Possible Details on Post-Devaluation Hilton AXON Awards

Mar 29, 2013

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TPG contributor Nick Ewen has been navigating the ins and outs of yesterday’s Hilton HHonors devaluation, and though there’s been no specific communication from either Hilton or American Express on the future form of reduced-level AXON awards, he’s managed to suss out what they might look like from now on.

There’s no question that the recent Hilton HHonors devaluation was a crushing blow to us loyal Hilton-ians, but there are still many questions that need to be answered. One of the most concerning aspects of the devaluation leading up to yesterday’s implementation involved AXON awards. I covered this particular option in depth in a previous post, but in short, it allowed holders of a Hilton-branded American Express credit card (either the regular or the Surpass) to book a four-night stay at Category 5, 6 and 7 properties at discounted rates. Since the devaluation added three more categories above Category 7, how would that affect the AXON rates?

The new Hilton award chart with 10 categories
The new Hilton award chart with 10 categories

Well, it now appears that the AXON awards have been retained, but they still only apply to Category 6 and 7 properties. Another TPG contributor was able to book one of these rewards post-devaluation, and when I called the Diamond Desk for additional details, the rep confirmed that based on the information she was given, Hilton American Express cardholders could continue to book these rewards at the same rates as before: 125,000 points for a four-night stay in a Category 6 property and 145,000 points for a four-night stay in a Category 7 property. I asked whether the new “seasonal” rates would affect this at all, and she said unequivocally that they would not. As long as a standard room is available for all four nights, you would be able to book an AXON award.

I’ll wait for an official announcement from Hilton – there has been none so far – before diving too deep into this new option, but this definitely adds some new intrigue to the devalued program and should soften the blow of the devaluation at least slightly.

A Category 7 hotel in high season costs 60,000 points per night for a standard room, or 240,000 points for a four-night stay. If the rep was correct about AXON sticking around and not being affected by high versus low season, you could potentially snag a room for a discount of almost 40%!

Of course, on the other end of the spectrum, a four-night stay at a Category 7 property in low season would only be 30,000 points/night, so with an AXON award, you’d actually pay 25,000 points more than a standard four-night reservation.

As usual with a huge change like this, there’s a lot to still be ironed out. The rep I spoke to even said that she’s been dealing with some AXON glitches where incorrect points are being deducted, so I’m guessing we’ll have to wait and see how this rolls out.

TPG Update: We spoke to Hilton’s official public relations representatives and they confirmed that “AXON rewards will not be eliminated and Hilton HHonors members can continue to book AXON reward stays. Through June 15, 2013 AXON rewards for a Category 5 through 7 hotel or resort will remain unchanged. Beginning June 15, 2013 AXON rewards will be adjusted for Category 5 through 7 and Category 8 through 10 rewards will be added. Cardmembers will receive communication with the full details in the following weeks.” So it looks like AXON awards will be available in all the top tiers after June, but we’re going to have to wait a while longer to hear what the new rates will be. Stay tuned.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this new option. Have any of you had any experience booking AXON awards since yesterday’s devaluation? Please comment below!

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