Hilton Home2 Suites Bonus Offer – 2000 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points for First Stay

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Home2 Suites is relatively new Hilton brand that has only handful of locations. I have never been close to a one. Now, Hilton is offering 2000 Hilton HHonors bonus points for a stay done before August 15th, 2012.

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You can combine this with other Hilton promotions, but do notice that Home2 Suites normally earn less on partner airline programs when double dipping that other Hilton brands.

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Here are the terms of this promotion:

Offer valid for first time stays completed between May 15 and August 15, 2012 (“Promotion Period”) at any participating Home2Suites Hotel. HHonors™ members must first register at https://www.hiltonhhonors.com/promotionalpages/2012/Home2SummerOffer/Pages/ELP_landing.aspx?lp=H2Offer prior to check-out of your stay within the Promotion Period. Must have a valid HHonors number. Offer valid only once per HHonors™ member. Bonus Points earned on Base Points do not count toward tier qualification. Please allow six to eight weeks from completion of the promotion for Bonus Points to appear in your HHonors account. Offer is not applicable to Home2 Suites Fayetteville, NC and Home2 Suites Jacksonville, NC. Offer is not transferable, is not valid for groups and cannot be combined with other select offers. Hilton HHonors™ membership, earning of Points & Miles™ and redemption of Points are subject to HHonors Terms and Conditions.

Hilton HHonors “Diamond Special Arrangement” Also Known as “Diamond Force”

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The best part of the Hilton HHonors Diamond benefits is the ability to “force” an award room in an otherwise sold out hotel. Sometimes this Diamond Special Arrangement is also called as a Diamond Force. This service was very beneficial until the summer of 2011 because you could force an award room also if only the award category rooms were sold out, but higher ones were available. Since Hilton introduced the premium room awards, this ability was taken away.

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Most of the time, I book my hotel at a very last minute. I am not one of those that books months in advance. The other day, I booked the Conrad Macau just 45 minutes before arrival. If you want to take advantage of the Diamond Special Arrangement, you need to contact the Diamond desk at least 48 hours before scheduled arrival time.

I am scheduled to arrive to Singapore later today. Last week when I was looking for hotel availability for a Tuesday night in Singapore, I realized that something was going on. Quite a few hotels were sold out and only higher category rooms were available at others. I was exploring quite a few options.

Then I realized that because the Conrad hotel was sold out I could force an award room there. I had one night award certificate about to expire in two weeks and this would be absolutely the best way to use it. I thought that a simple phone call to the Diamond desk would have this resolved.

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The Diamond Reservation Guarantee is very clear:

Diamond Reservations Guarantee:

The Diamond Reservations Guarantee allows Diamond members to place a guaranteed reservation at a sold out hotel when made 48 hours prior to arrival, except during Extraordinary Demand Date periods, when the hotel becomes overbooked on inventory by more than 10%, and for some hotels when the hotel becomes overbooked on inventory by more than 2%.

48 hour guaranteed room reservations can be made by Diamond members online at HHonors.com by clicking “Reward Stays” or over the phone by calling the Diamond Member desk or the Hilton Reservations and Customer Care office nearest you. These reservations are only applicable to paid stay reservations for all room types and reward stay reservations for standard rooms. Promotional Rewards are not applicable for reservations booked under the 48-Hour Reservation Guarantee. For complete details, click here.

First the lady, who picked up my call, said that there is no way for her to make a reservation for a sold out hotel, and supposedly, according to her, I was already within 48 hours of arriving to the hotel that was most definitely not the case. I called them about 70 hours before my scheduled arrival time.

Then, I was quoting her the paragraph that I have pasted above, and she was still saying that there is nothing that she could. I asked how much the hotel was oversold and she said 5% to 10%. The reservation guarantee doesn’t apply if the hotel is oversold by more than 10% that was not the case here. There is a small number of hotels where the guarantee doesn’t apply at all and longer list where the hotel can only be oversold by 2%. Conrad Singapore is not on either of these two lists.

Obviously this lady wasn’t really up to the task, and I asked her to transfer the call to the supervisor. So, I got this another lady who worked for “escalations”. I requested her to make the reservation for me. She wasn’t very co-operative either. I asked her to do a “Diamond Special Arrangement”. She said that there had been a change to it lately and that she would need to read the memo they got. Anyway, she put my request in and gave me a case number.

