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With the numerous recent articles we’ve been running on getting HHonors Diamond or Gold status, it’s a good time to cover some of the key but lesser known foibles and nuances of the Hilton loyalty programme.
To keep things as straightforward as possible, we’ve boiled this down to a simple list of “dos and don’ts”.
1) Do browse redemption options WITHOUT logging in. If you are logged into the Hilton website, it’ll only show you redemption options you can afford. If you are not logged in, it’ll show you all the redemption options. So if your Hilton HHonors points balance is quite modest and you are researching redemption costs, you should do it without logging in.
2) Do think before you book a 4 night reward stay. Silver, Gold (get it via a fast-track offer here)and Diamond members have a benefit that entitles them to get a 5th night free when they book 4 consecutive nights on rewards. So if you are thinking of a 4 night reward stay, you should consider changing your plans and staying an extra night. It won’t cost you anything for the room.
3) Do always check the cancellation deadline. One of the things I really like about booking with HHonors points is that generally you can cancel up to the day before your stay (and often even on the day or your stay), and get your points back. But its important to not get lulled into thinking that this is always the case. If there is a big event going on during your stay for example, the hotel might impose a more restrictive cutoff. Also some resorts hotels always have more restrictive cut-off times. For example the Conrad Maldives requires you to cancel no less than 30 days before your stay, otherwise you forfeit your points (see image).
4) If you have Diamond status, don’t book an executive room. As well as being able to book standard rooms using your points, you can often also book higher category rooms, sometimes for a relatively small number of additional points. However, as a Diamond, you are automatically entitled to the use of the executive lounge (in addition to there being a real chance you’ll be upgraded to an executive room anyway), so there is little benefit in booking an executive room. (As a related aside, for details of Hilton’s current Diamond status match, click here.)
5) Don’t rush to do online check-in. Although it might seem great to be able to check-in online and select your room, it might be better to wait. I recently had a stay at the new Hilton Garden Inn, Dublin. My booking was for a standard queen bedroom. 24hrs before my stay, online check-in offered me a king room on the ground floor. However the morning of my stay, I was offered a king room on the 5th floor with a river view. Research had told me this was the best category room in the hotel, so I took this room. If the option had not changed, I’d have left check-in to when I arrived.
If you have any Hilton tips or hints, we’d love to hear about them in the comments below, or on the forums.