Sep262011

Hilton HHonors 2011-Q4 Free Night Offer is High Value Deal

Hilton HHonors released the highest value hotel loyalty promotion of all the major chains for a free night every 4 stays or 10 nights October 1 – December 31, 2011. There is no limit to the number of free night certificates a member may earn during the promotion period. Free night certificates are valid at any Hilton brand hotel worldwide. Free night certificates expire six months after issuance.

Members must choose between earning free nights or an alternate promotion earning double points. There are about 270 properties opting out of this promotion, almost all in the U.S.

HHonors Fast Ways to Free Stays promotion registration is required.

Free Nights or Double Points?

HHonors Fast Ways to Free Stays 2011-Q4 promotion offers the choice of double points or a free night every 4 stays or 10 nights.

Double points is only a better offer if you think you will not qualify for a free night during the promotion period or perhaps you are a really big spender. Considering a person needs to spend $5,000 to earn 50,000 bonus points with the double points offer, most HHonors members will likely have four stays or ten nights and earn a free night certificate long before spending $5,000.

HHonors ‘Fast Ways to Free Stays’ Basics

  • Promotion period = October 1-December 31, 2011
  • Promotion available for HHonors members worldwide
  • About 270 hotels opted out promotion among 3,700 hotels worldwide. Almost all hotels opting out are located in U.S.
  • List of non-participating Hilton Hotels.
  • Member must select either double points or free nights version of promotion.
  • No changing promotion preference from double points or free nights after member registers.
  • Double points = 10 bonus points per $1 above regular earning rate for Points & Points or Points & Miles earners.
  • Free Night certificate may be redeemed at any Hilton brand property worldwide (even the hotels that have opted out of the promotion for earning free nights.)
  • Ten nights qualification does not need to be consecutive nights.
  • HHonors members earn regular points and miles during this promotion.
  • HHonors reward stays do not count for free night qualification.
  • HHonors free night certificates expire 6 months after issuance. (Assuming all certificates are issued by January 31, 2012, this means that the latest date is likely July 2012 for redeeming free nights.

Loyalty Traveler Analysis

This is a 5-key promotion and the most lucrative offer for 2011-Q4 hotel stays.

Hotel hopping for one-night stays means this offer is like getting 12,500 to 15,000 or even 20,000 bonus points per hotel stay when a free night certificate is redeemed for a category 7 HHonors hotel reward night or Waldorf-Astoria Collection where reward nights can be as high as 80,000 points per night.

I am definitely looking to take advantage of this HHonors ‘Fast Ways to Free Stays’ offer as my primary high value rebate for hotel stays over the next three months.

HHonors 2011-Q4 Fast Ways to Free Stays

Hilton HHonors Promotion non-participating hotels 

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

More articles by Ric Garrido »

Pingbacks

  1. […] Hilton HHonors free night after every four stays or 10 nights is the highest potential value offer for Q4-2011 hotel stays. $2,500 in hotel stays can potentially provide a $4,000 luxury hotel vacation on free nights. Almost all the other non-spend based hotel offers have a limit to the number of bonus points, miles, and free nights that a member can earn during the promotion. The exclusion list is the main impediment to making this Hilton offer a truly outstanding offer for the quarter. San Francisco Bay Area is severely impacted by the nonparticipating Hilton properties list. […]

Comments

  1. Sounds like a decent promotion – 4 stays isn’t all that great, considering they did this last year with 2 stays – but, considering the other somewhat weaker incentives right now from SPG and Hyatt, I guess this one is a bit better.

    LONG list of excluded hotels — what’s the point of carrying the Embassy Suite or Hilton banner if you aren’t going to participate in the promotions??? Seems as if HHonors should do a bit more to ‘encourage’ these properties to participate. I mean, you CAN’T stay at these hotels to earn the credit towards the 4 nights, but you CAN redeem the free night at these properties? What’s up with that?

  2. @erndog – those properties didn’t want to pay the extra 2-4% of the booking for the opportunity to partake in this promo. I don’t know if Hilton actually has any rules in place for the non-promo takers. I would hope that they can only opt out so many times before it violates their franchise agreements.

  3. Thanks as always for publicizing and analyzing the promotion. I think you’re overselling the free nights option a bit, though, when you say “Double points is only a better offer if you think you will not qualify for a free night during the promotion period or perhaps you are a really big spender.” The factor you left out in that sentence is that the free night expires after only six months.

    Let’s say I think I might meet the four stay/10 night threshold this quarter. Yes, I’ll have a free night I can use at, say, the Grand Wailea, but I’ve got to use it before July. That’s great if I’ve got plans to go to Maui (or wherever) this Spring, and plans to cover all the N-1 other nights I need to stay there. But if I don’t, I’ll end up eating that free night certificate. For a lot of people, we’d be better off collecting the ~20,000 bonus points, which never expire, and using them toward a longer stay at a time I choose.

  4. @Jerry – all Hilton brands participate and stays count for the free night certificate at any Hilton brand hotel not specifically listed on teh nonparticipating properties list.

    @gus_petch – My blog post analyses are primarily written from the point of view of someone who pays for his own hotel rooms. Someone who is not paying for their own hotel stays may have a different viewpoint on the value of loyalty promotions.

    I think there are far fewer HHonors members who will get more benefit from double points than a free night. Spend $2,500 and get an extra 25,000 bonus points compared to likely earning at least one free night.

