Easy to Understand Guide to 2013 Hotel Devaluations (Starwood, Priority Club, Hilton, Marriott and Wyndham)

Please, I beg you.  Take it easy on me.  I’m simply the bearer of bad news.

Bloggers are the modern day messengers.  Sometimes, in the days of old, kings and queens would take out their wrath on the one who brought the bad news.

I was going to introduce a couple of hotel devaluations, but to be fair, I thought I should include the whole gamut of devaluation in one easy to digest post.

Starwood 2013 Starpoint Devaluation

Deadline: March 5th, 2013 to book hotels at the current cash and points rates.

Comparison of current cash and points to new cash and points

Till March 5th, 2013                             After March 5th, 2013

Category 1 – 1,200 +$25                    1,500 + $30

Category 2 – 1,600 +$30                    2,000 + $35

Category 3 – 2,800 + $45                   3,500 + $55

Category 4 – 4,000 +$60                    5,000 + $75

Category 5 – 4,800 + $90                  6,000 + $110

Category 6 – 8,000 + $150               10,000 + $180

Category 7 – 15,000 + $275             15,000 + $275

One added benefit is that you’ll now be able to use cash and points to book upgraded rooms and suites.  You can see all those rates on this Starwood page.

In addition to the cash and points changes, Starwood also just released their list of hotels that will increase in category and hotels that will drop in the category standing.  Of course, there are more hotels going up than coming down.  Starwood shared this information on a MilePoint forum thread.  You can head over there to download a PDF with all the hotels that will be changing categories.

Hilton 2013 HHonors Devaluation

Deadline: Bookings must be made by March 28th, 2013 to get old rates.

A couple of days ago, Hilton made some dramatic changes to their points program.

Generally, if you stay at low end Hilton properties, the changes won’t impact you much.  However, if you like to visit the most luxurious Hilton locations, you’ll definitely feel *hurt* by this change.

Here are the three main changes according to the Hilton site:

  1. Reward categories increasing from 7 categories to 10.
  2. Season award pricing will be introduced.
  3. 5th night free.  This benefit seems nice, but the big question is what happens with other discounts (i.e. AXON rewards)?

You can see the new award chart here.  Category 7 hotels had a 50,000 maximum award, but that will now change to 95,000 max points for new category 10 locations.

Lucky pointed out this link that you can use to play around and see what the new rates will be.

I checked out a few locations where I’ve stayed or looked into in the last year or two:

Hilton Budapest: As a gold member (AXON Rewards), I can book 4 nights in June for 29,750 per night.  With the new rates, I’ll pay 30,000 points per night in June.  However, I can also stay 5 nights for 150,000 points (with the 5th night free) so this could actually be cheaper under the new system.

Conrad Bali: As a gold member (AXON Rewards), I can book 4 nights in June for 29,750 per night.  With the new rates, I’ll pay 60,000 points per night in June.  Yup, that’s a 100% increase.

Hilton Waikoloa Village: As a gold member (AXON Rewards), I can book 4 nights in June for 37,500 per night.  With the new rates, I’ll pay 50,000 points per night in June.  It will cost 60,000 in December.  That’s a 33% increase.

Priority Club 2013 Devaluation

In a separate post I’ve already discussed the changes with he Priority Club program.

Deadline:  Bookings must be made before March 18th, 2013.  You need to call Priority Club in order to use the old rates.

Marriott 2013 Devaluations

Deadline: Bookings must be made by May 16th, 2013 to get the old rates.

Compared to the other programs discussed above, the Marriott changes are fairly minor.  They are adding a new 9th category.  Previously, the highest redemption was 40,000, but the new 9th category will be 45,000 points.

Also, Marriott will be changing the categories of some of their hotels.

Here are the stats they share:

How many hotels are affected?

73% of the programs properties will remain in Categories 1-4.

63% of the properties remain unchanged.

1% of the properties will decrease by one or more categories.

36% of the properties will increase by one or more categories.

 

Wyndham 2013 Devaluations

Deadline: Bookings must be made by March 16th, 2013 to get the old rates.

I’m not very familiar with Wyndham rewards, so I’ll point you to Mommy Points and View from the Wing to get the scoop on upcoming changes.

Concluding Remarks

There are several lessons here.

  1. When you earn, don’t forget to burn.  Saving up miles and points is likely to result in a huge devaluation.  It doesn’t matter if they are hotel points or flight points.  In the end, they’ll decrease in value – not increase.
  2. Book early in 2013.  If you have trips coming up this year and know your hotel dates, I’d suggest you make your bookings now.  Most hotel programs allow you to cancel free of charge, so I’d suggest making a reservation before the cut off deadline.
  3. There’s a reason why it’s best to call this a game.  To me, collecting miles and points is a hobby or game.  I enjoy the challenge.  In the end, changes will be made, and in order for collecting to remain fun, you need to be willing to adjust your strategy as rewards programs make their adjustments.
Again, sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

 

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