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On Monday, I received a confirmation and an email from the Diamond desk that my request had been approved. When I checked the availability of the hotel, it was no longer sold out, and they would have had even award rooms available. Availability of hotels often firms up the day before, so it pays up to check the availability.

Conclusion

They answer as Hilton Diamond Desk to the phone calls, but I am not sure that one actually exists. The service that these “Diamond” agents provide  is very uneven.Even the supervisor didn’t know that Singapore is both a city and a country at the same time. She kept asking what city in Singapore and/or what country is Singapore at. You would imagine that they would know better?

I always try to deal with any issued that I have with Hilton by email, because they reply fast and most of the issued can be resolved this way.

You need to know the terms and conditions of the program and what you are entitled to. They didn’t volunteer to do the Diamond Special Arrangement or Diamond Reservation Guarantee. Why have these in place if it is like pulling a teeth to get Hilton to honor the terms of the program?

I was sure that they would come through at the end, but this is not the correct way to deal with supposedly your best customers aka Hilton HHonors Diamond members.

Hilton The Great Getaway Sale 2012

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Hilton is offering again prepaid rates that are non-cancelable/refundable for Hilton family of hotels worldwide. The offered discount off the BAR varies by region from America’s 20% to Europe’s 40%.  These rates are bookable from May 10th to July 23rd for stays up to September 30th, 2012 with the exception of Europe where the discount is valid on weekends until the end of the year.

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As you can see from the charts below, these offers really vary from regions to region when it comes to the dates offered and the booking window i.e. 3 or 7 day advance purchase requirement.

The offered discount in the America’s isn’t that great considering that you need to give up a lot in flexibility. I would probably stick to AAA or MVP rates that should offer similar, if not lower, prices with more flexibility i.e. cancelable until 4PM on the day of arrival.

Other offer to keep in mind is the PR13CB “Corporate Benefits Employee Offer”. This can often yield similar discounts as the Great Getaway Sale. The PR13CB is often, if not always, excluded from promotions like the current double points or miles. It does qualify for the regular points/stay credit, however.

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Here is a rate display for Conrad Bangkok. The sale rate is almost the same as the “Corporate benefits Employee Offer”.

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Here’s one example from the United States. Hilton Miami downtown doesn’t have this sale rate loaded at all. They do, however, have advance purchase rate and the MVP one available. As the Americas sale is up to 20% off, the MVP rate would be equal to it and doesn’t require 7 day advance purchase.

Middle East and Africa regions: Participating hotels are offering a 25% discount on the Best Available Rate and Bed & Breakfast Rate.

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Europe: Participating hotels are offering a 15% – 40% discount. Participating Conrad® Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree by Hilton™, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Hilton Garden Inn™ and Waldorf Astoria™ Hotels & Resorts properties are offering a 40% discount on the Best Available Rate and Bed & Breakfast Rate. Participating Hampton by Hilton™ properties are offering a 15% discount on Best Available Rate. 7-day advance purchase requirement is reduced to 3 days from July 27 through August 30. Discount applies only to weekends (Friday through Sunday) unless otherwise specified. Some hotels may extend this offer to stays that include a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and/or Thursday night regardless the day of arrival. The discount applies seven days a week from July 30 through September 9, 2012.
Booking period extends through September 30, 2012; stay period extends through December 30, 2012.
***Discount does not apply from July 14 through August 12, 2012 the following hotels: Hilton London Park Lane, Hilton London Metropole, Hilton London Paddington, Hilton London Euston, Hilton London Olympia, Hilton London Kensington, Hilton London Green Park, Hilton London Hyde Park, Hilton London Islington, Hilton London Tower Bridge, Hilton London Canary Wharf, Hilton London Docklands Riverside, Waldorf Hilton, The Trafalgar, Wembley Plaza, DT West Minister, DT Tower of London.
***Discount does not apply at the following hotels on the dates listed next to them:
Hilton Manchester Deansgate, DT Piccadilly Manchester, Hilton Manchester Airport – 26, 28, 29, 31 of July and 1, 3, 4, 6 and 7 of August.
Hilton Newcastle – 25, 26, 28 of July through 4 of August inclusive
Hilton Cardiff – 25, 26, 27, 28, 31 of July and 1, 3, 4 and 10 of August
Hilton Glasgow – 14 of July through 3 of August inclusive
Hilton Coventry – 24, 25, 26 and 27 of July

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Asia Pacific region: Participating hotels are offering a 15% – 33% discount. Participating Conrad Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree by Hilton, Hilton Hotels & Resorts properties in Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand are offering a 33% discount on the Best Available Rate and Bed & Breakfast Rate. Otherwise, participating Conrad Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree by Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, and Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts are offering a 25% discount on Best Available Rate. Participating Hampton by Hilton™ properties are offering a 15% discount on Best Available Rate. At some participating hotels, 7 day advance purchase requirement is reduced to 3 days.

