Bits: Virgin East Coast sale, 30% Hyatt ‘buy points’ bonus and Park Hyatt Mallorca, new Hilton ‘lowest rate’ guarantee

News in brief:

Virgin East Coast Edinburgh sale for £25

Virgin East Coast is running a special promotion to push its new ’23 trains per weekday’ timetable to Edinburgh from Kings Cross.

Until 4th March, it is selling 25,000 Standard Advance one way tickets from London to Edinburgh for just £25 each.  This are only valid for weekday travel between 16th May and 15th July.

Remember that you will also earn Nectar points or Virgin Flying Club miles on your purchase.  The Virgin miles are worth more (you get 2 per £1 whichever you take) but obviously you need to be an active Virgin collector to get value from them.

Virgin East Coast

30% bonus when you buy Hyatt Gold Passport points

Until 7th March, Hyatt is offering a 30% bonus when you buy Gold Passport points.

This is obviously worth a look if you need to top up your account.  It may also be worthwhile if considering a stay in a top tier Park Hyatt such as the ones in Paris or Sydney, where buying the points may be cheaper than paying cash.

The new Park Hyatt resort in Mallorca will also be opening this Summer and looks from the images (see below) very impressive.   Prices are a little scary (rooms from Euro 800, or Euro 1,000 if you want a cancellable one) so a redemption would be a good deal.  Note that points and ‘cash and points’ rooms have not yet been loaded on hyatt.com.

The Hyatt ‘buy points’ site is here.

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Park Hyatt Mallorca

New Hilton ‘lowest rate’ guarantee

Hilton has launched a new ‘lowest rate’ guarantee, promising that you will pay less on hilton.com than you will pay on Expedia, hotels.com etc.

The power of Expedia / hotels.com is so strong these days that they are able to force hotel chains not to undercut them.   Hilton has worked around this by restricting the discount to Hilton HHonors members (free to join, of course) which means that technically the general public is excluded.

Weekend stays booked 15+ days in advance will now be 10% cheaper for Hilton HHonors members (3% midweek).  From 1 – 14 days in advance the discount is just 2%.  The discounts clearly show on hilton.com during a search, whether or not you are logged in.

My review of the Crowne Plaza Salzburg hotel
My review of the Plaza Premium lounge in Heathrow Terminal 2
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Comments

  1. How easy is it to reclaim the cheaper stay with Hilton? Surely they vary some small t&c to avoid paying out to differentiate their bookings?

    Also – unrelated question. Do you know when the ba gold galleries first short cut is opening at T5? Seems to have gone quiet.

    • Interesting move by hilton. I’m surprised they are bothering since the value derived from breakfast for golds always offsets any price difference in my experience.

      • This will be aimed at the masses with no or low Hilton status. I know readers of this blog will find it hard to believe “these people exist”

    • You’re right, very quiet!

  2. OT -but has anyone had their Shangri-La Jade status come through yet?
    I’m currently staying at Shangri-La but my status upgrade hasn’t come through yet and I’m keen to get the double points

  3. Perhaps I’m missing it but what is Hilton’s new lowest rate guarantee? Okay they’re claiming they’ll be cheapest (technically they’ve always claimed that) so what if they aren’t? What if you find a lower rate elsewhere, I can only find the old BRG t&c’s

    • I think the “new” part is that they offer a lower rate, not just in theory an equal rate.
      In practice it may only be for certain rate types: for a random date at the Hampton Gatwick the non-flex rate at Hilton.com and elsewhere is £89. The regular flex rate is £99 but the Hhonors rate is £97. So there’s a saving only for flex.
      As to the general BRG terms, that’s a whole other topic! The only possibly interesting change I can perhaps see if no obvious reference to payment conditions (but it depends on how this proves to operate). I have typically been frustrated by these terms as other sites tend to bill you immediately for non-flex, whereas hilton.com often don’t (just a credit card guarantee), which disqualifies the claim.
      SPG’s BRG is quite different as you can on occasion book a flex rate with them and match to a non-flex elsewhere.

