The Practical Implication of the Hilton HHonors Devaluation, or How I’m Changing My Behavior

I’ve written about Hilton’s plan to devaluae their points here and here. Come mid-January many properties will require 25% more points, bizarre in a world where hotels are getting killed, rates are down and so is occupancy.

One Mile at a Time‘s comments, “I have about 300,000 Hilton points I need to burn, so I guess it’s time to start thinking about where I want to go.”

This got me thinking, how will I change my behavior as a result of Hilton’s gutting the value of my HHonors stash?

The thing is that I’ve always found HHonors points to be situationally useful, especially for redemeptions in small cities on personal travel when I don’t want to come out of pocket. Or other pedestrian travels where the hotel is a place to sleep, rather than the point of the trip, and I’m hoarding my other points for something special.

But in terms of planning a trip around burning HHonors points?

The Conrads in Asia are generally good, but even status will only get you so far there, the HHonors porgrams doesn’t include suites as an upgrade-by-right and you can’t spend extra points for suites to make the trip really special, either. The Conrad Maldives, Bora Bora Nui and Hilton Moorea are certainly extremely worthy resort properties. But again, no shot at accessing the best rooms without substantial cash co-pays.

Honestly — and perhaps I’m being myopic — there isn’t any Hilton property that I want to ‘plan a trip around’. I’ll tilt more towards burning HHonors points instead of an alternate currency through mid-January, of course. But on the whole I am likely to more or less ‘eat’ the devaluation — and be less likely to pursue accrual going forward (though Hilton was already a bit on the back burner, though a favorite for e-Rewards deposits).

Are there any Hilton properties I’m missing, that are truly special, where I should plan a redemption trip before the big thud on January 15?

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I agree with you about most Hilton properties being rather pedestrian. However, I found the Hilton Auckland and Hilton Cavalieri (Rome) to be exceptional.

  2. If you have diamond status, there are some properties worthy of trips. I’ve just been at the Conrad Tokyo, where rooms are spacious, the view to the bay stunning, and the executive lounge quite good. The Conrad Hong Kong has a spectacular view of Hong Kong Harbor, the executive lounge superb, and the location in the Pacific Place my favorite for what I like to do in Hong Kong.

    In Europe, the Dresden Hilton has the perfect location in the heart of the old city along with a great executive lounge. I’ve kept meaning to go to Dubrovnik to enjoy the Hilton in the old palace with its views over the harbor, and have yet to make it. It’s been some years since I’ve been to Sorrento, Italy, but I loved the Hilton there. It has a great view over the Med, along with the executive lounge. I was well content with the Bucharest Hilton, where I was given a junior suite along with good lounge in the heart of the city. And Bucharest is an interesting city to tour.

    Conrad Cairo is a very comfortable place to be based in Cairo. And, yes, it has a good lounge.

    Can you see a recurring theme -many have water view, all have great lounges? Even though I am giving up my diamond status at yearend, Hilton overall does lounges better than Starwood.

  3. How about the Hilton Cancun? I havent been there but from the reviews i read it seems to be a nice resort.

  4. All perfectly lovely properties, no doubt. And great places to stay if you happen to be going to those places.

    But — and perhaps I’m unique or strange and regular readers will be able to evaluate that — none seem to be destinations in and of themselves, places that I’d plan a trip to just to stay at.

    Now, Bora Bora Nui or Conrad Maldives certainly could be but if I were going there I’d want access to upgraded rooms. The terms and conditions of the HHonors Diamond program explicitly denies upgrades in Maldives.

    If I were going to Rome I’d be happy to stay at the Cavalieri, but I wouldn’t go to Rome in order to stay at the Cavalieri.

    There are certainly Intercontinental and Starwood properties where I would (and have) traveled solely to sample the hotel.

    So I won’t be making extra trips just to burn HHonors points.

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