Hilton

Danube Trip: Hilton Budapest (Castle District)

Danube Trip: Chicago to Brussels
Danube Trip: Brussels Adventures and Getting to Prague
Danube Trip: Marriott Courtyard Prague
Danube Trip: Prague, Czech Republic
Danube Trip: Boscolo, Autograph Collection
Danube Trip: Prague to Nuremberg
Danube Trip: Viking River Cruise Boats – the Njord and the Bestla
Danube Trip: Nuremberg, Germany
Danube Trip: Weltenburg Abbey and Danube Narrows
Danube Trip: Regensburg, Germany
Danube Trip: Passau, Germany
Danube Trip: Wachau Valley and Göttweig Abbey
Danube Trip: Vienna, Austria
Danube Trip: Budapest, Hungary
Danube Trip: Hilton Budapest (Castle District)
Danube Trip: Budapest to Chicago

We arrived at the Hilton Castle District by taxi in the late afternoon after having walked all over the Pest side of the city.  A bellman quickly assisted us with our bags and we found the bell staff was very helpful each time we needed them.  We’d arranged for the taxi driver who brought us up the hill to take us to the airport on Monday morning.  When he didn’t show, the bell staff jumped in and got us another taxi right away.

There are several sets of entrances into the lobby.  Upon entering, the front desk is at the right side.  The lobby’s stainless steel and dark wood look combined with the rather low ceiling should make the area feel smaller than it is but I never felt like the walls were closing in.

Hilton Castle District Lobby

Hilton Castle District Lobby

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Categories: Europe, Hilton, Hotel, Hungary, Lodging Review | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

SPB Hilton Fiji

SPB Trip Planning
SPB Qantas First Class to Sydney
SPB Park Hyatt Sydney
SPB Sydney Opera House
SPB Around Sydney
SPB Flying to/from Uluru
SPB Emu Walk Apartments
SPB Uluru and Kata Tjuta
SPB Park Hyatt Melbourne
SPB Around Melbourne
SPB Flying to Fiji
SPB Hilton Fiji
SPB Snorkeling Trip
SPB Fiji Air Business Class to Los Angeles
SPB Hyatt Regency DFW

After our early morning arrival in Nadi we were whisked away to our home for the next few nights, the Hilton Fiji Resort and Spa. Check in took a little while as there were several folks on our flight checking in at the same time. The large open-air lobby has lots of comfortable seating and is a great place just to sit and relax.

Hilton Fiji Lobby Waiting Area

Hilton Fiji Lobby Waiting Area

Hilton Fiji Reception

Hilton Fiji Reception

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Categories: Fiji, Hilton, Hotel, Lodging Review | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

A South Pacific Birthday Trip

SPB Trip Planning
SPB Qantas First Class to Sydney
SPB Park Hyatt Sydney
SPB Sydney Opera House
SPB Around Sydney
SPB Flying to/from Uluru
SPB Emu Walk Apartments
SPB Uluru and Kata Tjuta
SPB Park Hyatt Melbourne
SPB Around Melbourne
SPB Flying to Fiji
SPB Hilton Fiji
SPB Snorkeling Trip
SPB Fiji Air Business Class to Los Angeles
SPB Hyatt Regency DFW

 

I have a couple of friends I like to travel with and over the years we’ve all had a birthday that ends in a zero (with different leading digits!). Our tradition has become whoever has the “zero birthday” gets to pick the vacation spot and we try to do it up right. About two years ago I first got into the miles and points game and it wasn’t long before I set a goal of celebrating my next “zero birthday” in Australia and using miles and points to pay for as much of it as possible.

My dad, who’s a 2 million miler on American, offered to give me whatever AA points I needed to make my trip happen. That left me a goal of helping my friends accumulate the miles they’d need to fly Down Under too. Then, of course, there would be points needed for hotel rooms. Lofty goals but with two years to get things planned, we were able to accomplish it relatively cheaply – well, cheaply as compared to what it COULD have cost!

The itinerary

I had visited Australia before, in 2006, and was eager to go back. One of my friends had been there as well but the other had not. So I knew that meant I’d need to re-visit some of the iconic places but I also wanted to be sure to visit some places I’d never been. My prior trip had involved stops in Sydney and Cairns, which is up near the Great Barrier Reef. While I would have loved to have gone back to the GBR, there were other places I wanted to visit as well, and with a total trip length of two weeks, we just couldn’t squeeze everything in this time around. In the end we flew from the US to Sydney and stayed there four days. Next we flew to the Red Centre of the country and visited Uluru (Ayers Rock) for a couple of days. Then it was down south to Melbourne for a bit more than two days.

