Standard Award Reservations - aspirational properties vs. run of mill

Discussion in 'Hilton | HHonors' started by Sweet Willie, Nov 18, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. Sweet Willie
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    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    Thanks to MP premium membership I now have gold status which will help as I burn my HHonors.

    I've also been looking at the HHonors program in terms of a possible program I move forward with for 2014. My history with Hilton primarily dates from being a diamond many years ago; where a 6 night stay in HI was 100k HHonors, the diamond force was in existence if needed to force a standard award at a property, standard awards were easy to make with AXON & GLON awards and lastly there was a diamond desk that cared & was effective in making sure diamonds were treated well.

    After lots of reading about HHonors today, it would seem to me that Hilton is playing shenanigans:
    1) with what constitutes a standard room
    2) some properties no longer have standard rooms so only premium awards are accepted
    3) seasonal adjustments to award rates

    Could it be that Hilton is now no longer a value for aspirational property awards?

    For instance; I find value with Marriott when they run the megabonus stay twice get a free night. The free night is only good for up to a category 5 property but it suits my needs as I travel to see family where these nights come in handy. Is Hilton becoming the same sort of value for the leisure traveler? (burning points on non-aspirational properties is where the value is?)

    I'm not interested in coverage of Hilton, number of properties, free breakfast/internet, why the program work for you, etc etc. I hope to see some replies/examples from Hilton loyalists as how they are utilizing their HHonors points for recent standard awards at aspirational properties and how easy was it to book (did you have to look long, only look at certain dates, high seaon vs. low season).

    Thanks,
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2013
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  2. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    The pattern in both the hotel and airline loyalty industries is toward uniformity. Hyatt GP had stood apart for while but if you look at their latest play, it is straight out of HHonors' playbook, which itself was straight out of SPG's playbook. UA's recent "devaluation" was straight out of DL's playbook...et ceteri...et cetera...

    It is within that reality that one joins the loyalty industry these days...
     
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  3. Pete
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    Pete Silver Member

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    "Could it be that Hilton is now no longer a value for aspirational property awards?"

    Bingo!
     
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  4. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    :confused: Can you name a chain that is still "a value for aspirational property awards" after the latest wave of 'devaluations'?
     
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  5. Muerl
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    Muerl Gold Member

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    I don't have 100% super aspirational info to hand out, but one thing I have found useful is that you can book a disabled room as a standard room and you will Most Likely be upgraded to SOMEWHERE else as a gold. There were a few times where a disabled shower or a single double bed was the only room available at a property as a standard room.

    This was at Wiakaloa Bay which I think can count as asperational. I was upgraded to a "partial ocean view" room. I put in the comments "Do not need disabled room, only standard room available"
     
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  6. Pete
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    Pete Silver Member

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    Irrelevant to the discussion of Hilton. But yes there are some properties in other programs that are at least reasonably attainable. Not so now with Hilton.
     
  7. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    :confused:Irrelevant because you say so?
    Hmmm....The question was "can you name such properties?" I bet that using the same standard I can also name some Hilton properties "that are at least reasonably attainable."
     
  8. WhiteDesert

    WhiteDesert Silver Member

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    Whereas I think this is a meaningful discussion*, I also think some thought needs to be put into exactly what constitutes an "aspirational" property before it can really go very far. Perhaps it will be difficult to get agreement on that point, but it would seem to me that that is where the discussion should begin. I think we can all agree that an over-water bungalow in Bora Bora qualifies as aspirational. Okay--great. But beyond a few properties that are held up as clearly aspirational, what can we agree on? What criteria can we conceive of (or do we already apply) that will allow sorting properties into those that most of us would agree qualify as aspirational and those that most of us would agree aren't?

    I think perhaps the "highest" category of criterion would probably be the "category of aspiration" if you will. Properties will likely fall into an idea of being aspirational based on the character of the hotel/resort itself, or based on the location of said property. Setting location aside for the moment, what criteria do folks think are necessary to make a hotel/resort itself aspirational?





    _______________
    *And I for one would like to see it treated in a systematic fashion whereby we generated a thread (possibly with a link to a spreadsheet where data could be kept/updated) which listed out HHonors properties that the MP community generally agreed were "aspirational" and discussed the "value" of redeeming at those properties.

    EDITED FOR SPELLING 5 December 2013 04:12 EST
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2013
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  9. Muerl
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    Muerl Gold Member

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    I agree with your comment.

    I also kinda feel like it can be divorced entirely from points in some ways.

    For example, The double tree in Times Square is usually the classic example of Anti Aspirational but is 90k, where as personally staying in a Hilton in an island in a lake in a nature preserve in BORNEO is pretty damn aspirational. But its only 5000 points.

    And again, what is value. If you put 40k a year onto a Surpass in Manufactured Spending at the Grocery Store, by buying 79 $500 GCs (and $30 in candy cause your at the store so often), thats 240000 points at a cost of $470.05 for a COST per point of 0.19 Cents.

    Lets look at a classic aspirational property. Conrad Koh Samui. 10 Apr 2014 - 15 Apr 2014, is open for standard redemption (at least as I write this)

    a 5 night stay costs 380,000 if you have status. This will cost you with our generation method above $744.25. Is that value?

    BAR is ฿29,000 per night or ฿145,000 for 5 nights. At current exchange rates, that $4495.96 for the 5 night stay. Which amounts to a 83% discount for using points.

    Its also worth considering that if you're moving 40k a year through your surpass you will be getting Diamond Status and with it available upgrade and free breakfast and the like. Which could be considered to add value.

    Of course we all need to ask ourselves would we pay that cost or not, and for that matter risk Amex's wrath for spending the much at the grocery store.

