Hilton devalues points, moves to dynamic award pricing

Hilton is hopping on the “dynamic pricing” bandwagon, according to a recent release from a Hilton spokesperson.

The statement said (with emphasis added on the part referencing dynamic pricing):

Since the launch of Points & Money two years ago, our team regularly monitors the performance of the program and makes necessary tweaks along the way. Points & Money is performing very well and we’re thrilled so many members are taking advantage of it.

A few days ago we made a slight shift in the program and as we previously shared, while we won’t be sending updates for each and every shift, we are fully committed to delivering the best value to our members, and will carefully consider any adjustments for Hilton Honors properties.

As Points can flex depending on the hotel and date, visit https://pointsexplorer.hiltonhonors.com/ to search desired hotels, destinations and preferred dates to book your next stay at over 5,000 Hilton hotels.

Hilton Honors is the only program that allows members to make use of ANY combination of Points and money starting at just 5,000 points to redeem at one of our properties.

Recently, I was able to redeem 380,000 Hilton points for 5 nights in a Water Villa at the Conrad Maldives and was already trying to accumulate more points to stay at the Conrad Koh Samui. Right now, it does appear that prices are remaining the same for the upper-tier hotels, with One Mile at a Time reporting that prices are currently the same at the Conrad Bora Bora and the Waldorf Maldives (which was already clocking in at 120,000 points per night – their most expensive property).

I’m happy that other travel bloggers are calling this what it is – a devaluation – and it’s, unfortunately, part of an ongoing trend.

Is the switch to dynamic pricing changing your plans for spending points? Let me know in the comments!

American Airlines confirms imminent move to dynamic pricing

The senior vice president of revenue management for American Airlines confirmed today, while speaking at the Bernstein’s 35th Annual Strategic Decisions Conference, that American Airlines will soon be moving to a dynamic pricing model.

This is being heavily reported on a number of leading travel blogs, including The Points Guy. Importantly, the move to dynamic pricing may happen as soon as July 31, 2019, so if you are holding onto American Airlines miles, you may want to consider them using right away since dynamic pricing almost always leads to a drastic devaluation of miles/points held.

American Airlines is following in the shoes of Delta and United, the latter just announcing the switch to dynamic pricing in April.

I definitely expected American Airlines to make the switch, but wish they had given customers more time. I absolutely love their current business class redemption rates to Asia (I was recently able to score a 70,000 point business class ticket on Qatar Airways, in their QSuite), which I’ve found to be one of the best deals around.

For now, we’ll have to wait and see what these awards will look like after they make the move. But I’m not at all optimistic.

SFO moving all Uber, Lyft pickups to central parking lot for domestic flights

If you’ve been to SFO recently, you may have experienced chaos while waiting for your ride-share vehicle to pick you up. In recent months, SFO has taken some steps to ease this problem, having moved UberPools and Lyft Line pickups to a central parking lot, which has helped a bit.

But today, SFO announced that beginning June 3, 2019, it will relocate all domestic terminal pickups for Uber, Lyft, and other ride-share companies to the top level of the domestic hourly parking garage.

This will make taking a ride-share more difficult for travelers flying domestically, though the good new is that international travelers will still be able to have Uber or Lyft pick them up curbside.

Hilton offering double points for stays this summer

If you’re planning some summer travel, be sure to sign up for a new promotion Hilton Honors is offering where you will receive double points (starting with your 2nd stay) between May 6-September 8, 2019.

Hilton Double Point Promotion.png

For you business travelers, with the promotion you’ll also get a 10,000 bonus points (valued at roughly $60) on your 10th stay, 15,000 bonus points (valued at roughly $90) on your 15th stay, and 20,000 bonus points (valued at roughly $120) on your 20th stay.

To sign up for the promotion, use this link.

United Airlines devalues miles, eliminates award charts

United has announced that beginning November 15, 2019, they are eliminating award charts and instead using dynamic pricing, similar to Delta’s mileage program, where the price to book an award ticket changes based on availability, demand, and pricing.

As an example, currently if you wanted to travel one-way in economy from the U.S. to Europe using United MileagePlus points, you know that it would cost you 30,000 miles. However, with the new dynamic system, you have no way of knowing in advance how much it will cost (a Delta award ticket using dynamic pricing for a similar flight can be between 25,000 and 130,000 miles, with most tickets coming in closer to the latter).

This move devalues miles for MileagePlus members and also hurts the value of Chase points, if used to transfer points into this program.

