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Periodically, the major hotel chains adjust their hotel categories – some hotels move up a category and require more points for an award stay, and some move down, requiring fewer points for an award night. Marriott announced their changes last month with a whopping 21% of their properties moving up a category, while Starwood announced theirs in February with 9% of hotels moving up and 11% moving down. Now it’s Hilton’s turn.
The good news is that there aren’t many changes to report – though that’s probably because the chain massively devalued its HHonors points program last year with some room awards going up 95%! The chain also introduced a kind of dynamic pricing where even within a single category, a hotel’s award rates can vary 30,000 points from month to month, so it’s little wonder that few hotels are shifting categories since Hilton can effectively just raise or lower the award rates at will by month.
Still, you can find the award changes here, and they’ll be going into effect April 15, 2014. Per Hilton’s announcement, just 0.6% of their properties – 25 total – will be rising a category, and 14 properties, or 0.3%, will be lowered a category. The point pricing tool will reflect these changes starting April 15.
Among the hotels going up in price are the Arctic Club Seattle and the Hilton Seattle ( both 6 to 7), the Hilton Chicago Magnificent Mile Suites (6 to 7), the Conrad Algarve Palacio Da Quinta (7 to 9 – the biggest increase) and the Hilton Sorrento Palace (6 to 7). A lot of these changes seem to be shifting hotels from Category 6 where nights range from 30,000-50,000 points to Category 7, where nights range from 30,000-60,000 points. To me, that looks like Hilton is building itself in extra flexibility to adjust prices seasonally where nights during low periods can remain at 30,000 points, but that they can gouge travelers during peak times by charging them an extra 10,000 points per night.
The hotels moving down a category include three in Barcelona – the Hilton Diagonal Mar (7 to 5), the Hilton Barcelona (7 to 5), and the Alexandra Barcelona (7 to 6) – and the Hilton Washington DC (7 to 6), so if you have a trip there coming up in either place, better to book after April 15.
All in all, not major news here, but still something to keep in mind, and if you have Hilton stays coming up, better check the listings and book if you’ll be staying at a property that’s going up in price.