Analysis of Hilton Summer Promotion
I analyzed the upcoming Starwood Earn Away promotion the other day, and now that Hilton has announced its Double Your HHonors summer promotion I thought a similar analysis might be useful.
Read on for a summary of the promotion, my opinion of what it’s worth, and some tips for maximizing value.
- Earn your choice of double points or double miles when staying at participating hotels and resorts. Your selection, made during registration, can’t be changed later. (See below for my thoughts on which option to select.)
- The promotion period is May 1, 2014 to July 31, 2014.
- You must register for the promotion prior to checking out of your first stay.
- All brands are participating: Conrad, Waldorf Astoria, Hilton, Embassy Suites, DoubleTree, Hilton Grand Vacations, Hilton Garden Inn, Homewood Suites, and Home2 Suites.
- However, there is a fairly long list of individual hotels that are not participating, so be sure to check it before making plans.
Here’s a comparison of what you’d earn with each option. As you see, with the double points option you earn 25 points per dollar spent, and with the double miles option you earn 10 points and 2 miles per dollar spent.
All else equal, I would favor the double points. Double points equates to a 10.0% rebate while double miles a 7.4% rebate assuming you value HHonors points and most airline miles as I do ($0.004/point and $0.017/mile).
(These calculations assume non-elite status. Elites still earn elite bonuses, but those aren’t doubled.)
If you’re interested in how I value an HHonors point at $0.004, here’s a quick explanation. (Otherwise, feel free to skip to the next section.) My last Hilton stay was at the Hilton Paris CDG, where a paid night currently costs €189 (about $260). In lieu of cash I can redeem 40,000 points, thereby achieving value of $0.0065/point ($260/40,000) on redemption.
But the important caveat is that points, in un-redeemed form, should be significantly discounted relative to cash. (I know I say that a lot, but I think it’s so important.) Points are not cash; they are a restricted, illiquid currency with little value outside their respective loyalty program.
So I always apply a discount when valuing unredeemed points. How much of a discount depends on several subjective considerations, including how well that chain’s properties geographically line up with my travel patterns and how generous they are with award nights (which are often capacity controlled). I also discount for the fact that paid stays earn new points while award stays don’t.
Applying a discount, I generally value unredeemed HHonors points at $0.004 apiece. Although the numeric result is different when valuing airline miles, the same logic applies.
Hints and tips
As usual, I have some suggestions to help you potentially double or triple dip. (Quadruple dips are rare but do share of you manage one!)
- The terms allow for registering for other promotions concurrently, so check Hilton’s offers page to see if there are other combinable deals that might suit your travel plans.
- If you pay with a Hilton co-branded credit card you earn another 7, 10, or 12 points/$ (depending on which card it is).
- Earn a $50 statement credit by connecting an eligible American Express card to TripAdvisor and spending $250+ at a participating Hilton property (valid March 18-May 31). I advise reading the terms of every promotion carefully, but it’s especially important for this one because many Hilton brands are excluded.
As with Starwood’s summer promotion, I find this one just okay. I’ll certainly take advantage when it best fits my travel plans, but it’s not enough to compel me to shift business to Hilton otherwise.
Hope this was helpful. As always, please be sure to carefully read the fine print for each promotion you consider participating in.