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.
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.
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.
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.