free transfer of points will be a major step forward; I was moving to Marriott to get this although my business will be unnoticeable to any hotel chain.
    It will be interesting to see the full T&C as it sounds very generous. I would have thought that the vast number of points which are sold but never used would be the main profit earner.

    • Genghis says:

      Sold and then the buyer let’s them expire would be very profitable for Hilton. Sold and then kept alive means the points will stay on the H Group BS as a liability. Perhaps they want to unwind this liability?

      • Apparently Blue members have 15 billion unredeemed points.

        By making points more useful in small quantities, it is another reason to book direct in order to earn them. This is all linked to ‘don’t use Expedia’.

        Obviously if the chains hadn’t agreed to pay Expedia etc 25% commission in the first place, as opposed to the usual 10%, none of this would be happening. The airlines decided to stop commission payments (pretty much) to everyone but the hotel groups are not strong enough.

        • At the moment there’s literally nothing I can do with around 5000 Hilton points, so I fully understand that! I got the credit card for the free Night voucher but haven’t stayed in a Hilton since I used it, and with my credit card spend better directed elsewhere I’d never earn enough for a decent redemption.

          This change will definitely make me use the Hilton credit card between Amex churns, as I’ll actually have a use for the points!

  11. The lack of caps really worries me about long term value – although we can see the benefit of outsized value on redemptions those will be the ones where they end up paying hotels the most, so I can see them rapidly wanting to curtail them…

  12. These are not good enhancements.

    Time to make those points bookings before all the rates increase.

    Bad, bad news.

    • You are fine in the short term. I only worry about the long term.

      • Or, being pessimistic, the medium term! I stayed for 3 nights at the Palmer House, Chicago in November when it was off-peak. Cost 50k points per night despite room rates starting at $400+tax/night thanks to a conference that was on. Under the new system my suspicion is that they’ll no longer have these off peak rates and only the peak redemption cap, I therefore suspect my redemption cost would have shot up (due to the high cash rates) to the maximum peak rate for that property (I’d imagine 80k or so).

  13. M HOCKENHULL says:

    Regarding lower rates at certain horels in low seasons the ones Ive used before in York and Edinburgh just dont have off seasons, they are constantly at peak. I am also worried about the scrapping of the hotel grades as the ammount of points I manage to collect only ever got me rooms at the low grade ones in Sheffield, Newcastle etc

  14. O/T but hotel related and a few people have been asking about this…

    Iggy points may finally have appeared, my IHG account has 1,500 with a reference of IHGRC – Corporate. This has nothing to do with my accelerate target so could be them..

    • Fastbowler says:

      My IHG account is now showing 2500 points also with reference IHGRC – Corporate presumably from Where’s Iggy promotion.

      • Can’t remember but do the Iggy points extend the points expiry date? My husband has some points due to expire and he’s due some Iggy points.

      • Yes also posted thankfully.

      • RussellH says:

        Yes, I was credited late yesterday with 1 000 pts under the same rubrik. The Accelerate page was working again, finally, yesterday evening, but none of the points for completed tasks credited yet.

    • Finally got my 2500 last night

  15. This isn’t all that radical, Melia hotels have had this for at least a year (Which is when I started using them) I know they aren’t as relevant in the UK as Hilton but you can use any combination of points upto 100% and it sounds pretty much the same only theirs starts from 2,000 points – and they give you 2,000 points just from signing up so everyone has a chance for a discount.

  16. Oh! Matron! says:

    I, for one, applaud the ability to mix points and cash. I stayed at the Westin in Dublin a couple of weeks ago using the same combo (I wanted to pay, but didn’t see the value in a near £180 a night on a weekend)! Plus, you still earn a night for status. May make mattress runs even cheaper in some places 🙂

  17. CHRIS CANNON says:

    2K points deal now live

  18. It sounds like they have copied Accor’s model.

    I hope this means that we won’t see silly increases for booking premium rooms with points. At the London Hilton on Park Lane I currently see:

    STANDARD ROOM REWARD 70,000 Hilton Honors Points or £264 (£0.003777 per point)
    but a suite is:
    PREMIUM ROOM REWARDS 178,323 Hilton Honors Points or £509 (0.002854 per point)

    Why are premium rooms so much worse value? The Premium room should be 135,000 points but isn’t!

