What’s The Story With Award Availability At The Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem?

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Update: Award availability has significantly improved as of yesterday and has opened up on more than 50 dates that I’ve been tracking. That’s a great sign going forward from my favorite hotel in Israel, so hats off to the Waldorf team in Jerusalem.

Originally posted on 5/31:
Related post: The Dollars And Cents Behind A Hotel Award Stay; What The Park Hyatt Toronto Makes On An Award Stay

Point hotels in Israel are hard to come by.

Not long ago Starwood had 13 properties that were all bargains with Starpoints. I stayed in many of them on a month-long trek across the holy land in August of 2007, spending just a couple thousand Starpoints per night to stay in Jerusalem, Haifa, Eilat, Tiberias, and the Dead Sea.  Now there’s just 1 left, the Sheraton Tel Aviv, and at 12K-16K points per night it’s not the bargain it once was. The W Tel Aviv-Jaffa was slated to open fall 2015 but that has been pushed back to November 2016. I’ve heard rumors of a Westin Tel Aviv, but nothing for Jerusalem.

Hyatt had a Jerusalem hotel but now has nothing.

Marriott has the Renaissance Tel Aviv Hotel and the Ritz-Carlton Herzliya.

IHG has a nice selection of hotels in Israel, though the Crowne Plaza Jerusalem is dated and isn’t in a good location for tourists.

Hilton has had several hotels in Jerusalem over the years that have come and gone. The David Citadel opened as the Hilton Jerusalem in 1998 but left Hilton in 2001.

The Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem opened in 2014 and is a gem, possibly the finest hotel in the whole country.















We stayed there last year and had a wonderful time. It costs 64K-80K points per night, but it’s well worth it. Citi gives 2 free nights there with the Citi Hilton Reserve card. The Reserve card even gives Gold status which earns you free breakfast, a real treat at the Waldorf. But those nights can officially only be used on weekends.

Hilton doesn’t have capacity controls on their standard award nights. Hotels set a base room type and if they are selling base rooms you can redeem points for that room. Hilton divides its hotels into 10 categories based on their average room rates. The Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem is a category 9 hotel. Category 9 hotels cost 50K points/night in low season and 80K points/night in high season.

However unlike other brands like Starwood, Hilton allows hotels to declare every date on the calendar as high season, so the Waldorf has every single date marked at the high season rate of 80K points/night. If you are a Hilton elite or cardholder you get the 5th night free on awards, so that drops the cost of a 5 night stay to 64K points/night. Hilton AMEX cardholders can also book a 4 night stay for 65K points/night.

If a hotel is sold out of base rooms then they don’t have to offer any standard point rooms. They sell other rooms at massive premiums to the standard rate.

Some hotels are notorious for playing dirty pool.

One of the worst offenders is the Andaz Maui which added a new type of base room after they opened called the “Garden View.” They typically don’t sell this room type directly on Hyatt.com and even on the rare occasion that they do, they have a 5 night minimum stay requirement. However I’ve found Garden view rooms for sale on other sites without a 5 night minimum and when I’ve emailed Hyatt about that, they just say they’ll contact the other booking website to remove the Garden view room. Well, isn’t that helpful…

The reason that some hotels abuse the no capacity controls on award nights is that hotels are typically privately owned and are managed by companies like Hilton, Hyatt, or Starwood in order to drum up more business. Those hotel management companies send loyal guests to the hotels and the hotels pay a royalty to the hotel management company. They also participate in loyalty programs that has a cost to the hotel, but is worthwhile due to having guests that actively seek out specific hotel brands.

When a guest uses points at a hotel the hotel management company typically reimburses the hotel with a small fraction of the daily rate. This is usually a big profit center for the hotel chain as Hilton might sell 80K points to a credit card company for $320 but they might only reimburse the hotel $50 for the night. The catch is that if a hotel is fully occupied (typically at least 90% or 95% full though it varies based on the hotel management contract) then the hotel management company will reimburse the hotel at the average room rate for that night.

Last Monday, DDF member yg99 noticed that he couldn’t find any award space at the Waldorf Astroria Jerusalem.

I took a look and he was right, there were zero standard rooms for sale from now through 2017, which meant no rooms were bookable for standard points or with Citi free nights. Everything was wiped out.

I reached out to a few contacts at the hotel Monday morning asking for a comment and didn’t hear back from them by the next morning, so on Tuesday I emailed Guy Klaiman, the general manager of the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem, about the disappearance of standard rooms.

