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Possible Details on Post-Devaluation Hilton AXON Awards

by on March 29, 2013 · 29 comments

in Hilton, TPG Contributors

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TPG contributor Nick Ewen has been navigating the ins and outs of yesterday’s Hilton HHonors devaluation, and though there’s been no specific communication from either Hilton or American Express on the future form of reduced-level AXON awards, he’s managed to suss out what they might look like from now on.

There’s no question that the recent Hilton HHonors devaluation was a crushing blow to us loyal Hilton-ians, but there are still many questions that need to be answered. One of the most concerning aspects of the devaluation leading up to yesterday’s implementation involved AXON awards. I covered this particular option in depth in a previous post, but in short, it allowed holders of a Hilton-branded American Express credit card (either the regular or the Surpass) to book a four-night stay at Category 5, 6 and 7 properties at discounted rates. Since the devaluation added three more categories above Category 7, how would that affect the AXON rates?

The new Hilton award chart with 10 categories

The new Hilton award chart with 10 categories

Well, it now appears that the AXON awards have been retained, but they still only apply to Category 6 and 7 properties. Another TPG contributor was able to book one of these rewards post-devaluation, and when I called the Diamond Desk for additional details, the rep confirmed that based on the information she was given, Hilton American Express cardholders could continue to book these rewards at the same rates as before: 125,000 points for a four-night stay in a Category 6 property and 145,000 points for a four-night stay in a Category 7 property. I asked whether the new “seasonal” rates would affect this at all, and she said unequivocally that they would not. As long as a standard room is available for all four nights, you would be able to book an AXON award.

I’ll wait for an official announcement from Hilton – there has been none so far – before diving too deep into this new option, but this definitely adds some new intrigue to the devalued program and should soften the blow of the devaluation at least slightly.

A Category 7 hotel in high season costs 60,000 points per night for a standard room, or 240,000 points for a four-night stay. If the rep was correct about AXON sticking around and not being affected by high versus low season, you could potentially snag a room for a discount of almost 40%!

Of course, on the other end of the spectrum, a four-night stay at a Category 7 property in low season would only be 30,000 points/night, so with an AXON award, you’d actually pay 25,000 points more than a standard four-night reservation.

As usual with a huge change like this, there’s a lot to still be ironed out. The rep I spoke to even said that she’s been dealing with some AXON glitches where incorrect points are being deducted, so I’m guessing we’ll have to wait and see how this rolls out.

TPG Update: We spoke to Hilton’s official public relations representatives and they confirmed that “AXON rewards will not be eliminated and Hilton HHonors members can continue to book AXON reward stays. Through June 15, 2013 AXON rewards for a Category 5 through 7 hotel or resort will remain unchanged. Beginning June 15, 2013 AXON rewards will be adjusted for Category 5 through 7 and Category 8 through 10 rewards will be added. Cardmembers will receive communication with the full details in the following weeks.” So it looks like AXON awards will be available in all the top tiers after June, but we’re going to have to wait a while longer to hear what the new rates will be. Stay tuned.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this new option. Have any of you had any experience booking AXON awards since yesterday’s devaluation? Please comment below!

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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  • Autolycus25

    Unfortunately, a lot of the hotels that were amazing AXON values before have been moved up categories. If the start offering AXON8, AXON9, and AXON10 as reasonable rates, it could really soften the blow. It’d be a great move by Amex to give their cards a slight leg up on the Citi ones, if Amex could effectively market the perk.

    Any speculation on what point totals might be required for AXON8-10?

    My guesses: 8 = 175, 9 = 215, 10 = 295. That would provide decent peak season value at some properties like the Conrads Tokyo, Hong Kong, Koh Samui and Maldives, and the French Polynesia and similar properties, but would still be a big devaluation compared to 145 at the max as before. And if Waldorf-Astoria properties become part of it, since they’re not longer in their own category, that would add back something that didn’t exist before.

  • lana

    any idea on the Tel Aviv Hilton. How would that work for AXON Awards? how much would it be for a 4 night stay?

  • whrobb

    I called the Diamond Desk on March 27 about an AXON award I booked at the Conrad Koh Samui to see if changing the dates would allow me to keep the same 145k rate. She said I would not be able to as AXON is only for Cat 6 & 7, which, after yesterday, the Conrad Koh Samui would not be any longer.

    I think what you found out is true. Seems like they’re keeping the awards, but only for those revalued to be Cat 6 & 7. She made it out to sound that there wouldn’t be AXON awards for anything above those.

  • Jeremy

    this is what they should do. Whether they do it seems unlikely based on this post which means I’ll probably never use my Hilton AMEX after May 1. I’d rather get other bonus spends than 5x Hilton points on groceries.

