Hilton Kills AXON Awards, Relents And Allows Bookings For A Short Period Of Time

Discussion in 'Hilton | Honors' started by Pizzaman, Jan 19, 2017.  |  Print Topic

  1. Pizzaman
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    Interesting turn of events here. First, Hilton kills AXON awards without notice. Then, given either social media, blogger, or customer pressure, they allow folks to continue booking AXON awards until February 15th.

    That's absolutely the right thing to do, IMO. Companies need to make money, award chart changes will happen. But, proper notice to customers is important for those making plans.

    Did you use AXON awards? What do you think about how Hilton is handling the situation?
     
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  2. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Not even aware that AXON was still a feature of HHonors since I had not used it in a long time, I thought the whole brouhaha about its demise without notice was a “tempest in a teapot.” But it is good that Hilton decided to relent, in a move that is more PR than a realization or admission that the program did anything wrong. Allowing those who wish to take advantage of AXON before they phase it out is a painless solution to quiet the brouhaha because the effects of the month-long extension will be minimal. Also, even though Hilton caught the flak for supposedly axing AXON, how do we know it was not AMEX that decided to axe it? After all, they [AMEX] were the ones paying Hilton REAL money every time someone booked an AXON award.

    The reason axing AXON, which only co-brand AMEX cardholders can use and is thus limited, should be no big deal is that it makes infinitely more sense to use the more general5th award night free” elite benefit (book 5 nites get one free) rather than to book AXON award stays in increments of 4 nights, which, depending on the circumstances, could be cheaper or more expensive than a standard redemption. It is perhaps why it is being axed: it was under-utilized because most people, rightly, preferred to book 5 and get 1 free...
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2017
  3. Pizzaman
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    I agree it was likely killed because it was not utilized a ton. That being said, more options are virtually always better for the customer. So, killing one without notice is rarely going to be a positive change.
     
  4. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    We hear this complaint all the time. However, Hilton needs no excuse to implement this or any other change because the HHonors T&C do make it clear that programmatic changes can be made without advance notice, and this is true of virtually every loyalty program. No one is coerced into joining any program but joining means understanding and agreeing to the T&C. If axing AXON were a decision that Hilton felt would be consequential, I am sure that they would not have bothered revisiting it. The termination would have been final, and its condemnation simply ignored…with impunity.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2017
  5. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Can HHonors simply do away with a selective (AMEX cardholders only) and under-utilized feature of the program without someone somewhere trying to turn a clear molehill into a Himalaya???!!!

    It’s their program; they can change it as they see it fit, just like Hyatt is about to completely gut HGP by disfiguring it into something called WOH! They [Hyatt] did not ask anyone’s permission and their changes are even more drastic and noxious. They gave plenty of notice, but the change ain't gonna be positive by any stretch of the imagination!
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2017
  6. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    If I had to guess, 90% of my Hilton award points were spend on Axon awards. Mind you, that's maybe three or four awards over the years because they are expensive and I don't earn that many points.

    With recent Hilton promos and some shifted CC spend I was working my balance up towards Axon territory again, but with no concrete plan (destination, date) in mind due to various unrelated uncertainties. So the extension for a month isn't likely going to help me much.

    And yes, fifth night free is better... unless it isn't (e.g., when you actually don't want a five night stay). I haven't evaluated it for my needs yet because I don't even know when and where I would stay.

    But eliminating choices that have value is always a negative to me. And without any communications (I don't think even *with* the extension I have received any notice from Hilton or Amex).
     
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  7. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    AXON is also better except when it is not (i.e., when it costs more than a standard 4-night redemption.) Also, AXON is limited only to AMEX cardholders so it is a selective benefit. The "5th award night free", on the other hand, is a benefit for ALL elite levels and with it one always comes out ahead, especially for expensive redemptions where AXON might (or not) be beneficial.
    Once more: programs have no obligation to notify members of upcoming changes. It would be nice if they did it all the time, but they do not have to. Read the T&C of practically every loyalty program and they tell you that in plain language.
     