    • Premium awards are just Hilton buying your points off you for 0.2p-ish and then paying for your room. It isn’t an official reward price.

      Some people don’t like this feature. I am OK with it – it doesn’t take anything away from the programme and if all your points come from work travel you may be happy to accept the low value. Some hotels offer 0.35p on Premium awards which is decent value.

  19. Wonder how much Conrad Maldives will cost now – got a points booking next month.

    Anyone know if the 2k bonus applies to points bookings?

    • No bonus points on any type of redemption bookings …except 1K Diamond benefit

      • That’s not what Lauren the HHonors rep said on FT. You get the 2k points provided you have a charge on the folio when you check out. A bottle of coke from the minibar would do it.

        • I also discussed this with Lauren and Aaron last night. Reward nights – or points and money mixed nights – will continue to be treated as revenue nights and trigger bonuses such as the current 2k per night offer.

          • Nice one Rob, great news. There’s gonna be plenty of incidental spend with evening meals & drinks…

          • Continue to be treated as Revenue nights for incidental spend only? or can we earn points on the cash portion of Points+Money redemption as well (which is not the case currently)?

          • You will earn on the money portion. I specifically asked this.

    • It will cost 95k per night maximum, at least for the short term which I imagine would be at least a year.

  20. James A says:

    You’ll barely notice the 24k in the absolute sea of points you will earn for a 12 day cash booking there!

  21. Nick Merry says:

    A terrible change in my opinion. Points & Money were widely available (in my experience) and offered a really excellent value.

    • RussellH says:

      Not in my experience. Points and cash only ever seen around Christmas, and then just the once at manchester Airport and once at Newcastle Hampton.

    • Agree – Probably my most common type of redemption! lots of properties I wanted, and always good value!

      • Simon Schus says:

        I’ve always found pretty good availability on points and money, nearer to the date (i.e. a couple of weeks out, sometimes even a few days before a stay). Had some great USA stays last year in the summer, mostly around some of the better properties in San Francisco (Hilton Financial Discount), and New York (the Waldorf Astoria), DC (Capital Hilton). These stays were all one-night weekend stays usually on a Friday or Saturday.

  22. StevieM says:

    Great report Raffles, as ever. Thank heavens I’m locking in my US stays now! Thank you again!

  23. Richmond says:

    I booked 3 nights in Hawaii today just in case. If they go down, I can rebook it at better rate.

  24. Scallder says:

    OT (apologies), however as Section 75 is brought up on here a lot, I thought it was worth mentioning and there’s no bits bit today (and further apologies if this has been brought up on the site before).

    I found out a few days ago (having read about (Money section of Saturday’s The TImes) it rather than through a personal case), that section 75 isn’t automatic for supplementary cardholders. It may apply if an additional cardholder uses it to pay for something for the main cardholder, however if the additional cardholder is using their card to buy something for them, then they’re not covered by s75.

    So in that instance, using PayPal might be a better idea for any items over £100 as may be some form of recourse given s75 won’t help you. Something to think about if booking holidays/flights etc as i know a number of people on here (myself included) flip between a number of cards throughout a year for various reasons.

    • the real harry1 says:

      Additional cardholders

      If somebody else such as your partner has a credit card and has added you as an additional cardholder, it’s usually best to get the main cardholder to make any big purchases, rather than using the extra card yourself.

      This doesn’t mean that purchases made by a secondary card holder will never be covered, but it’s best for the primary card holder to make larger purchases if you want to be sure of protection under Section 75.