    I can’t imagine not finding use for a free night over the course of six months. I would only consider points if I was trying to earn points for some extended stay hotel reward like Hawaii where 25,000 bonus points might put me 10% or more to that goal.

    Gary Leff mentioned in his post on this promotion that four $80 one-night stays at $320 makes this offer unsuitable for a pure hotel hop free night.

    I agree that spending $320 solely for earning a free night is not incentive.

    My take is that I can buy four hotel nights in last quarter 2011 with Hilton and I will get a free night rebate.

    I only average about ten paid hotel nights per quarter and I look at this as an opportunity to earn one or two free Hilton nights.

    Assume I spend $500 on four one-night stays with Hilton and get a free hotel night.

    I know I can find use of a free night at a Hilton property in six months time that will be worth at least $300.

    I view the free Hilton night certificate as a 60% rebate on my $500 spend. Only a free night from Marriott’s MegaBonus promotion is going to approach that level of rebate for this calendar quarter. And if I get a free night after four $80 stays, then my rebate appraoches 100%.

    I still have a free night from Starwood’s Resort offer last summer that must be used by December 31. I spent about $300 to earn that free night. I have no reservation yet, but likely I will use it for one free night at St. Regis Monarch Beach or Napa Westin since I currently have no plans to be outside California in the next three months.

    My blog posts are not written for road warriors too busy to use a free hotel night at any Hilton Worldwide hotel in a six month time frame.

    I think that millions of people will be traveling and needing a hotel during the holiday periods in November and December. Choose Hilton for those hotel stays and you may pick up a free night.

    Take someone on a special night out for Valentine’s Day in February. Extend a business meeting in New York and try out a Hilton hotel in Manhattan.

    Personally I know my parents would be thrilled to stay at the Hilton San Francisco for a night when they come to visit me in Monterey.

    I view these hotel promotions ultimately as an overall hotel stay cost savings that may save me one or two nights in hotel costs.

    I am not trying to put together a week in the Maldives or French Polynesia on free nights. But that is certainly a viable option with this Hilton offer.

  5. @ Ric — Good post and thank you. Yes, I agree who is paying for the room as I travel for business and my company pays which make the free nights more sense where paying on your own might make a difference.

    Good travels!

  6. This offer is good, but it is clearly not as lucrative as last year’s Q3FN offer. There are son many hotels exlcuded from earnings that it makes it difficult in many cases to earn the free nights. I am surprised that even the Conrad Chicago is not participating! I hope this offer causes Hyatt to bring back faster Free Nights to keep up with the competition.

  7. The one promotion that made this all worth while was the Visa Signature Gold after 3 stays. I completed the stays and I was still mysteriously been dropped back to Silver even though I paid with my HILTON Signature Card. I called their service desk and all I get is a “We are looking into it” response.

  8. Hi there,

    First off, great informative post.

    I do have a question though, and I hope you can help answer it.

    So let’s say I book a room 30 days in advance, and I get a nice 25 percent off the room rates. Does this room count towards the promotion then?

    I found some great rooms with great discounted rates and I intend to get the free cert for free stay this way. Not sure if this method is eligible or not though.

  9. The free night option is inferior to the bonus points if you only have 2 stays planned and need to do a mattress run.

    I have 2 stays planned in November that will probably net 21k bonus points under this promo. The cheapest mattress run will cost me $76+tax = $166. I estimate the value of the free stay at $199 (cost of 1 weekend night at high-priced leisure destinations in Calif.) So I would only save $30 with the “free” night.

    To be fair, free nights at these properties cost 35k-40k points, so the free night promo is a better deal for someone who would have 4 stays.

    But this demonstrates why this promo is inferior to Hyatt’s old FFNs and more recently SPG’s buy3get1 free resort. Many of us simply don’t have 4 separate stays that we can do at Hilton.

  10. @Boraxo – This offer may be inferior to SPG Stay 3, Get free Resort Night and Hyatt FFN for a free night after two stays, but since those other chains are not running those offers at this time that is kind of a moot point.

    This Hilton deal is the highest value deal out there right now.

    Double points certainly is better for some people.

    HHonors Diamond member with HHonors American Express Surpass card can earn 39 points per dollar:

    10 base points/$1
    5 bonus points/$1 (Points & Points)
    10 bonus points/$1 (Double points)
    5 bonus points/$1 (Diamond elite 50% bonus)
    9 bonus points/$1 (Amex Surpass Hilton spend)

    or you can earn 29 points per dollar and go for a free night.

    A mattress run probably isn’t worth it to spend $166 for a $200 free room, but there are many places where the free room night will be worth $400+.

    It all depends on what your travel schedule allows.

  11. If I take two rooms during one stay (which I am entitled as diamond member) is that count as one or two stays?

  12. Do you know if redemption rates increased lately? I just tried to book the Conrad in Hong Kong and it wanted about 170,000/night and that was after the discounted rated for being a diamond member!

  13. @Jeannie – looks like you have run into the new Premium Room Reward issue. When a hotel has no standard rooms available, then premium room rewards take effect and the redemption rate tends to be a fixed amount at about US$3.00 to $4.50 per 1,000 points.

    170,000 points per night tells me the published rate for the Hong Kong Conrad must be around $500 to $750 per night.

    The big controversy for Diamond members in 2011 is the new Premium Room Rewards appear to cancel out the ability to get a Diamond Desk Force for the standard room rate reward at 50,000 points per night when the hotel only has Premium Room Rewards available.

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