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What with all the major hotel points devaluations about to go into effect – including those of Marriott, Priority Club and Starwood’s Cash & Points option – by far the most devastating is the way that Hilton will gut its HHonors program come this Thursday, March 28, 2013. That’s why I wanted to post a reminder to all your HHonors members out there who are considering your points for award stays in the foreseeable future to make your bookings by tomorrow, March 27, in order to get the most value out of your points while that’s still possible as well as to take advantage of current AXON and GLON rates if you’re a Hilton Amex cardholder or HHonors elite since GLON rates are being replaced with a fifth free night and AXON redemptions will probably change in unspecified ways. You can find what new standard redemption rates will be using this Hilton search tool.
Many of you have written to me asking whether the new changes have gone into effect already for bookings beyond March 28 because of unusually high-priced awards in the near future, but I’m relieved to report that’s not the case. You are probably getting higher-priced rates because there are only premium room rewards available close in (or even several months out if it’s a popular property).
I did a quick search to verify that current rates are still available, and the good news is, they are, though as readers have pointed out, they are getting scarce at certain popular properties.
One that a few people asked about is the Hilton Moorea in Tahiti. Though award rates for the next several months are astronomical, unfortunately, this has to do with availability rather than award rates. However, way out in October 2013, I found plenty of award availability at 50,000 points per night – the current redemption level of this Category 7 property. Remember, if you can take advantage of AXON or GLON awards, your rate could be as low as 36,250 points per night.
If you make your reservation March 28 or after, though, you’re looking at standard room redemptions going up to a cool 80,000 points per night, and if you’re an elite, even with the fifth night free, your rate is 64,000 points per night. That’s a 60% increase on standard awards and 77% increase over GLON/elite rates.
Another property that I’m thinking about taking advantage of myself is the current Category 7 Conrad Maldives. Right now, award nights start at 50,000 points per night and there’s good availability even as close in as a few weeks from now in mid-April.
After the devaluation, however, that rate skyrockets to a jaw-dropping 95,000 points per night. That’s a 90% premium!
With a GLON award now (I’m a Hilton Diamond thanks to spending on my Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve card), I’d be spending 200,000 points on a five-night stay. After the devaluation, I’d need to spend 380,000 points for the same five nights. No thank you.
When the devaluation announcement was released, I came up with a fun list of top properties to burn your HHonors points on redemptions before the changeover, but what are your suggestions and what redemptions have you, or do you plan to, make before the devaluation?