Waldorf Astoria Maldives Taking Points Reservations Again

Filed Under: Hilton, Hotels
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That didn’t take long. This is an update to yesterday’s post to note that the Waldorf Astoria Maldives is once again accepting points bookings for their standard rooms, which are their beach villas with pools (thanks to Jamal06 for the heads up). All is good in the world again. šŸ˜‰

Remember that you can stillĀ buy Hilton Honors pointsĀ with a 100% bonus through February 26, 2019, which could be an excellent value for the purposes of redeeming here.


The much anticipated Waldorf Astoria Maldives will be opening as of July 1, 2019, and looks like it will be the best Hilton property in the world, and possibly even one of the best properties in the Maldives.

The hotel started accepting reservations this month

The hotel started accepting reservations at the beginning of the month, though they didn’t initially offer standard award nights. I don’t think anything shady was going on there, but rather it took them time to load it, especially since Hilton Honors was creating a new points level for this hotel.

Then just under two weeks ago the Waldorf Astoria Maldives started accepting points reservations, though what’s interesting is that the hotel costs 120,000 points per night, rather than Hilton’s previous highest amount of 95,000 points per night.

Personally I think that’s fair enough, given that the Waldorf Astoria Maldives is in a different league than anything else that Hilton offers.

At least I’m okay with this if Hilton doesn’t in the short-term move all 95,000 point per night hotels up to 120,000 points per night. What’s nice is that weekend night rewards are still valid here, so that increases their maximum value from a 95,000 point per night property to a 120,000 point per night property.

Anyway, I know many of us (dozens? hundreds?) booked the Waldorf Astoria on points. So I imagine the hotel is quite pleased with the number of bookings they’ve received within weeks of accepting reservations, though I’m guessing they haven’t quite met their revenue targets.

The hotel has stopped accepting points reservations

A couple of days ago the Waldorf Astoria Maldives pulled all Hilton Honors standard room reward availability. The hotel continues to show standard rooms for sale when paying cash, but they’re not available on points.

Note that this isn’t just an IT glitch, because when you call Hilton Honors they’re not able to book it either, though they are confused.

The theory is that the hotel is really unhappy with the number of points bookings they’ve received, as apparently virtually everyone booking has been redeeming points.

But seriously, I would think that’s to be expected? Is anyone really going to pay $2,000+ per night to book a brand new hotel that we only have renderings of so far?

In addition to the lack of real pictures of the hotel, often there are opening pains at hotels — it takes a while for the service flow to work, landscaping has to grow in, etc.

What could be going on?

This is all speculation on my part, but my guess is that the sales manager wasn’t expecting this, and in a panic pulled the inventory.

The thing is, Hilton Honors terms & conditions require that hotels offer all standard rooms as free night awards with no blackout dates. So a hotel can’t sell what they designate as a base room for cash but not for points.

So I suspect the hotel is trying to figure out how they can reduce the number of award bookings they have, or decrease the losses from this. The way I see it, they could be:

  • Trying to negotiate with Hilton Honors for better reimbursement rates
  • If that’s not successful, they could maybe try to create a new sub-category of rooms that they call “standard rooms,” where they maybe only have one or two of those rooms, so they can “legitimately” decrease the number of redemptions
  • They could also just try to remove themselves from Hilton Honors, though that seems unlikely, given that I’m guessing they had already negotiated higher reimbursement given the 120,000 point per night cost

If anyone from the hotel is reading this, I think it’s worth emphasizing that they won’t be losing money on these stays. I expect optimistically the hotel would expect under 50% occupancy the first year, meaning those staying on points in a vast majority of cases wouldn’t be displacing revenue guests.

And the thing about the Maldives is that you’re captive on the island, and everything is really, really expensive. Those redeeming points are still going to be paying the outrageous transfer cost, upgrade costs, for food and drinks, activities, spa services, etc.

Bottom line

For the time being the Waldorf Astoria Maldives isn’t accepting any points reservations. I suspect the sales manager just ran all the numbers and said “oh crap,” realizing they may have hundreds of bookings, but probably very few of them are cash bookings.

So in panic I would speculate that points inventory was pulled, and that they’re trying to figure out the best course of action. My hope is that they go back to offering excellent availability, though I wouldn’t be surprised to see them create a new sub-category of “standard” rooms for the purposes of redeeming points.

I’ve reached out to Hilton Honors, and will report back on what I hear.

Comments

  1. There is just too much speculation here. Hilton could simply designate all the remaining standard rooms as “premium” to make them unaffordable for booking with points, without raising any eyebrows because it would be something with a strong precedent.

    It is a new and exciting property, whose opening they would like to pull off as smoothly as possible because, well, everyone is watching. Therefore, what do about redemptions does strike me something that would be a top concern in the grand scheme of things.

  2. They should be happy to have the award bookings because almost all of them are incremental. I doubt any of the guests redeeming points would pay the cash rate. Same with other outrageously priced properties that are part of a chain such as the Conrad, St. Regis. On my return flight from the St. Regis in January I saw the departure list – 5 out of 6 rooms departing on my flight were points bookings. Very few people would pay cash and the hotel would be rather empty. Also if I was that rich as to pay in cash, I would probably not book the ā€žbasicā€œ room/villa but go over the top…

  3. <>

    Thatā€™s not necessarily true, other than the transfer cost. When I stayed at the Conrad Maldives, I met more than a few HHonors Diamond members who stuffed themselves at the free breakfast and had ramen, granola or other foods they brought along, and other than tap water their only drink was the free cocktail at the evening reception. It goes without saying that they didnā€™t pay for any excursions, which is why snorkeling with whale sharks was delightfully empty. If the could have swam to the Conrad, likely they would have done so instead of paying for the seaplane transfer.

