45 Responses

  1. toomanybooks
    toomanybooks at |

    Can you tell us without too much effort which properties dropped 2-3 category levels?

    There might be some nuggets there. Thanks.

  2. Grant
    Grant at |

    Great job Seth, any gems in the lower properties?

  3. PatMike
    PatMike at |

    Your content, as always, is above and beyond. Love your analysis.

  4. Brett
    Brett at |

    Thsi is a great analysis. I’m a number-crunching guy, so I was thinking of trying to do the same thing. Thanks!

  5. Tech Trainer
    Tech Trainer at |

    I think the title “related posts” towards the end of this writeup is incorrect.

    Incidentally, you are a consumer/blogger not to be trifled with! What a cool and excellent analysis; nice work.

  6. Autolycus
    Autolycus at |

    NYC sure got hit HARD, didn’t it?

  7. Nick
    Nick at |

    It seems like the expensive properties increased more, like Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik, or Cavilieri Rome, while Marriott increases were broadly spread out with just a few high end properties increasing.

  8. Scottrick
    Scottrick at |

    I think this might be the one benefit of the changes. Before, it seemed I needed to spend 25K or 40K points for one night at even budget hotels that might otherwise cost $100. It was just a waste when I knew I could hold on to them and redeem 50K points for a high-end property selling for $500 or more. But if the cheap hotels require fewer points and the more expensive hotels require more points, then at least the program starts to make more sense even if the aspirational awards are moving out of reach.

    I’m actually much more likely to use my Hilton points if I can redeem them at a reasonable rate for a Hampton Inn or similar since I stay there rarely enough to make it not worth aiming for elite status, and the only time I do want to stay there is if there is not Hyatt or Starwood property nearby.

  9. Dan
    Dan at |

    You may possibly be missing the point of the change. I suspect that Hilton has effectively limited the value of a Hilton point to roughly 0.5 cent per point. I did a sample of properties that I had been interested in because they were good value and I found they had all decreased to around 0.5 cent per dollar. Instead of focusing on what properties went up or down or by how many points look at it from the standpoint of cents/per Hilton point and see what you come up with.

  10. Dave
    Dave at |

    This is awesome! I’ve been a part of the miles/points world for a few years but I just started reading your blog and I’m loving it – any blogger that uses advanced Excel functionality to analyze points/miles has my approval!

  11. Marc
    Marc at |

    Wow. Is it possible to get a data dump like this for all properties? Would like to learn how you did this.

  12. PH
    PH at |

    Appreciate that you’re trying to analyze the data rather than just go with gut feel. Hope you’ll be able to continue this analysis more broadly (greater percentage).

    As for comparison to Marriott, I get my value from the Marriott Rewards program out of the very consistently offered MegaBonus promotions. The recent devaluation reduces the number of properties that the earned Cat. 1-4 certificates can be used at, but I think I will still get a great deal of value out of utilitarian stays that I don’t have to pay for. I’m not nearly as focused on aspirational stays as some enthusiasts, so being able to save a total of around $1,000 a year on stays where I would have paid the best available rate at those boring Cat. 1-4 properties keeps Marriott as my #2 chain. (#1 being Hyatt where I focus to re-earn Diamond.)

  13. Autolycus
    Autolycus at |

    Seth, I’d be particularly interested in the data for European properties as well as larger samples of US cities, particularly touristy ones like NOLA, Miami, Charleston, LA, SF, San Diego, etc.

  14. Oliver
    Oliver at |

    How about a breakdown by brand. I have the feeling that the higher end brands are going up disproportionally.

  15. Rob
    Rob at |

    I live in FL and recognized several cities in the list of Best Changes. I can tell you that some of those places are in the middle of nowhere interesting or in college/party towns. Good luck!

  16. ArizonaGuy
    ArizonaGuy at |

    I’ve always wanted to visit Bastrop in the middle of nowhere, Texas. What a great use of points.

  17. Mark Jackson
    Mark Jackson at |

    But who wants to burn hard earned points at a Hampton Inn? I too noticed that it was disproportionally high before to redeem at mid-tier Hilton properties, but I want to stay somewhere OUT of my means with my points. This new change makes things harder to achieve that goal.

