From January 12 through January 31, 2015, you can participate in Hilton Days of Play Facebook giveaway. Each day there will be a travel related question posted on Facebook. Leave a comment to the question on Facebook to enter the giveaway. There is a limit of one entry per day per email address.

Eligible entries are accepted through 11:59pm ET on the day the question is posted. Contest is only open to US residents.

Hilton HHonors Days of Play

January 16 Hilton HHonors question and prize:

Work hard, PLAY hard. From family to your favorite song, what motivates YOU to get out of bed each morning? Share for the chance to win a Queen Mattress Set from Serta®.

Hilton HHonors Days of Play Rules.

Hilton Days of Play Prizes

PRIZES/ODDS:    The following prize(s) is/are available:

  • 12 prizes – Serta® Queen Mattress Set $1,300 US
  • 2 prizes – Trip to the 57th Annual GRAMMY Awards® includes two (2) tickets to the GRAMMY Awards® on February 8, 2015 and the Official GRAMMY Celebration® After-Party and two (2) Delta Flight Vouchers for 26k skymiles. $3,540 US
  • 3 prizes – Weekend Getaway includes a three (3) night stay at any Hilton Hotel and Resort property worldwide $660 US
  • 8 prizes Bocca Terry Robe $80 US
  • 11 prizes –  Dell Tablets: Venue 8 Pro 5000 Series (32GB) $250 US
  • 10 prizes – 100,000 HHonors Points $1,000 US
  • 1 prize – Hawaiian Getaway includes two (2) round-trip airline tickets provided by Hawaiian airlines, a five (5) night stay at Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort and a USD$500 Amex gift card $2,800 US
  • 4 prizes – Conrad spa gift basket $200 US
  • 100 prizes – $25 iTunes® gift card $25 US
  • 5 prizes – $200 Scorebig gift card $200 US
  • 1 prize – iPod® mini & Bose® soundlink $420 US
  • 300 prizes – Concert Cash $125 US
  • 2 prizes – Delta Flight Vouchers includes two (2) 25k skymiles $1,000 US
  • 1 prize – American Airline Vouchers includes two (2) 50k skymiles $1,800 US

Total Approximate Retail Value (“ARV”): USD$80,450

Good luck.

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Hilton and LiveNation, the music concerts and events company, will band together over the next five years to bring musical special events and opportunities to HHonors members. Starwood Hotels has been dropped from LiveNation hotel sponsorship after six years.

Hilton is the official LiveNation partner for the next five years. 42 million HHonors members will have the chance to redeem HHonors points for concerts and events and some meet and greet opportunities.

The deal means HHonors advertising opportunities to reach people who buy LiveNation concert tickets for 23,000 events each year with hotel advertisements for a Hilton brand place to stay the night before and after the show. ‘Where to Stay’ advertisements will be featured on LiveNation.com and Ticketmaster,com

LiveNation brought in more than $230 million in sponsorships and advertising in first nine months of 2014.

HiltonPLAY_Launch_AD_FP

The first hotel music show is scheduled for February 23 at Conrad New York with Grammy-winning Paramore.

Hilton’s Days of Play Giveaway

“Around the world, people simply are not taking time off from work to play. For example, we have observed that in the U.S., Americans are taking less vacation time than at any point in the last four decades. ‘Hilton at Play’ is our response: it’s a cultural catalyst for change and a reminder of the power of travel,” said Jeff Diskin, executive vice president, commercial services, Hilton Worldwide. “We’ve entered into the Live Nation partnership – one of the largest in Hilton’s 95-year history – in the hopes that we can inspire the world to stop and listen to the music, take a hard-earned vacation, and join us in this journey to reclaim playtime.”

Hilton Invites the World to Play

In celebration of the campaign kick-off, Hilton launches its Days of Play giveaway on its Facebook page, offering daily opportunities for play and prizes. The giveaway features Hilton’s portfolio of hotels and partners, including a Hawaiian vacation, tickets to the 57th Annual GRAMMY Awards®, and more.

More on Hilton’s Days of Play in the next post.