The good news is that you have until November 15th to burn miles currently in your account, which is what I’m hoping to do.

Earn double miles on cross-country Alaska Airlines flights through the end of 2019

Alaska Airlines has a new promotion where, if you register, you can earn double miles on all Alaska Airlines transcontinental flights for the remainder of 2019. You can register here for the promotion.

The promotion is eligible on West Coast departures between:

  • Los Angeles (LAX) and Baltimore (BWI), Boston (BOS), Fort Lauderdale (FLL), New York (JFK), Newark (EWR), Philadelphia (PHL), Washington-Dulles (IAD), or Washington-Reagan (DCA)
  • San Diego (SAN) and Baltimore (BWI), Boston (BOS), Newark (EWR), or Orlando (MCO)
  • San Francisco (SFO) and Baltimore (BWI), Boston (BOS), Fort Lauderdale (FLL), New York (JFK), Newark (EWR), Orlando (MCO), Philadelphia (PHL), Raleigh (RDU), Washington-Dulles (IAD), or Washington-Reagan (DCA)
  • San Jose (SJC) and New York (JFK) or Newark (EWR)

Eligible on East Coast departures between:

  • New York (JFK) and Los Angeles (LAX), San Francisco (SFO), or San Jose (SJC)
    Newark (EWR) and Los Angeles (LAX), San Diego (SAN), San Francisco (SFO), or San Jose (SJC)
  • Baltimore (BWI) and Los Angeles (LAX), San Diego (SAN), or San Francisco (SFO)
  • Boston (BOS) and Los Angeles (LAX), San Diego (SAN), or San Francisco (SFO)
  • Fort Lauderdale (FLL) and Los Angeles (LAX) or San Francisco (SFO)
  • Orlando (MCO) and San Diego (SAN) or San Francisco (SFO)
  • Philadelphia (PHL) and Los Angeles (LAX) or San Francisco (SFO)
  • Raleigh (RDU) and San Francisco (SFO)
  • Washington-Dulles (IAD) and Los Angeles (LAX) or San Francisco (SFO)
  • Washington-Reagan (DCA) and Los Angeles (LAX) or San Francisco (SFO)

This is a great deal. The Points Guy currently values Alaska Airlines miles at 1.8 cents per mile and since Alaska awards miles for distance flown, for a round-trip flight from SFO to JFK, you would typically earn 5,160 Mileage Plan miles. However, with this promotion, you would earn 10,320 Mileage Plan miles, valued at $185.76.

Is it worth upgrading to business class on United’s direct flight between San Francisco and Tahiti?


As a member, you now get better savings when you book direct.

United recently started direct service between San Francisco, California and Tahiti, French Polynesia (airport code: PPT).

Earlier this month, I took advantage of the flight, and was able to snag an incredible deal for both flight and 4 nights in an over-water bungalow.

I was able to fly economy over and business back, so wanted to share my experiences in case you’re considering taking the same flight, and don’t know whether the upgrade to business class is worth it. (Unfortunately, I lost some of the pictures I took, so you’ll have to rely on my account below!).

The verdict: It depends.

As a lawyer, “it depends” or “maybe” is perhaps my favorite response to any question. But it’s especially true here.

Economy service, particularly is you are in Economy Plus, is decent. The flight is roughly 8 hours each way, which can be difficult for a business class flight — practically speaking, it meant that after dinner service, there was about 3.5 hours to sleep before breakfast service started. While United offers you the opportunity to skip breakfast (you can tell them before you fall asleep), I’ve found that even with an eye mask and ear plus, I can’t sleep through the smell of cooked food.

On the flight over, you’ll leave SFO in the early afternoon and arrive in PPT at around 8pm, which means that you’ll be sleeping soon after you land, anyway. I did this leg in economy, and am glad I did.

On the way back, you’ll leave at night and land in SFO early in the morning, which means you may benefit more from a bed (particularly if you want to go into work the next morning).

I was a little nervous about the 2-2-2 business setup on the business flight, but the new Polaris seats were really comfortable, and I love the Saks Fifth Avenue products. While I haven’t confirmed this, I think the new SFO to PPT route is pretty coveted and that the flight attendants working it were assigned to the routes based on seniority, so you can expect some pretty great service on the flight.

If your only (reasonable) option for flying to Tahiti is on economy, don’t let that deter you. But if you have the means or found a great deal in business, it’s definitely a nice way to treat yo’ self.