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North and South America regions: Participating hotels are offering a 15% – 20% discount on Best Available Rate seven days a week EXCEPT that from September 1 – 30, 2012 discount applies only to weekends (Thursday through Sunday). Some hotels may extend this offer to stays that include a Monday, Tuesday and/or Wednesday night regardless the day of arrival.Participating Conrad Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree by Hilton, Hilton Hotels & Resorts and Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts properties are offering a 20% discount. Participating Hampton by Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Homewood Suites by Hilton™, Home2 Suites by Hilton™ and Hilton Grand Vacations™ properties are offering a 15% discount. NOTE: Participating Conrad Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree by Hilton, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Hampton, Hilton Garden Inn, Homewood Suites by Hilton™, and Home2 Suites by Hilton™ hotels require a three (3) night minimal length of stay for Tuesday arrivals and a two (2) night minimal length of stay for Wednesday or Thursday arrivals. At participating Hilton Grand Vacations, a three (3) night minimal length of stay for Thursday arrivals and a two (2) night minimal length of stay for Friday or Saturday arrivals is required.

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Here are the Terms and conditions of this rate promotion:

General Terms:

Offer is subject to availability at participating hotels within the Hilton Worldwide portfolio, offer details stated herein, and the selected hotel’s booking terms and conditions. Applies to stays on select days of the week/weekend, which vary by location as detailed below. Book between May 10, 2012 and July 23, 2012 and stay between May 17, 2012 and September 30, 2012 (except in Europe, as described below). Offer not available at Embassy Suites by Hilton™. Full non-refundable prepayment required at time of booking. Your credit card will be charged immediately for the total amount quoted for the entire stay as reserved and refunds or credits will not be issued unless otherwise indicated by local law. Charges cannot be applied to other stays, services or merchandise. Booking cannot be changed. Must book at least seven (7) days in advance of arrival, except as noted below.

Each hotel has a policy addressing cancellations and/or blackout dates that may apply. Offer not valid with group bookings and cannot be combined with other offers. Unless otherwise stated, quoted rates are per room per night, based on double occupancy and do not include taxes, gratuities, resort fees or incidental charges. The Hilton Minibreaks offer, which includes a second room for children at half-price, cannot be combined with this offer.

May Hotel Promotions Update: Accor Hotels, Best Western, Carlson Hotels, Choice Hotels, Hilton, Hyatt, InterContinental Hotels Group, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, Starwood & Wyndham

Both Hyatt and Starwood had their new promotions starting at the beginning of May. Carlson Hotels, Marriott, and Ritz-Carlton don’t currently have promotions going on. I will continue to patronize Hilton and InterContinental Hotels Group due to their current promos and will probably max out the Hyatt’s airline related promotions as well. Personally I am very underwhelmed about the SPG’s summer promotion of 2012.

Accorhotels – Le Club

Accorhotels is offering triple points for weekend stays until June 10th, but these need to be booked by May 10th, 2012. Also there is an offer for 500 Le Club Accorhotels points for playing a game on their Facebook page (no Facebook account needed).

Le Club Accorhotels 500 Points for Free & Triple Points For Stays Including Weekend Night

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There is another offer for 1000 Delta SkyMiles or Air Canada Aeroplan miles for a stay by May 31st, 2012. You can earn this only once.

Le Club Accorhotels Offer of 1000 Bonus Delta SkyMiles or Air Canada Aeroplan Miles

Best Western Rewards

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Best Western’s promotion for a $50 travel card started on April 15th and ends on June 3rd. You can also earn Air Canada AeroPlan bonus miles + bonus points for booking online and paying using Best Western MasterCard.

Best Western Rewards Spring Bonus Offer JUMP12 – $50 Travel Card for 3 Stays + Bonus Points & Miles

Carlson Hotels – Club Carlson

No promotions as of now.