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Hilton HHonors 3,500 Avios for 2 stays in participating Europe, Middle East and Africa hotels with 2 stays from January 15 to April 30, 2015.

Earn 1,500 bonus Avios on a first stay at the following brands: Hilton; Waldorf Astoria; Conrad; Doubletree by Hilton; Hilton Garden Inn and Hilton Grand Vacations Club. At Hampton by Hilton earn 500 Avios on a first stay during the promotional period.

Earn 2,000 bonus Avios on a second stay at the following brands: Hilton; Waldorf Astoria; Conrad; Doubletree by Hilton; Hilton Garden Inn and Hilton Grand Vacations Club. Earn 600 Avios at Hampton by Hilton on a second stay during the promotional period.

HHonors member must set earning preference to Points & Miles with British Airways selected as earning partner.

Last sentence in the HHonors Avios promotion T&C is this with no link embedded: “Click here for participating properties in Europe, Middle East and Africa.”

HHonors – Avios Registration page.

HHonors Avios 2015Q1

Another term is this: “There is no maximum on the number of stays per Eligible Participant during the Promotional Period.” Yet, the promotion details sound like the bonus points only apply to the first and second stays.

Terms & Conditions

This promotion is only open to eligible participants. An eligible participant is a person aged 18 or over and is a British Airways Executive Club Member (membership terms and conditions apply). To be eligible for this offer, you must be (1) be a member of HHonors; (2) select British Airways as their Double Dip earning preference partner and ensure their HHonors profile is set to “Points & Miles™ (3) register online at www.hhonors.com/BAQ12015 before April 30, 2015 – member must register prior to check out; and (4) complete an eligible week night/weekend stay at any participating hotel or resort in Europe, Middle East and Africa within the Hilton HHonors portfolio from January 15, 2015 through April 30, 2015 (Promotional Period). All Hilton HHonors terms and conditions apply. For full terms and conditions, see http://hhonors3.hilton.com/en/terms/index.html.

Base & Bonus Mileage: Earn 1 base Avios award per 1 USD spent per stay during the Promotional Period. In addition, earn 1,500 bonus Avios on a first stay at the following brands: Hilton; Waldorf Astoria; Conrad; Doubletree by Hilton; Hilton Garden Inn and Hilton Grand Vacations Club. At Hampton by Hilton earn 500 Avios on a first stay during the promotional period. Earn 2,000 bonus Avios on a second completed stay at the following brands: Hilton; Waldorf Astoria; Conrad; Doubletree by Hilton; Hilton Garden Inn and Hilton Grand Vacations Club. Earn 600 Avios at Hampton by Hilton on a second stay during the promotional period. Bonus Avios is non-redeemable for cash.

A “stay” is defined as the total number of consecutive nights spent at the same hotel, whether or not a guest checks out and checks back in again. Specifically excluded from the definition of “stay” are the following types of ineligible stays: wholesale/tour operator packages; contracted crew rates; travel agency discount rates; stays secured utilizing Hilton Grand Vacations Club and Hilton Club timeshare programs. Hilton Grand Vacations marketing packages with a sales presentation requirement, complimentary or barter rooms; NET Group rates; Series Group or IT Group rates; third party websites bookings (irrespective of rate paid); and “opaque” channel bookings where the brand may or may not be known at the time of purchase. HHonors Points (or stay credit) may not be earned (including as a Member benefit) for or during ineligible stays, including without limitation, folio charges incurred during ineligible stays.

Offer may be applied to one standard guest room per stay, per Eligible Participant, based on double occupancy during the Promotional Period. There is no maximum on the number of stays per Eligible Participant during the Promotional Period.

Allow up to six weeks after qualification, and after promotion has ended, for Avios to be credited to your account.

Hilton HHonors announced hotel reward night category changes effective January 14, 2015 for 12 hotels increasing in category and 5 hotels dropping in category. More useful is a list of 63 new Hilton brand hotels and their standard reward category placement.

Why Hilton HHonors category changes are mostly irrelevant

Hilton HHonors hotel category assignment has limited usefulness in determining the exact price of reward nights at any specific hotel. An HHonors reward category only provides a range of possible prices, except for fixed reward prices at the lowest category hotels for reward categories 1, 2 and 3.

