Since the introduction of dynamic award pricing, Hilton’s Honors programme has become much less interesting, or at least to some of us. With the removal of publicised award chart, Hilton has devalued its awards quietly a few times since, and it is more and more difficult to get outsized value when spending points.
A Hilton’s representative has just posted a thread on Flyertalk, talking about lowering down the award pricing at many US hotels. At the first glance, I almost discarded it as a useless piece of propaganda – given its dynamic nature, of course the award price will drop as the cash price has crashed in the country.
However, after I spent some time digging around, there are genuinely some great news here!
[Better Award Exchange Rate]
Hilton’s dynamic award pricing works out as follows: given a hotel’s best flexible rate (BFR), an award night costs roughly 10,000 points for every $50 charged. The rate is slightly different per region and hotel, but it’s largely the same globally.
Surely there’s also a cap that applies to each hotel, which takes effect when the cash rate is very high, but let’s not talk about it here.
The exchange rate seems to have become a lot more attractive in some US cities. Take Orlando for example, for a Saturday night in October you could easily get $60 of value out of 10,000 points.
You may think the difference is not huge and could just be an acceptable error. However, if you move the date to March next year, some hotels are priced at almost $100 per 10,000 points!
[More Standard Awards]
Although points almost have a fixed value now, Hilton didn’t go fully revenue-based like Accor. Usually you can only redeem points for standard rooms (Standard Award), and for better rooms the awards (Premium Award) are priced much worse.
It looks like many US hotels are very flexible with the definition of “standard rooms” now. Again in Florida, Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort has opened up their Junior Suite for redemption:
Although to the fair its fare difference to the basic room type is small. (Again, you are getting $87 per 10,000 points which is amazing)
In Seattle, if you have a look at the Charter Hotel, the four lowest room types are priced differently both in cash and in points.
However, if you click through, all four room types are Standard Awards. Not only does it mean it offers a better exchange rate, but also the “5th night free” benefit applies in this case for Hilton Silver members and above.
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to find anything similar in Europe. I guess US is being hit by the pandemic very hard at the moment so Hilton is trying to experiment something new here. Hopefully, at some point it gets rolled out to the rest of the world.