  8. WilliamQ

    WilliamQ Gold Member

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    If a program gains a reputation of making changes without advance notice, customers will learn to avoid said program. Based overseas, I have no access to these partner CC for hotels or airlines (which I envy) but I think organisations should learn to evaluate between can and should. End of the day, Hilton made 2 decisions. Cancel, and temporary reprieve. From my perspective, they made good a situation.
     
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  9. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Every single program out there is guilty of that offense and yet most still thrive!

    Also, we are not sure that it's Hilton/HHonors that axed AXON, a programmatic feature funded by AMEX. It could be that AMEX no longer cared to bleed revenue so they canned AXON. Of course, Hilton would not say that it's AMEX that killed the feature.

    This is the proverbial "tempest in a teapot."
     
  10. Pizzaman
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    That's just not true. Some programs give notice when they make changes, some don't. Delta, for one, is pretty darn bad at it. I don't follow the Hilton program very closely, but I don't recall another instance (and, certainly not the number of instances Delta has) where they made no-notice changes. Hyatt has been very good about giving notice on changes.

    Programs will continue to make changes forever. But, proper notice by them does matter. And, I wouldn't be surprised if it affects customer sentiment.
     
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  11. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    I have no idea who axed it. It doesn't matter. Notice should have been given.

    This may be a tempest in your teapot because you don't care, but don't you dare tell me whether and how much it matters to me.
     
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  12. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    How does that matter? Many of use choose credit cards because they offer selective benefits. I am paying Amex and perhaps Hilton for the benefit.

    Call me back when one of your credit cards (such as your favorite CSR) removes a benefit you care about, so I can offer my sympathies.
     
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  13. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    I do not have to tell you anything. You simply need to read the program's terms and conditions and decline to participate if you disagree, otherwise...

    Effective Date: August 19, 2016. The following supersedes all prior Terms & Conditions. By participating or continuing to participate after the effective date, you agree to the following [item 5]:

    Hilton HHonors Worldwide, L.L.C. reserves the right to add, modify, delete or otherwise change any of the rules, procedures, conditions, benefits, Rewards or Reward levels pertaining to the Program at its sole discretion, with or without notice, even though changes may affect the value of points or Reward Certificates or Confirmations already accumulated. This means that Hilton HHonors Worldwide, L.L.C. may make changes that affect, but are not limited to, hotels within the Hilton Worldwide portfolio, travel partner affiliations, rules for earning HHonors Points, Reward redemption levels, rules and procedures for the use of Rewards, continued availability of awards, Reward types, and the features of special offers.

    It is expressly stated that the program does not have to give prior notice of any changes. Period. Any questions or additional huffing and puffing should be directed at HHonors.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2017
  14. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    It matters because it reinforces the view that being a selective benefit AXON may have had limited use that likely contributed to its being axed. Programs discontinue features all the time (remember HGP's highly successful but quickly axed MyEliteRate?).

    I will not call you back because I can read simple English and understand what I get into when I join a program. The thing to do when there are programmatic changes is to find alternate solutions and not spend energy complaining about changes that are not likely to be rescinded. I am perhaps the only person on the planet who did not rail against HHonors' 2013 "thermonuclear devaluation" that was supposed to "kill the program", when all the devaluation did was to make the program's award costs, which got ridiculously cheap, competitive with those of other programs [Hyatt's, Marriott's and Hilton's awards cost almost exactly the same AFTER that program-killing HHonors "devaluation"!]. Rather than being "dead", HHonors is currently the most vibrant and rewarding hotel loyalty program out there, while the much touted HGP is on life support and SPG is kaput.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2017
  15. NYCUA1K

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    Go to Gary Leff's site. It is his 'crusade' of sort to shine light on programs that make changes without notice and I am certain that you'll find instances of virtually every major airline or hotel loyalty program having been called out for changes they made with no prior notice. The portion of HHonors T&C I reproduced above about how they do not need to give prior notice can be found in every major loyalty program's T&C.

    "...proper notice by them does matter" -- that's the wish and I could not agree more, but I am a realist and will therefore usually be on the unpopular but correct side of issues such as these.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2017
  16. Pizzaman
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    The unpopular but correct side where it's a positive outcome when programs make changes without notice?

