July 3 2015

Free Drink, Two Amazon Offers, Triple Hilton HHonors Points, and Complimentary Museum Admission

Finally! Friday is here! Happy Independence Day weekend, everyone.

If you’re flying Southwest tomorrow, enjoy a free cocktail on board.

Southwest Free Drink

The airline extends this offer on various holidays but doesn’t advertise it much, so you’ll likely have to speak up and ask for your free drink.

But at least you can’t complain about the price. 🙂

Triple Hilton HHonors points

Hilton is offering triple HHonors points at participating properties in the Americas through January 30, 2016.

Be sure to read the terms. Also note you must book the triple points rate (see example below) and the stay must be at least two nights.

Hilton 3x Rate

$15 off $50+ on Amazon when paying with American Express Membership Rewards points

This is a nice offer, but it’s targeted and requires having an American Express card that earns Membership Rewards points.

Receive $15 off a $50+ purchase when you use Membership Rewards points to pay.

Amazon MR promo

If targeted, you’ll see a banner at checkout. Click on the “learn more” button then find the box to link your Amex card. It looks like this:

Amazon MR instructions

After following the prompts to link your card, you’ll see the option to pay for your order by redeeming Membership Rewards points.

Here’s the catch: the redemption rate is 1.43 points to 1 cent. That’s a terrible conversion rate.

I value a Membership Rewards point at 1.7 cents, yet this offer only yields about 0.7 cents of value.

So the trick is to redeem just one point on your order (which is all it takes to qualify for the $15 off). The remaining balance is billed to your Amex card.

Payment screen redacted

Don’t forget to use promo code SWP07AXP15.

Note there are also offers for Chase and Discover cardholders. I wasn’t targeted for those, but if interested keep an eye out when logged in to your Amazon account.

Bonus Amazon tip

If you’re a Prime member but have yet to use the Subscribe & Save service, Amazon is offering $10 Subscribe & Save credit with promo code TRYSNS10.

Offer ends July 31, 2015.

Free museum admission

Finally, don’t forget this weekend Bank of America and Merrill Lynch cardholders receive free admission to over 150 museums, science centers, and botanical gardens.

Enjoy the long weekend.

June 18 2015

Nice Hilton HHonors Promotion (But Short Fuse) – 5,000 Bonus Points for Any Stay

Evening, everyone.

This will be a short post but I thought it might be useful for those still making travel plans for 4th of July.

Hilton is offering 5,000 bonus points per stay at any hotel through July 6th. You must register prior to checkout (register here).

Though a short-lived offer, it’s a nice bonus rate – free nights start at 5,000 points so just from this promotion you’d earn enough for a free night.

Of course, those 5,000 point properties aren’t exactly the finest, but to evaluate this another way, I value a Hilton point at .4 cents so this works out to $20 in bonus points – not bad for a few seconds of your time to register.

Furthermore, the promotion stacks with Hilton’s current summer promotion, Double Your HHonors, so don’t neglect to register for that one as well.

 

Bonus deal

I previously wrote about one of the benefits of traveling with an external battery. If you could use one, Amazon currently has this 3000mAh external power bank for $5.99.

Power Bank

Note Amazon prices can change any time so double-check your cart before paying.

Have a great rest of the week. It’s almost Friday!

March 13 2015

1,000 Free Hilton HHonors Points & Complimentary Uber Ride in a Rolls-Royce

Happy Pi Day! (I know it’s actually tomorrow.) I hope everyone’s weekend is off to a great start.

Here are some deals for your weekend fix. 🙂

 

Easy 1,000 Hilton HHonors points

Free points don’t get much easier than this.

Hilton will eventually require members of its loyalty program to change from using a 4-digit PIN to a password.

They’re offering 1,000 points to members who make the change before March 25.

HHonors Banner Detail
Click to enlarge

Reset or create a password by:

  • Visiting www.HHonors.com/Login with your current username or HHonors number and existing password/PIN.
  • On the left-hand side, under the My Profile section, click “Personal Information.”
  • If you have a password, select “Change Password;” if you do not have a password, select “create username and password.”