  • JakePB

    I burned my HH pts down to under 2,000 in anticipation of D-Day, and went to check out how ugly things were pts-wise at some of the spots I booked. Conrad Koh Samui over the December holidays doesn’t even offer rooms for pts, nor does the Conrad Bali (2 places I booked). Conrad Bangkok only offers cash + pts for the many dates I checked. It could be argued that award space was just taken for those dates, but all dates disappearing overnight seems hard to believe.

  • Devin

    I’d love to see a post about the best Cat 6/7 values out there after the new chart came out…

  • Autolycus25

    All dates at those particular hotels disappearing overnight this week doesn’t seem hard to believe at all. People like you booked everything they might want to do before the devaluation. That meant a lot of people booking award stays at places like the Conrad Koh Samui, Conrad Tokyo, Hilton Bora Bora, etc. When you figure most people would plan on traveling during December holidays, it’s no surprise at all that those hotels are booked during that period.

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  • dee seiffer

    I booked 4 nights at a Cat 6 Doubletree in Dublin before the devaluation and got my AXON discount. I just checked and there are no rooms available for the same nights for points.

  • Chris B.

    To add to the paragraph about low season Cat 7 is 30,000 points per night. With this price, we’d get a free fifth night as well, while the AXON is more points for only four nights total.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jolly.brown.9 Jolly Brown

    This is an excellent analysis on the Hilton changes…..taking it one step further my question would be how are they going Gold and Diamond members who come in with a regular room points reservation? Will they upgrade you to the Honors floor or do you just have the chance to upgrade using more points?

  • John

    Conrad Bali is not sold out for Dec. When you log in with a very low pt balance all hotels will show now avail using pts. Look up award avail without logging in.

  • john

    Confirmed by diamond desk AXON only applies to category 6 & 7 hotels.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Nick-Ewen/7201791 Nick Ewen

    As of now, properties should be treating award stays like paid stays, so you should have the same chance at an upgrade. However, given current trends in the industry, I would bet that more and more Hilton properties will be pushing paid upgrades in advance and at check-in (much in the same way that airlines have started doing). This will lower the chances of free upgrades for elites.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Nick-Ewen/7201791 Nick Ewen

    This is true and a great point. I think it’s one of the few ways that the new “fifth night free” policy is actually rewarding!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Nick-Ewen/7201791 Nick Ewen

    You must’ve grabbed the Conrad Koh Samui VERY early on; they didn’t have any room for points around the holidays even a week before the devaluation. I am honestly surprised that award availability didn’t INCREASE after the devaluation. I’m was thinking that the Category 10 properties would’ve limited their availability at 50,000 points/night knowing that as of Thursday, those same rooms would require 80,000 – 95,000 points!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Nick-Ewen/7201791 Nick Ewen

    This actually is not true. My account is well below the points required for a night at the Conrad Bali yet I see points availability throughout December (or at least up through the 24th). The same is true whether I am logged in or not.

    One of the possible reasons for this availability not showing up would be a single day not having a standard room. If you look for a 6-night stay during December, for example, it will appear as if there’s no availability beginning on the 19th. That isn’t correct; there are standard rooms on the 19th – 23rd, but because just the last night doesn’t have availability, the whole stay will appear as unavailable.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Nick-Ewen/7201791 Nick Ewen

    The Hilton in Tel Aviv is actually a Category 8 property, so no AXON is bookable right now. However, as the updated post shows above, Hilton will be releasing new AXON rates for Category 8-10 properties soon, so stay tuned for that!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Nick-Ewen/7201791 Nick Ewen

    I’ve been amazed at the conflicting information out there, but as the updated post shows, we have now confirmed with a Hilton PR contact that AXON rewards are still bookable and will extend to Category 8-10 properties beginning June 15th.

  • john

    Nick E- Actually what I said is true and confirmed by the Hilton help desk. I have zero pts in my accts after my big spend last wk. When I login and search avail on conrads such as Bali and HKG they show zero avail for Dec. When I log out and try the same hotels they show huge avail for Dec.

  • john

    Nick E- What you state is not true so far. The Diamond desk confirmed to me that AXON now only applies to category 6 & 7.

  • gavinmac

    So what are the best value category 6 and 7 hotels for AXON redemptions, post devaluation?

  • john

    Also, some hotels such as the Conrad Bali have min stay requirments during the Dec holidays. Conrad Bali is wide open for the whole month of Dec. as is HKG.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Nick-Ewen/7201791 Nick Ewen

    Well, that’s not the case for me. I see availability both logged in and not. Hilton’s IT rivals Delta in its ineptitude, so I’m guessing it’s just a glitch.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Nick-Ewen/7201791 Nick Ewen

    Take a look at the update to the post. The Diamond Desk told me the exact same thing on Thursday afternoon, but we have since received confirmation from Hilton’s PR company that AXON will be expanded to Category 8-10 properties.

  • John

    Nick- You must have a lot more pts in your acct than me. Hilton website is MUCH better than Deltas. I’ve booked a lot of awards with their site with no issues.

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