You can get a Gold status with Club Carlson by being a Rezidor shareholder.

Club Carlson Gold Status for Rezidor Shareholders

Choice Hotels – Choice Privileges

You will earn 8000 Choice Privilege points for every two stays. Note that in lower quality Choice brand a stay is defined as two or more nights for this promotion. This promotion that started on March 8th runs until May 8th.

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Choice Hotels Promotion – Stay Two Separate Times & Earn One Free Night

Hilton HHonors

Hilton’s second quarter promotion is for double points or miles. You need to choose one or the other, and you cannot change your selection.

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Hilton HHnors 2nd Quarter 2012 Double Your Honors Promotion – Double Points or Miles

You should sign up for the two promos below. Even if you are Diamond with Hilton, you can still get 40K HH for four Hilton stays.

Register Your Visa and Get 1000 Hilton HHonors Points + 4000 Bonus for Spending $100

Instant Hilton HHonors Gold Status for Visa Infinite Card Holders + 40K HHonors Points After Four Stays (For All?

Hyatt Gold Passport

Hyatt has teamed up with number of airlines; Air China, Air France-KLM, ANA, American Airlines, British Airways, China Eastern, Delta Air Lines, Etihad, Lufthansa, Qatar, Southwest, and United to offer up to five times the miles or points.

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Hyatt Gold Passport Summer 2012 Promotion for up to Five Times the Miles

InterContinental Hotels Group – Priority Club

As always, Priority Club has number of promotions that you should sign for.

This time Priority Club has two parallel promotions. One is based on nights and the other is based on stays. You can earn 5000, 10000, or 15000 depending how many nights/stays you have during the promotional period until June 30th, and to which promotion you sign up for.

Priority Club 2nd Quarter Stay/Night Bonuses

Currently there are six different one time Priority Club bonus points offer that you should sign up for.

Six Priority Club Promotions to Sign Up For (UPDATE)

Then IHG has teamed up with Visa to offer you 1000 Priority Club bonus points for registering your Visa card + an additional 5000 points for using the same card to pay for a stay by July 31st, 2012.

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Priority Club Rewards On the Go – 1000 Bonus Points for Signing up + 5000 Bonus Points After a Stay

You can earn 2000 Priority Club bonus points for just signing up for three different Priority Club programs (no purchase required).

Priority Club Shopping Bonus – Receive 1000 Priority Club Points for Signup Up & Registering Your Credit Card + 500 Points Dining Bonus + 500 Points Sailing Bonus

Priority Club is offering 5K/10K/15K bonus points for 3/5/6 nights at InterContinental hotels in the Americas and the Caribbean by the June 30th, 2012.

InterContinental Offer for 5K/10K/15K Bonus Priority Club Points for 3/5/6 Nights

Marriott Rewards

Marriott’s nest promotion starts on June 1st, 2012 and has the usual number of different variations.

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Marriott Summer Promotion of Free Night Certificates or Bonus Marriott Rewards Points

Starwood Preferred Guest

Starwood just launched their much anticipated SPG Nice Choice promotion that hasn’t gone down too well. You can read about the initial leak, my ability to confirm that the leaked information was real, and the strategy that you should take. Essentially, this is a double or triple Starpoints promotion that is very weak compared to free night promotions that SPG was running during 2010 and 2011.

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SPG Nice Choice Promotion Finally Launched

Starwood seems to be promoting their Sheraton brand hard these days. There are three different promotions for Sheraton stays going on.

There is a promotion of 1000 extra Starpoints for booking a Club accommodation at Sheraton hotels and paying using an American Express card.

1000 Bonus Starpoints for Sheraton Club Floor Bookings

Some renovated Sheraton hotels are also offering 1000 bonus Starpoints.

1000 Bonus Starpoints for Staying at a Newly Renovated Sheraton Hotels

You can get 1000 Delta SkyMiles or US Airways Dividend Miles for booking a special (expensive) rate plan.

1000 Bonus Delta SkyMiles or US Airways Dividend Miles for Sheraton Club Bookings

Wyndham Rewards

Wyndham has two promotions. One is for North America (US, Canada, and Mexico) and the other one is for rest of the world. In my opinion the rest of the world is better.

