Tuesday, February 7, 2017
Writer’s block…I envisioned writing something witty and useful this morning. Not gonna happen…so we’re going to use my default setting, Bullet Points (no relation to Hilton Points…get it?… Ugh, ok).

Lets recap the process and benefits because most hotel chains work in a similar fashion. If you understand Hilton, you’re well on your way to understanding them all.

Sign up for the rewards program http://www.hhonors.com and save your new number.

Download the app or save the web site on your computer.

Sign in and explore.

Do some math, play with the points, remember that they are worth ~.005 cents each (10K pts ~$50

Explore Citi Hilton http://www.citi.com and American Express Hilton http://www.americanexpress.com and choose which one best suits your needs. Apply (if they stall ie: we need to review your info, message me and I will provide you with the phone number for their “Reconsiderations Department”. These are the actual people who approve or decline you and they will usually do it while you are on the phone. Most of the time, the initial delay is because a question about something was generated, income, address errors or something that a quick phone call can cure.

When you receive your card in the mail, celebrate and welcome it into the family!

Get serious and complete the spend as specified using your new card. Pay everything you can such as utilities, groceries etc…Try not to take the full 90 days, try for 70 or less if possible. (Don’t go wild on a spending spree either and remember that the balance must be paid off each month or the interest you pay ruins the value).

This Matters: There are many websites that talk about “Manufactured Spending” and other ways to earn points or meet the minimum spend by exploiting a cards rules or policies. Don’t go there. The programs provide plenty of opportunities to earn points in ways that you don’t have to worry whether you’ll be kicked out, and they will, or have your points clawed back.

After the points hit your account, consider the IHG card http://www.chase.com and, if you choose, follow the same plan and ask Hilton for a Status Match. (If your income levels and spending needs support it, get them both at the same time, swing for the fences!)

Remember, you earn points from the hotel from paid stays in addition to those you can receive from the credit card. This can add up to a very large number.

The no-fee cards from Citi and Amex come with Silver Status (Yawn…) and the fee cards come with Gold (Happy Dance).

Then, Go Somewhere! It works Worldwide and for some crazy reason, I get better value from using points OUTSIDE the United States.

Here are a few helpful websites that will add value to finding the great promos. They provide links to Hilton and other Hotel promo’s as they become available.

http://www.doctorofcredit.com
http://www.thepointsguy.com
http://www.frequentflyerbonus.com (This one is great for current promos for all forms of travel)
http://www.travelinggump.com (A shameless plug, I know… Message me and I’ll update you on promos as I watch them like a hawk)

Now that you have a good working foundation, in the next blog we’ll explore other Hotel Chains.

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Jenny has a goal. Save money by traveling smart and enhance her experience at each Hotel property. In the prior post, I listed two websites that provide the details of their respective Credit Cards.  Look the sites over and become familiar with the two types of Hilton cards they offer.  Each offers a no-fee card with fewer points/perks and a fee card with enhanced features.

To save time, I like the American Express Hilton Surpass Card.  American Express is great to work with and the card is awesome.  Stay at Hilton and pay the bill with the card get 12 pts per dollar. Restaurants, gas stations and supermarkets get 6 and everywhere else gets 3 pts per dollar. It comes with Gold Elite status for as long as you have the card.  Hilton status is, Blue, Silver, Gold and Diamond.  It also gives you access to many airport lounges for $27.00.  But the best part, do the minimum spend ($3000.00) and earn 75,000 Hilton Honors points.  Annual fee is $75.00.

So you pay $75.00 for the year.  The points are worth about $375.00 or more if you catch deals and you’re now Gold which means free room upgrades if space is available and free wifi.

Jenny, armed with her new Amex Surpass card, completes the minimum spend by paying her utility bills, groceries, fuel and everything else that takes a credit card.  In addition, she used a company called Plastiq (www.plastiq.com) to pay her mortgage/rent, taxes and car payment (anything legitimate that won’t normally take credit cards as payment).(Plastiq charges a fee of approximately 2.5 percent but has occasional promos that reduce that fee).

Jenny now has 78,000 or more Hilton Honors points, Gold Elite Status and a Hilton app on her IPhone that is loaded with places to go where she can now Book free with Points or mix Points and Cash. 

This Matters:  Hilton hates that you would even think about staying anywhere else.  So if you have Platinum status elsewhere, they will usually “Match” that status.  Holiday Inn has their own card called the IHG Platinum card by Chase.  Its similar to Hiltons except that it comes with Platinum status, 60-80,000 points and a FREE night at any IHG hotel anywhere once a year.  Minimum spend, wait for it, $1000.00 and the annual fee…$49.00.  And the best part, Hilton has been matching the status.  You would be Hilton Top Tier Diamond…for $49.00. 

Get the Hilton card first, satisfy the minimum spend as suggested above, then get an IHG account (www.ihg.com), then the IHG credit card from Chase (www.chase.com), complete the minimum spend ($1000) and then after the points hit (by next statement date usually) get out of town.  Always book through each Hotel’s app (for bonus points) and now you are a Points and Miles Traveler, it’s really that easy.

So where is Jenny now?  On a beach at a Hilton in Florida (20k pts/day) for 3 nights (Diamond).  She needs her rest as her boss was recently terminated (shocker) and she has been promoted to Manager (with an excellent salary) starting Monday.

Next blog, Hilton Wrap up