      • I Used Hiltons BPG last summer.

        Haven’t been able to compute if the price difference is correct or not.
        I was going Hilton website vs Hotels.com UK, they took it vs Hotels.com US.
        Then sent me a cheque for $200 US, which the bank charged me to cash.

        Sure I came out slightly better off vs Hotels.com, but only because of my then Gold now Diamond status.

        • I used Hilton’s BRG in November (matching Hilton website to Venere.com for a King room).

          Hilton not only matched the cheaper Venere price, but (mistakenly?) matched the QUEEN room price on Venere, while still keeping my booking as a King room & giving me a further $50 credit against my booking. (As this was a US room booking, that saved me more than $50 as the reduced room rate also saved me the associated tax.)

          By Hilton matching the Venere rate through their official platform, I also retained my Diamond benefits so I was better off than going through Venere anyway.

          Therefore the Hilton do sometimes honour their BRG and may even better it!
          As I completed the stay in MYC last week, I can confirm that they honoured the King room, at better than Venere’s Queen room rate & I got the Diamond benefits too.

  4. West Coast only?

  5. Hi Liz what is your experience with getting Hilton diamond benefits on a hotels.com booking?

    I recently got diamond through the status match offer but have only used it on direct bookings

    • I haven’t tested it yet. I also got diamond in the recent status match. This will be my first stay at Hilton albeit not a direct booking. We booked into the Conrad for our 3rd night using my husbands free night certificate. He is only silver at this stage but I told the lady I was diamond – she has booked us into a superior room, put my name down as the lead guest and put a note on the file that I am VIP Diamond – looking forward to our wee mini break in the big city!

      • I am “real” diamond (not like you freeloaders :)). I constantly book via 3rd party sites (once Ive hit my status for the year) like hotels.com/ebookers/lastminute etc and have NEVER been refused my benefits.

        I dont travel to the states much though where I understand they are stricter…

        • Hilton changed its terms last year. Historically they were very good, now the hotels can refuse you everything and get away with it. Down to the property now.

          • Didn’t know that (thanks to the massively higher number of diamonds now no doubt) but Ive already had numerous 3rd party stays this year and status has always been honoured.

        • I booked via Rocketmiles for the first time ever the other week (never ever gone via 3rd party before) and had my best room upgrade and Diamond free breakfast still honoured.

          Frankly it makes me wonder why I bother to book direct at all.

  6. A week at the Park Hyatt Mallorca in August coming out at €13,100 for the cheapest room for 2 adults & 2 young children. It looks like the room only has the king bed, so all 4 sharing. Full prepayment, non-refundable, no changes – but at least it includes breakfast. No thanks!

    • I agree, madness. Cash and Points will be an amazing deal here when available.

      • Have you spotted it’s category 5. :)

        • Yes, I think they are trying to go one up on the Jumeriah. It will be interesting to see what occupancy rates are like!

      • Whats the deal with points + money.

        Sometimes it comes up, sometimes not.

        Manchester Piccadilly has a Junior suite that always comes through as a DIA STANDARD RM RWD 30,000 points, normally gets upgraded to a KING CITY SUITE and once a KING MASTER DUPLEX SUITE

        When its points + money its 12,000 + £32 i think

        But the QUEEN EXECUTIVE CITY VIEW is somehow a PREMIUM ROOM REWARD at about 90,000.

        Sometimes they dont make sense

        • That Junior Suite may be a mistake by the hotel. The Exec City Room is a typical Premium Reward whereby Hilton basically buys the room for you, for cash, at a rate of roughly 0.2p per point.

        • Frugal aberdonian says:

          I have just booked that hotel and room for April for two adults and one child and managed the 30k and 12k plus £32, As this room can accommodate three people with a sofa bed !! Normally, when you add a third person into the booking the points required are double if not three or four times as much as a standard room.

