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Hilton is one of my favorite hotel programs for a few reasons.
First, I find it extremely easy to earn points between their bonus earning rate of 20X for Diamond members, earn rate on co-branded credit cards like the Hilton Aspire (14X), and also their many promotions that they constantly run.
Second, I really like that they have a meaningful mid-tier status that is easy to obtain. There are multiple routes to get Hilton Gold status. You can use cards like the AMEX Platinum Card or you can go with cards like the Hilton Ascend. You can also do status challenges which are easy enough to accomplish.
Third, I like that they have a large portfolio. I don’t usually struggle to find a Hilton that I can use my points on when traveling.
Now, Hilton Honors definitely is not a perfect hotel loyalty program and they have their shortcomings.
One of the biggest annoyances of the program is that they no longer have a published award chart. Hilton has a dynamic award chart pricing system so the prices can fluctuate (wildly) for properties and there are no clear categories that the properties belong in.
This is problematic because it allows Hilton to pretty much do whatever they want to do whenever it comes to changing the prices for hotels and nobody is really going to be able to know. It also makes planning for a trip difficult because it requires so much research to be able to figure out what the prices are going to be.
But now there is a new tool that should make your life at least a little bit easier.
New Hilton Points Explorer tool (link)
Hilton now has a new tool that is known as the Hilton Points Explorer. This tool is extremely simple to use and you can find the link to the tool here.
First you can move the slider to show how many points that you are willing or able to spend per night to narrow down your choices.
Then, you can enter in a location (or just leave it blank) and a list of properties will populate and you will be able to see the minimum and the maximum redemption amount for that property per night.
You can also filter out the results based on the brand. So for example if you only wanted to see Conrad properties you could filter for those.
Is this really helpful?
This tool is helpful in that it acts as a pseudo award chart which can provide guidance for your redemptions.
Sometimes this guidance can be pretty helpful.
For example, whenever I searched for Hilton properties in Miami, I saw several properties that had a very narrow range of fluctuation in pricing. This would actually be pretty helpful when trying to plan a trip to Miami with points.
In some locations though, the difference in price is so wide that it has limited use. Take a look at these properties located in Chicago. There is like a 40,000+ point difference in the prices. I guess it’s nice to know the floor and the ceiling for these prices but it’s still just not that helpful.
Also these prices are for standard room redemptions and they don’t currently have away to search for prices for other room types.
There are a couple of problems with this feature, though.
Some are reporting that they were able to redeem nights at some hotels for fewer points than the minimum is showing, making some people suspect that there was just a devaluation. It’s not clear exactly what is going on with that. Maybe they are still updating the system or maybe there are still some technical things to work out. We will see.
Also, some are reporting that some properties are not showing up at all. That is why I would try to use other tools (HotelHustle, Awardomatic, etc.) in conjunction with this feature to make sure that you are not missing out on any properties. I would also check the Hilton website or app to review all properties in a location.
Overall, I like this new tool because it is so simple to use and it gives us somewhat of an award chart for these properties. However, given the drastic swings in pricing this will not always be very useful when trying to plan out your redemption.
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Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. Since 2014, his content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.