I’m not much of a Hilton person these days but I still have a moderate amount of points in my account, so I take advantage of random opportunities like this to generate activity that resets the expiration clock on my points.

 

Free Uber ride in a Rolls-Royce

This weekend Uber is offering free rides in a Rolls-Royce in Los Angeles and New York City.

Uber RollsRoyce

The deal is pretty simple (instructions are found in the links above) but the catch is that there is limited availability and the coverage area is quite narrow.

In NYC rides are only available in Manhattan below 59th Street, and in LA the coverage map is as follows:

Uber RollsRoyce LA

I happen to be in one of the coverage areas tonight and fired up my Uber app to take advantage of this offer. But, alas, no Rolls-Royces were available nearby. So they’re not kidding about the limited availability. Better luck to others!

If you’re not already on Uber feel free to use my referral link, which currently gives $20 off your first ride.

 

February 16 2015

Helicopter to the Airport for $99 & Many Other Deals

Happy Presidents Day!

The last few weeks were super busy (not in a bad way), resulting in abandoning the second half of my Birmingham trip to get home early. But with that behind us I’m paying attention to travel deals again.

One of the most interesting (to me) is the launch of Gotham Air.

Gotham Air

In partnership with a helicopter flight operator, Gotham Air provides helicopter rides from New York City to JFK and Newark Liberty airports. The ride is said to take six minutes.

Regular pricing is $199 to $219 depending on departure time, but currently promo code LAUNCH discounts the fare to $99.

That’s a great deal considering a taxi between the city and JFK can cost upwards of $50 and a decent car service can exceed $99.

And that doesn’t consider the time savings. A 6-minute helicopter ride vs. hour(s) in city traffic – not a tough choice. Heck, even full price doesn’t seem unreasonable given the time savings.

Gotham Air pricing

However, as with all newly-launched services there is the potential for “bugs” in the system. A few concerns came to mind based on either my own (limited) helicopter-riding experience or Gotham Air’s FAQs:

  • A flight is not guaranteed to depart unless four or more seats have been paid in full. So if using this service I’d suggest having a back-up plan.
  • Luggage is limited to one carry-on of up to 25 pounds. That’s a pretty onerous restriction even if you travel light. (The company says if you have more luggage they can “probably make special arrangements,” but does not say what cost/hassle such arrangements might incur.)
  • Unlike taking a taxi or car service, you need to get to the heliport to begin the journey. They currently operate from just one heliport – at Pier 6 – although two more will be added “soon.”
  • Helicopter rides are loud, cramped, and not always smooth (I personally get very motion-sick in them). Of course a 6-minute ride isn’t long, so I’m not saying this would be a horrible experience. Just suggesting it be viewed as a practical means of getting to the airport rather than an indulgent experience.

In any case, I would definitely consider this next time I’m in NYC. If you beat me to it, let me know how it goes!

 

Other deals

Travel

  • Hilton HHonors Dining: A signup bonus of up to 2,000 points. If you are unfamiliar with travel-provider-affiliated dining programs, see this post for tips. (Join by Mar. 31, 2015.)
  • La Quinta Inns & Suites: 300 points for watching a video. Don’t forget to click the “Get Your Points” button at the end to input your membership information for the points. [Thanks to InACents.]

Not travel-specific

  • Wilsons Leather: $10 off a purchase of $10+ with promo code 7785. I needed a new phone case and picked one up for a net cost of 49 cents. Although the code already gives free shipping, I used ShopRunner for free expedited shipping and free returns (though obviously I wouldn’t bother returning a 49-cent item). I did not see an expiration date to the promo code but since it is a Presidents Day offer I wouldn’t expect it to last beyond today.
  • Neiman Marcus: $50 off a purchase of $100+ when paying with Visa Checkout. Any credit card can be used with Visa Checkout. (Expires Feb. 17, 2015.)
  • Chick-fil-A: Free coffee (hot or iced) throughout February.
  • Free pedometer (for AAA members). Or just download a pedometer app for your phone. 🙂 (Valid until Mar. 31, 2015 or while supplies last.)

Enjoy the remaining weekend.