During our trip planning we had talked about stopping off somewhere a little more exotic on the way back, somewhere we could just enjoy the beach, the sun and the surf. Since we’d be using primarily American Airlines miles, I quickly realized that due to their routing rules we’d need to stay in Oceania for our beach time. That led us to look at Fiji as our final stop before heading back to the US.

My friends and I each make our homes in different cities in the US so here is how our trip worked out:

The various routings for our trip. Map made on gcmap.com

The various routings for our trip. Map made on gcmap.com

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Categories: American Airlines, Australia, Award Travel, Chase, Fiji, Fiji Air, Hilton, Hotel, Hyatt, Oceania, OneWorld, Qantas, Sapphire Preferred | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Bonuses When Purchasing Points or Miles

Right now there are two loyalty programs offering a bonus on purchased points or miles. These are not new deals but will be expiring soon.

American Airlines Logo

American Airlines is offering both a discount and bonus miles if you purchase between now and Monday, July 13. You’ll get a 15% discount on the purchase price and a tiered bonus, depending on how many miles you buy.
2015-07-09 AA Bonus on Purchased Miles

Looking at the cost at a per point basis, here’s how that works out:
1,000 + 0 bonus = 1,000 for $25.08 = 2.50 cents per mile
15,000 + 0 bonus = 15,000 for $376.13 = 2.50 cents per mile
16,000 + 5,000 bonus = 21,000 for $401.20 = 1.91 cents per mile
30,000 + 5,000 bonus = 35,000 for $752.25 = 2.14 cents per mile
31,000 + 10,000 bonus = 41,000 for $777.33 = 1.89 cents per mile
45,000 + 10,000 bonus = 55,000 for $1128.38 = 2.05 cents per mile
46,000 + 15,000 bonus = 66,000 for $1153.45 = 1.74 cents per mile
60,000 + 15,000 bonus = 75,000 for $1504.50 = 2.00 cents per mile
61,000 + 20,000 bonus = 81,000 for $1529.58 = 1.88 cents per mile
75,000 + 20,000 bonus = 95,000 for $1880.63 = 1.97 cents per mile
76,000 + 27,500 bonus = 103,500 for $1905.70 = 1.84 cents per mile
100,000 + 27,500 bonus = 127,500 for $2507.50 = 1.96 cents per mile

(These prices do not include applicable taxes or a $30 processing fee.)

So the sweet spot – where you’d pay the least per mile – is at the 46,000 mile level.

You may purchase up to 100,000 miles in a calendar year.

Is this a good deal? Actually, it can be! As usual, I defer to Ben of One Mile At A Time and Brian, The Points Guy as to the current value of points and miles. Ben has AA miles valued at 1.8 cents apiece while Brian values them at 1.7 cents each. So if you buy 46,000 miles and get the 15,000 bonus miles you’ll be spot-on. If you only need a few miles to top off your account, it’s not a really great deal – unless you’re going to get more than 2.5 cents of value from the award ticket you’ll get.

 
2015-07-09 Hilton Discount on Purchased Points

Meanwhile, Hilton is offering a 25% discount when you purchase their points from now through Wednesday, July 15. The discount brings the price to 0.75 cents per point (plus applicable taxes and fees). It’s interesting that the website allows the user to choose to buy 80,000 points, but the terms and conditions state that an HHonors member may only buy 40,000 points in a calendar year.

Is this a good deal? Not really. Ben values HHonors points at 0.4 cents apiece and Brian values them at 0.5 cents each. But if you need just a few points to top off an award, it may be the route to go.

Categories: American Airlines, Hilton | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Earn 5000 Bonus Point Per Stay at Hilton

2015-06-17 Hilton PromoToday Hilton announced a limited-time offer where you can earn 5000 bonus HHonors points for each stay between now and July 6. You must register for this promotion before you check out of your first eligible stay.

2015-06-17 Hilton Double Points Double Miles
When you stack this with the Double Points/Double Miles promotion, you can really rack up the miles quickly!

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Update Your Password and Earn 1000 Hilton HHonors Points

Hilton’s is one of the few websites that still uses a PIN security check rather than a password.  That’s changing effective April 1, 2015 when they’ll require users to create a password rather than continue using the PIN.  When I logged into my account today there was a pop-up message letting me know that if I change my password now, I’ll earn 1000 HHonors points for making the switch.

