Hilton Is Raising Award Room Rates 100% And Higher Without Telling Customers

I don’t value Hilton Honors points very highly. Part of that has to do with how many points it takes to redeem for a free night at certain properties. It can cost almost 100,000 points a night at some properties.

Another part of the equation is the fact that they stopped publishing award charts. Delta Air Lines has been doing this for years as well. I understand the need for programs to make money. But, customers want to know how many points they need to save up for an award stay. Alas, these programs don’t agree.

To make matters worse, it now seems the Hilton has abandoned their promise to tell customers when they raise award prices. View From the Wing broke down a list of approximately 65 Category 1 hotels in the Hilton Honors program that another blogger, Loyalty Lobby had assembled. A whopping 20 of those properties doubled from 5,000 points to 10,000 points a night.  There was one outlier that went up 25,000 points a night, but I think that’s truly an outlier.  Still, doubling the number of points required per night without notifying customers isn’t going to make you any friends.

The Final Two Pennies

Raising award prices without notifying customers erodes trust.  It’s also bad for Hilton.  The whole genius behind travel loyalty programs is that they encourage irrational behavior by customers.  Saving for that dream vacation in Hawaii?  You’re more likely to start your search with Hilton rather than looking at all the choices in a market.  Even with no blackout dates, Hilton has some ability to control the inventory they make available for award rooms.  They also control the award pricing.  Customers might be disappointed when they’re notified of an award price change.  Imagine how they feel when they believe they’re saving up a certain amount of points for a vacation only to find that change without notice?

Being open and honest with your customers is table stakes in the digital age.  I just don’t see the business case for keeping such things a secret.

How do you feel about this Hilton change?  Is Hilton the new Delta of hotel loyalty?

The post Hilton Is Raising Award Room Rates 100% And Higher Without Telling Customers was posted first on Pizza in Motion

12 Comments

  1. They passed Delta long ago and seem to be aiming toward Wyndham or worse. Weird how they want to ruin a good thing. In fact devaluing lower end properties is worse than higher end in some ways. Sure we all want to save up for Hawaii but going to Grandma’s in Ohio or whatever is important as well. Building up hate toward a program as you sleep on Aunt Jean’s fold out couch because the local Hampton doubled in points seems bad to me.

    1. DaninMCI, have they changed any promotions after they started like Wyndham? 🙂

      I do find it weird that they want to torque off customers in this way. You bring up a good point about affordable hotels. How much more money do they earn by raising points in that manner while making a bunch of folks mad?

  2. How many people track notifications and charts vs. checking what something prices out at when planning?

    My guess is that the business case is built around data or assumption that indicates that most or most profitable customers have that level of engagement and that workflow.

    Basically they think that they can get away without communication and accountability, and make up more in easier inflation and higher pricing than they lose.

    1. Matt, I’m sure that sort of thinking plays a major role here. It’s just puzzling. They have a fiat currency. They can choose to make the value whatever they please. The added layer of secrecy is unlikely to gain enough incremental profit, IMO.

  3. First a couple of years ago it was a major devaluation from Hilton. I personally saw a hotel I loved staying at go from under 40,000 points a night to 100,000 points a night seasonally. They do have some lovely properties I must say but Now they try and slip this in. I look for both mid tier and higher tier hotels and see that it just costs too many points to stay at Hilton these days compared to what you earn. I had to leave this hotel program because they clearly do not value customers trying to stay with points so my business has gone elsewhere and I encourage others too take theirs to where they get better bargains.

  4. The root of the problem is that most Honors members have no idea what awards cost—or should cost–or used to cost. Both Hilton and Delta bank on that fact.

    Furthermor, people redeeming an award don’t worry much about the cost in points because, after all, it’s a FREE ROOM!

    Over and over I’ve had friends and family tell me how great it was that I could come see them using a “free” ticket, or what an awesome deal it was that after 20 years of flying on Delta they were able to cash in every single SkyMile they had earned for two “free” tickets to Hawaii! With hotels it is no different.

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