December 30 2014

1,000 Bonus Hilton HHonors Points, $50 off $100+ at Bon-Ton, and More

Bon-Ton currently has several good discount codes. Even though I’m writing about luggage, these are site-wide discounts so they should work on other items (with some exclusions, as always).

  • Code ZDEC1229SAV takes $50 off a purchase of $100 or more. It was to expire yesterday (December 29) but is still working at the time I write this.
  • Alternatively, code AFTERXMAS14 takes 25% off sale items and expires January 1.

For free shipping and free returns, use ShopRunner. If you don’t have ShopRunner, use code FREESHIP for free shipping on $75+.

I was shopping for luggage, so here is my luggage find: 🙂

The Samsonite Fiero 20″ Spinner, originally $260, is $80 with the discount. That’s almost 70% off!

Samsonite Fiero

In other news…

I have a couple other deals to add to the permanent Deals Page but since I am writing I thought I’d mention them here as well.

Hilton HHonors is offering 1,000 bonus points for updating your email address by tomorrow (December 31). This is a targeted offer, but it doesn’t hurt to try (only takes a few seconds). I was not targeted and only got a nicely worded message saying they already had a valid email for me. Oh well.

Finally, Neiman Marcus Last Call is offering $25 off a $50+ purchase when you pay through Visa Checkout. (Any credit card can be used with Visa Checkout.) Again, use ShopRunner for free shipping and free returns, or use code FREESHIP for free shipping on $75+.

 

July 27 2014

Earn Double or Triple Points with Hilton’s Fall Promotion

Hilton recently announced its fall promotion, titled Triple Your Trip, and it’s very similar to last year’s fall promotion. Read on for my analysis and for tips on maximizing the offer.

Hilton Triple Your Trip 2014

Details

  • The promotion period is August 1 to October 31, 2014.
  • Earn double points for qualifying stays on weeknights (Monday through Thursday).
  • Earn triple points for qualifying stays on weekends (Friday, Saturday, or Sunday nights).
  • Must register prior to your first check-out. The registration page is here.
  • There is a (rather lengthy) list of non-participating properties.

Analysis of double points offer

Base members (those at the Blue membership level) normally earn 10 points per dollar spent. Earning double points through this promotion would yield another 10 points (highlighted in yellow on the chart below). Electing the “Points and Points” earning option gives a further 5 points/$. Total earnings: 25 points per dollar spent.

I value one Hilton point at $0.004 (four tenths of a cent), so 25 points is worth about a 10% rebate to me (highlighted in blue). Important to keep in mind that this “rebate” is not in cash but in the form of Hilton points.

(If you’re curious about how I value a point at $0.004, I explain in this post [scroll down to find it in the second half of the “Analysis” section].)

Elite members earn additional bonuses which “beef up” their return slightly, with top-tier Diamond members earning the equivalent of a 12% rebate (highlighted in salmon).

Here’s a summary of what is earned at each membership level:

Double points analysis

Analysis of triple points offer

Everything is that same as above except you earn 20 bonus promotion points per dollar (highlighted in purple) instead of 10.

Again, at my $0.004/point valuation, you’d earn a rebate worth anywhere between 14% and 16%.

Triple points analysis

Tips

First of all, don’t forget to register. I always just register for these things at the beginning, even if I don’t plan to stay during the promotion period. That way if an unexpected stay comes up I don’t lose out on bonuses for forgetting to register.

Some ways to potentially double/triple dip:

  • Sync and pay with an eligible American Express card to earn a $50 statement credit when you spend $250+ at a qualifying Hilton Hotels & Resorts property. (This offer expires September 2, 2014; details in this post.)
  • Alternatively, paying with a Hilton co-braded credit card would earn another 7, 10, or 12 points/$ (depending on which card it is).
  • Check the Hilton offers page for any potentially combinable promotions.

Finally, as always, be sure to read the T&Cs carefully.

April 24 2014

Analysis of Hilton Summer Promotion

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.

The promotion

b HH Promo header

  • 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.

Analysis

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.

HH promo scenarios

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.

Hilton CDG 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.

Final thoughts

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.