  4. definitely overselling this assumption that points stayers are a positive to the hotel, especially as unlikely to hit the peak occupancy needed to get a decent reimbursement from the hotel. Let alone they are unlikely to be getting loyalty ie future cash bookings and significant spend, let alone the Tripadvisor complaints of it being expensive for X and Y meal/ other.

  5. Maybe they had so much negative feedback on 120K base points rooms and they are going to change to 95K and give us that already booked the points back…..I can dream right? šŸ˜‰

    TD

  6. So don’t be surprised if the Waldorf Maldives creates a “ghetto” section of the resort, located in the woods with dirt trail access, comprised of a dozen tents or tin huts that count as a ‘standard rooms’.

  7. @Debit I genuinely don’t understand what you’re trying to say here. Something about the WA Maldives subsidizing other hotels by paying cash…?

    @DCS my understanding is that Hilton Honors does not allow no rooms to be designated standard rooms. That undermines the entire point of “standard”. What Lucky suggested they might do is way more consistent with the Honors program in general.

    @Kurt I get that everyone lives life differently and you shouldn’t judge but I can’t help but think that what you described is pathetic… They’re not paying any money to stay there – if they still can’t afford to buy a meal or an experience then maybe they shouldn’t be there in the first place.

  8. Sorry all standard rooms are unavailable for the rest of your lives due to demand
    Please book revenue only going forward Thank You
    Property Revenue manager @ Waldorf Maldives

  9. @Super — You lost me with your claim that “Hilton Honors does not allow no rooms to be designated as standard rooms” and that’s not just because of the double negative…

    What I stated was that they could designate all the remaining rooms as “premium” to discourage award redemptions, which is done all the time…

  10. Nothing to stop them hiking the price of EVERYTHING sky high. Personally I think booking an island hotel like this on points until the cost of things like food is known is an huge risk.

  11. @DCS: “What I stated was that they could designate all the remaining rooms as ā€œpremiumā€ to discourage award redemptions, which is done all the timeā€¦”

    If such is the case (and I’m not saying that it isn’t, because I fully believe that this is occurring), then Hilton needs to change the Honors T&Cs to quit implying that standard rooms are available everywhere:

    “Members may use full Hilton Honors Points to book a complimentary standard or premium room. Standard Room and Premium Room Rewards are available at any hotel in the Hilton Portfolio that participates in the Hilton Honors Program, with no blackout dates.”

  12. I have no clue about what you are objecting to. But, then again, nothing new there.

    Standard rooms are available everywhere when properties classify them as such, and that is part of the T&C as well. Each property has sole and full discretion regarding how it chooses to classify any room in a property , and that this is not true only for Hilton.

    There is no debate to be had here either.

    G’day

  13. @DCS: What part of “Standard Room and Premium Room Rewards are available at any hotel in the Hilton Portfolio that participates in the Hilton Honors Program, with no blackout dates” is so hard for you to grasp, when you freely admit that it isn’t true?

  14. Duh…”discretion” was a word in Merriam’s New Collegiate Dictionary, the last time I checked.

    Like I said, there is no debate to be had here, unless you’re the only person in blogosohere who has never run into a Hilton property with all rooms classified as ‘premium’.

    I am done here. Beam me up, Scotty.

  15. @DCS: Again, I am quoting from Honors T&Cs. Why you are objecting to that is no one else’s problem besides your own.

    Grow up.

  16. This should also have been obvious to any anyone with an ounce of gray matter between the ears: No one here could possibly alter Hilton’s T&C to address your issue, nonexistent or otherwise, so you’re barking up the wrong tree.

  17. @DCS: So either you have a reading comprehension problem, or your NPD is causing you to immediately lash out when I post, even when I agree with you, because you have gone into a rage against me for doing nothing other than point out that Hiltonā€™s T&Cs contradict their actual practice regarding standard rooms (or a lack thereof) at certain properties.

    Either way, it makes you look like a complete and utter asshole, which is entirely your doing.

  18. @Debit ah I see what you’re saying now. I wasn’t implying you were an idiot!! Just didn’t understand. Sorry.

    I kinda agree with you – a lot of people wouldn’t be able to afford paying points at the WA Maldives if they didn’t do mattress runs at some Hilton Garden Inn. From what Lucky has said about how the hotels are compensated it looks to me like they are covered enough that they still make a very small profit on a points redemption (just above room cost when the hotel is not at capacity), but not even close to how much a cash redemption could have been.

    In my opinion I think it all averages out. Yes they’ll have some miserly folks who pay points in the off period and load up at the free breakfast and don’t pay for anything else, but they’ll also have people who pay points and use the cash they would have saved for food and experiences. And then the people who redeem points during the busy period will most likely get the hotel compensated at cash-rate levels because the hotel is nearing capacity so it’s no difference to the hotel.

    Lastly – these high-point cost hotels typically have a low count of rooms, so the threshold for nearing capacity is lower, so they are more likely to be compensated at cash levels.

    But I do see your point.

  19. I did the same while at Conrad Maldives. Loaded up on brekkie and enjoyed my drinks at the happy hour and tea time. Stayed for 6 nights and only ate at the undersea restaurant which was a joke! Everyone I met who had taken part in any activities or ate at restaurants said the food was average, overpriced and the activities not so great. So why bother… I went there with my wife to relax. I earned points from staying a shite load of nights at properties around the world. We brought enough snacks to keep us satisfied. No regrets… And yes I earn a damn good salary and respect money.. would never pay $250 for a $30 meal. Peace out!

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