HHonors 10 category table

There are 14 hotels of the 63 newly opened Hilton brand hotels worldwide  with standard room reward pricing in categories 1 to 3 at fixed reward rates.

All other hotels require a check of the monthly calendar rates on HHonorsPointsSearchTool.com to know the standard reward price for a Category 4 to category 10 hotel. Even the price on the HHonors Points Search Tool is dynamic. In this post I show how the Waldorf-Astoria Amsterdam increased its reward rates between July and December, even before the new category 10 change takes effect in two weeks.

Loyalty Traveler – Hilton HHonors 39 award category changes and 56 new hotels (July 3, 2014)

5 Hotels Decreasing in HHonors hotel reward category

HHonors 1-14-15 hotels down

Five hotels decrease in category on January 14, 2015 with Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort in French Polynesia dropping from category 10 to category 9 which means a drop from 95,000 points to 80,000 points per night at peak rates. This is meaningful since every month is currently priced at 95,000 points per night. Get ready to book this property on January 14, 2015 when a 5-night stay drops in price from 380,000 points to 320,000 points.

Hilton Waikoloa Village is currently a Category 7 hotel with a reward price range from 30,000 to 60,000 points. This hotel drops to category 6 on January 14, 2015 with a new price range from 30,000 to 50,000 points. Currently this hotel is 50,000 points per night for every date over the next year, except for December 27 when it rises to 60,000 points for one night. The only certainty with the hotel category change dropping to HHonors Category 6 is the December 27 date will have to drop to 50,000 points as a Standard Reward. Of course, there may only be Premium Room Rewards available for that date and then the price can be upwards of 100,000 points per night. The drop of Hilton Waikoloa Village to category 6 does not indicate whether the reward night price will drop from 50,000 points per night for any dates in 2015.

DoubleTree Breckenridge drops from category 8 to Category 7 on January 14. This is a hotel to book for a discount as soon as the reward category drops to 7 since reward rates are currently 70,000 points per night through March 2015. On January 14 this hotel should drop to 60,000 points per night for ski season dates through March 2015.

DoubleTree Ocean Resort & Spa North Miami Beach is another hotel to book on January 14 when the category change from category 9 to category 8 means rates drop from their current pricing of 80,000 points per night to 70,000 points per night for stays through March 2015

12 Hotels Increasing in Hilton HHonors Reward Category

There are 12 hotels increasing in HHonors hotel reward night category.

HHonors 1-14-15 hotels up

Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam

An example of dynamic pricing is Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam, a hotel I used as an example in July 2014 to explain the HHonors Points Search Tool. In July, the Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam was 70,000 points for every month through February 2015, except for October and November 2014 when the reward night price increased to 80,000 points.

A check of HHonors Category 9 Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam today shows reward rates are 80,000 points for December, January and February. At some point between July and December the reward rate increased by 10,000 points for these three months.

Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam rises to category 10 on January 14, 2015 when the price range will be 70,000 to 95,000 points. Within this range are three distinct price points at 70,000 or 80,000 or 95,000 points. The price for February can remain at 80,000 points or rise to 95,000 points or even drop to 70,000 points. You won’t know the price until you try to book the hotel. All dates in 2015 look like they currently price at 80,000 points.

DoubleTree Edinburgh City Centre

(mislabeled as The Point Hotel, its former name)

This is one hotel to definitely consider booking before January 14 since it is currently listed as HHonors Category 4 at 30,000 points per night for 2015 and its new Category 6 means rates can rise to 50,000 points.

63 New Hilton Brand Hotels in 2014 Q4

HHonors new hotels 2014 Q4-1

HHOnors new hotels 2014 Q4-2

HHonors new hotels 2014 Q4-3

HHonors new hotels 2014-Q4-4

Hampton Inn brand opens 2000th hotel to reach a milestone this week with Hampton Inn & Suites Bellevue Downtown-Seattle. Hilton Worldwide has about 4,250 hotels globally. Most Hampton Inn hotels are located in the USA, although the brand is a growing global brand with properties in 16 countries.