2015-03-15 Hilton Password Change

To make the change I clicked on the MY ACCOUNT link at the top of the screen, then the PERSONAL INFORMATION link under the MY PROFILE section on the left side of the screen.  There it showed my current password as a series of asterisks with the words CHANGE PASSWORD beside it.  It did not ask me for my old PIN but allowed me to enter the new password.  The new passwords must be at least 8 characters long and contain at least 1 uppercase letter and one number or one special character.  I made the change and hope to see those 1000 points in my account soon!

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Targeted Hilton HHonors Purchased Points Promo

2015-03-11 Hilton Points PromoYesterday I received an email from Hilton regarding a promotion on purchased points.  From now through April 22, 2015 I can receive a 20% bonus on purchases of 5000-9000 points or a 40% bonus for purchases of more than 10,000 points.  With the 20% bonus the points cost .83 cents each and with the 40% bonus it’s .71 cents each.  Checking with the experts, I see that Ben values Hilton points at 0.40 cents while Brian values them at 0.50 cents each.  So this is not a price at which I’d speculatively buy points.  In fact, Hilton points are so easy to generate that I can’t think of a time when I’d buy them except if I needed to top off my account immediately.  American Express offers two Hilton cards: the no-annual-fee Hilton HHonors card that earns 7 points per dollar at Hilton and 5 points per dollar at grocery stores, restaurants and gas stations and the Hilton Surpass card which gets 12x points at Hilton properties, 6x points at gas stations, groceries and restaurants as well as free Gold status for a $75 annual fee. Both of these cards also earn 3x points in all other purchase categories.  So if you have time to plan well in advance for your trip, it’s easy to earn enough points without purchasing them.

The fine print indicates this is a targeted, non-transferable offer, so if you’re an HHonors member, check your email to see if you were targeted for a similar offer.

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Earn 3x AA Miles at Hilton

2015-02-28 AA Hilton PromoAmerican Airlines is running a promotion where you can earn 3 AAdvantage miles for every $1 spent at Hilton properties between now and May 31, 2015. It’s a targeted offer and I received it for one of my AAdvantage Executive Platinum cards. I went ahead and registered my card, even though I don’t currently have plans for a Hilton stay before the promotion period ends because as the old saying goes, it’s better to be safe that sorry.

Hilton brands include the flagship Hilton brand, Waldorf Astoria, Conrad, Curio, DoubleTree, Embassy Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Inn, Homewood Suites, Home2Suites and Hilton Grand Vacation Clubs. If you’re not staying at one of these hotels, if you dine there and put the charge on your card it may qualify for the 3x points.

Categories: American Airlines, Citibank, Credit Card Promos, Hilton | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Hilton Double Points or Miles Promo

2015-02-27 Hilton PromoHilton is currently offering a targeted promo where you can elect to receive double points or double miles on stays at participating hotels between March 1 and May 31, 2015.  Not all hotels are participating in this promotion so be sure to check this list if you have your eye on a particular hotel property for an upcoming stay.  You must register your choice prior to checking out for your first stay during this period.

Hilton is the only hotel chain that allows you earn both hotel points and airline miles for a single stay.  You can choose which of their airline partners you’d like to credit your stay to or you can choose to score double points on each stay.  Besides the flagship Hilton brand, the Hilton family includes Waldorf Astoria, Conrad, Canopy, Curio, DoubleTree, Embassy Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Inn, Homewood Suites, Home2Suites and Hilton Grand Vacation Club.

Check your email to see if you’ve been targeted for the promotion and make your choice before your first stay.

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Free Hilton Weekend Stay with New DirecTV Subscription

If you’ve been thinking about changing to satellite TV and looking for an incentive, perhaps this is the offer you’ve been waiting on. If you switch to DirecTV between now and January 5, 2015 you can get two free weekend nights at one of many Hilton properties.2014-12-19 Hilton DirecTV Promo

There’s no equipment to buy and no installation costs for up to four receivers though there is a monthly fee for the receivers. Packages start at just $29.99 per month though a 24-month agreement is required. Click HERE to go to the web page. Be sure to find out about all the fees involved before agreeing to anything.

Not all Hilton properties are included but I was surprised at how short the list really is. The list includes many All-Inclusive properties and many Distictive properties but, for example, while the Conrad Koh Samui Residences in Thailand is on the list, the Conrad Koh Samui hotel is not. Rooms there can go for over $630 USD per night! So while it’s not worth changing your TV provider just for the rooms, if you were already considering this here’s the nudge you’ve been waiting for.

Excluded Properties (click for a larger version)

Excluded Properties
(click for a larger version)

Categories: Hilton, Hotel Promos | Tags: | Leave a comment

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