He quickly replied,

“We were configuring our reservation site in the past days, this is the reason some dates are closed. It would change in the coming days.

And indeed, right about then I noticed along with DDF members that superior rooms start showing up once again at the standard points rate.

However eagle-eyed DDF’ers now noted that every Thursday and Friday night were still showing no superior rooms available. So I emailed them again asking about the sudden disappearance of weekend award availability.

This time I heard from Katy Peer, a reservations manager that,

“Superior rooms are open for Midweek (Sunday-Wednesday). CLOSED on High season.”

Well we’ve always known that the Waldorf never released any superior rooms on holidays like Sukkos, but blocking that award space on weekends was something new, so I pressed once again, asking if this was a change in policy going forward to which she responded,

“Some weekends are open, depends of hotel occupancy.”

Of course, hotels shouldn’t be blocking base rooms due to occupancy. They should offer them until they’re sold out.

I’ll leave out the funny but mistakenly received “reply all” email at this point, but in the meantime superior rooms began to reappear for weekends during off-peak months. However many weekend nights are still blocked from now through July and from October through next April. And all nights are blocked around Sukkos, around the “Yeshiva weeks” in late January, and for next Pesach. Aside from Sukkos, all of those dates had standard rooms for sale before last week’s changes.

I emailed back the GM for further clarification and he wrote,

“The Hilton Honor standard room reward program is intended to improve our guests satisfaction and available according to the hotels availability.”

That’s not much of an answer for what’s been going on. What are the odds that all of those weekends sold out of superior rooms overnight?

The even odder part is that if a hotel is nearly full it gets fully compensated for award stays, so why is there even a need to block award stays during periods of high occupancy? And rooms sold during low occupancy generate some revenue when there otherwise wouldn’t have been any. It seems like a good thing to me, though it’s possible that occupancy isn’t full enough to trigger the full payment for the room from Hilton and that’s the reason for what’s going on here.

So I asked the GM,

“Doesn’t Hilton reimburse the hotel at ADR for award stays when occupancy is near full? Why is there a need to block high occupancy dates when those are the dates that Hilton reimburse ADR?”

ADR is the hotel’s average daily rate.

To which he responded,

“I appreciate your knowledge , however availability is according to the hotels standard rooms availability.”

That’s also not an answer.

Loyalty is a 2 way street. If the rules of a loyalty program are that a hotel can’t have capacity controls, then the bulk disappearance of those rooms from the calendar seems to run against that principle. The space ought to be tied to the actual inventory of superior rooms as is intended, rather than just left to the whims of the hotel.

I emailed this article to the GM last week asking for comment, but after hearing nothing I suppose that’s all we’re going to hear about this.

Clearly, Israel is a tough market for chain hotels and the temptation to de-flag is real, though it comes at a financial cost and loss of name brand recognition. The Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem offers a product and service that is head and shoulders above their competition and I’d love nothing more than for them to stick with their flag for decades to come, while maintaining a high level of performance. I’m just hoping that the shenanigans are left by the wayside and that this isn’t indicative of their future direction.

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79 Comments On "What’s The Story With Award Availability At The Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem?"

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We need to see the Reply all Email 🙂


Wish Hyatt would open something in Jerusalem.


“Loyalty is a 2 way street.”

I don’t think this applies to DD readers. I doubt there are many Hilton Gold/Diamond members who qualified for the status without help from a credit card benefit or status match promotion. It wouldn’t surprise me if many people just get the Hilton co-branded CCs OR purchase it from others on DDF then use it at the WA Jerusalem.

Don’t get me wrong it sucks when hotels decide to play these games but loyalty isn’t a 2 way street when people aren’t truly loyal.


There’s a reason that Hilton gives Gold status for having a Hilton card with an annual fee or the AMEX Platinum, they’ve determined that they make enough money off that relationship to make the offering worthwhile.

That in turn encourages more stays and spend with Hilton and Hilton makes big bucks from AMEX and Citi.

The chains have rules in place to make sure that the relationship works both ways. It’s hard to see how wholesale blocking is something fair.


How are they selling those superior rooms if they’re blocking it out?


They’re not for sale.
I’m not sure who actually winds up in them if they never sell it though, good question.

yay for Dan

If Guy cant or wont help you, there are higher ups…eg Reichmans son or Reichman himself.
That being said, the standards of Waldorf Jerusalem have gone down from when they first opened. EG, the last time we were there, as Gold members (thanks Dan) we were given a suite for our 80,000 points. The rooms were lovely and luxurious…everything super..until my husband went to take a shower erev Shabbos and we had a flood all over the huge beautiful bathroom. We called housekeeping who sent a plumber who removed a HUGE wad of hair. I felt this should have been checked as part of housekeeping between rentals. The hallway doorways were also smudged with finger marks.


