Take another look at HHonors. Hilton HHonors is putting the twinkle back in my eyes. Members have the choice of double base points or a free night after every 4 stays or 10 nights from April 6 through June 30. This is a great promotional offer from HHonors. Hilton is letting its loyalty program do the talking in 2010 by truly stepping to the plate to play the loyalty promotion game. I am seeing the Hilton glow once again that initially attracted me to Hilton HHonors many years ago.
There is no limit on free nights earned. Free night certificates are valid for one year after date of issuance and good for any Hilton Worldwide hotel.
HHonors is now throwing coal into the fire… no wait, April is environmental “Earth” month and green is in. Hilton has responded to IHG Priority Club’s “Luckiest Loser” chant and the abuse from bloggers like Loyalty Traveler by throwing grass back in the face of its competitors and critics like me. The third lucrative quarterly loyalty promotion in a row charts a new global Hilton Hotels heading with HHonors loyalty sails fully open to the winds of change.
Kudos to HHonors for coming up with a truly competitive promotion to rival Hyatt Gold Passport, that pesky little terrier of a hotel chain nipping at HHonors bull mastiff paws.
Here are three reasons why HHonors promotion for a free night after four hotel stays holds its own with Hyatt’s two stays for a free night offer, also running through June 30.
1. The HHonors free night certificate is good for one year.
That is plenty of time to plan a vacation around your Hilton free nights. Hyatt’s free nights must be used by August 31, 2010. You might be able to get an extended stay in Paris or London at a Hyatt in the peak tourist season months of July or August using your free nights. But then again, you might not.
You should be able to secure a highly desirable extended vacation with a year to book your Hilton stays anywhere in the world. Summer 2010 might still be tough though even with Hilton.
Let the hotel select your destination and you will find high value in free nights.
My personal feeling and experience using free nights argues that with some flexibility in travel plans you should be able to redeem your free nights with Hilton or Hyatt at some high value hotels at any time of year. The thing to keep in mind when going for lots of free night credit is that 7 or 8 free nights in a high class Hilton or Hyatt Hotel can easily be a $3,000 value. The airfare to get to the ritzy hotel should be less than the hotel savings regardless of where you plan to go.
(Well, okay. You probably want frequent flier miles if you are thinking Seychelles or Mauritius.)
2. Hilton allows you to qualify for a free hotel night certificate based on 10 nights.
Ten consecutive nights in a Hyatt Summerfield Suites does not qualify for a free night with Hyatt’s promotion. Ten consecutive nights at a Homewood Suites earns one free night.
Note: HHonors does not require the ten nights to be consecutive nights to earn a free stay. Any ten cumulative nights at Hilton brand hotels will earn a free stay, so this is a good promotion for the extended stay guest with frequent three and four night stays.
Another good strategy is to break up Hilton and Hyatt hotel stays by using each program in alternating stays to earn free night credits for the next three months.
3. There are more than 3,500 hotels participating in the HHonors promotion.
Compare to just over 400 hotels in Hyatt’s promotion. There are 19 Hilton brand hotels in the state of West Virginia. The number of Hyatt brand hotels in West Virginia? Zero!
Here is the Loyalty Traveler “fast-track to Diamond and luxury hotel stays” plan.
A promotion like this is the time to jump into a loyalty program like HHonors. You can basically either status match to high elite (HHonors Diamond) if you hold that status with another program like Marriott, Hyatt, or Starwood or you can earn status the hotel way by making sufficient stays while earning free hotel nights. HHonors Gold requires 16 stays and HHonors Diamond requires 28 stays.
Assume you have only single night stays with Hilton during the next three months. You keep your hotel stays to a total average spend of under $100 per night. There are far more Hilton properties than Hyatts where you will find a sub-$100 hotel night. And even in places like the Hampton Inn Summersville, West Virginia.
Take $2,632 in hotel spend over 28 stays ($94 per night) and you will find yourself HHonors Diamond with 7 free hotel nights anywhere in the world. There are exotic locales like French Polynesia and the Maldives, urban getaways like the Conrad Hong Kong or Dubai, or you can potentially take a vacation next winter at the Waldorf Astoria Collection’s Grand Wailea in Hawaii and save $4,000 on the cost of your hotel room. You still have to pay the $25 per day resort fee though.
Hey Loyalty Traveler – What about the Double Base Points?
As a leisure traveler I always place utmost value on free hotel nights. There is tremendous leverage opportunity with free nights for the member who wants to plan out a high return on investment.
Some people, for whatever reason, want points rather than free nights.
Double Base Points
The confusion with HHonors double base points comes with Points & Points earning preference.
Points & Points earners get 10 base points per US$1 at any Hilton brand. Points & Points earners receive 5 bonus points per $1. A total of 15 points per US$1 are earned.
Double base points doubles only the base points from 10 points per $1 to 20 points per $1.
- HHonors Points & Points earners will receive 25 points per $1, plus any elite bonus points.
- HHonors Silver (P&P) = 26.5 points per $1.
- HHonors Gold (P&P) = 27.5 points per $1.
- HHonors Diamond (P&P) = 30 points per $1.
Assume you spend $3,000 in the next three months with Hilton Worldwide. This is equivalent to earning 75,000 to 90,000 points. You earn the equivalent of two free nights in a category 6 hotel.
HHonors Points & Miles earners will receive 20 points per $1 in addition to miles, plus any elite bonuses.
What can I say about HHonors?
Hilton HHonors’ winter promotion was a good offer for a free night earned after every four stays or double base points. The promotion limit of three free nights was a sign of hesitancy for members who had just watched their points laundered by HHonors at a high premium to the bottom-line value.
This is a really good promotion from Hilton and this unlimited free nights offer has extended a string of good promotions from HHonors going back to summer 2009. HHonors is looking like a program that is seriously playing in the loyalty games again. Lucrative loyalty promotions like these offers of the past three quarters will shut my HHonors bashing (typing fingers) mouth.