Amex and Hilton Confirm AXON Awards To Stay After March 28

by on March 18, 2013 · 33 comments

in American Express, Hilton

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With the announcement a few weeks ago that Hilton would be devaluing its HHonors loyalty program with changes like adding new top-tier categories, implementing seasonal (more expensive) award redemptions and discontinuing the elite GLON special awards, came speculation that reduced-level AXON awards that cardholders of Hilton American Express credit cards including the Hilton Amex and the Hilton Surpass cards, would also be discontinued.

Amex and Hilton didn’t release any official statements, so I called up the Hilton Diamond line on two occasions and both reps said that AXON awards were bookable up until March 27. This also coincided with what others TPG readers and people on on Flyertalk were hearing, however, according to my sources inside both Hilton HHonors and American Express, that is not the case. According to American Express, the AXON benefit is not going away, and according to Hilton’s reps, who have also confirmed 100% that AXON awards will exist beyond the program changes on March 28: “We will continue to offer the AXON Rewards benefit, enabling our Hilton HHonors American Express cardholders to receive discounted reward stays.”

Now the question remains: what exactly will those discounted reward stays be? As it stands now, the AXON program allows for the following reduced-price redemptions:

AXON special rates for American Express cardholders are only available on stays in multiples of four nights (so 4 nights, 8 nights, 12 nights, etc.), and are applicable only to Categories 5, 6, and 7 hotels, as follows:

AXON5 (four nights in a Category 5 hotel) = 125,000 points
AXON6 (four nights in a Category 6 hotel) = 125,000 points
AXON7 (four nights in a Category 7 hotel) = 145,000 points

These rewards cannot be booked online. Instead, you’ll need to call 1-800-920-5649 to book them over the phone.

However, with the new Hilton changes, instead of categories 5-7 being the top-tier Hiltons and Waldorf Astoria being a separate brand with varying redemption levels altogether which were not eligible for AXON awards, the new Hilton HHonors program categories will range from 1-10 and will include Waldorf Astorias in the top categories.

So, tons of questions remain as Hilton and American Express determine which of the new categories will be available for AXON redemptions and what those redemption levels will look like.

If I had to guess, I’d say that AXON awards will still be available only for stays in multiples of four nights and I would bet that they will be available on Category 6-9 hotels with the Category 10 top tier being excluded. I also predict that those redemption levels will jump, and if I had to guess, I’d say that Category 6 and 7 will be at 150,000 points for four nights; Category 8 will be at 175,000 points for four nights, and Category 9 will be at 200,000 points for four nights.

While I’m glad that Hilton Amex cardholders will still get some sort of reduced-level award, I believe that AXON awards, much like the rest of the HHonors program, will suffer a major devaluation and that once these changes take place.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • jim

    what about GLON? I have gold status with 600k points but I have Citi Hilton visa card with no annual fee.

    Any benefit of carrying this card now? I no longer use it at drugstores due to devaluation. any benefit for booking award stay?

  • Points Surfer

    This is excellent news!!! Shame about the category 10 being excluded though. I definitely hope that is not the case!

  • thepointsguy

    GLON is being replaced with 5th night free for everyone, which is a loss for elites who had a 5th night free anyway through GLON plus other options

  • jim

    i don’t know how will the new devaluation effect me me. I have the citi Hilton cards with no annual fee but I have gold status not associated with any cards. I stayed for 6 nights at Conrad in Jan 2013 and redeemed 28k points a night.

  • Robert P

    Also, how will seasonal prices impact AXON awards? Will their be high season AXON vs low season AXON? In that case, it would just be better if they a hotel was Cat 9 in summer and Cat 7 in winter. Easier to figure out.

  • Pingback: AXON Hilton HHonors Award Questions and Information: The Definitive Thread - Page 58 - FlyerTalk Forums()

  • Dan

    Can you book an AXON reward more than a year out?

  • Jason Steele

    This is huge. I was just about to redeem some Amex MR – > Virgin Atl. -> Hilton at 1:2 to cover a 4 day GLON award before the 28th. Now I can save my MR and work on getting a few thousand more HHonors out of my Amex before the 6x at drugstores and supermarkets goes away in May, then bye-bye Hilton. Thanks Brian!