Thanks Dan for another great article explaining how the system works.


do i hear an EECB coming?


What about the Ramada?


We have plans to stay at the Sheraton Tel Aviv between YK and Sukkos. I understand that, “at 12K-16K points per night it’s not the bargain it once was.” But is it still a bargain? Or at least a good redemption? With access to the lounge with the SPG card, DDFers have noted that one can have two meals a day there. Thoughts?


@Max: travel agents

High end hobo

Excuse my ignorance.
How can this hotel officially block out Sukkos etc? Isn’t that a clear violation of Hilton’s policy? How do they officially circumvent that? I don’t see only premium room type for sale with cash
Instead of getting nowhere with the hotel, do you think it’s worth contacting Hilton corporate?


I live in Israel and was not surprised by this story. There really are no good bargains/sales here-on most levels. There’s always a catch for the consumer if a deal even looks good at all. Just the mentality in this precious holy land of ours.


Thanks for this Dan. As I wrote to you last week, when I tried to book the Waldorf for January 2017 the lowest points rate was 183,600 per night (not the 80,000 I was expecting) for a king deluxe room (no lower level rooms showed up to book with points). I tries different dates but to no avail. I’ll check back now to see what rooms are opening up and for when. As an aside – I just opened the HHonors Surpass Card AND the HHonors Reserve card to jumpstart working towards a stay at the Jerusalem Waldorf next year. What do you think? Should I give up now and just go back to using my United card and forget HHonors?


@Dan: Do you know anyone who actually stayed in a Superior room? Please verify if there is an actual difference between a Superior room and a Delux room.


Pretty disappointing on the part of Waldorf Jerusalem. The game-playing appears to be quite evident and the GM’s non-answer all but seals the deal.


Hi dan does it mean that I can’t book a weekend room in august with my Hilton reserve card


I am staying for two nights soon at WA Jlem in my first ever visit to Israel. I will also stay at Crowne Plaza for one night. So the neighborhood at Crowne Plaza is not safe for tourists for one night?

Norm feuer

>Loyalty is a 2 way street.
For sure, and just like you look for every possible loophole to “play the system” they are doing the same.
At least acknowledge that.


What is your opinion as to why so many hotel brands have either left the country or shut down/sell many of their properties?


August is open for now.

It’s safe, it’s just not where tourists generally want to be.

@Norm feuer:
Credit cards aren’t a loophole, it’s a profit center for the airlines and hotels.
This seems like circumventing Hilton’s franchise agreements.

Either way, I’d love to know why blocking top occupancy dates makes sense when those are the dates that Hilton pays ADR to the hotel.

They feel like they can be successful without paying for another company to manage and be the name of the hotel.


Thank you for this information!! We have a difficult time booking points reservations at Hyatt Regency and Olive 8 in Seattle. I suspect the block out points rooms as well. It’s frustrating!!


Is this a problem if someone has Hilton Diamond status. I’m of the understanding that with Diamond status they must upgrade you to any room available


In response to what the Waldorf seeks to gain by blocking top occupancy rates if Hilton will reimburse at the ADR, I believe an awards booking brings in far less additional revenue i.e spa, in-room charges, restaurant, than an actual paid stay. Additionally, the profile of one who pays to stay probably suits the image the Waldorf is trying to project.


Frustrating indeed and I’ve heard of issues at those hotels as well.

Not with points.

When I’m not paying cash for a room I’m more inclined to spend money on food. And there is no spa at the hotel yet.

And is that reason enough to circumvent the program’s rules?
They can also just make purchasing meals a requirement to stay at the hotel over a Shabbos or Yom Tov if they are worried about that…


@Dan Thanks for this info….i am having the same problem for this/next month….I booked the first week of july on points but they told me that the first 2 days werent available. So i only have booked there frmm day 3 through 8 of my stay and now need to find a place for my first 2 nights (Shabbos). Not what I had expected and I have around 300k more HH points to spend there plus 2 more e certs.


Maybe it’s all about the breakfast. By giving the award nights and only receiving $50 or so they could in theory be losing money when you take the serious fressing into account.