      If, however, the purchase is made with the primary card holder’s authority and if they expressly request the purchase and will benefit from it – a family holiday, for instance – they will still be covered under Section 75.
      [Which?]

  25. I don’t understand how
    “The maximum points price for a room will be no higher than it is today. However, off peak points prices will fall sharply.”

    aligns with:-
    “Whilst Gran Hotel Montesol will have a maximum price of 95,000 points this year, there is no reason why it cannot quietly drift out to 120,000 or 150,000 points next year.”

    Are you saying the cat caps are only being lifted next year (2018) ?

    No maximum points cost for a room is a killer for high-end aspirational properties. For example I can see redemptions costs at Conrad Maldives increasing dramatically. At busy times they are often sold out. I can evisage 150K becoming a usual night redemption there. You’ll still be able to get it for 95K a night but only by adding £££.

    Places you actually want to stay will end up on average more expensive, either on pure points or points + cash. Less attractive properties might end up cheaper, but there is a reason why they are less attractive. The article doesn’t mention Hilton corporate having any control over the hotels actions, so you can bet where analysis shows they can squeeze more money, they’ll squeeze more money.

    Is this the first hotel loyalty programme to have uncapped, uncategorised redemptions ?

    • Yes, that is what I meant. As of March, the maximum points per night will be no higher than it is today and off-peak it will be lower. Long term, however, Hilton now has huge amounts of flexibility to sneak up maximum pricing especially as there will be no published list of the price per hotel.

      However …..

      I spend a fair bit of time with the Avios people. Whenever we discuss revenue based redemptions, we always come back to Nectar vs Clubcard. The single biggest reason that Nectar is a disaster (relatively speaking) is because of revenue based redemption. You can’t ‘game’ the rewards as you can with Clubcard.

      If Hilton points become worth exactly 0.3p in any circumstance, people will quickly start to write them off. You need to sell the vision that you can actually get outsized value if you redeem well (which is what I have just done in Tokyo – 95,000 points for a £500+ room). You mess with this formula at your peril.

      • is it hilton that will increase rates, or is it up to each hotel ?

        • I imagine it is Hilton. Remember that Hilton Honors has no capacity controls – reward nights must be offered if standard rooms are offered – so Hilton has to ensure such a model is financially viable.

      • Nectar would be more exciting if there were more earning promotions and they were easier to access. I hate that horrible website you have to use to save offers so much that most of the time I pass on them. I usually fail to use till-spit coupons too.

      • Plus you now have a peak cap on off-peak dates so the potential for outsized value redemptions on those dates has significantly reduced.

  26. Cash and points was excellent – I stayed in Hilton Taba (until it left Hilton recently) for 2k points and 30$ per night. Cash rate was 63$ so got very good value for points. Stayed also in Narita airtport Hilton, also cash and points, cash rate was 90 GBP, i used 8000 points and around 30 quid. Also very good value. Hope this doesnt change…

  27. It is what was in the survey some time ago,
    The travelution.
    I didn’t like the sound of no fixed points caps.
    Which busy hotel won’t ramp up points to extortionate levels.
    Nor that points have a fixed value, I like to find good rpoints and money edemptions, slightly off peak at good value.
    All busy hotels will ramp up points per night and so I’d need bucket load of points or loads of cash.
    Programme changes have never benefited us before.

    • The difference here, I think, is that the changes are being done as part of a drive to stop people booking via third party channels. It is not, in itself, a way of making more money from the program.

      • Mr(s) Entitled says:

        It would be odd for a Private Equity firm not to be thinking of ways to make more money, and thus earn a higher valuation, when they sell/list.

        Watch this space…

      • RussellH says:

        If the chains want to stop people booking via Expedia etc then there are other tools at their disposal as well. IHG pushes Roomkey.co.uk (or .com) a little, and IHG also puts up annoying little flags showing how much more expensive their hotels are compared with their own website, but I have not noticed that on the hilton site, nor Carlson or Wyndham.