Wyndham Rewards Spring 2012 Promotion – Stay 2 Get 2 – Double Points or Miles + Up To 4 Movie Tickets

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Wyndham Rewards Spring 2012 Promotion (non-North America) 10000 Bonus Points Every Two Stays – Max 30000 Bonus Points

Hilton HHonors Gold & Diamond Status Match & Challenge & Fast Track Offer

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Hilton has been offering fast tracks or instant status to Hilton HHonors Gold status via MVP program, which requires 4 stays during a 90 day period, and through a credit card affiliation in the Asia Pacific regions that requires no stays but rather a Visa card (you can get this work in other regions as well). If getting a gold status is important, I would take advantage of one of these two offers.

Sign up for our daily blog updates by email and follow us on TwitterFacebook for not to miss on valuable program information and promotions that Hilton HHonors offers.

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But, if you prefer having an instant or fast track offer to Gold or Diamond status via status match from a competing program, that is possible as well, although Hilton doesn’t make it as easy as Starwood, Hyatt, or Marriott. You can read more about Starwood Platinum challenge, Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond trial/challenge and Marriott Rewards Gold/Platinum Match/Taste of Gold/Platinum.

Hilton HHonors offers a fast track to Diamond and here is what you need to do:

– You need to gather your 2011 year end activity that shows the number of stays and nights at the competing chains.

– Hilton considers year end summaries from the following chains: Marriott, Hyatt, Starwood, IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group), Fairmont Presidents Club, Choice, and Accor

– You need to mail or fax the competing year end summary or summaries to:

HHonors Service Center
ATTN: DOCUMENT SERVICES
PO Box 9003
Addison, TX 75001
Fax: 972-788-1818

Alternatively you can try emailing them to hhonors@hilton.com.

– If they consider you to a fast track offer, you will most likely get a match to Silver or Gold status instantaneously, and then a fast track to Diamond offer that usually requires 21 nights during a 90 day period.

– Although Hilton says that they do not match to Diamond status, they have done it previously. Maybe, if you are able to show a very high number of nights at competing chains in 2011, they might offer you one.

Given the benefits associated with the Diamond membership level as well as the commitment we uphold for those who achieve Diamond, we currently do not provide tier matching or complimentary status.

What is your experience with Hilton HHonors when it comes to status matches? Were you offered a fast track offer or instant Gold/Diamond status? Please leave a comment below.

It Pays to Check Hilton Award Availability Often – Case Rome Cavalieri – Waldorf Astoria Collection Hotel

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I am right now here in Shanghai and on my way to Rome for couple of nights. I participated to the wonderful promotion from Hilton last year, where you would get a free night certificate for every four stays. These certificates are valid at pretty much any Hilton family hotel worldwide. I moved quite a few of my stays to Hilton and was able to get seven or eight of these free night certs.

I have to confess that I have not been to the Hilton’s flag ship hotel Rome Cavalieri before. This was rebranded under the Hilton’s Waldorf Astoria collection flag in 2008.

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So, I really wanted to try out this hotel and burn couple of these certificates at this hotel. The only problem was that, for weeks, the hotel was only showing premium room award availability for the dates that I was looking at. I even penned an email to the Hilton’s Diamond desk for them to contact the hotel to see if they could open up award availability for me. No luck with the Diamond desk with my request.

This wouldn’t have mattered a year ago when Diamond member could have just used the so called Diamond Force to open up award availability. This was changed last year when Hilton introduced Premium Room Rewards that are 99% off the time waste of points. Every room/suite is available using points as well, but the number of points required per night can be up to hundreds of thousands.

Anyway, I have always had luck with the awards very close to the arrival date. This was the case with the Cavalieri as well. There are often cancellations close to the arrival date, hotels might start overselling the basic rooms and bumping guests to higher category ones & suites etc.

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On Sunday morning United States time, however, every day became available this week again, including the Tuesday and Wednesday nights that I was looking at. Call to Hilton Diamond desk on Sunday morning got the two nights reserved and the certificates attached to the reservation.

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Unfortunately, if you have free night certificates, you cannot do the booking online. You need to call Hilton and do it over the phone. Bit annoying, but well worth saving the 330 euros per night that this hotel would have been charging for my dates.

Hilton HHonors Custom Upgrades (Nor1) and Guaranteed Upgrades Using Points

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I have written about how Hilton often offers space available Nor1 upgrades and confirmable upgrades using points during the online booking process. These offers are often also show when you are checking your reservations online.

