Starting on April 30, 2012, 330 Hilton Family hotels will move up in reward categories and 117 down. You can book at the old point rate if your hotel is going up by April 30. Here is the full list. It is a bit disappointing to see so many new category 7 hotels. At a whopping 50,000 points a night I think very few hotels are truly worth the category 7 label. One would think this would be the best of the best hotels, Conrad Hotels, High end Hiltons, or some DoubleTree hotels that outshine the rest. Sadly the Cat 7 list includes some Embassy Suites. The jump between Cat 6 and Cat 7 is not 5,000 points per night but an out of this world 10,000 jump. Looking over the list I noticed some hotels that are going to be category 7, that I have on my “crap” list aka Hotels I have been too and will not return due to a disappointing stay; for example the Hilton Manchester Deansgate in the UK, you can read my review of this sad Hilton. The Hilton York also in the UK, I did a one night stay at this stuffy old place, it was not that bad but should never be on the same reward category as lets say the Hilton Bora Bora.
Do you think these hotels should be the same price?!!?
It is also the case now if you want to use your points in London, it will be 50K per night as every Hilton/Doubletree in the city is now a cat 7. I get London is a major city with very expensive hotel rooms, but it was nice to have some options a little farther out like the Hilton London Canary Wharf, not a bad hotel at all (not worth 50K) but a little outside the city. In the past staying at this hotel you would save 50K points a week.
I know programs change, but looks like HIlton is out to screw us again. I give it two years and we have a Cat 8, or all the rate jump again. There is no consistency in hotels verse points required.
Also watch out for the premium rewards, Hilton wants you to think these are a good way to spend your points! I think they are wrong, check out news on that here and here.
In 2012 so far I have noticed some improvements in some Hilton hotels, some really nice hotels opening like the Hilton FRA airport. Some Hiltons are rising up as a more luxury brand, while others just drag the brand down. However I have notice cut backs, like executive lounges cutting down the evening service to only 2 hours. I was at the Hilton Melbourne South wharf (a current cat 7) and you had to ask for spirits or mixed drinks. Lets just say.. A Gin and Tonic was mostly tonic, and the service was slow. I know times are not great but cut backs and raising rates are not a way to keep your loyal customer base coming back.
So if you have been saving up for your dream vacation and your hotel is on this list to jump up, book now! You can book a year out. Luckily Hilton had the decency to give us 20 day notice this time. Once again here is the list of changes from Hilton.