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A few years back Hilton Honors decided that the practice of publishing award charts was a bad idea as it gave customers a lot more information than Hilton wanted to them to have, and although that’s certainly not how Hilton framed their award chart elimination, that’s certainly why you’ll no longer find them on Hilton.com.
At the time Hiltons award charts disappeared the most expensive properties cost 95,000 points per night and Hilton said that it had no plans to increase that maximum rate.
Apparently those plans changed as earlier this year Hilton opened up award availability at its highly anticipated Waldorf Astoria Maldives property and, somewhat unexpectedly, introduced us to award nights costing 120,000 points.
I have to confess that despite the outcry we heard at the time I didn’t have a particularly big issue with Hilton’s move as when you consider what the Waldorf Astoria Maldives offers, it’s hard to argue against the idea that it should cost more than a lot of other top-tier Hilton properties.
Sure, Hilton said that it wouldn’t increase the maximum cost of an award night and then it went ahead and did just that…but we were only talking about an increase at one very special property and it’s not like Hilton suddenly increased the cost of all top-tier properties across the board.
Still, it’s always worth keeping a close look at what loyalty programs are up to and with the recent opening of the Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos it looks as if Hilton has taken another opportunity to introduce the world to 120,000 points/night award bookings.
Once again there appears to have been a significant amount of outrage (faux or otherwise) at Hilton’s latest move and, once again, I’m having trouble getting worked up about this. I think a little perspective may be needed.
Firstly, Hilton manages over 5,800 properties worldwide and so far only two of these properties will sell you a “standard room” for more than 95,000 points.
Secondly, a “standard room” at the Waldorf Astoria Maldives or the Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos is anything but “standard”.
An entry-level room (costing 120,000 points) at the Los Cabos property appears to be in excess of 850 square feet in area and comes with its own plunge pool. The smallest room that I can find at the Waldorf Astoria Maldives is the 2,518 square foot King Beach Villa which also comes with its own pool…and you can book this with points!
Yes, 120,000 points may be a large number of points to book a single “room” but have you seen what you’re getting?!
I’d be a lot more sympathetic to the people crying foul over Hilton’s latest 120,000 points/night property if we were talking about a new Conrad in some city center with rooms that, although very nice, weren’t all that different to what a lot of other properties offer…but that’s not we’re dealing with here.
Also, look at things this way. Which of these very real scenarios do you think is better for miles & points collectors?
- Being told that the cost of a beautiful room at an aspirational resort will cost 120,000 points per night and being able to actually find such awards.
- Being told that the cost of a beautiful room at an aspirational property will cost 70,000 points per night but never being able to find award availability.
The former is the scenario we now have with the Waldorf Astoria properties in the Maldives & Los Cabos while the latter is the scenario with the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa.
I know which scenario I’d prefer and I can almost guarantee that if Hilton didn’t raise award prices at properties like the Waldorf Astoria Maldives and the Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos, the properties would find a way to make booking an award night next to impossible.
All you have to do is look at the games properties like the Andaz West Hollywood play with award night availability to see what hotels can get up to.
Yes, I get it. No one likes paying more points for a night at a hotel than they absolutely have to but let’s get a little perspective here.
Hilton is now charging 120,000 points/night at two properties worldwide while all the other top-tier properties still cost 95,000 points per night.
Had Hilton just announced that all its aspirational top-tier properties would now cost a minimum of 120,000 points per night I’d fully understand any anger and annoyance. As it is I’m really struggling to find sympathy for those who suddenly feel hard done by or who feel that Hilton has in some way lied and let them down….because I don’t really think it has.
Featured Image: Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos courtesy of Hilton