Hilton's "Points & Money" Awards = Good value

Discussion in 'Hilton | HHonors' started by jparker, May 3, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. jparker

    jparker Silver Member

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    I just posted over at my blog this morning (http://wp.me/p2anre-cx) on some more success I'm having with "Points & Money" redemptions. They are not widely available but the math shows them to be a good deal. I've shared the post below..

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    In today's post, I'm going to illustrate the real value of Hilton HHonors "Points & Money" awards. These rates are not widely available at this point, but I am hoping that Hilton will expand the number of properties offering these rates as they can offer very good value. Currently, I'm finding them more often at international properties and we'll use a booking I just made in London for our example.

    London hotels are always pretty expensive and going in the middle of the high season only exacerbates this problem. One of London's lower price Hilton properties is the London Olympia located in the Kensington area and I was able to find "Points & Money" options there for my three night stay. As our baseline, I could book a AAA rate, that allows cancellation, for $228 USD per night. We'll use US Dollars for our comparisons for simplicity sake.

    At this rate, my total for the three nights would be $820.76 which includes London's hefty 20% tax rate. By comparison, I could book the room with HHonors points at 50,000 points per night. It is easy to calculate the realized return on those points by simply taking the $820.76 I would avoid and dividing it by 150,000 HHonors points required (there is no tax since there is no cash outlay). The value for this redemption would then come in at .547 cents per point. This is not a particularly great redemption value but it is summer in London and I'm avoiding over $800 in expense.

    Alternatively, I could book at "Points & Money" award for 25,000 points plus $86.82 per night. This would total to $312.58 which includes tax, which you have to pay on the cash outlay portion of the stay, plus 75,000 HHonors points. To calculate the redemption value, we subtract the $312.58 outlay from the $820.76 we would have paid without points. Therefore, 75,000 points are buying us $508.15 in value. At first glance, this looks like a redemption value of .677 cents per point. Definitely better.

    However, we have not considered the HHonors earnings (think of it as a point rebate) on the $312.58. With my status as a Diamond member and assuming the stay is in the Q2 promo period where double base points are earned in addition to bonuses, I would earn 9,312 HHonors points. Plus, by putting the spend on my AMEX HHonors Surpass card, I would earn another 2,813 points for a total of 12,125 points.

    So, now my net outlay of HHonors points is down from 75,000 to 62,875. This brings my per point redemption value up to .8 cents 1.54 cents. This starts to look like a good Hilton HHonors redemption. I also booked a stay in Munich using similar math and was able to get 1.38 cents per point there.

    After clarification from HHonors today, the "money" portion of a "Points & Money" reward is not eligible for HHonors credit. I have received that in the past, but that appears to be a mistake that was credited manually after I inquired about it.

    Of course, there are several variables here - current rate, whether you would be willing to lock into an advance purchase rate, my status as HHonors Diamond that earns me several points bonuses, and the use of the Surpass card. But, the overall point that "Points & Money" rewards can offer great value, even in high season, remains.
     
  2. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    Be careful with this analysis. I believe that the cash portion of points and money does not earn points.
     
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  3. jparker

    jparker Silver Member

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    I can confirm that the cash portion does earn points. The T&C is unclear on this point and I assumed it did not, but the Diamond Desk confirmed it with me via email and I saw the actual earnings on my recent Points & Money stay at the Hilton Sandton in Johannesburg.

    In addition, I received the "Get Points Back" rebate on the points portion of that stay, as well.
     
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  4. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    http://hhonors1.hilton.com/en_US/hh/landing/expandedrewards_faq/index.do

    The T&C seem fairly clear, so I would be careful. Also, I think you may have divided by the room rate rather than the cash outlay to come up with your cents per point. I think if you earn points as you are anticipating the value is more like $0.008 per point.
     
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  5. jparker

    jparker Silver Member

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    You are absolutely correct on the math. My mistake. I have corrected the post to .8 cents value. I double checked my Munich math and it held up at 1.38 cents per point.

    As to earnings, I can only tell you that the Diamond desk has confirmed it and, more importantly, I have earned the points on this award previously. I'll let everyone know if I have a different experience on this reservation this summer.
     
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  6. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    Here's a points-and-money example from my upcoming stay.

    Conrad Hong Kong. Base room (King Superior) is 3350 HKD = $431 per night.
    Points and Cash = 661 HKD ($85) + 25k/night.

    This means 25k = 431 - 85 = $346, which translates to 1.384 cents redemption when you can outright buy the points for 1 cent each.
     
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  7. DTWBOB

    DTWBOB Silver Member

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    You should redo your calc and in effect subtract the points you would have earned --- or add them to the points it cost you.

    The good news is points don't earn interest and your stay will still count toward elite status.

    DTWBOB
     
  8. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    Eh, don't care personally. This is an aspirational travel redemption for less than Hampton Inn Truckee rates. :)
     
  9. jparker

    jparker Silver Member

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    After Mattsteg raised the issue this morning, I went back and looked at what happened with my J'burg stay where I received points on the "money" portion of my "Points & Money" stay. Those points did not post automatically. That is what prompted me to send a note to the Diamond Desk and inquire about whether they qualified. They replied they did so I sent in copies of my portfolio and and another agent credited the points manually.

    Since two Diamond desk agents were involved, I guess I assumed they were correct but this morning's dialogue made me wonder if perhaps they had made a mistake. I sent a note to the Diamond desk today and they just responded and echoed Mattsteg's post and the T&C by saying the money portion of the rate is NOT eligible for HHonors credit. Eligible incidental charges charged to the room.

    So, revisiting the original post I made, we are back to .677 cents redemption rate which is not particularly exciting but still better than a standard points only redemption.

    Hat tip to Mattsteg for pointing this out and forcing me to clarify with Hilton. All that said, I will let you know if I experience anything different when I stay on this award in a couple months.

    Jason
     
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  10. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    Sorry to hear that the less-generous terms win out, but very good to have the information out for all to share! Thanks for following up for us all.

    I'd just booked my sister a cash and points award with starpoints earlier this week, and the terms there are also "no points on the cash portion" (this is what prompted me to check in the first place).
     
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  11. jparker

    jparker Silver Member

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    Not to flail all life out of this thread, but what did post automatically on my last Points & Money stay was my 1,000 point Diamond "MyWay" bonus and the 500 AMEX on-line booking bonus. Plus, I automatically had the incidentals that were charged to the room earn base points and the subsequent bonuses that resulted which is consistent with the terms & conditions. And, of course, I will still earn points on my AMEX Surpass for the actual cash outlay.

    Factoring in the automatic postings and minimum spend on Surpass card gets me to just over .7 cents per point on this particular redemption. As a point of comparison, I did a Sheraton booking for Salzburg using their equivalent reward and got a little over 2 cents per point but that is consistent, I think with the relative difficulty of earning those points versus HHonors points.
     

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