Hilton Worldwide recently signed an exclusive deal with Plateno Hotel Group to develop more than 400 Hampton brand hotels in China with the first scheduled to open in 2015. Plateno Hotel Group is China’s largest hotel operator with more than 3,000 hotels in 300 cities and operates China’s largest loyalty program with 80 million members.

Hilton HHonors with 43 million members worldwide expects to benefit from the customer loyalty base of Plateno Hotel Group in China.

Holiday Inn Express brand of InterContinental Hotels Group already has over 2,300 hotels worldwide. The midscale hotel brands like Hampton and Holiday Inn Express are the foundation for these large hotel chain global brands.

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SLS Las Vegas has a 50% rate offer for stays through August 31, 2015 when booked by December 8, 2014. This rate offer has no blackout date or minimum stay restrictions with the opportunity to get discount rates even during special events like Rock in Rio next May when performers like No Doubt, Linkin Park and Taylor Swift will be in the city for concerts expected to draw about 85,000 attendees.

SLS Las Vegas is the newest hotel resort property in Las Vegas and a member of Hilton’s Curio Collection brand. The SLS Las Vegas is the result of a $415 million renovation of the former Sahara. The three towers offer 1,600 rooms.

Sample room rates I found are as low as $69.50 for midweek January. Add a $25 daily resort fee to that rate and you are still under $100 per night before taxes; less than $110 after tax.

SLS Las Vegas Jan 2015 rates

Rock in Rio Las Vegas weekend rates at SLS Las Vegas

The no blackout dates means you can book SLS Las Vegas using the 50% off rates for a 3-day weekend stay during the Rock in Rio Las Vegas concerts May 8-9 and May 15-16.

SLS Las Vegas rock in rio rates

Lux Signature King Suite or Double Suite is about $150 more per night with rates in the $375 to $400 per night range during the Rock in Rio shows.

January 13-15, 2015 midweek rates are $124.50 King Suite or $132.50 Double Suite.

SLS Lux Signature Suite

Story Signature King Suite is around $310 per night for a less ostentatious room design during the May Rock in Rio shows.

January 13-15, 2015 midweek rates are $109.50 Story Signature King Suite.

SLS Story Suite

These look like good deals for SLS Las Vegas, plus you earn Hilton HHonors points.

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Denver was an expensive hotel city this past week. Finding a best rate guarantee with Hilton Worldwide was the main reason I could afford a downtown hotel over the Labor Day four-day weekend holiday this year running Saturday through Tuesday, November 11.

Hilton Best Rate Guarantee and Upgrade                                                

Hampton Inn Denver Downtown

The first part of this piece is about the Hilton Best Rate Guarantee procedure. This was a stay on an approved claim for a reduced rate and $50 American Express gift card. Skip down to the pictures if you just want to see the Hampton Inn Downtown Denver bi-level suites on the top sixth floor of the hotel.

Hampton Inn Denver Downtown was one of the lower rate hotels for Monday night at $149 for a standard queen. Last week I shared how I booked the $149 Hampton Inn Standard Queen room for Denver and filed a best rate guarantee claim against a $124 rate for the same room type at Expedia. All details, even the cancellation policy matched to the letter.

My BRG claim was a slam dunk. It was approved in 9 hours. The problem was the $124 Standard Queen room was no longer available on Expedia and the BRG representative matched a lower room rate on Expedia to $140 for a Two Queen Studio. My room rate dropped from $149 to $140, but I seriously doubted the room type would change to an upgrade Studio room category.

Hilton provides a $50 American Express card for an approved best rate guarantee claim. The card is mailed after the hotel stay is completed.

Read More…

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This morning I cancelled my Hilton reservation for a DoubleTree hotel tonight. My cancellation policy for the booking was 4pm today with no penalty. If this were January 10, 2015 instead of November 10, 2014, my same situation would have cost me $122.

New Hilton Cancellation Global Policy starts January 2015

Hilton is changing its global cancellation policy on January 1, 2015. Reservation cancellation guidelines will have a minimum of 11:59 p.m. local hotel time the day prior to arrival, and you will be required to provide a credit card at the time of booking.

