One of the largest hotel programs with the most diverse array of hotels, Hilton is a leader in hotel numbers and awards programs. The chain has Hampton, Doubletree, Embassy Suites, Howmewood Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, Hilton, Hilton Vacation Club, and at the top of the line The Waldorf Collection and Conrad Hotels. These guys can find you a room at any price point.
As with other hotel programs they offer a shopping mall and other partners such as airlines, car rentals, mortgages, flowers etc. There credit card affliations are more extensive than the other chains and offer some bonus awards we will get to.
Membership in the Hilton Hhonors program is free and because of the wide variety of hotel price and worldwide locations one you should join. In addition they have timeshare products for purchase or rent and offer bonuses through the Vacation Club that can be beneficial.
The awards program offers base level, gold and platinum. As your status increases you earn more points per stay, AND are offered more discounted awards. The most common example is the GLON award. Typically a six night stay at a category 6 proerty would be 40K per night times 6 nights or 240K for the entire stay. As a Gold or Platinum member this redemption is available for 175K points total.
They also offer awards based on the credit card you use. I have a Hilton Amex card that I accumlate points on for the AXON Award. This allows for 4 night awards at high end hotels at 120K points. This represents about a 25% savings in points redeemed.
So how do we get these Hilton Honors points? Credit card signups is the fastest way, garnering between 15k and 20K per sign up. The Amex card I mentioned pays 5 points per dollar on grocery, gas and drugstore purchases that can really add up quickly.
And if you are strong willed and not easily tempted by a sales pitch, we always undertake the sales presentation at a Hilton Vacation Club property when in the area of a resort. It is usally a 90 minute presentation of their timeshare property, that is not high pressure and pays between 10K and 15K in Hilton Hhonors points. The question to protect yourself from the sales pitch is: How do your prices compare in relation to resale prices for the same timeshare unit? If they are telling the truth, the resale prices are much lower. Reason enough to get away and think about it.
Hilton also offers “point stretcher” awards during low occupancy periods for some hotels worldwide. The normal points range is 7500 points for an opportunity hotel (few and far between) to 40K points per night for category 6 hotels. The Waldorfs and Grand Wailea Resorts can be as high a 80K points per night. The point stretchers allow a 40% reduction from the standard point requirements. As an example, a category 4 Hilton would normally be 30K per night but if it is offered as a “point stretcher” only 18K per night. Unfortunely it is hard to find the point stretcher on their website. Priority Club does a much better job of offering their discounted products to their members.
And my last comment about the Hilton program is they do not discount multiple night stays as the Marriott program does. Two nights at 30K per night is 60K with Hilton, where as with Marriott 2 night stays are somewhat less; ie one night stay is 30K and 2 night stay is 55K. It is one thing that Hilton should look into.
This is a program you should belong to; Free to join, lots of hotels worldwide, free first year credit card sign ups and free points for their timshare presentations. Join today.
Citi Prestige® Card
- Annual Fee: $450 fee
- Foreign Fees: No
- Card Type: Bank
The increase to 50,000 ThankYou points for the Citi Prestige card may be a signal that Citi wants back in the game, big time. The sign-up bonus has just been increased to 50K points from the previous 30K offer. An added benefit is a $250 annual air travel credit each calendar year -- so, if you sign up in April, you'll receive the credit this year, and again in January of next year -- which more than covers the $450 first year fee. When you add in lounge access for you and up to two of your guests, you’ve added another $400+ in value. One more benefit worth mentioning is the fourth night free for any four-night hotel stay booked through Wagonlit Travel. And lastly is the $100 statement credit when you sign up for Global Entry and pay for it using the Prestige card. Don’t forget the ever-growing number of airline transfer partners that work with the ThankYou points program.
- $250 Air Travel Credit each year
- Complimentary 4th Night for any hotel stay
- Earn 50,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open.
- Points are redeemable for an $800 flight on American Airlines or US Airways®, a $665 flight on any other airline or $500 in gift cards.
- Transfer points to a variety of travel loyalty programs from airlines to hotels.
- Earn 3x points on Air Travel and Hotels
- Earn 2x points on Dining at Restaurants and Entertainment
- 1 ThankYou® Point per $1 spent on other purchases