  • jake

    Diamond desk rep foreshadowed this for me a couple of days ago and indicated he thought it would be Axon7 and Axon8, but didn’t have points yet.

  • Carrie

    Regarding the devaluation…..Can you ever see Hilton realizing they have blown it with this huge devaluation decision and back-pedaling a bit. Just curious if you’ve ever seen a company realize they cooked their goose and making changes as a result.

  • thepointsguy

    Yes- if they lose business/money then they can always reverse course. Delta tried to hack their program years ago and their frequent flyers revolted- even protesting at the shareholder meeting and a lot of the unfriendly changes were reversed. US Airways used to charge $2 for soft drinks/water on flights until they got enough flak that they reversed the decision.

    That is why it is important to let them know how you feel about these changes. I will stay at Hilton’s less because of these changes and may cancel my Hilton co-brand

  • thepointsguy

    Yes as long as there is availability- some people have even booked into 2015, but you may have to call

  • thepointsguy

    I think they are deciding that right now.. stay tuned

  • thepointsguy

    Nothing is definite- they are still deciding how it will work. Let’s hope for some decent redemption opportunities

  • thepointsguy

    Which Conrad? After March 28 it will likely cost you much more than 28k a night for the same exact award/room

  • Carol

    The AXON award shows a 1 year expiration from the date that it is booked. Are you confident that the AXON will be accessible beyond that expiration date?

  • Trixie

    I’m new to this and was considering getting a Hilton card in order to get Hhonors points. But I just can’t see how it’s a good benefit for me. We stay in mid- to value-priced Hamptons and in the markets I’m looking (before the increase in points) it will take 25,000 to get a room I can buy with AAA for $89. So a credit card signup will net me just $180 or so?? Is this worth it in your opinion?

  • E

    Are there any changes to the points and cash redemptions? It seems to be 50% of the points redemption right now plus usually 1/3rd of the room rate.

  • jim

    conrad bangkok. regarding my stay, i didn’t enjoy it. the location is not so good and breakfast was complimentry type . Very hard to get more than one coffee drink served cos they just ignore you.

  • jason

    Any chance they will let us know what the new axon program looks like before the march 28 deadline to book under current rates?

  • Joe

    Is the AXON award going to be honored more than a year out, I am booking Bora Bora for October 2014 and I’m concerned that the exp date for an Axon award may be 1 year from the date issued according to an earlier comment. Thanks

  • Mark_in_VA

    Do you have a link to any official online documents/description of the AXON rewards? I never even knew they existed until I found your blog about 2 weeks ago, and when I search for them all I get are links to your blog. Are they described on Amex’ site? On the Hilton Honors site? If so, I have not been able to find them.

  • jay

    called the diamond line today,,they said axon award are going to go away starting 28 March…

  • Curtis

    Can you please post here or create a new blog entry as soon as you hear about the plans for AXON post 3/28? I just had my Hilton transfer from Hawaiian hit today. Trying to make plans fast but perhaps I do not need to be in as big of a hurry if the program extension isn’t going to be that bad.

  • Jacki Dunne

    I just spoke with Hilton Diamond Desk and they confirmed my worst fears. Most hotels in europe will be category 8 and above which will not qualify for the AXON reward. Trying to make reservations for April of 2014 and their answer is just flat out NO.

  • Miguel

    What do you mean “you may have to call”?!?! All AXON rewards about to be booked by phone!!!!

  • Miguel

    “have to be booked by phone” of course. Sorry for the mistake!

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  • Jon

    Answer I just got from rep on the phone was that Axon will still be around post 3/28 and that the 145,000 points would cover all category 7 and up. I called specifically because I have a hotel reservation at Conrad Maldives in 2015 at this time and was going to switch from GLON to AXON. If this is true this is great news. Her suggestion wold be since I have this reservation to keep it for time being until the dust settles. Then after first of next year call back in to cancel and book AXON, or have them manually extend my existing certificate as it is only good for 12 months from time booked, even though computer let me book 24 months out for reservation.

  • Curtis

    Called and Diamond Desk confirmed that AXON is still there, but categories they work for have not changed at all.

  • Pingback: Possible Details on Post-Devaluation Hilton AXON Awards | The Points Guy()

  • adnan

    called AXON award to book a cat 8 in June, they said i couldn’t, the award only applies to cat 7 and below.. :(

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