Loyalty Traveler runs down the changes in hotel categories for Hilton HHonors and concludes that it represents a 19.3% increase in the average points cost of a room night.
He crunches the numbers for US Hilton properties and finds the following category comparison between 2009 and 2010:
Category 2009 2010 Opportunity 37 n/a Category 1 150 39 Category 2 1124 117 Category 3 1143 1334 Category 4 459 1109 Category 5 139 347 Category 6 57 121 Category 7 n/a 65
To a first approximation, just eye-balling, it does look like Hilton did mostly what was execpted: drop the opportunity level, add a new category 7, and shift most properties up a level.
There remain 7 active categories, and each category has a similar number of properties in it.
Category 2009 2010 Bottom 37 39 1 From Bottom 150 117 2 From Bottom 1124 1334 3 From Bottom 1143 1109 4 From Bottom 459 347 5 From Bottom 139 121 6 From Bottom 57 65
What they’ve done in the limit is increase each hotel by a category level in price. Some properties have jumped two properties. Loyalty Traveler notes that one single property in California dropped a category. And there’s little relation to hotel price it seems, plenty of regularly available $99 properties in San Francisco are at the top award price level.
It’s really quite bloody, and wholly unreasonable after a year of truly historic drops in hotel occupancy and average room rates. And I’m glad I burned my full HHonors balance the day before the devaluation.
Even though I have Diamond status (through credit card spend), HHonors is one of my least favorite hotel loyalty programs. They don’t match their peers in redemption value. And their elite benefits are paltry. Like Marriott they don’t offer suites as a program benefit to top tier members. Starwood and Intercontinental sure do, and so does Hyatt. All Diamond members really get is club lounge access, only Intercontinental doesn’t guarantee this.
HHonors Diamond is more valuable than Priority Club Platinum status is at Holiday Inn properties. But if that’s your benchmark, then it’s rather damning with faint praise…