    • The PH Mallorca doesn’t open until April so unlikely to be accurate rates loaded at this stage until a full res team are in full force and the inevitable teething issues are sorted out. I notice a number of the tour operators including Amex Vacations are selling it. Seems to be lacking a beach however..

      • I think they are going for the rural retreat angle. A bit like Hilton Mallorca but slightly grander…

  7. plastikman says:

    is there a link for the virgin trains fares? The web page only appears to allow booking up to mid may.

  8. OT

    I’m stilll new to the hobby and getting to grips with things.

    Just signing up for Iberia Plus, where it asserts:

    “Remember, Avios and Elite Points are only recorded if the name matches the one on the ID chosen”

    Does that mean I have to use all 3 names on my passport, despite the Iberia Form not having a space for a middle name?

    I’m guessing not, but thought I’d check.

  9. Does anyone know if buying Hyatt points is enough to keep an account active? I’m close to a big chunk expiring and this may be easier than a trip to East London or Birmingham!

  10. Thanks James – I know I missed the promotion but we weren’t even planning a trip to London until 2 days ago. I was going to redeem for a night in Chicago and held our spend back on the credit card so I wouldn’t trigger the free night too soon. When we got the voucher we decided not to change our Chicago booking in the end – got a lovely 4 star hotel half price on hotels.com back in Dec so decided to not mess with that booking. So spur of the moment trip to London is now happening! We normally stay at the really basic Travelodge at Covent Garden (pre HfP days) when we go to London but even that is pricing up at almost £200 so really happy with our deal.

    • That’s what I meant by ‘assuming’, you got the best deal at the time you could book so that’s all that matters. Interesting for me to see scale of the difference you found on hotels and hilton. I will check close in for deals at bankside and elsewhere to see if it’s worth cancelling staybridge to recover my 140k ihg points. When travelodge Waterloo was new I stayed a few times on the real cheap sale rates under £20/night and was quite happy with it, so too were various friends that normally only stay mid to high end hotels. Now that many have been recently refurbihed it is probably good time to use them again but I would never do so at their outrageous close in Saturday night rates. I spend so little time in hotel rooms that my only real concern is they are clean, the bed is firm enougb to be comfortable, and the bathroom is functional. I’ve stayed in hiltons more than once that made me wisb I was in a travelidge. Thankfully, with a whole bunch of new openings across all their brands, Hilton is now worth staying again in the UK.

  11. OT notice the AMEX FX exchange 1000 bonus points have now posted

  12. Am currently going through a torturous process with Hilton trying to get them to honour the BRG. I provided the details of 5 websites who had a rate up to 40% cheaper than the room I purchased directly with them, on exactly the same dates and same conditions. I even took a snapshot of one of them and sent it within 24 hours to their team. The first email I received back stated their “verification team” were unable to find that price (I checked back constantly, and it’s even still up there now, 10 days later). The subsequent 5 emails I have received in response to my protestations have all simply stated that “the verification team were unable to find that rate within the permitted time”. I find it utterly criminal Hilton can boast a BRG and then be so obtuse about enforcing it. For what it’s worth I’m a platinum member. Has anyone else had similar experiences?

    • Try the Hilton rep on flyertalk, or Twitter

    • “Has anyone else had similar experiences?”

      Last 2 Hilton bookings I made led to the price matched to the OTA (Priceline) and an extra $50 off the cost using the BRG.

  13. OT – decent Marriott flash sale on right now…

  14. Something which I don’t think has ever happened before or if it has I certainly haven’t noticed! I booked the Hilton Hua Hin Thailand yesterday for the same day as was having an unexpected trip there. The rate was a points + cash rate. When I checked out this morning the rate was a fair bit cheaper (in Thai terms) than the rate quoted at time of booking. No complaints but was a bit surprised!

  15. Off topic but if you already have HHonors Silver status then get a Hilton credit card do you just stay at silver status or are you upgraded anymore?

  16. Just hope that your room is as advertised, they offered view of Shard for my room; no view. I initially told them I’d stay somewhere else, but they offered me dinner, and I accepted.