Hilton HHonors Double Elite Credit Promotion — And Why It Holds No Interest for Me at All

The Points Guy flags that Hilton’s “Any Weekend Anywhere” promotion (up to 40% off, prepaid rates, book by January 31) offers double credit towards elite status on stays of two nights or more.

Even though I’m an HHonors elite I really dislike prepaid hotel rates, and I can’t imagine earning Hilton’s status based on nights or stays.

First of all, Gold is the best HHonors status to have and not Diamond (considering tradeoffs).

Second of all, get Hilton Gold just for having a credit card. Free breakfast, free internet, occasional upgrades.

The Citi Hilton Reserve Visa has a $95 annual fee, and for that price you can concentrate your stays and status-earning on another chain that’s more rewarding like Hyatt or Starwood, and still have status with one of the ‘biggest’ hotel programs so that you aren’t a nobody walking in the door of a property in a city that doesn’t have Hyatts or Starwoods.

That’s my strategy — Hyatt and Starwood are the most rewarding programs in my opinion (by far), but they aren’t everywhere. So you ‘need’ Marriott, Priority Club, or Hilton because it will be hard to avoid stays with one of those chains.

I find Hilton to be the most rewarding of the biggies and the fact you don’t actually have to stay to earn status means you can drop into one of their proeprties 3 or 4 times a year, be treated as an elite, just for having their credit card. So why bother earning status ‘head in bed’?

The Hilton credit card does offer referral credit to me if you use my link and are approved. I definitely appreciate that. The 2 free weekend nights after $2500 spend within 4 months which come with the card is the best available offer. And getting a major hotel program’s mid-tier elite status just for having their credit card does seem to me one of the best deals in travel, a killer app for the frequent guest.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community Milepoint.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I found the “40% OFF” disappointing…It turned out to be “up to” 40% off, and of course, the hotel I wanted was at the low end of 15% off….Wonder which hotels are giving the max of 40% off….

  2. Nice plug for the CC. What’s your commissions from Citi, $100/application? You are almost promoting a CC per day. It’s lucrative when you get ~$200/application from Chase.

    There’s no need to get the card when VISA frequently offers Gold for free (if you have a Visa signature card). Who knows if it will be offered in the future, but that does not create a rush to get this card s for 2013. Moreover, who wants to be stuck with two free weekend nights that expire after a year. Give me points and flexibility! That’s what’s this game is all about. There are much better way to accumulate HH points or status than with this card. And you know it.

  3. Yeah the sale rates aren’t competitive enough especially with the risk with prepaid – there are other discounts available which are almost as good or better and not prepaid…

  4. I wonder why Gary always gets the flak for promoting the CC, even when he explicitly states we, the readers, ALWAYS have a choice of not using his link to apply for credit cards. Of course he would appreciate it if we do so but it’s OUR choice even if we choose not to do so. I can bet that many of the readers who continuously sass him are the very same ones who hog this blog and then bitch when offers gone just cause they jumped in a little too late. Just sayin…

  5. Hey Gary,
    Could you explain these two contradictory sentences:

    ” Hyatt and Starwood are the most rewarding programs in my opinion (by far), but they aren’t everywhere. So you ‘need’ Marriott, Priority Club, or Hilton because it will be hard to avoid stays with one of those chains.

    I find Hilton to be the most rewarding of the biggies and the fact you don’t actually have to stay to earn status means you can drop into one of their proeprties 3 or 4 times a year, be treated as an elite, just for having their credit card..”

    First you say Hyatt and Starwood are the “most rewarding” and in the next sentence you say Hilton is the “most rewarding”. Please clarify.


  6. @Gavin,
    It’s simple, not every card that he promotes is great. More importantly it’s frequently not the best option out there. It’s about credibility. You shouldn’t waste your CC application on anything but the best, your credit card score is essential and every hard pull/apply-o-rama should be considered very carefully. That’s my view, and as long as I’m permitted to comment here, I will state so.
    By the way, what does “Just saying” mean? It is something you say if you haven’t given it much thought?

  7. @Zz

    Why are you targeting me? Did I mention you in my post? I completely agree that one should not waste credit card applications but I’m sure readers of this and any other site will have taken that into consideration. That is something I’m sure avid mileage churners will have figured out, not something that is necessary to reiterate.

  8. “Moreover, who wants to be stuck with two free weekend nights that expire after a year.”

