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As many regular readers will know, I LOVE analysing travel hacking opportunities. 2020 has been rough in that regard. No travel –> little travel hacking to be done. But now that hotels are slowly re-opening and travel is gradually returning to normal – quarantine policies permitting – will travel hacking opportunities also return?
One promotion that intrigues me at the moment is Hilton Honors’ Double Rewards. I wrote about it a few days ago – click here for details. Earning double points is nothing out of the ordinary, but double elite night credits has some definite potential. This is especially true given that Hilton Honors has also announced that ALL elite nights in 2020 will roll over to 2021.
As a result, anybody who reaches 60 nights during 2020 will:
- Become or renew Diamond status for the rest of 2020 and all of 2021
- Roll over 60 nights to 2021, meaning that your Diamond status is also assured throughout 2022 (even with zero nights/stays in 2021)
In addition, those two full years as a Diamond member might also help you qualify for a Diamond extension, which is a one-off opportunity to request an additional year of Diamond status. I’ve written about this previously, but in summary you must:
- Have three years of EARNED Diamond status
- Have accumulated 250 paid or award nights with Hilton Honors (OR earned 500,000 base points)
If you have been a member of Hilton Honors for many years, but rarely aimed for higher than Gold status, you might have accumulated those 250 nights but have struggled with the Diamond years. That is certainly my situation…
In any event, it might therefore be feasible to assume that you could:
- Stay 30 nights between 8 September and 31 December, 2020 –> picking up 60 elite night credits
- In the process you’d guarantee your Diamond status until 31 March 2023
- With 2 earned “Diamond years”, plan to request a Diamond extension to take your status through until 31 March 2024
Travel is still slow, though, so you might need to do some mattress running. In my case that would be ALL 30 nights…
But would it be worthwhile to mattress run 30 nights? (click here if you would like more information about mattress running and good, safe practices for it) It sounds crazy for sure…
But if you are working from home due to COVID-19 and are a bit fed up with never leaving the house or taking a break from your family, you could consider Hilton’s Day Use Rates. As the name suggests, you aren’t allowed to spend the night in the hotel, but are simply paying for a hotel room to use during the daytime, usually 9 or 10 am until 5 or 6 pm. And in my experience, you will receive stay and night credit from Hilton Honors nonetheless.
And it doesn’t need to be expensive…. I can easily find Day Use rates in central London for less than £50. So it might just be a reasonable way of maintaining your sanity, whilst picking up Hilton elite status in the process.
Although earning elite status would be the main reason to proceed, it is important to determine the value of any points that would be earned along the way. Those earned points help offset the upfront cost of your mattress runs.
Earning My Way and Milestone Bonus Points
There are 115 nights and 16 weekends between 8 September and 31 December (including New Year’s Eve). Assuming that you have one, preferably two, reasonably-priced Hilton hotels in the vicinity of your home/work, you could mattress run (or “work from home at a hotel”) 30 nights relatively easily.
My Way Bonuses
If you are a Gold or Diamond member, you receive 1,000 points with each stay at a full-service brand such as Hilton, Doubletree, Conrad, Curio, etc. Diamond members receive their points automatically. Gold members often must choose between the points or complimentary breakfast.
Since you would be mattress running, breakfast would not be required.
So, you could earn 30,000 My Way points for 30 1-night stays.
One of the main reasons to reach Diamond status from 60 nights is the Milestone Bonus. This is Hilton’s way of incentivising members to continue staying throughout the year, even after reaching the minimum requirements to renew their status.
By earning 60 night credits in 2020, you would pick up 60,000 points from your Milestone Bonuses.
Standard Points Earning
In addition to those flat bonuses that are easy to calculate, you would also earn points based on the room rate paid. Here’s where it gets a bit trickier…
But assuming that you can regularly find a £40 room rate – that might seem impossibly low to those thinking in terms of 2019, but again it’s not that difficult if you aim for day use rates or Hilton hotels near a motorway – you would likely earn base points off of a $50+/- pre-tax room rate.
A $50 pre-tax rate would earn you:
- 500 base points (the standard 10 points per US dollar)
- 500 bonus points (from the Double Rewards promotion)
- 400 bonus points (80% bonus for Gold members – Diamonds would receive 500 bonus points)
As a result, you could potentially earn 1,400-1,500 points per night. Multiply by 30 and you’d have earned an additional 42,000-45,000 points.
What Are 132,000 Hilton Points Worth?
To summarise, you might spend 30 x £40 –> £1,200 on mattress runs. You could receive 132,000+ Hilton points, made up of:
- 30,000 My Way bonus points
- 60,000 Milestone Bonus points
- 42,000+ points based on your level of status / rate paid
A far easier way to buy 132,000 Hilton points would be to buy them during one of their 100% bonus promotions, such as the one currently available.
132,000 Hilton points would cost you £500 to purchase.
Is 3+ Years of Diamond Status Worth £700 and a Lot of Your Free Time?
If you think that one year of Ambassador / IHG Platinum costs you £160 – something I signed up for but have yet to use… 🙁 – then £700 for several years of Hilton Diamond status is a bargain.
Of course you might not be actually receiving an additional 3+ years of status. I will lose my Gold status in March 2021, because I failed to meet the criteria for Gold or Diamond back in 2019. But if you did manage 20/30 stays or 40/60 nights, then Hilton Honors already extended your status until March 2022. You would probably want to wait until 2021 before attempting to re-qualify, and it’s reasonable to assume that promotions are going to get better and better as the economy worsens…
The Bottom Line
30 nights of mattress running (out 0f 115 possible nights) sounds ridiculous. And hopefully you require far fewer elite night credits to reach the magic number of 60. But if you can find a cheap Hilton hotel in the vicinity, and value the opportunity to “work from hotel” or use the gym, then Double Rewards is giving you the chance to lock in Diamond status for several years, something you might appreciate when travel returns closer to normal…