Changes to Hilton H rewards

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  • Anonymous
    Guest

    Senator
    Participant

    On Jan 15th, Hilton will change redemption levels. A quick glance through the changes there are mixed news; good and bad.

    Waldorf Collection hotels (Premium properties including the fantastic Rome Cavalieri) will increase low season redemption rates by 10.000 points to minimum of 50.000 per night. Low season is defined property by property.

    For all other Hilton brands, a Category 7 has been added. No information yet to hotels in this category. Redemption will be 50.000 per night. I would suspect hotels such as London Park Lane would fall into this, as well as some of the nice Conrads such as Maldives resort.

    Good news for status members; discounted rates for 4, 5, and 6 days added. I believe it was 7-14 days previously.


    SimonRowberry
    Participant

    Hello Senator,

    I agree. It is not unexpected, as the ‘new’ owners seem determined to reduce the number of elite tier HH members (through changing the membership accounting year – ‘by popular demand’ – I seriously doubt it) and are now making rewards harder to attain.

    It’s a great pity as HH remains, in my view, the best and most flexible of all the major hotel loyalty schemes. In the last month or so I have had six reward nights (all category 4 or 5), one of which was booked a couple of hours before I checked in (Hilton Antwerpen).

    The automatic space-available upgrading of gold and diamond members to the Exec Floor seems now to have been replaced by an ‘e-upgrade request’ (on the website), which only gives a free single-category upgrade – it appears (for some hotels) that you now have to book at the category immediately below Exec Room to get the upgrade to that floor, rather than any standard room type, as was previously the case. This is a major (and negative) change.

    I just hope they don’t keep slowly eroding the value of what is (was?) an excellent programme.

    Simon


    Senator
    Participant

    Simon,

    Thanks for this extra detail. Yes, I would agree that the HH programme has been great until now. I was not aware of all of upgrade changes.

    What puzzled me recently was that I rang one of the Waldorf Collection properties in Puerto Rico to book in Jan. Off the cuff, I asked about Diamond VIP benefits and to my surprise I discovered that it no longer included breakfast! Not all properties have an Executive Lounge and I now would have to pay for this. The main reason we wanted to stay at this property was to play golf, and we have now decided to stay at the Embassy Suites golf course instead for $95 a night.

    I have booked 2 rooms for five nights at the Waldorf in NYC at an excellent rate of $233 a night assuming breakfast was included as a Diamond VIP. If I recall, they charge $18 per person (cont) and $22 per person (full) breakfast. So for four people this will add about $400 assuming we eat at the hotel each day. Of course my expectations are perhaps too high in this case at this rate 🙂

    What is clear is that benefits of loyalty schemes, and values of miles and points are decreasing. HH is only one of many.

    This puzzles me a bit, as this is the time to invest in loyal customers. While there are clearly costs associated with loyalty schemes, many of these are cash/profit cows; specially among airlines. It was reported that while UA was losing $4b a year, Mileage Plus was generating $1b of profits a year. The point was that the trade of miles to partners generated a lot of revenue and profit. The downside is the liability side of the balance sheet ballooned. So airlines found ways to “cancel” members’ miles due to inactivity, and expiration dates were made shorter. I am not sure if hotels have the same challenges.

    I still think the HH programme is good, but I need to test these new changes out (upgrades) before I give my final verdict.


    SimonRowberry
    Participant

    Senator,

    The upgrade and breakfast policy is not applied consistently between hotels, whether on paid stays or reward nights. Some examples over the last month or so of my travels:

    Brussels (Hilton) – free night, upgraded to Exec Floor

    London Park Lane – free night, not upgraded but given access to Exec Lounge

    Newport – free night – not upgraded (not even to a superior room, no Exec Floor anyway) and no free breakfast

    Trafalgar – free night (no Exec Floor in hotel) and free full breakfast

    Brussels City – free night, no upgrade, no free breakfast

    Antwerp – free night, upgraded to Exec Floor

    London Olympia – paid night, no upgrade to a superior room (nor any Exec Floor in hotel), package was DBB

    I think you can see that there’s not a lot of consistency. I am booked into a number of Hiltons over the coming few months. Some ‘e-upgrades’ automatically put me on the Exec Floor free; others only upgrade me to the next category, usually a Deluxe Room (even where there is an Exec Floor).

    Confusing!