Hilton used to call these Nor1 upgrades as “Unique upgrade opportunity”. Now they have rephrased this as “You are eligible for custom upgrade”. The technology behind these is exactly the same. You can choose number of different upgrade options that are not guaranteed before your arrival. Each of these carries a different price.

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Here’s an example from my stay at the DoubleTree Kuala Lumpur last week. I made the reservation on Hilton.com and was offered immediately points based upgrades that would have been guaranteed on the sport, and these Nor1 upgrades.

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You actually have to click the link to see what the Nor1 upgrade options are. You are taken to a different website that appears like Hilton.com, but is in fact Nor1’s own. On this instance I was presented only two different options, sometime the list of possible upgrades for cash is really long, and chose not to participate.

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The actual upgrade was shown on Hilton’s website on the day of arrival, and it was an upgrade to a deluxe suite.

I see very little value on either of these points or Nor1 “custom” upgrades for cash. I am sure, however, that the hoteliers love the ancillary revenue they provide. I have often received far better upgrades for free than what was shown possible using points or cash. Also, the number of points required for these upgrades is insanely high.

I could see value for someone choosing to pay for the executive room upgrade at this property, if they are not Hilton Gold or Diamond member, when the executive lounge access would be complimentary. (You can get complimentary Hilton Gold after just four stays or having certain Visa credit card) You get complimentary wireless access in the lounge, breakfast, tea/coffee/soft drinks during the day and some sandwiches, and evening complimentary happy hour with open bar and plenty of snacks.

British Airways Offering 25% Conversion Bonus for Transfers from Hotel Programs

British Airways is offering a 25% conversion bonus for transfers from hotel programs to BA’s Avios. This offer is valid from transfer made from 20th of April to June 20th, 2012. You can stack this offer with possible transfer bonuses from hotel programs i.e. 20K SPG transferred to BA would become 25K BA + additional 25% conversion bonus from BA.

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Please note that you need to be logged in to your Executive Club account in order to see the offer details.

This transfer bonus applies for conversions from Hilton, Marriott, InterContinental Hotels Group, Carlson, Starwood, Shangri-La, Hyatt, and Accor programs.

British Airways revamped their program last year. Long haul redemptions became rather expensive using Avios, and you have to bear in mind that BA collects “fake” fuel surcharges on most of its awards. Expect to pay in excess of $1K in YQ’s for C/F redemptions between Europe and the United States or vice versa. B

A’s program does have some bright spots as well. Short haul redemptions in economy are quite good value especially between expensive markets.

Here’s how transferring Starpoints from SPG’s program would work:

Hilton HHonors Sending Emails for a Free Shutterfly Photo Book + 1500 Bonus Points

Couple of days ago, I received an email from Hilton HHonors for a free 20 page photo book from Shutterfly and 1500 Hilton HHonors bonus points. This offer is NOT completely free as you need to pay for shipping and handling that should be around $8.

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I signed up using the link and there was no place for inputting my Hilton HHonors number. They must link it from the code that they had on the offer. The Shutterfly’s user interface was very confusing, and I don’t think that I will personally take advantage of this offer. So, if you have received this email offer from Hilton, it might make sense to order the book to get the 1500 Hilton HHonors points.

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OFFER SPECIFIC TERMS AND CONDITIONS
Offer valid for one free 20-page 8×8 photo book with hard photo cover. Offer not valid for licensed premium photo books, leather hard cover, padded photo cover, cloth hard cover, faux lizard hard cover or soft photo cover photo books. Offer valid on one order and for one-time redemption per billing address. Any additional pages will incur a per-page fee. Storytelling™ styles and elements will incur additional fees. Taxes, shipping and handling will apply. Offer ends May 4, 2012 (11:59 p.m. PST). In order to qualify for the 1,500 Hilton HHonors™ Bonus Points, you must order the free photo book using the promo code provided by May 4, 2012 (11:59 p.m. PST). Please allow up to two weeks from promotion end date for Hilton HHonors™ Bonus Points to be applied to member’s accounts. Bonus Points do not count toward elite tier qualification.