Hilton manager

I manage a Hilton out it the Midwest and I will tell you simply what is going on. They have had to many points stays during 95% occupancy or less, causing a big decrease in ADR as Hilton will only reimburse the $42.00 for those points stays. This drags the rest of he hotel ADR down and worries investors, b/c it shows up on reports like the STR


Additionally, the profile of one who pays to stay probably suits the image the Waldorf is trying to project.

This has the ring of truth.


@Hilton manager:
But they’re not blocking low occupancy dates, they’re only blocking out peak dates when they should be 95%+ occupied.

For a day or 2 they had everything blocked, but then it switched to just the peak dates being blocked.

Seems backwards, if they are trying to game the system they would be better off blocking the low occupancy dates (when they might only make $50) rather than the high occupancy dates where they would get full ADR, no?


Just stayed two nights back in mid March using two free nights from the cc. At that time there was no issue at all getting my weekend nights. The hotel is beautiful and more importantly the staff is outstanding. I was upgraded to a better room and since I has gold (from cc) they even comped my parking fees! Had to call in to use the free night cents.


Indeed, the hotel is excellent.
Shame they seem to be going down this road.


I managed to book on low level points 80k using axon down to 65k (hat tip Dan) for Rosh Hashana 2016 several weeks ago. Any recommendations for kosher meal plans or prepay restaurants in the area to avoid the $110 charge per meal at the Waldorf.


At least for the night meals, the $110 charge is actually an excellent value.


Don’t pretend like signing up for the same cc 20-30 time is not exploiting a loophole. And I’m sure many of the people with Hilton gold status aren’t actually paying the annual fee for the cards they got them with


That’s a bank loophole and one that has been closing for quite some time. The airlines/hotels still get paid.

Norm feuer

@Norm feuer:
>(1)Credit cards aren’t a loophole, it’s a profit center for the airlines and hotels.
>(2)This seems like circumventing Hilton’s franchise agreements.
>(3)Either way, I’d love to know why blocking top occupancy dates makes sense when those are the dates that Hilton pays ADR to the hotel.

(3) it may be a legit question but at the end of the day the hotel management makes the decision that THEY think is best. It may seem crazy – but it’s their’s to decide.
(2) Don’t Know
(1) I don’t mean using cc or points – all legit. I mean, using “tricks” that are often highlighted here to get something that the seller never intended. many examples (finding a mistake in a fare that requires changing the currency to Krone, and more – can’t remember them all)
One can claim (I don’t) that if the loophole is there, then it’s legit.
but then don’t complain when others try to use loopholes for their benefit.
Honestly guys, if you were running the hotel and felt that it is in your best interest to close dates, wouldn’t you try to do it ?


@Dan: The logic is, at low occupancy they don’t mind giving away rooms that would otherwise stay empty As opposed to high occupancy where they will sell out either-way they rather want customers who pay with money.


Got it, so us using bank loopholes are ok but hotels using loopholes is not ok.


So they’re risking losing their flag due to gaming just because they want the money to come from paying customers as opposed to Hilton paying the same rate?

I don’t follow the logic.

I don’t claim to be perfect. Nobody does.
In the past the banks didn’t care, now they do and they are changing the rules as is their right.

But I don’t have a multi-million dollar franchise agreement with Hilton that I’m violating either.


@Dan: The Q is, are they really risking to lose? maybe not!


Even if the risk here is small, what is the motive if it’s not about the profit?


@Dan: Is there a chance that its Hilton who is behind this?




Great write up.
Perhaps the reason is that the 95% occupancy does not kick in unless 95% of the rooms are paid stays. I suspect that they are getting more than 5% points/cert stays.


Point stays are counted just like paid stays for the ADR threshold.


Allowing point reservations to fill up a hotel means that cash customers will not be able to book. Cash paying customers are more likely to use a hotel again paying cash on non-capacity days, whereas point paying customers, are only going to be using points on non-capacity days (which makes the hotel very little). So yes, if you are running a hotel, there is a significant reason to refuse to allow point paying customers to book out the hotel.


So what’s the bottom line at this point? No availability till possibly 2017? I got my card specifically for this purpose so if Waldorf won’t let points be used I guess it won’t pay to use. Thanks Dan.


This is a direct result of the seeming potential of Donald Trump becoming president. Read the following Washington Post article which explains in detail how this is effecting global hotels including the Hiltons https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/for-a-president-trump-global-real-estate-deals-present-unprecedented-gray-areas/2016/05/30/beac0038-15fa-11e6-aa55-670cabef46e0_story.html

Let's be mad cuz we can't game the system

Dan, I hate to say this but I think this time your just being a pain in the tuuchs to the hotel staff. Let’s open a credit card, use the free nights on nights they were not aloud to be used. Then let’s stay at the nicest hotel near the old city. Then we should make sure to never pay them even for a drink. In the end , let’s make sure that follow the part of the policy that we like the best. If they don’t follow that specific policy we should bug their staff.