      • Really tough for me to feel for them on this one.

        The number of times I’ve found a cheaper hilton rate that isnt on the hilton website is unreal. The weird/unique terms attached to these rates (72/48 hour cancellation before stay rather than 2359 the day before on hilton.com) makes me feel that hilton are still planting rates out there that are designed to be cheaper and designed to circumvent their BRG.

      • Good point, that at least gives a bit of hope!

  28. I might be being spectacularly naive here regarding the changes but as I like to use points towards “aspirational” redemptions be it flights or hotels I see this tentatively as a good thing. I do earn Hilton points through a few business and leisure stays a year – but not masses, even with Diamond status it seems hard to build up a pot. I guess using points make me feel less guilty about spending a lot of cash on travel etc. consequently I think it would be more useful for me to use points to reduce the actual cost of the hotel especially if it helps with availability. I’m a bit worried about there being no category grading and cap (Doubletree in KUL first to fall?).

  29. This sounds good. Will the “fewer points at off-peak times” be dynamic (i.e. hotels can cut their points for the following month if they see they’re quiet) or will peak/off-peak be set as per BA?

    (I have a points booking set up for New York in August. I suspect that this is unlikely to be designated off-peak, and to come down in price…)

  30. A quick scan of the comments and I’m surprised nobody has mentioned this… (Sorry if it has been)…

    Under this new model I highly suspect that “5 nights for the points of 4” will be going. I can’t see how it would work and if so it counts as a 20% devaluation in my view. I have been saving up my points for such a deal.

  31. Anyone know if I convert tesco vouchers to BA – will they take the oldest vouchers first?

    Have some £96 expiring end of February.

    Thanks

    • Genghis says:

      You select the vouchers as payment for your conversion – so just choose the oldest ones.

    • If you have large vouchers expirying you can choose to convert the minimum of £2.50 and the ‘change’ will be added as a new voucher to your account on the next statement.

      Their have been reports on FT of people be caught for ‘abusing’ the system though. Not sure how many conversions would constitute abuse. I’ve done it 3 times where i had £50 vouchers expiring

  32. surely you select which vouchers to spend?

    • I would have thought that – but it goes to a page with a red checkout button.

      i am not sure if that simply processes the transaction or allows me to select the vouchers.

      On the list of vouchers the only option is to print them

      A bit confused!

      • FrequentDriver says:

        I have literally just done this – as long as you are logged in, checkout page shows a list of your vouchers and you tick the ones you want to use – easy peasy 🙂

        • Thanks!

          Wasn’t sure if the checkout button just processed it and I had missed a page to select.

          • PayPal can be sneaky with this. I hit “checkout”, expecting to choose my most lucrative credit card, only to be met with “success we’ve taken the money out of your bank account”. I was fuming! I tried to submit a complaint but got nowhere.

          • Yes, you’ve got to watch like a hawk – they always default to linked bank a/c rather than credit card. Also you need to empty out PayPal balance first if you have any and want to just put it all on a card.

  33. Pangolin says:

    I for one am far less optimistic than the bloggers are about this.

    It’s a switch to dynamic pricing and a revenue based model. Sooner or later the redemption caps will be removed and then the sky’s the limit. For off peak redemptions the cap is already removed so expect these to be more expensive for points rather than cheaper, as the commentaries suggest.

    The chance to find great value in C+P is also gone – now you have an Accor type system where points simply exchange into cash at a set rate.

    The main value for a lot of people in Hilton was the ability to combine valuable points promotions with good value redemptions at lower category hotels, especially if C+P was available. Now that’s gone.

  34. The page to transfer points to someone else is up now (the whole Honors been re-designed).
    There is a transfer limit of 200,000 points per calendar year so we are unlikely to see them on eBay.