Hilton HHonors Double Your HHonors Promotion and Rate Code PR13CB

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On March 19th I wrote a piece about the Hilton’s Double Your HHonors promotion that runs from April 1st, to June 30th, 2012. I linked the terms and conditions of this offer as well as the properties that had decided to opt out. Hilton didn’t include a list of rate codes that are ineligible for this offer as they usually do. You can have a look at their previous offer that clearly had all ineligible rate codes listed.

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Back in October, I wrote about a PR13CB rate code that is “Corporate Benefits Employee Offer”. You can get great discounts using this rate plan, but it is usually excluded from promotions.

Last week, I had a stay at the Conrad Bangkok, where I used this offer to lower the cost significantly. I thought that this would have been now qualifying for the double miles as Hilton didn’t publish a list of excluded rate codes. I was wrong, however. The stay posted without double miles, and when I contacted Hilton, I received the following reply:

The PR13CB-Corporate Benefit rate is not an eligible rate for the Q2 promotion.

For a list of the ineligible rates please visit www.HHonors.com/Double .

As a courtesy, I have added 1000 bonus points to your account and a special promotion to your account that will add 2500 bonus points to your account once you complete your next stay within 60 days.

Oh well. The 3500 Hilton HHonors points that I will get as a courtesy are probably worth the 1000 BMI miles that I will miss out of this one stay.

If you are planning on collecting double miles out of this offer, you may want to have a look at a piece that I wrote about maximizing the number of miles earned.

Discover America Daily Getaways Announced for the 4th Week April 30th – May 4th

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The first two week of deals were out a week ago, and then the third week one was announced as well. The only deal so far to that I consider participating is the Wyndham Rewards points on the 3rd week. You can easily transfer Wyndham points to number of different airlines.

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The fourth week sees the return of the same Hilton deal as on the 3rd week. Last year, I did buy couple of Hilton packages, but I was low on points and knew that I could use them wisely.

Hilton HHonors Points Wednesday May 2nd

Packages available

150000 Hilton HHonors points for $825

250000 Hilton HHonors points for $1375

100000 Hilton HHonors points for $550

I would steer away from buying Hilton HHonors points unless you are a Diamond member and/or know how to use them properly. You can “buy” a very good deal using these points, if you are able to use them at a place like Conrad Koh Samui where rates are in excess of $600 per night.

Choice Privileges Points Thursday May 3rd

Packages available:

40000 Choice Privileges points for $166

36000 Choice Privileges points for $156

32000 Choice Privileges points for $134

Note that you can buy two each of the above mentioned packages for total max of 216000 Choice points for $912 before 10% Amex discount.  You can transfer Choice points for number of airlines, but the transfer ratio is not great, unless there is a transfer promotion.

If you are close to getting a companion pass with Southwest, it might make sense to buy Choice points, and then redeem for Southwest Rapid Rewards points. The maximum number of Rapid Rewards points you can get through this Choice promo, if you manage to get two of the each above mentioned packages, is 64800. You would need 45200 points from other sources.

You can also use Choice Privileges points for Preferred Hotels Group properties. These vary from 30K to 60K per night. Can be a good deal, if you are able to redeem at a very expensive location.

Hertz Gold Plus Rewards Points Friday May 4th

Packages available

5000 Hertz Gold Plus Rewards points for $280

15000 Hertz Gold Plus Rewards points for $720

9000 Hertz Gold Plus Rewards points for $430

You can buy one of the each three packages above. Hertz points can be handy if you are looking for a one-way or specialty rental.

Hilton HHonors Changing Award Categories of 447 Hotels

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Hilton just released a list of properties that will change award categories on April 30th, 2012. Off the 3800 Hilton affiliated properties 330 will move up by a category and 117 will move down by one. InterContinental Hotels Group, Marriott, and Starwood already had their category changes earlier this year.

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You have until April 30th, 2012 to book these properties that are moving up at old award or points & money levels. If you have an award reservation at a property that is moving down, you need to call after April 30th to have the number of points withdrawn for the award corrected.

Overall, this category change is not dramatic, but the number of properties moving up year after year does make the higher categories crowded.

You can access the PDF that Hilton released about this change here.

Properties moving down – 117

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Properties that will move down by a category are mainly category 3 and 4 Hampton Inns. There is very little movement on other brands/categories.

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Properties moving up – 330

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Close to half of the properties moving up are Hampton Inn, but other brands are well represented as well. Category 3, 4, and 5 have the highest number of properties moving up by a category, but even the category 6 has 28 properties moving to category 7.

