{Travelblawg uses affiliate links. Disclosures here.}

I read a post this week by Do It For The Points which reviewed a recent 2-night Hilton stay that earned him 11,643 HHonors points. This reminded me of a post I’ve been meaning to write (this one) to remind folks of two things:

There's a sign up there. There's a sign up everywhere! (per The Crab Cooker, Newport Beach, CA)

There’s a sign up there. There’s a sign up everywhere! (per The Crab Cooker, Newport Beach, CA)

  1. Sign up for all promos!
  2. Use your go-to credit card for relevant purchases, but keep an eye out for limited time card related promos!

Sign Up For All Promos
Often I feel like hotel marketing departments maintain their job security solely through rolling promotions to increase your nights under their roof. Hilton is certainly no exception, as the example below will illustrate.

If you’re reading this, you very likely read a slew of travel and points/miles blogs daily, hop on FlyerTalk and MilePoint from time-to-time, and maybe even scan the twitterverse for deals, tips, promos, and ideas.

It seems like I find some “sign up” button to click once a week or so on some travel related company’s website to earn some extra points if I entertain their product or service over others. And if you’re like me, you click the link, enter your member number, email, or other details, all the while thinking to yourself, “I don’t see myself really gaining from this promo… but what the hell, no harm in signing up!” And you’re right! (spam aside)

So, here’s an example from a recent business stay I put in at the Conrad Chicago (one of my favorite Chicago hotels due to service, location, sit down free bfast, cheap parking with SpotHero, and more):

Some of the Hilton benefits from my 3-night stay in December, 2013 at Conrad Chicago.

Some of the Hilton benefits from my 3-night stay in December, 2013 at Conrad Chicago.

And here are the promotions for this stay, both of which I frankly forgot I had signed up for:

  • 2013/2014 “More Nights, More Points” promotion – (10/10/13-1/31/14) Since I stayed 3 nights, I earned  “Triple Points” meaning a bonus equal to twice the number of Base Points earned on eligible stays of 3 consecutive nights.
  • United Airlines “Luxury Brand 1K Offer” promotion – (7/18/13-12/31/13) You earned 1,000 bonus United miles per night (hence the “1K” which could be distracting to UA customers) for your stay at Waldorf Astoria and Conrad brands, in addition to the normal earning rate as a HHonors Point & Miles earner.

Note: Cannot find your “Points & FIXED Miles” option on your HHonors profile? That’s because Hilton removed this option (ouch!) as of January 6, 2014. Thus, you may select either 5 bonus HHonors points/dollar or 1 airline/rail mile/dollar. (Personally, I’m staying with Points & Miles, as I conservatively value 1 UA mile at 1.5 cents and 1 HHonors point at 0.2 cent.)

Use Alternate Credit Cards When It Makes Sense
My go-to Hilton credit card for paid stays is my Citi Reserve Hilton HHonors Card (non-referral link) which earns me 10x HHonors points/dollar. However, I still keep my trusty AmEx Hilton HHonors Card (non-referral link) in my wallet (read: desk drawer) because it has no annual fee, I might use for AXON Hilton awards from time to time, and it has promos, including the current promo of 6x EXTRA points/dollar on top of the Card’s standard 7x points for a total of 13x at select U.S. Hilton HHonors properties from 11/20/2013 to 2/28/2014. (This promo apparently works on the Surpass Card (non-referral link) too for a total of 18x. 15,000 bonus max. More info and register here.)

My three nights, taxes, bar drinks, and restaurant tips for breakfast each AM ran me $576. So by switching out my reservation to my AmEx Hilton Honors Card, I earned an extra 1,728 points. Sure, it’s only a few bucks worth, but it didn’t take much extra effort either.

My Totals
Hilton points earned: 26,645
United miles earned: 3,500
Approximate value: $106*

(*Using $0.002 for Hilton and $0.015 for United. However, one of my favorite DoubleTree hotels runs me 6,000-10,000 points/night, making this worth a lot more at times, as one example.)

Do you have any good examples of your take-home bonus totals for a trip?
Maybe even a “mattress run” where you actually gained value (and stays toward status)?

{Travelblawg uses affiliate links. Disclosures here.}


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