@Let’s be mad cuz we can’t game the system: what planet did you fall off of?
Do you have any idea what’s going on? Better yet do you understand what you’re saying?


If you use points on a non-peak day it’s revenue that would have otherwise been lost.
If you use it when fully occupied it’s as good as paid.

I guess I’m not following.

There is, you can search on Hilton.com

@Let’s be mad cuz we can’t game the system:
Bunch of malarkey. There’s nothing scammy or gaming about credit card rewards.

Citi and AMEX pays Hilton for points and nights. Hilton pays the Waldorf a set fee per their franchise agreement that is low if the hotel isn’t full and is high if the hotel is nearly full. Hilton requires that the base room not have capacity controls or blackouts, that is in their contract.

There’s no need to game the system, the system works just fine at tens of thousands of hotels without incident…


Maybe its about all the free advertising from dd…
Jk. Seriously though paying customers henerally have money to be spent. Point users might not, more likely to budget and think before each purchase


“IHG has a nice selection of hotels in Israel”, But it seems being one of the only loyalty program has downsides-try booking HI in Ashkelon for the summer or a weekday at the Crown Plaza in the Dead sea for the next few months-booked solid(maybe people are reselling them?)


Just a theory,
Maybe they’ve seen a significant difference between cash vs award guests in the revenue from ancillaries, especially on peak nights. So if they’re gonna sell out either way, and it’s the same money either way, they prefer to fill up with customers that will bring in the most side money (meals, room service, etc)

Hilton manager

Sorry dan for the late response, first the hotel looses money on a points stay especially if it’s a gold member who gets the free breakfast. After housekeeping and other labor costs per room, it just doesn’t pay. Also people who stay at that location on points tend to complain about service, demand compensation, and frustrate the staff. So it is not worth it for them on low occupancy days.
In terms of higher occupancy days, only if they are about 95% do they get the Adr, but with a lot of local negotiated accounts the Adr could be closer to 300$, so if they are forecasting a sellout, for example for succos, they are going to block points stays to get the higher adr of $550+.
Lastly most days they don’t know until one or two days before weather they are going to hit the 95% occupancy. Sure some days they do and some days they don’t, but they have the past statistics, and after analyzing them, they made the decision that is going to bring the most revenue into the hotel. Again Dan, not the hotel industry it’s not just about selling out, it’s about selling out at the highest rate.


@Hilton manager:

I doubt the Waldorf has such low negotiated rates that it would bring the entire hotel’s ADR that low. The last minute not knowing if you’ll hit 95% make the most sense to me.

But in other words, you want the benefits of being flagged, but you don’t want the costs of being flagged. In the end of the day someone decided it was worth being flagged for the brand recognition that it brings. Obviously that comes with costs and a contract that precludes shenanigans with award nights.

Have you seen the lawsuit of SPG vs Le Meridien NYC/Palm Springs for cooking the books?


@Dan: well, if the paying customer is Staying elsewhere due to hotel being full They will lose a customer that may have booked in low season a full pay room.


Why would they lose that customer in low season just because he wasn’t able to get a room in high season?


@Dan: Well, maybe they were happy where they stayed the first time around. For instance my dad was looking at Waldorf and the David citadel, Waldorf was full and he booked David citidal he was really happy and he is staying there once a year ever since.


@Dan: Also look at comment 56 which is probably very true. I’m usually a point customer and I don’t spend a lot on side stuff I’d buy the beat in the grocery across the street 😉. My dad is paying customer he can afford they make a fortune on him.


It’s possible, though I happily paid for meals there knowing that I was only using points for the room.

Either way, I’m not sure that’s something worth getting audited by Hilton corporate over, but maybe they feel it is.

Most likely reason seems to be if they’re falling just short of the threshold to make ADR on points stays, though they should be able to optimize that in other ways.


@Hilton manager: “Also people who stay at that location on points tend to complain about service, demand compensation, and frustrate the staff.”

HHMM Anybody reading ddf should know how true this is


@Dan: Shabos meals I’d happily pay for as well. With the amount of food you get it’s probably a bargain. But I don’t spend $7 on the beer that I can get across the street for a buck. People who pay 500- $600 a night tent to spend on these kind of stuff.