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Here are the Frequently asked questions that Hilton has anticipated about this change:

Discover America Daily Getaways Announced for the 3rd Week April 23-27

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On Monday, I wrote about the Discover America Daily Getaways for the first two weeks. There were three deals that caught my eye, but probably not good enough to make me to participate, however.

On the third week I probably have to make some purchases. Last year, I ended up buying both Hilton HHonors and Wyndham Rewards points. Wyndham points have been sitting on my account since that, but I have been using and earning Hilton HHonors points all the time.

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Wyndham Rewards Points Monday April 23rd

Wyndham has five different packages for sale. You can buy one each. The beauty of Wyndham Rewards points is the transferability to airline miles.  30K Wyndham Rewards points transfers to 12K miles or equivalent in kilometers in number of programs; Amtrak, Czech Airlines, Delta, Hainan, Frontier, US Airways, United, Airberlin, Aeroplan, AeroMexico, China Eastern, American Airlines & Air China.

Packages available

16000 Wyndham Rewards points for $55 = price per point 0.0034 = price per mile 0.0086

28000 Wyndham Rewards points for $76 = price per point 0.0027 = price per mile 0.0068

32000 Wyndham Rewards points for $110 = price per point 0.0034 = price per mile 0.0086

50000 Wyndham Rewards points for $143 = price per point 0.0029 = price per mile 0.0072

48000 Wyndham Rewards points for $165 = price per point 0.0034 = price per mile 0.0086

Above calculations do not take into account 10% discount when paying using an American Express branded credit card, and the figures are rounded. The price per mile number is calculated when transferring in the block of 30K Wyndham Rewards points to 12K airline miles.

When airlines sell miles in their respective programs, the prices tend to fluctuate between 1.8 to 2 cents per mile during the sales. You really cannot buy miles cheaper than first buying the Wyndham Rewards points during the Discover America sale, and then transferring them to airline miles. Of course you can use them for hotel stays as well.

Quick look at my Wyndham Rewards account shows that I was able to snag 146K worth of packages during the last year’s sale.

Hilton HHonors Points Wednesday April 25th

This is the only other purchase that I made last year.

Packages available

150000 Hilton HHonors points for $825

250000 Hilton HHonors points for $1375

100000 Hilton HHonors points for $550

I would steer away from buying Hilton HHonors points unless you are a Diamond member and/or know how to use them properly. You can “buy” a very good deal if you are able to use the points at a place like Conrad Koh Samui where rates are in excess of $600 per night.

Strategy for 2nd Quarter Hilton Double Your HHonors Promotion – Virgin Atlantic, BMI, and British Airways

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The latest Hilton HHonors promotion for double points or miles is valid until the end of June. If you are interested only about Hilton HHonors points, it makes sense to consider crediting stays to Virgin Atlantic and here’s why. With Virgin Atlantic you get 1000 miles per stay for Hilton, Conrad, DoubleTree, Embassy Suite, Hilton Garden Inn, Hilton Grand Vacations and The Waldorf Astoria hotels. Crediting Hampton Inn, Homewood Suites or Home2 Suites to Virgin Atlantic doesn’t make any sense due to lower number of fixed miles earner. I would credit these latter three brands to BMI’s Diamond Club.

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Here’s the beauty of Virgin Atlantic’s program. You can transfer Flying Club points to Hilton HHonors points at a ratio of 2 Hilton HHonors points for 1 Flying Club miles. The minimum transaction is 10000 Flying Club points. Alternatively, you can use the miles to book Virgin America flights.

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So, a night stay at any of the full earning properties would earn you 2000 Virgin Atlantic miles that would turn into 4000 Hilton HHonors points. This is better than double base points, if your folio amount is $300 or so, as you forego some points when you choose double dip option. This only applies to fixed mile option.

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If you are really looking for Avios points out of Hilton, it makes sense to choose BMI as the partner airline. You will earn more than double the number of Diamond Club miles per stay compared to BA’s Avios at minimum. Also, you will earn 1000 BMI miles per DAY up to three days. You earn the same number of BA Avios regardless how many days you stay. British Airways’ parent is in the process of finalizing the deal with Lufthansa to buy BMI. The deal should close later this month. The Diamond Club miles will turn into Avios in not so distant future.

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