Hilton Honors Program Shift Pushes Some Award Rates Higher

Jun 11, 2019

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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card

Hilton has confirmed to TPG that it has implemented a “slight shift” in its Honors loyalty program, leaving many surprised to see standard room rates 5,000 points (or more) higher than just last week. While dynamic award charts enable firms to implement changes without warning, this doesn’t exactly send a heartwarming message to program loyalists.

Given the immense breadth of Hilton‘s portfolio, it’s nearly impossible to keep a real-time bead on what properties are pegged to what rates. Plus, without a fixed award chart, members are left to sift through archives in an attempt to figure out how current rates compare to past rates.

How to Choose the Best Hilton Credit Card for You

The Gate dug into a FlyerTalk discussion and found that several properties are now displaying one rate, but flash a higher rate during checkout. It also found that the number of Hilton properties available for the fewest amount of points (5,000 at the time of writing) has dropped from 27 to 23. More troubling is the reality that this number can oscillate at any moment without notice.

As an example, members have reported that the Hilton Tokyo has increased from a base rate of 60,000 Honors points per night to 65,000 points per night.

Meanwhile, the Hilton Garden Inn Vienna South has seen its base rate double, from 10,000 points per night to 20,000 points per night.

Hilton noted to TPG that rates “can flex depending on the hotel and date,” and recommended that members bookmark its Points Explorer tool to search desired hotels, destinations and preferred dates.

While it’s not possible to list out all hotels where pricing has shifted due the dynamic nature of the program, this serves as a poignant reminder that holding back is not an especially wise strategy. Once you have enough points to achieve a desired stay, make the reservation. Be sure to dig into the guides below to maximize any Hilton Honors points you have in your account.

Finally, keep in mind that the free weekend night certificate available through select cobranded Hilton Amex cards is not restricted by how many points a given hotel stay requires. By holding one of the below cards and earning that certificate, you’re hedging a critical weekend night against any future base rate increases. In fact, I recently used my free weekend night certificate for a stay at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island — a luxurious property where cash rates can easily approach $1,000 per night, and award stays start at 95,000 points per night.

  • Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express: You’ll receive one free weekend night upon opening the card and each year after your account renewal. You also have the ability to earn a second free weekend night through spending — for every calendar year in which you spend $60,000 on the card, you’ll be issued another free night certificate.
  • Hilton Honors Ascend Card from American Express: You’ll earn a free weekend night certificate by spending $15,000 on the card in a calendar year.
  • The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card: You’ll earn a free weekend night certificate by spending $15,000 on the card in a calendar year. You’ll also earn a second certificate by spending an additional $45,000 on the card (for a total of $60,000) in that same time frame.

Featured image of Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort by Darren Murph / The Points Guy.

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