    Um, this might surprise you, but I do…. I’ve already gotten almost every card that offers HH sign up bonus points. Except for the Amex Surpass. I have to wait for my Amex Honors card to reach the 1 year anniversary to qualify for the Surpass 60K point upgrade bonus.

    So now I do want those free weekend nights. Because that’s two more free nights without using my points. And because they are good at almost any Hilton family property, some of which want more points for 2 nights than some cc bonuses give you.

    Prime example: Conrad Hong Kong is currently asking over US $1,235 for two weekend nights, AAA rate, or 180K HH points. No telling how long these super sign up bonus offers will last, so I’m going for every one I can get !

    Finally, despite having more cc than I can remember, my credit score is still above 750.

  9. @Robert Hanson, No need for a penis measuring contest.We can all find expensive hotel examples. Nobody here would pay that out of their own pocket anyways. We all value points differently. But we all appreciate flexibility. I for one am not interested in two free weekend nights when they will expire in a year. Points will not as long as there activity. Hotels are less likely to be full on weekends. Thus this is among the cheapest offer that Hilton can offer ,spread over a large population.

  10. @Gavin,
    I am certain they are not! Everybody is supposed to read the CC agreement, I doubt most don’t. Everybody is supposed to be a responsible CC used. Many are not.

  11. @Zz,

    That IS rather presumptuous of you isn’t it? How can you speak for the “many are not” you so claim when you aren’t them?

  12. Zz is probably the most ignorant person I’ve ever seen comment on Gary’s blog. Yeah, who would everrrrrrrr want 2 free nights ANYWHERE in the world at a Hilton property? Personally, I am redeeming mine at Conrad Brussels, so that’s saving me 800$ that I actually would pay out of pocket for.

  13. well, I happen to appreciate the news in ViewFromtheWing – it is the first blog I read every day.
    And, if Gary wants to mention a c/c app that he benefits from – that is fine with me. An incredible amount of time & energy goes into these articles and I appreciate it. He deserves “some” positive (financial) feedback for his efforts if someone wants to use a c/c link.

  14. I don’t understand the haters either. Who cares if there’s a CC link? We are adults and should be able to think for ourselves. I appreciate ViewFromtheWing and his insights.

  15. Unfortunately dear Zz, the facts you claim to have haven’t even been brought forth. You are right in that there’s nothing presumptuous about facts. Problem is, I read nothing from your posts stating that your conclusions are facts. Facts and conclusions are two separate issues.

  16. Well, I dont really need the 40% of rate because I dont spend $ to stay in hotel rooms. I try to make that a goal of mine and its been a while since I had to pay $ to stay.

  17. Gavin, in many cases they are not two different issues. Many facts can lead you to a conclusion. It is a fact that many individuals are irresponsible CC users. You can easily look this up yourself as it has been debated for many years in various journals and articles. Unfortunately, my attempts to include links in comments has not resulted in a successful posting, probably due to some filter.

  18. Zz, I agree with you that many facts can lead to a conclusion. But different conclusions can also be drawn from the same fact, which is why they are two separate issues. And in many instances, there are more than just two answers. What Gary is trying to do here is point to us the best way of optimizing air miles and hotel points, after which it is up to the individual to decide if his recommendation works or not. As evidenced by your initial post, it doesn’t work for you but as evidenced by Robert Hanson, it obviously works for him. There is no one pointing a gun to our heads demanding that we use Gary’s link to sign up so that he can benefit from the cc referrals. Where credit card abusers are concerned, many of them will have scores so low that the last thing they’ll be concerned is a bonus sign up but rather what their credit limit will be.

  19. I clicked on this blog post to find out why the HH Double Elite status promo is not worth doing…………………..and instead I get pitched a credit card. How am I not the least bit surprised coming from this blog????? It’s getting worse and worse each week………………………

    Maybe you could title each CC pimping blog post with something like: “[CC Offer] HH 2x Elite Promo – And Why It Holds No Interest For Me At All”.

    That way I would know which posts of yours to avoid wasting my time with, which is probably over 50% of your posts these days sadly.

  20. Since the inclusion of suites, I’ve actually gotten quite a few suite upgrades at eligible Hiltons for being a diamond.

    At the lower level Hilton Garden Inns, Hampton Inns or HGVCs, Embassy Suites, I agree that there is little difference between Gold and Diamond. Extra points is always nice, and generally most are staying at these hotels when the other options, including hyatt and starwood, are not available. But at the full service Hiltons, Doubletree and Conrads, especially internationally, the lounge is a nice perk, plus the suites.

