Hilton Adds Points Explorer Tool to Help Decipher Award Rates

Feb 7, 2019

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For years, the Hilton Honors program hasn’t had published award charts, instead using variable rates for free nights. This has made it hard to predict how many points you’d need to book a room and difficult to understand if you were making the best possible redemption. However, the leadership team over at Hilton is obviously on a path to make improvements to its program. It just recently announced a pilot program for confirmable suite upgrade certificates at booking and has now released a tool that’s somewhat like an ad-hoc award chart.

Hilton rolled out Points Explorer, which shows the floor and ceiling of how much a property should cost with points. Before this, we didn’t know much other than that a room could range from as little as 5,000 to 95,000 points per night.

With Points Explorer, you can search for a property and see the range of points the hotel prices in. For example, if we search for Hilton properties in Los Angeles, we’ll find the minimum and maximum points needed:

You can also search by brand name, like the Waldorf Astoria, which reveals some of the luxury properties can hypothetically be booked with less than 95,000 points (although it’s rare to actually find availability at the lower rates):

At the bottom of the page, Hilton has a small note that reads:

“Lowest Points per night that our members have booked at this hotel as of 01-12-2019. Current Points per night may vary. Maximum Points per night for a Standard Room as of 01-12-2019. Subject to change.”

This indicates that the published minimum points needed may not be entirely accurate; it’s just what members have booked at the specific property as of January 12. The minimum points needed could go down if another member locks in a lower award rate, or it could go up as the program looks at different windows of time.

Generally Hilton’s award rates are tied to the cash prices of the room, so costs will vary as demand fluctuates. TPG values Hilton points at 0.6 cents apiece — using Points Explorer and comparing those numbers with the cost of a cash booking can help give you a better picture of if you’re getting a good value with your points. Because of Hilton’s dynamic pricing, the biggest benefit of this tool is that members can see the max price for a hotel. When a property is charging that many points, it’s generally a good value, whereas lower amounts would likely result in a lower value.

While you’ll only see a range of prices (in some cases quite large) that may be outdated, it’s still positive to see the program add another tool for travelers to get a better idea of the true cost of what they’re booking.

Note that there are still plenty of ways to get great value of Hilton points, like using its Points & Money feature or getting a fifth night free on award stays. If you’re low on points, a welcome bonus from Hilton’s American Express co-brand cards can help you up your stash:

H/T: Loyalty Lobby

Featured image courtesy Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista.

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