Mountain Man

I’m very grateful to the Waldorf Astoria for the stay I had Purim time. It was the best hotel experience I have had. It’s a shame that blocking points will limit others from experiencing this hotel.

Due to the rise of all the points bookings, my fear is if these “blackouts” will spread to other destination hotels. It seems far fetched but there are more and more reports of this happening.

Abe. F

With gold status and booked with points mid week, does it include breakfast at the waldorf?


they dont want the high rolling shvitzers coming and farckockting up the hotel with their loud screaming parties at their meals etc. they want classy ppl who pay and behave like menthchen. im nit saying everbody who stays on points is a shvitzer etc but who we kidding? most are

Hilton manager

@dan, at the end if the day they are not going to loose the flag for this, no chance, they have been wanting to do this for years, and only did it now after they were able to convince the brand to let it slide…… People who manage hotels are smarter than the avg points junky, try know all the Jewish tricks .


@Hilton manager: “jewish tricks”? Wow. Nice to see some good old fashion antisemitism creep into the discussion


@Dan, I find it hard to believe that a person purporting to be the manager of a Hilton hotel in the U.S. can display such a lack of ability to write with proper spelling and grammar.
Dan, I don’t think that it is a secret that Waldorf Jerusalem has been struggling to make a profit. Yes, its true that there are hundreds of hotels that follow the system and are successful. However, the Waldorf Jerusalem does not follow the normal business model, because the ratio of point stays to paid stays is way above average. They knew this from the start and sought to limit point stays before they even opened. Think about this. No other Hilton or Waldorf besides the one in Jerusalem does not have a room with 2 beds at the standard rate. That is absurd.
I am willing to cut them slack and if at some peak times they limit the ability to book a room with points, so be it. I will come at a non-peak times. Because at the end of the day, if they can’t turn a profit, they will de-flag and we will have nothing.


It has become the norm to stay at the Waldorf in Jerusalem using points redemption. I should know, as I’ve arranged/reserved close to 100 nights at the Waldorf by now, and they were ALL points reservations. Often it will be on someone else’s gold or diamond account, with the actual guests name added. This causes 2 problems (for Waldorf, not for me!) that I can think of.
1.) The price that people expect to pay, and are therefore intending to pay is drastically lowered. Which creates a drag on the demand for the rooms at the price the Waldorf intends to sell it for.
2.) It also reduces the stature of a Waldorf stay. The Waldorf is often cheaper through points then their neighborhood competitors like the David Citadel and King David. From a marketing standpoint, the ability for every Tom Dick and Harry to cheaply stay at the Waldorf is not great for the Waldorf name.


Does that mean that you manually searched for 50 dates?


just tried a few dates and the hotel isnt even showing up !

Yosef H

Besides the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem which other hotels in Israel /USA are a great deal to use Hilton free nights certificates ? Thanks.


Which is a better hotel hilton Tel Aviv or Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem? On there site Waldorf states pool and spa closed breakfast not included in points room booking. Goes status get you free breakfast?


searching 5/1/2017-5/15/2017 has no availability for paid rooms let alone points.


@Yaakov: Gold or above gets you a free breakfast, which is certainly worth having. A points booking in and of itself never includes breakfast in Hiltons [unlike HI Ex]. There is no pool [yet] in the Waldorf nor is there an Executive Lounge. The Hilton Tel Aviv, which is a great property with excellent staff on a par with the Waldorf, is a different type of experience. You can get a five night stay in Tel Aviv for 56,000 points a night, as a Diamond often a suite upgrade, a swimming pool and access to the Executive Lounge with complimentary eats and drinks, morning, midday and evening. That is worth a great deal if you are using points to spend time in a luxury hotel at minimum cost. I would [and have taken] take the Hilton over the Waldorf. The Waldorf is great for a day or two but the Hilton Tel Aviv for a relaxing points redemption holiday can’t be beat, especially if like me you have Diamond status. With Gold you get the Executive Lounge only if upgraded to the Executive Floor or a room with Lounge privileges. The Hilton Tel Aviv try hard not to give those upgrades to Golds. Live it up in the Hilton and pay/redeem points to stay in a lower grade hotel in Jerusalem, or use HHonors points at the Waldorf if you are swimming in them. The Jerusalem Crowne Plaza is not that bad. After all you are likely going to be spending less time in the room in Jerusalem than in Tel Aviv so a little less luxury won’t be so noticed.


Just checked for a HHonors stay in March and there is zero availability for 2017.