Hilton Honors seems to have raised award costs at some luxury properties, which members certainly won’t be happy about.
More Hilton Honors hotels now cost 100K+ points per night
For several years now, Hilton Honors hasn’t published an award chart. While the program has dynamic award pricing, the reality is that the most expensive award rates at a particular hotel have been pretty consistent. For example:
- The Waldorf Astoria Maldives was the only property that cost up to 150K points per night, while the Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos was the only property that cost up to 120K points per night
- Other luxury Hilton Honors properties cost up to 95K points per night
- In situations where you saw pricing beyond the above amounts, that means there aren’t standard rooms available
It would appear that overnight Hilton Honors has raised some award costs. At an absolute minimum:
- The Conrad Maldives now costs up to 120K points per night, rather than up to 95K points per night
- The Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills now costs up to 120K points per night, rather than up to 95K points per night
- The Waldorf Astoria Grand Wailea now costs up to 110K points per night, rather than up to 95K points per night
- The Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam now costs up to 110K points per night, rather than up to 95K points per night
- The Roku Kyoto now costs up to 110K points per night, rather than up to 95K points per night
It’s entirely possible that other properties also went up in price, though those are the ones I’ve noticed. Obviously there was no advance notice of these changes, but then again, I wouldn’t expect advance notice when Hilton Honors isn’t publishing award costs to begin with.
Why we’re seeing hotel award price devaluations
We’re seeing quite some devaluations to hotel loyalty programs at the moment:
- As of March 29, 2022, Marriott Bonvoy is adopting dynamic award pricing, eliminating its award chart
- World of Hyatt recently introduced peak and off-peak award pricing, and is also shifting several luxury hotels to Category 8
By comparison this is milder, but Hilton is also increasing award costs at some more expensive properties (and who knows what’s next).
If you want to make sense of these changes, it’s worth understanding how the economics of hotel loyalty programs work. Keep in mind that most hotels are independently owned, so the major global hotel loyalty programs have to compensate individual hotels for each redemption:
- When the hotel isn’t full, the loyalty program compensates the hotel at some reimbursement rate that’s slightly above the marginal cost of servicing a room, etc.
- When the hotel is full (think 90-95%+ occupancy), the loyalty program compensates the hotel close to the average daily rate, in recognition of the fact that the room may have otherwise been sold
I think the devaluations we’re seeing at the high end reflect the massive demand for luxury travel. Room rates at many luxury properties are through the roof (way higher than pre-pandemic), and on top of that are packed.
Hilton Honors has quietly increased award costs at some luxury hotels. Before this, only two hotels charged more than 100K points per night for a standard room. Now several additional hotels have pricing in that range.
Of course these increases in points requirements aren’t good for members, but they’re ultimately not that surprising.
What do you make of Hilton Honors increasing award costs at some properties?
(Tip of the hat to @Abidjan28)