Mr. Pickles posted the letter he received from American Express about upcoming June 15 changes to Hilton AXON awards, the discounted four-night awards offered to co-branded Hilton American Express cardholders.
Starting June 15:
- Category 5 hotels go up from 125,000 to 130,000 points (normally 120,000 to 160,000).
- Category 6 hotels go up from 125,000 to 160,000 points (normally 120,000 to 200,000).
- Category 7 hotels go up from 145,000 to 190,000 points (normally 120,000 to 240,000).
Also beginning June 15 these awards will be bookable for the new category 8, 9, and 10 hotels.
- Category 8 will cost 220,000 vs. 160,000 to 280,000.
- Category 9 will cost 260,000 vs. 200,000 to 320,000.
- Category 10 will cost 300,000 vs. 280,000 to 380,000.
You can book category 5, 6, and 7 hotels at current rates before June 15.
You cannot book AXON awards for category 8, 9, and 10 hotels until June 15.
What’s striking is that these ‘discounted’ awards are more expensive when a hotel would be priced at its low season rates. They only offer savings during high season.
And the savings are often not enough to be better than the fifth night free awards offered to elite members (which replace elite discounts). So on a five night stay there may not be a savings at all booking a discounted four night plus one night award.
It shouldn’t be surprising that current category pricing will go up as much as 45,000 points and higher category awards will be so expensive, though I am surprised that they haven’t introduced variable (low vs high season) pricing such that these awards are sometimes more rather than less expensive than just booking a room.
You can read all about the overall Hilton HHonors devaluation that went into effect on March 28 as well as see the current award chart in this post.