    Simon

    PS Given your geographical location, Senator, did you know that the Hilton Slussen was the onloy Hilton in Europe not to upgrade Gold Members (only Diamond) because of the number of Swedish Gold Members due to the former ownership of Scandic? This has now, I think, changed.


    Senator
    Participant

    Consistently inconsistent… My favourite

    As I live about 2km from the Hilton Slussen, I have never used it 🙂 I like the CPH Airport… Always excellent rooms and service.

    I could see why it would be different benefits for different brands; Conrad, Hilton, Waldorf. Secondly, I know that not all hotels have Exec Floors/Lounge. I am ok with this. However, Hilton brands should always include breakfast for Diamond VIP. Are you gold or Diamond?


    SimonRowberry
    Participant

    I agree with you re the CPH Airport Hilton. Great hotel. I stay there with my family immediately after New Year every year. I once met some bloke from Top Gear in the pool…..

    Hilton Slussen is OK, especially if you get a room above the road tunnel, with views out to Gamla St’an. It’s considerably better than the Sheraton, where there always seems to be an over-subscribed Clubroom. However, my favourite hotel in Stockholm will always be the Lady Hamilton.

    I was Diamond until April, relegated to Silver under the new ‘calendar year’ as opposed to old ‘rolling year’ elite qualification period. Now back to Gold (since July) and will be a Diamond again next Monday.


    NTarrant
    Participant

    Have any of you had problems since the website has changed? I booked for the Hilton Cardiff and it gave a price of £99.00 . There were options for £5.00 breakfast and £10.00 for flexability, but when I clicked on both of these the price increased to £159.00, if I took then off it would show a price of £143.00. I tried on another computer and the same thing happened.

    I was rather annoyed at this and decided to cancel and book in the Holiday Inn which was £30.00 cheaper. I’m a gold HH and prefer Hilton everytime, but I hope this is a one off glitch. I did email Hilton which has been acknowledged.

    I tried to book two rooms at an adance purchase rate at another hotel before this and kept getting an error to try later. I telephone reservations and the girl said that you can book one room on advance purchase on line but not two. Although you can if they are at flexable rates.


    Cwyfan
    Participant

    There is no doubt that HH has up to now been the best hotel scheme, and that alone has kept me loyal. Maybe that is about to change

    However, I have always found the front desk willing to go the extra mile if the rules were getting in the way, so perhaps not all is lost

    I too am about to lose my highest status, held for years, through the year change. I can see no circumstances were a customer would be better off by it, only Hilton.

    I stay a lot in the US and always book through the .com site as it offers more options, often with cheaper room rates


    SimonRowberry
    Participant

    No, N, I’ve not had any problems with the website, which is where I always book. Perhaps I’ve just been lucky. I did recently book a hotel on it without reading the small print (Eastern Europe Delights or something like that) and ended up immediately paying for both nights…

    K – I sympathise with your tier status loss. I had enough for Diamond renewal if my old year (April – April) was counted. However, I didn’t in the previous calendar year, so was booted down to Silver. However, the January – April nights have allowed me to pretty rapidly get back up there. However, this “getting back” doesn’t replace the lost benefits and point bonuses whilst being a humble Silver.

    Also, it does rack me off intensely that Hilton masquerade the change to a calendar year accounting period as being “in response to demand.” It cannot be so – this is an ‘untruth’. As you say, it simply cannot benefit the Member in any way at all. It is simply a means to get rid of all the Golds and Diamonds that qualified through the Scandic ownership (amongst other things). Scandic were excellent, and only 10,000 points per reward night!!

    Simon


    VintageKrug
    Participant

    There is plenty of time to book your reward before the new levels come into force.

    Another reminder to diversity your points portfolio and not to hoard more points/miles than you can usefully spend in a year or so.


    SimonRowberry
    Participant

    True, VK.


    Cwyfan
    Participant

    In my case, I might even exchange them for frequent flyer miles, and then I might not spend any money in their hotel. A side-effect that they might regret

    For an interview with Jeff Diskin, senior vice president of global customer marketing, regarding the changes to the Hilton HHonors redemptions, visit:

    http://www.businesstraveller.com/news/hilton-hhonors-urged-to-have-balanced-perspecti

    IHG is upping the ante on this subject, by offering Hilton HHonors members up to 2 million Priority Club points to compensate them for “recent increases in Hilton HHonors’ hotel rewards rates”.

    http://www.businesstraveller.com/news/ihg-to-give-hilton-honors-members-400-million-c

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