    What is really so great about starwood plat vs. hilton diamond? Both get suites when available and breakfast (which is new for spg). The Amex Plat gives you starwood gold – which in my opinion gives me decent status but no breakfast when i want to stay at a starwood.

    Hyatt is a great program, but IMO really tough to make top tier due to the number of locations that they have. I’d rather use the milepoint plat or the credit card plat and have it as a backup or when i use points.

  21. @Gavin, prove to me that fact is an issue.
    Look it up in a dictionary and you will see that it is not.
    2+2=4 is a fact, it is not an issue.

  22. @gregory I am not going to alter my posting style — I post what I want, what I think, as I always have — to suit your tastes. I would suggest that if this blog doesn’t interest you or add value to your travel, consider finding other sources of information that are more to your liking. Best, Gary

  23. @Phil-bert — Hyatt and Starwood are the most rewarding hotel programs. But of ‘the rest’ (Marriott, Hilton, Priority Club) I find Hilton to be tops

  24. @JetsettingEric – I’ve received suites as an HH gold. Perhaps I’d have had nicer ones as a diamond, but the opportunity cost is much too high. And of course lounge access is included as a gold, as that’s where the breakfast comes from (when there’s a lounge).

  25. You still have really good info/posts about 25% of the time. You used to have good info/posts about 75% of the time before you started using CC affiliate links. Now I have to wade through the garbage to find the gems…………..just like FT/MP. 🙂 I think I need somebody to wade thru it for me and summarize the gems vs the credit card pumping garbage. 😀 I guess that’s TBB’s new niche.

  26. 25% if a bit harsh. Gary easily has one of the best travel blogs. When I see a post is about credit cards, I just ignore it…you should, too. The credit card posts are all just bread buttering. Ignore them if you don’t like them.

  27. gregorygrady: why don’t you start a blog yourself? I’ll be happy to come to your blog and complain/give percentages about the content of your future posts.

  28. I hate to admitt it but gregorygrady is correct. Dont know about the %s. But before Gary started up with the making $$$ off the CCs his Blog was alot different. Nothing wrong with the links, but I myself opened this thread to see why Gary didnt like HH only to see it was a Spin of a title for getting a CC where Gary will make some $$ . If Gary keeps it up UA will be chasing him to work for them as their spin doc (not that UA is lacking in that field)

  29. I don’t understand what all of the cc link fuss is about. Last summer we stayed 4 nights at the very nice Doubletree Amsterdam, and 5 nights in the Paris La Defense Hilton, both rooms upgraded by being Gold. This was all done with sign up points, since I have not paid for a room at Hilton in the last 10 years. We also stayed 3 free nights in the Crowne Plaza in Brugge, Belgium, upgraded to a suite that is normally $500 a night. I am only platinum with Priority due to my, yes, Chase Priority cc.

    Then using points and certificates, some from cc sign ups, some from stay 2 nights now, get a free night later deals, we stayed for free for 4 nights at a Marriott Courtyard in Berlin, and 2 nights at a MC in Prague. No upgrades to be had in those, but my silver status from my Chase Marriott cc kept us from getting that “room next to the HVAC unit”, as Gary points out.

    I still have enough points with HH, Marriot and Priority to do something similar this summer. Next February, when I “upgrade” my AMEX HH card to Surpass, and get the Citi H Res card, I’ll be adding to the hundreds of thousands of points and certificates I already have. Our FC AA flights last summer, and coming up again this summer, are mainly from cc bonuses, with some help from BankDirect.

    I have no business or expense account spend, and never make mileage or mattress runs. Nearly all of this is cc sign up points, slightly supplemented with points from cc spend for personal expenses like groceries, gas, and insurance for health, house, and car.

    I thought the endless posts on all of the travel blogs for the BB deal, which was obviously going to be so short lived hardly anyone would get any value out of it, was very annoying. I also have to wade past the “giveaway” posts, mainly on other blogs, which I never enter because if I’m going win something, I want it to be this weeks $435M Powerball, not 5K points, or a $100 gift card.

    But I eagerly look forward to posts on new cc apps. Truth be told, while I do enjoy reading about Gary and Lucky’s travel adventures to exotic lands, 90 percent of the value I get from this blog and other similar ones is learning about new ccs to apply for. Closely followed in value by how best to spend those cc points and miles. Gary, please, don’t change a thing….

  30. And I completely agree with Robert Hanson. But I doubt there’s anything to worry about Gary changing anything as evidenced by his post to Gregory.

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