  18. Jason
    Jason at |

    @ArizonaGuy – C’mon, Bastrop is not in the middle of nowhere! Granted, it is a 40 minute drive from Austin, on the way to Houston, but there are a lot of more isolated West Texas oil boom towns that could have been targeted 😉

  19. Peter S
    Peter S at |

    I wasn’t aware of there is a state the US called “virgina”, if there is I would fly in and out of there all the time. I don’t mean to make my comment rated X but I can’t help it.

  20. Sarah
    Sarah at |

    Horrible changes, I was on the phone with a supervisor to express my feelings. Looks like I will book all my miles now, and there are a lot, which can always be cancelled. I wondered about AXON changes, and so far, she told me level 6 and 7 were remaining, but there was no info about 8 &9 ( or former level 6 & 7)— so will have to wait and see. I find it horrible they are grouping silver with gold and platinum, when I a hievemmy platinum through nights,,,,,I WOULD ALSO LIKE YOUR ANALYSIS OF EUROPEAN PROPERTIES, AS I AM ABROAD SO MUXH OF THE TIME, THANKS,

  21. K2o
    K2o at |

    Great chart!

  22. travelmi
    travelmi at |

    Thanks for the analysis. However, as a family with young kid, we are limited to certain time of the year to travel. If the price drops significantly during school years, it will not help much and I suspect that the high season will somehow matches the school out schedules.

  23. Sherman
    Sherman at |

    Nice work Seth! The Excel sheet is indeed very clear. I am wondering if you could let me know how you script the website and get data like that from websites. Thanks!

  24. Max M
    Max M at |

    The Hampton Inn Ciudad Juarez: As safe as a vintage Ford Pinto—both are value priced!

  25. Food Wine and Miles
    Food Wine and Miles at |

    Great analysis (even though I’m not as thrilled about the outcome)!

    Thanks also for sharing the data – I’m definitely going to play around with it a bit myself…

  26. abcx
    abcx at |

    So towns in BFE went down. Great.

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    […] Wandering Aramean did a great job digging deeper into the comparison between Hilton’s changes yesterday and Marriott’s recent changes. And, that’s what got me thinking about the overall picture. […]

  28. Jason L
    Jason L at |

    Looking at the program as a whole, the devaluation does not look that bad. But I think what Hilton has done is taken all the sweet spots of the program and made them now very pricey. Since many people (including myself) were targeting those sweet spots, I’m def switching programs.

  29. LR
    LR at |

    This is TERRIBLE NEWS TO ME. Overall, I think the devaluation is ok for people who travel to small cities and like staying at crappy Hampton inns. I do most of my travel in major cities, at nicer properties – exactly the area of HHonors that got demolished.

  30. Dave (from Free Travel Genius)
    Dave (from Free Travel Genius) at |

    Serious data mining, I like it! I think I look at it from the same angle as @JasonL and @LR, though. I would actually think that most people probably do (or should) look at it from this view as well. Assuming we are still paying cash for some nights (or have points on other systems), we optimize (or should) using points for the highest value-per-point stays. In addition to the mean redemption cost shifting up, a reversion to mean value-per-point generally hurts us as well. The more pricing error Hilton has in their system, the more opportunities I have to arb it.

    The DT Times^2 is the worst news for me (other than all the time I will need to spend redoing my math) since I stay there often. My wife loves being a true tourist, so its the perfect spot when I’m with her (happy to couch surf it when I’m solo).

    Hmm, so I am only about 1/3rd the way to the $40k spend I need on the Reserve card to renew my Diamond before losing it on 3/31. I may need to rethink that.

    I trust that the weekend certs will still count or I will really be bummed.

  31. Sami Kitty
    Sami Kitty at |

    Fight Hhonors Devaluation #DiamondFlu Hits Hawaii http://bit.ly/Vz0yvA

  32. Ali
    Ali at |

    Hi Seth this is amazing analysis. thanks for this. I am not happy with the devaluation but thats the way all the programmes are kind of going. could you please add some of the aspirational awards(high end hotels like the conrad’s, waldorf’s). Also some more UK hotels as I travel mostly here and across Europe.

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  34. Denise
    Denise at |

    Thank you. I, too, am a relatively new reader of your blog, but can remember clearly Hilton’s last major devaluation. Category 6 (I think) went from 100,000 to 175,000 for 6 nights in 2003. We went to Hawaii for Spring Break solely for that reason. Anyway, it was nice to read something objective because all programs are changing. I laugh at those who say they are leaving Hilton for another program–what are they going to do when that next program has a major change? And on that note, I think I’ll go book the Doubletree in Bratislava!

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