    • I think that’s actually the old maximum transfer per year.
      OMAAT was quoting 500k per year and receive a max of 2M

    • I think you are confusing things with what already exists for some time = 5,000 points transfer to somebody else for 12.5$ etc

  35. Apologies if this has already been shared. (Did a v quick scan of comments on my mobile & it didn’t show up)

    You can already search for any hotel you’re interested in to see how it’s points value can potentially change with the new system.

    Fill yer boots.

    http://pointsandmoney.hilton.com

    • Hilton Glasgow & Aviemore looking like potential bargains during quiet periods… 🙂

    • Just had a play and see below old lowest/new lowest in ,000
      Hilton Garden Inn Rome Claridge 60/18;
      Hilton Milan from 70/21;
      Hilton Stucky Molino Venice from 50/31;
      Hilton Toronto 40/27;
      Hilton Quebec City 40/17;
      Hilton Paris Opera 80/31=8;
      Hilton Paddington 60/20;
      Doubletree Kensington 50/29.

      • This range is based on the cheapest possible night over the next 365 days, I was told. 0.5p per point looks like it might be a goer on that basis. I very much doubt Hilton Paddington ever gets lower than £100 for example.

        • Hilton Paddington was £106 weekends in the recent sale, Rob – lowest I’ve ever seen it…

          • barnaby100 says:

            Bankside is often £120 and as low as £96- why would you stay at the depressing Paddington?

      • Interesting, although what about the inverse – what’s the highest now vs previously in off-peak? I’d suspect the previous peak redemption level applies as a cap, but that would be much higher off-peak cost cf previously.

    • Very helpful, thanks.

      This confirms my fear re off-peak redemptions. The cost is capped at current peak points rate, therefore expensive off-peak dates will jump up in price cf existing points levels, cheaper dates will fall.

    • James67 says:

      Thanks for this and the other link Anon. On paper it looks like I may need to rethink our European tour stays so it will be interesting to see how it plays out in practice. For tbe moment I can foresee my cancelling a bunch of IHG stays and once again having a stash of IHG points I’m having problems using. Looks like I will end up using tbem at Le Grand or Paris Indigo just to get some decent value from them.

  36. rams1981 says:

    OT just had to cancel one of my 2 for 1 bookings. Wife had cancelled the BA card which earned the voucher but it still landed back in her account.

    They charged £50 per passenger to cancel. £35 cancellation fee + £15 operational fee or something like that. Annoying but needs must.

    • Thanks for data point re cancelled BAPP and 2-4-1. The £15 fee will be the one for anything done over the phone.

  37. rams1981 says:

    Reminds me anyone looking for return tickets to Buenos airies in mid November 2017 in Club – they should be available now

  38. Dominic says:

    I’ve mentioned a few times that I’ve never been sold on airmiles and stick to hotel rewards using my platinum card MR points and HHonors visa (or guess thats Hilton Honors now).

    I’ve done countless reward stays but (with the exception of a few cheap Hampton ones) only ever make use of the five nights for four benefit and cash and points redemptions. The full points redemptions at nicer properties were very rarely worth it.

    This would be amazing if the value is genuinely around 0.5p per Hilton point. From my experience the cash and points stays were quite hard to find, so even if it was a little less giving 0.7/0.8p (per MR point) then that would still be good now that you can get that value at every hotel on any night.

    Keenly awaiting more details!

    • the real harry1 says:

      airmiles/ Avios collecting saves me well over £2000 pa, not sure why you personally can’t get or see value from the progs

      care to explain?

      is it that you are not much of a flyer?

      • the real harry1 says:

        or somebody else pays?

        (should have added)

      • Dominic says:

        241 is pointless for me as I fly solo a lot which removes the vast majority of value of the BA card everyone on here loves. I also live in Manchester which means BA, at least if I want to fly direct, is a no go.

        I am very aware it is my circumstances that make it less appealing.

        Also, as modestly as I can put this without sounding arrogant, I am someone that is lucky enough to be able to afford the cash price for CW, ect. Paying £500-600 tax for a £1,500 CW flight to NYC doesn’t excite me as much as using points at the Hilton for a totally free reward stay.

