The massive March 28 devaluation of Hilton HHonors points seemingly shredded most aspirational value from many of the high-end Hilton properties. Many hotels that were previously 50,000 points a night skyrocketed to 90,000 points a night, sometimes even higher. For most, this has taken much of the value away from earning and spending Hilton HHonors points. However, if you start to broaden your horizons and look away from the tropical resort hotels, there is still solid value to be found. For the purposes of this article, we will look at the top domestic values; a future article will cover international redemptions. While before the devaluation I valued each point at around .5 cents, I now value them at around .375 cents or so. Given this, I now consider any redemption that gives over a cent of value to be pretty great, especially at higher end properties. Here are some of the better ones I have found in my research.
The Millennium Hilton, New York City
The Millennium Hilton is located in the shadow of the new National 9/11 Monument and where the Towers used to stand, making it a prime location to stay and sight see the Big Apple. The Millennium is a category 9 Hilton, making it cost 80,000 points a night during peak months, and 60,000 otherwise. It retails for about $400 a night. Spending 80,000 points for a 400 dollar room would be a pretty mediocre redemption. However, the Millennium participates in Hilton's Points + Money program, meaning that you can pay a discounted amount of points plus a copay for the same room. Instead of paying 80,000 points a night, it would only be 24,000 + $100 for the same room! This equates to ~1.3 cents per point value, which is incredible for a property of this caliber. While availability is harder to get for these redemptions, as long as you plan ahead 6-8 weeks you should be able to snag this amazing rate!
Conrad New York
Overlooking the Hudson river, this modern and all-suite hotel is in the financial center of New York with a great location for business travelers. Fortunately, the fact that it's frequented by business travelers makes it an appealing spot for leisure travel on Friday through Monday, when (from what I can tell) Points + Money is available at a great rate (other days of the week, if available tend to cost more points). Rates for a standard room retail for about $458 or 80,000 points for the dates I entered; however, on the same day Points + Money was available for 28,000 points + $125. This equates to 1.2 cents per point, which is great value for a Conrad property. The only reason I would rank this below the Millennium Hilton is because (besides being worse CPM) the breakfast here is reportedly sparse for Hilton Gold members, with only a very basic breakfast of pastries and coffee being available (though there are reports of simply being given a $40 food credit instead). Since it is a newer hotel with less rooms, it is also harder to get upgraded here. But that doesn't change the fact that the Conrad is still amazing value for a top tier hotel!
Doubletree by Hilton Richmond Airport
Moving away from New York, let's take a look at something that might be useful if you're planning any sort of mileage run to the east coast OR want an easy way to earn Hilton Diamond status. The Doubletree at the Richmond Airport happens to be a Category 1 Hilton property (one of only six in the US!), meaning it costs a paltry 5,000 points a night. Compare that to the retail cost of $102, and you can see that's already over 2 cents per point! You can get even better value if you use points + money, where the total is $30 + 2,000 points for a night – 3.7 cents per point!. Given that it's located in Virginia and the solid network of interstate transportation on the east coast, it's a nice option for a mileage run into a nearby airport as well, such as Washington Dulles. Where this really becomes valuable, however, is if you have a lot of time off (or work in the area) and want an easy way to earn Diamond status. Given that Hilton often has promos giving you points for every stay booked (for example, right now you can earn 1,000 points for booking through their mobile app). Presuming you can get 2,000 points per booking (and its often around 3,500), you can attain Diamond status by staying 28 separate stays. If you stayed completely on points, this would be a total expenditure of 84,000 Hilton points (3000 times 28), which is obviously a great deal for obtaining top tier Hilton status! The caveat, of course, is that you would have to spend 28 nights in an airport hotel.. but Diamond status is worth it 😉
This will be an on-going series, so look forward to the next installment soon. And make sure to comment if you see an amazing redemption out there!