It used to be possible to get nearly 2 cents per point at places like the Conrad Koh Samui.
This was my best redemption of Hilton HHonors points. Every room is a standalone villa with an ocean view and private pool, so even a general member of the program (no status) gets a good room on points. No upgrades needed.
When I first made my booking, pre-opening, it was a category 6 hotel — 40,000 points per night, but with elite redemption discounts just 32,000 points per night for my 5 night stay.
The hotel was bumped up to category 7 and I wound up re-booking my award when they were letting redemptions book into a two-bedroom villa. That upped my cost, with the elite discount, to 40,000 points per night (200,000 points for a five-night stay).
With the March 28 Hilton HHonors devaluation, the Conrad Koh Samui runs 95,000 points per night most of the year. And instead of elite multi-night stay discounts, they offer only ‘5th night free’. A five-night stay runs 380,000 points instead of the 200,000 I spent.
The best HHonors redemptions at the best HHonors properties now hover around a penny per point. And most people redeeming wouldn’t actually spend the full retail price of the room, if they were paying cash — which means that points aren’t actually ‘worth’ a penny apiece.
I used to be a buyer at half a cent a point, and wouldn’t redeem for less than a penny. Now any time I can do better than half a cent I’ll spend points if it’s an out of pocket stay.
So what do my HHonors redemptions look like now?
Earlier in the month I traveled to the World Domination Summit in Portland to give a talk. Hotels across the city were booked fairly solid. Starwood’s The Nines was asking better than $400! I wasn’t going to pay that. I opted for the Embassy Suites instead. Prices were over $250, about $300 per night all-in with taxes, or 50,000 HHonors points. That meant I’d get 0.6 cents (three-fifths of a cent) per point. That’s above my minimum redemption threshold, and I was saving real cash, so I booked two award nights.
I actually spent 100,000 HHonors points for a 2-night Embassy Suites stay in Portland.
To be sure, I did book some better redemptions in the days leading up to the March 28 massacre. But I still had a few hundred thousand points left.
So instead of this:
I got this:
.. and was happy about it.
But it says something, I think, about what the Hilton HHonors program is worth now. That makes me sad. And it makes me less interested in booking Hilton hotels and earning HHonors points.
Has the devaluation changed your behavior at all? Do you book away from Hilton as a result or use their co-branded credit cards less?
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