    But i guess in my book $744.25 for 5 nights in an ocean front villa possibly one with a private pool and included evening cocktails and breakfast sounds like a good deal.

    As everyone always says, your mileage may vary.
     
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  10. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    I agree with both of the preceding posts. Many tend to confuse price or cost with value, and some pretty good examples of the difference are given above. At 90K/night, the cost of DT Times Square is very high but its "aspirational value" for me is nil. I would not spend a point there.

    A 5-night stay at Conrad Koh Samui for 380K is definitely an example of a HHonors property that is "at least reasonably attainable", even though it is seasonally so. But one has got to be smart! I have just redeemed 320K points for a 5-night stay at Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund, a Category 9 hotel, around Xmas time @64K/night + 5th night free, which turns out to require exactly the same number of points as I used there 2 years ago (i.e. long before 'devaluation'). So, I agree with the following:
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2013
  11. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    What are you going to do with those 79 gift cards? Lots of trips to Walmart to load them onto your Bluebird or buy money orders? How many hours of work, how many gallons of gas etc. do you need to add to the $470 for the true cost? And what if something goes wrong and Amex closes our account or locks your Bluebird or ... more effort/time sunk.

    When we went to Koh Samui seven or eight years ago, we stayed at the Anantara Bophut Resort and Spa. Paid cash, had a great time. Would go back any time if I had the spare time. Looking at the cash rates for the time you listed above, it's significantly lower cost than the cash price for the Conrad (think 1/6 - 1/2... Royal Sea View Suite with Breakfast is THB 11,200 per night). There is no way I would spend hours and hours racking up credit card charges to earn points to then try to find availability when I could just pay cash for a perfectly nice resort.
     
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  12. Muerl
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    Muerl Gold Member

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    Two Very good points.

    The first applies for the person and how their "life" is organized. For me it wouldn't work, but I did time the Grocery Store -> Pin Activate -> Walmart at my parents and it took all of 20min extra minutes and maybe an extra .1mi on a Coffee/Small Business Saturday giftcard run I was making anyway. But thats far from useful for me here in the city.

    The second one, I actually had meant to make that point and ran out of time and energy. I agree to that point wholeheartedly. Actually that looks like a good use of $1000.
     
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  13. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    For me the closest Walmart is 18.2 miles away. Even though I am within 2-3 miles from that particular store about once a month, and probably closer to Walmarts at times when traveling, it just isn't worth my time to play that game. Life's too short to spend at Walmart. :)
     
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  14. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    I must agree with you on that. If one must jump through all kinds of hoops to just earn enough points to be able to afford a resort like the Conrad Koh Samui, it is not worth it. For a guy like me who earns loads of points through business travel all year, it is a different story...
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2013
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  15. Muerl
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    Muerl Gold Member

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    On a related note, those days in April might be wonderful for people with Citi Reserve Certs ;)
     
  16. WhiteDesert

    WhiteDesert Silver Member

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    This. 1000 times this.



    ________________
    More thoughtful responses to everything else later (sitting a on deadline today), but I really wanted to reply to that comment ASAP...
     
  17. iolaire
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    iolaire Gold Member

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    Has anyone built a list of these types of redemptions? Every time I think of using Hilton points I see something like 40k/points a night for a CBD hotel in an average destination. I built up a cc balance of 360k and only have one upcoming award at the Conrad Singapore because I just cannot find hotels that match our trips that seem worth spending 40k+/night. The closest I got otherwise was thinking about the BUD Castle District Hilton.
     
  18. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Yes, but it is a two-step process. The redemption rates depend on the hotel category and on season, so that the first thing to do is to check the hotel category here (PDF). Then, once you have the desired hotel and its category, you can find the rate in this Table:
    HHonors-Cat-rates.png

    P.S. One could also use this HHonors beta search tool to get redemption rates based on selected criteria.

    The reason you would frequently get rates of around 40K may be because it is around the mean of rates for categories 5-10. To get lower rates one would have to look at hotel cats 4 or below, or select a slow season for a given region. Another way to get rates below 40K is to redeem for a 5-night stay, since the fifth night will be free. For instance, the standard redemption rate for Hilton Shanghai right now is 40K/night. If one books a 5-night reward stay, the rate goes down to 32K/night. Lastly, if one is short on points or one wants to "stretch" the points or one wants to afford to redeem to stay at very high-end properties, go for cash+points!
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2013
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  19. Muerl
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    Muerl Gold Member

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    Loyalty Traveler did a while back but I can't seem to find it.
     
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  20. Pete
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    Pete Silver Member

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    No, because other loyalty programs have absolutely no relevance to whether the HH program is a value for aspirational awards.

    HH is a shell of its former self. Notwithstanding the apologies.
     
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  21. iolaire
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    iolaire Gold Member

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    But the status they are offering is nice. However on the flip side its going to be painful when they take our free breakfast...
     
  22. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Anyway, it is just as I thought. A matter of opinion and I happen to disagree with yours for good reasons that can be found throughout these boards.

    Sent from my DROID4 GLOBAL using milepoint
     
  23. Pete
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    Pete Silver Member

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    You are in a very small minority of myopic HH apologists.
     
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  24. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    So be it.
     
  25. marcwint55

    marcwint55 Gold Member

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    We are at the Hilton Dubai and Conrad Maldives in January and the Conrad Hong Kong and Conrad Koh Samui in March. I had no problem booking these properties for the dates I wanted using Hhonors points.

    While I certainly am not thrilled with the recent devaluation of their points, I can say that as a diamond I have almost always been given a suite upgrade and unlike my platinum status at Starwood, I do not have to choose between bonus points or breakfast, I get both every stay.
     
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