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An email from a villa at the Conrad Koh Samui (or, why the Hilton credit card is great)

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A couple of Sundays ago, I received an email from Head for Points reader Nick who was sunning himself in his villa at the luxurious Conrad resort in Koh Samui, Thailand.

It looks good.  Exhibit A:

Conrad Koh Samui

Exhibit B:

Conrad 2

He didn’t email me to show off.  He emailed to thank me for recommending the Hilton HHonors credit card on HFP, because he was staying at the Conrad using the ‘free weekend night’ voucher that comes with the card.

Since the Hilton credit card was relaunched in 2011, it has got a lot more attractive.  The current offer is a free night at ANY Hilton group property worldwide, triggered when you’ve spent just £750 in the first 90 days of having it.

Note that the free night covers the Hilton group, not just Hilton-branded properties.  That means you can also stay at a pricier Conrad (like Nick) or Waldorf-Astoria property, even one of the resort properties in the Maldives.  I redeemed my free night voucher at the Conrad in New York last year.

This freebie is worth well over £200 if used properly.  I don’t know what the rates were when Nick stayed, but a ‘standard’ pool villa at the Conrad Koh Samui for a Saturday in November is coming up as £440 including tax.  A refundable room is even more.

There are no catches about redeeming – if a room is available for a standard level Hilton HHonors redemption, it is available for use on the voucher.  You need to call the service centre to book, but that is the only niggle.  The voucher is good for six months from the date of issue (be careful – don’t apply for the card in the Autumn if you want the voucher for the following Summer!).

The card is a Visa issued by Barclaycard, so it is unlikely to clash with any other loyalty card you have.  The only other loyalty card they run is IHG Rewards Club.  There is also no annual fee.

Other perks on the card include 2,500 bonus points on your next four Hilton stays within 12 months, Silver status in Hilton HHonors (not hugely useful, but better than nothing) and Gold status after you’ve spent £10,000 in a year.  However, there are often promos about that give instant Hilton Gold for a trial period, so this is not such a great deal.

Long term, this card is NOT a keeper.  The earnings rate is only 2 points per £1 (3 per £1 when spending in a Hilton property), so you’d need to spend £35,000 to get one free night in a top property!  You would be better off using an Amex GoldAmex Membership Rewards points transfer to Hilton at 1:2, and you get double points on shopping, petrol, travel and foreign spend.

However, as Nick found, this card is certainly worth getting for the introductory free night.  If your partner gets one too, you could book two free nights, back to back, for a totally free long weekend.

(To see our complete list of all current credit card bonuses, click here to visit our ‘Credit Cards Update’ page or use the link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Comments (34)

  • MarkCam says:

    I cancelled my Hilton card a couple of weeks ago and was told that I could re-apply in six months time which I fully intend to do.

    • cmcbugg says:

      Same here. Cancelled (just after receiving my PC Black Card). They said I couldn’t re-apply for 6 months.

      I used my free night at the Waldorf Astoria Shanghai – and got a room upgrade (apparently because of my status – so the Silver does count for something it seems). It was a very nice room indeed.

  • Mark B says:

    I tried this morning to book either Hilton property in Phuket in 2 weeks time (heading there using Avios from TXL via AUH) was told only standard rooms are eligible for the free night and all were taken 🙁

  • Eshaq Choudhury says:

    Are there any other hilton properties that are as amazing as this but also big enough for a family of three? I’m thinking of applying for the card for me and the mrs so we can get two nights for free.

  • Donald says:

    Add in the ease of obtaining a Gold status with Hh, with room uplift and the free extras, this programme merits serious consideration.

    • Rob says:

      It’s not that easy at the moment … the Milepoint deal is now dead, I think all that is currently running is the deal for Accenture employees which still requires 4 stays.

      • Rochelle says:

        Hi Raffles,

        Do you think there will be any additional sign-up bonuses worth waiting for in the next few months on this Hilton card?


        • Alan says:

          Historically the offer on the Hilton VISA has remained fairly constant. No guarantees of course, but personally I think it’s unlikely that a better offer will be coming along soon.

        • Rob says:

          They have done modestly better targetted offers (10,000 Hilton points on top) but nothing markedly better.

  • squills says:

    Try Koh Tao