The rationale given is “We’re making this change so that we can provide you with a more consistent booking process and make more rooms available for when you need last minute travel accommodations.”

This means no more day of arrival cancellation policies. Canceled flight or missed morning connection that keeps you from reaching the city where your Hilton reservation is booked will mean you pay for the hotel room anyway.

As I plan hotel stays for trips, their new cancellation policy could place Hilton behind other hotel chains with more lenient cancellation policies.

I am a big fan of same day cancellation with no penalty for hotel bookings. Hopefully this cancellation policy is not a trendsetter among the major hotel chains.

11:59pm day before arrival cancellation is only a minimum.

Of course, this updated Hilton cancellation policy only sets a minimum standard. Some hotels, especially resort properties, may still have 2 or 3 days, and even 7 or 14 days before arrival policies for cancellation with no penalty.

Source: FlyerTalk

Hilton Chicago sign

Hilton has a bad reputation for approving Best Rate Guarantee claims. I have made best rate guarantee claims with all the major hotel chains and I have had approved claims with all of them, except Hilton HHonors.

The issue is not that Hilton denied my claims, I simply have not stayed much at Hilton brands. My first stay in several years at a Hilton brand hotel was in 2014. My five year self-imposed boycott of Hilton was due to the program taking all my points away after a period of inactivity following several years of HHonors Diamond membership. Loyalty is a two way street and losing all my points pissed me off. Sure, I could have had a partner activity or some kind of transaction to keep my points alive, but I didn’t. Hilton dropped me and I dropped Hilton.

Today, I found a lower rate on Expedia for a Hilton brand hotel that I do not see any reason for a Hilton Best Rate Guarantee to be denied. I booked a $149 room at a Hampton Inn. Expedia has the exact same room type with same cancellation policy for $124.

I have never had a best rate guarantee claim denied when a similar room type with a sale rate shows up on Expedia.

Tomorrow I should be able to report back the Hilton best rate guarantee claim result.

If Hilton approves the claim, then my rate will drop from $149 to $124.

And I will receive a $50 American Express card, reducing my total rate after taxes to $92.30.

For Hotels inside the USA, Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico, we will give you a US $50 American Express Gift Cheque. The Gift Cheque will be sent to you the next business day after your stay, as reserved, is completed.

Hilton Best Rate Guarantee

This will also give me an opportunity to earn points in the HHonors.com/DoubleUp promotion – if I have another Hilton HHonors stay before January 31, 2015.

HHonors 2xpoints 2014Q4

Related post: Register for Hilton HHonors Double Up Double Points Nov 1 to Jan 31, 2015.

*****

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.

Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests. Check out current hotel loyalty program offers across all the major chains in Loyalty Traveler’s monthly hotel promotions guide.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

Members voted and Hilton HHonors is offering Double Points for its next promotion running November 1 – January 31, 2015. Double points start with your second hotel stay.

Hilton HHonors Double Up double points means double base points at 20 points/$1. HHonors Points & Points members earn 25 points/$1, plus any elite and HHonors credit card card bonus points.

Promotion registration is here at HHonors.com/DoubleUp.

There are slightly more than 400 hotels opting out of the promotion. All but 16 of the hotels opting out are located in the USA.

A couple of FAQ clarifications:

  • No retroactive credit for stays prior to promotion registration. Your first stay is counted as the first stay after you register for HHonors Double Up.
  • Double points bonus may be earned on two rooms beginning with second stay. Two rooms on your first stay will not count as two stays.
  • Award stays count for double points for incidental charges at all Hilton brands, except Hampton Inn, Homewood Suites and Home2 Suites.
  • Existing reservations made prior to promotion registration count for Double Up as long as your stay falls in the promotion period and you register for Double Up before the stay.

What are you waiting for? Register for HHonors Double Up.

HHonors 2xpoints 2014Q4

*****

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.

Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests. Check out current hotel loyalty program offers across all the major chains in Loyalty Traveler’s monthly hotel promotions guide.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

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