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Charlie over at US blog ‘Running With Miles’ wrote about a new Hilton Honors trick to save Points, that is delightfully obvious but hadn’t occurred to me for some reason. In case the Summer is making your mind melt a bit too, I thought I’d quickly share it.
Hilton used to have a system where the cost for most award Categories could vary within a range, say from 40,000-60,000 Points per night. The upshot of the change was that while Hilton said that maximum prices for each Category wouldn’t go up, Points prices could be lower than previous minimums – if the equivalent cash cost for a night was low.
This was a broadly positive move, as it meant that if you want to use Points for hotels out of season or on Sunday nights or whatever, you’ll likely be able to use fewer Points than previously (whether it’s good value to use Points on cheap nights regardless is a separate question – sometimes people just don’t want to pay cash).
Hilton Honors trick
The ‘trick’ to saving even more Points takes advantage of three key features
- Nights booked using Points are almost always refundable until near the time of the stay.
- Cash rates for hotels can fluctuate substantially and they can often get cheaper.
- The cost in Hilton Honors Points is (largely) linked to the cash cost these days and this is particularly evident on cheap nights.
So, for example the Hampton and the Hilton in Croydon (the Hampton is particularly good for Gatwick Airport), are both former Category 3 hotels (Hilton doesn’t officially bother with Categories anymore) and so would both have required 20,000 Points per night previously.
If you happen to be booking a Sunday in December though, you’ll see something more like this:
The reason being that the cash rates are low and the new system can take that into account:
Say then that you booked a hotel using Points and then Hilton launched one of its frequent sales, making the cash rate cheaper than it was previously. There is a good chance that the Points rate may well have reduced too, and because Points bookings are almost always flexible, you can simply cancel your existing reservation and rebook for fewer Points.
Even if there isn’t a sale, individual hotel rates can fluctuate quite dramatically anyway, so it’s well worth an occasional check as your stay approaches.
Many travellers are used to rebooking refundable cash reservations when they spot a better rate nearer the time, and this is really just a slight extension of that principle.
I’m not really sure why I didn’t clock this Hilton Honors trick myself (I’m definitely blaming Summer, or something), but fortunately Charlie did!
Hopefully you’re all a lot sharper than me and had already worked this out, but if not, at least you know to check now.