        Even if I’m saving the same amount of money as a CW fight, using just points and saving £1,000 (approx) for five nights at the Hilton just feels more of a bargain to me as I don’t have to open my wallet at all.

        Also, if I really do want to fly BA and use avois points I have that option as I can transfer to BA. Maybe its better to sum me up by saying I think MR points are much better than purely focussing on avois as I have used MR points to fly business in the past.

        • I do like MR points, esp the pluripotentiality of them! 😉 Just wish the earning rate on the Plat was better though. Also agree that hotel points have given me some superb redemptions recently when cash rates have been high. I still find value in Avios, but totally agree re taxes/fees on the CW redemptions – I still find the Lloyds Avios card of value though, at least I then get a CW flight for WTP points (and they seem to charge slightly lower cash amounts than BA for some reason).

        • the real harry1 says:

          I’m also very proud of you, Dom – somebody who earns a decent whack through personal endeavour.

          Good old Brits that we are – just been reading Andrew Marr’s History Part 2.

    • Dom, do/did you post on PTS site?

      Why aren’t you sold on miles/Avios, why don’t they apeeal?

      • Dominic says:

        Nah this is the only site I use. Never heard of PTS to be honest.

        And as above to answer your question. If I lived in/near London and/or was married I would probably seriously look again at the BA card. Even then it would be a tough call as the 241 can be tricky to use going from posts on here from people.

  39. OT – I’ve just tried to update my Award Wallet stash and notice that some items i.e. 2-4-1 voucher is now missing the use by date. I can get this updated if I subscribe so perhaps a cut back if you’ve stayed on the freebie option.

  40. I’m going to pop this in here as an OT and hope it can benefit someone. Marriott have opened a new JW in Phu Quoc, Vietnam. Looks absolutely stunning. It’s a Cat 5 however it is pricing at 15K points per night. Click through from the main search page. Anyone looking for some R&R may well want to consider. Link to hotel is here http://www.marriott.co.uk/hotels/travel/pqcjw-jw-marriott-phu-quoc-emerald-bay-resort-and-spa/

    • Genghis says:

      Looks nice. Mrs G and I went to Phu Quoc at the end of our honeymoon a few years ago. Great island.

    • Really interested in this but couldn’t see a single day available on points on the calendar.

      Did you actually see availability there somehow?

  41. Do you see a need to rush to make a Conrad Maldives booking or should we be ok for some time yet?
    Thank you!

  42. Thanks

  43. barnaby100 says:

    I must have overlooked what makes this radical. Read it on flyer talk earlier and my 1st thought was so what?

    • What’s radical is that there should never be a situation where you decide against using points because the cash rate is too low and/or the points price too high. You will have the option to use points – for a standard room – at a level which we will hopefully consider useful.

  44. Peter K says:

    I personally think this’ll make the higher end hotels more aspirational. Rather than taking ages to get the 60/70/80k points for a night for a top hotel, you could spend a third as long and bring the price down to a level you wouldn’t mind paying.

  45. Slightly O/T but if you currently have Diamond status, due to the status match offer Hilton are currently running, if you write them a nice email they are willing to extend your diamond status to MArch 2018 – in line with the matching offer. At least they did for me :). Might be extra handy for when they let you “pause” your diamond status…

  46. Is there a risk that some of the 5,000 / 10,000 points hotels will drift up and we will loose the 5 redemption nights for the price of 4 for silver?

    Did I read this right, in that this will massively boost redemption availability as if the room is available you will always be able to use some of your points to discount the price..

    • Availability remains the same (ie you can always redeem if a standard room is available) but your LIKELIHOOD of redeeming is higher because – on days when cash rates are low – the points price will be low too.

  47. Question regarding Hilton Honors, I’m doing a status match at present – is a stay of 2 or more nights counted as “1 stay” for status qualification purposes?

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