    Hilton probably also has the ability to stop awarding points completely on paid stays without notice. It would also make customers significantly less loyal to them in the future. Just because they can do it doesn't make it a good business practice.
     
  17. Pizzaman
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    The unpopular but correct side where it's a positive outcome when programs make changes without notice?

    Hilton probably also has the ability to stop awarding points completely on paid stays without notice. It would also make customers significantly less loyal to them in the future. Just because they can do it doesn't make it a good business practice.
     
  18. Denny
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  19. NYCUA1K

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    Yes, the correct side, which may not necessarily be perceived as the right side. Changes without notice are universally hated, but the T&C could not be clearer: HHonors or any other major loyalty program can make changes without notice, so I am correct. It's why I am a "realist". I do not confuse how I wish things were with the way things are in reality. You are giving a largely "emotional" argument based on how you believe things should be, but that's not how things are in the real world. If it were up to me and how I believe things should be, the revenue-based FF system should never have been adopted, but it has been, so what do you do? Simple: you either quit or you adapt, and it's the same thing with any other change made, with or without notice. Giving notice does guarantee that a change will be positive!
    No doubt, but if they made such a change ("to stop awarding points completely on paid stays"), they would deservedly lose customers even if they gave notice because it would be an extreme and radical change. I will repeat what I wrote earlier. It’s their program; they can change it as they see fit, and if they lose customers that is their problem. Programs change features all the time, with or without notice, and suffer no consequences. It's no different than, e.g., Hyatt completely gutting HGP to produce something called WOH! Hyatt did not ask anyone’s permission and their changes are even more drastic and noxious than the axing of AXON. They gave plenty of notice, but very few people believe that the changes are going to be positive! Just because they give notice before a change does not mean the change is going to be good for business!

    If the axing of AXON upsets you immensely, then do something about it: do not ever give Hilton your business again, to the extent that you ever did!

    I am done here.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2017
  20. newbluesea
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    Precis:
    1) Hilton the greatest
    2) You are all nitwits ( cant read and if you can, unable to understand):D
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2017
  21. NYCUA1K

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    A predictably substance-free comment...

    Maybe if it came from the 'Thought Leader in Travel' himself, the inanity of raising the axing of AXON to a federal offense would sink in?

    While deploring the lack of advance notice, as he invariably does, here's Gary Leff's take on the demise of AXON:

    "I don’t think these [AXON] are the strongest value awards, though in some cases could save members some points on a 4 night stay. Losing this award isn’t an especially big blow to the program in my view."

    Similarly, "Lucky", the host of One Mile at a Time travel blog concluded:
    "Bottom line
    Ultimately I don’t view AXON awards being eliminated as a huge deal. They weren’t used very much, so I can see why they’d get rid of them. However, it’s great to see Hilton doing the right thing and giving members a window of about a month where they can still book these awards."

    Sounds to me like what both 'travel gurus' -- neither a Hilton fanboy -- concluded was that the brouhaha about the axing of AXON was, well, a "tempest in a teapot."!

    I am definitely done here.
     
  22. Pizzaman
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    You're correct, but frankly, only in an argument with yourself. Nobody here has argued that Hilton couldn't make these changes. We're discussing the impact of them. Stating that Hilton is allowed to make these changes is like saying each of us has freedom of speech. Asked and answered.
     
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  23. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Simply incredible...

    I started out by saying that the impact would be minimal and I just quoted two 'travel gurus' who concurred. On the other hand, the argument here, including yours, was that the change without notice was the problem. I am glad you have now turned around and concurred that that the change without notice was not the problem, thus closing the case because everyone now agrees...
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2017
  24. Pizzaman
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    Wow. I never actually said that. Not even close to that. I said that them making changes without notice is a concern to me. Period.

    You brought up the point that the have the right to make the change, which has no relation to the topic.
     
  25. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Take care, Pizzaman. The record speaks for itself. Anybody who wishes can read it.

    G'day.
     

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