Hilton doesn’t have blackout dates or capacity controls. When a standard room is available for sale, it should be available on points. That’s true of many hotel programs.
However individual hotels will sometimes playg games with their revenue inventory. They aren’t supposed to do this, but they may view guests on points as worth less than what they might get on the market from a paying customer.
On the whole Hilton reimburses hotels less for reward stays than some other programs do. But they’re hardly the only chain with this issue. Last month I flagged the issue at the Hyatt Regency Aruba and now members can use their points at that resort again.
About a week ago I reached out to Hilton because a reader was having difficulty using their points at the Grand Wailea Waldorf Astoria Resort in Hawaii. I found that it had only had two weeks in the entire upcoming year where it was possible to book a three night award stay (95,000 points per night).
Reader John A. wrote,
I thought Hhonors is supposed to have standard room(s) available at each hotel. That said I’m finding several hotels that don’t have them. Particularly the Grand Wailea on Maui only has premium rooms available (255k pts / night). Even the telephone agent noted it. We couldn’t find a single standard room. Have you encountered this previously? I’ve emailed customer service (several times now), but they don’t seem to care.
Grand Wailea, Credit: Hilton
This is what almost the entire year looked like for reward night availability:
I reached out to the contact who helped me get award space opened up at the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem.
They were out of the office, but they were back promptly upon their return and they promised to look into it.
Now Hilton has let me know “that standard rooms have been opened up at the Grand Wailea and are available for booking.” Indeed reward nights are now available most nights of the year at this property.
I don’t love that they hit members with a $30 resort fee on top of 95,000 points per night. Resort fees are supposed to apply on points and cash stays but not full points stays (which is one reason it’s rarely a good idea to book points and cash at a resort destination).
Which hotel is next for our little game of ‘whack-a-mole’?