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Almost a year has passed since Hilton Honors dropped an “H” (it used to be HHonors), along with the attractive Points + Money reward option I used to enjoy.
The old Points + Money has been replaced with a fancy new slider, which the marketing gurus have brilliantly designed to make us believe that we weren’t losing the value proposition of “points and cash” at all.
Fortunately, the “fifth night free” benefit for award stays is still in place for Honors members with elite status, even though I highlighted last year how it wasn’t quite working as promised. So, it would be reasonable to assume that the new Points + Money now works hand-in-hand with Fifth Night Free, right?
Well, perhaps not… or at least I discovered something that I thought worthy of sharing with readers. I recently looked for a hotel in London and thought I might like to try out the well-regarded Doubletree in Greenwich – Joe wrote about it last year.
At 25,000 points per night for a five night stay, I expected to pay 100,000 Honors points. But I noticed something a bit different about how the Hilton Honors website presents reward options once you are logged in and the system can see your elite status…
Well, I don’t quite have 100,000 Honors points handy, so what does the Hilton Honors booking system propose?
THAT’S RIGHT! Hilton Honors suggests that I pay £99.58 to make up that 1,000 point shortfall. Errr thanks Honors… not even an offer to sell me the 1,000 missing points at the regular price of $10 per 1,000 points. (as they used to do…) Or a Points & Money offer that charges me 1% of the total five-night cash rate to account for the missing 1% of points.
Nope… just a default removal of my fifth night free benefit!
What to Do?
99,000 points is a reasonably healthy points balance, right? I reckon that would be worth nearly £400. And we all know that “earn and burn” is much more sensible than accumulating a points balance worth £1000s. Yet I can’t even manage a “fifth night free” award at one of Hilton Honors’ most reasonably-priced hotels. I won’t go so far as to call this another hidden devaluation – since even with double-h HHonors I still would have needed enough points for the four paid nights – but being charged nearly £100 for 1,000 missing points is still a shock.
I suppose I’ll have to pay more attention the next time Hilton Honors offers a 100% bonus (or 50% discount) when selling points. Otherwise I’ll be stuck using my points for one-night stays, which might be fine, but certainly means missing out on one of the best perks of Hilton Honors status…