Hilton has a specific award type for Hilton HHonors Amex cardholders for a fourth night free. This award is typically referred as AXON. Previously, it was applicable only to categories 5, 6 and 7.
Everybody knew that there would be a change coming after Hilton’s introduction of three new award categories and seasonal award pricing. Now, American Express has sent out a letter to cardholders regarding the upcoming changes on June 15, 2013.
The number of points required for category 5 AXON is going up by 5000 points, category 6 by 35,000 points, and for category 7 by 45,000 points.
You have to bear in mind that most of the desirable properties are now in higher categories, so the change is even worse.
There are three new AXON’s for category 8 at 220,000 points, category 9 at 260,000 points and category 10 at 300,000 points.
You cannot book category 8, 9, or 10 AXON awards before June 15, 2013.
Fifth Night Free, Seasonal Award Pricing & AXON Award
You really have to calculate carefully, what award option makes most sense.
The AXON won’t yield any savings at categories 5 to 10 at the low end of the seasonal pricing. The regular award pricing and fifth night free are always the better options.
The AXON award only works at the high end of the seasonal awards and ONLY exactly at 4 night stays or at 8 and 9 night stays. In all other occasions the VIP pricing with fifth night free is better option.
Hilton Amex cardholders got hit hard with this change as well. Not only is the price of the AXON awards moving up, but also the recategorization of properties to new 8, 9, and 10 award categories.
So, if you are eligible for this award option, you need to check possible savings using AXON awards only for stays of 4, 8, or 9 nights. In all other occasions, the regular award pricing or fifth night free is better option.
I have to thank LoyaltyLobby reader Jeff for sending me copy of the communication that he had received from Amex and the spreadsheet that he had done.