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New York Stories #3 – Getting Hilton HHonors benefits on a Hotels.com booking

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The night before I flew to New York, I spent the night at the Hilton Munich City.  This article is both a review of the Hilton Munich City and an example of what happens when you do NOT book direct.

The Hilton Munich City hotel wasn’t an entirely random choice.  With my New York flight not until 3pm, I would have a couple of hours in the morning to wander around the centre of Munich.  I knew where the Hilton was as it is about 30 seconds walk from the Holiday Inn where I had a rather dull stay a couple of years ago.  It is also attached to an S-Bahn station on the line that runs to and from the airport so it was easy to access.

Hilton HHonors points were a no-go because of the terrible value – I think it was something like €150 or 50,000 points.  I would have wanted at least €220 of value to justify that.  I also had a £100 gift voucher from Hotels.com to use up before the end of the year and this seemed a good opportunity.

Hotel loyalty schemes and third party bookings

All of the major hotel loyalty schemes are clear about their position on third party bookings.  By ‘third party’ I mean anything from large booking sites such as Expedia down to sites such as the British Airways ‘use your Avios to book a hotel’ portal.  Corporate travel agents are not usually included in this restriction for obvious reasons.

In almost all cases the rules are:

  • you will not receive points for your room rate
  • you will not receive a qualifying night towards earning status
  • you WILL receive credit for incidental spend

Where the chains differ is in their treatment of elite benefits.  This varies substantially by chain and can even vary from hotel to hotel.  Hilton is generally seen as one of the best.  If you look at the terms and conditions of Hilton HHonors there is no mention of elite benefits being restricted if you booked via certain channels.

One issue when booking via Hotels.com or a similar site is that the hotel does not know you are an elite member.  I could have called the hotel in advance but I didn’t.  However, I handed over my Hilton Gold card at check-in and the clerk very efficiently began to add my details into the booking and process my benefits.

Hilton Munich City gave me the majority of my Gold benefits:

I was given free breakfast (otherwise a crazy €29)

I was given free in-room internet.  This was at the premium level, fast enough for video streaming.

I did NOT get a room upgrade, but the hotel was very full – they struggled to find me a king room at all as per my HH preferences.  (hotels.com had only offered a twin so that is what I booked).  I also checked in late.

Overall the hotel is not bad.  It is getting towards the point where it needs a full refurbishment, without a doubt.  However the rooms are large, everything worked and there was a kettle with tea and coffee.  The Hilton Munich City has also excellent facilities – two restaurants, a coffee shop for anyone put off by the €29 breakfast bill, a beer garden, a large bar.  No pool though.

Here are a few shots of my room.  It was perfectly satisfactory for one night although you won’t be over-excited about anything:

Hilton Munich City Centre bedroom review
and

Hilton Munich City Centre room 2 review
and

Hilton Munich City Centre bathroom review

And here is an interesting photo of my mini-bar:

Hilton Munich City mini bar review

The city centre (ie the historic centre, inside the old walls) is about 10 minutes walk away.  You can also take the subway instead which will drop you in Marienplatz, the main square.  Given that hotels in the historic centre are substantially more expensive than those just on the edge – like the Hilton and the Holiday Inn – it is not a bad trade off.

If you are a Hotels.com Welcome Rewards member you may welcome the opportunity to push yourself nearer your next free night by trading off a relatively modest number of Hilton points – especially if you have already requalified for Hilton HHonors status for next year. 

As long as you are still getting your status benefits, and depending on what Hilton HHonors promotions are currently running, it may well make sense.


How to earn Hilton Honors points from UK credit cards (June 2021)

There are various ways of earning Hilton Honors points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.

Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Hilton Honors Gold status for as long as they hold the card?  It also comes with Marriott Bonvoy Gold, Radisson Rewards Gold and MeliaRewards Gold status.  We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Did you know that the Virgin Atlantic credit cards are a great way of earning Hilton Honors points? Two Virgin Points can be converted into three Hilton Honors points. The Virgin Atlantic cards are the only Visa or Mastercard products in the UK which can indirectly earn Hilton Honors points. You can apply here.

You can also earn Hilton Honors points indirectly via American Express Gold, the American Express Rewards Credit Card and – for small business owners – American Express Business Gold and Business Platinum.

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which can be used to earn Hilton Honors points

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

Comments (45)

  • Waribai says:

    As a Gold member, my experience has been that they usually upgrade you on 3rd party bookings if you email them in advance. At Syon Park, even got upgraded to a suite on a family stay.

  • Dave W says:

    I stick my HH # in the comments section of hotels.com when booking and it usually gets through. I’m diamond and get all the usual perks (internet,breakfast,Exec lounge and an upgrade sometimes). I find a casual “am I in the room my secretary booked or…” Trailing off at the end leaves the receptionist a touch confused and I think increases my chances of an upgrade. Could all be in my head though and I could just be needlessly bullying hilton staff for no reason.

    I also find that about 25% of the time the points post through anyway despite the fact they shouldn’t.

    • Bill says:

      That’s a good plan, I shall try that. Even without prior notice I am 80% for upgrades on arrival with the Diamond card.

  • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

    As for the rest of your benefits, I (quite reasonably) wouldn’t expect to get your welcome gift or bottled water if you don’t let them know about your status in advance.

    • N says:

      When I book through my company’s TA the hotel is never aware of my status in advance, but in all recent stays they have brought the goodies to my room a few minutes after checkin.

  • Alan says:

    I’ve stayed a few times at this property. As you say the location is good, especially for airport connections. I found the breakfast buffet to be pretty extensive, far better than US Hilton offerings. The Exec Lounge also has hot snacks every evening. Normally it’s pretty good value when paying cash (not points as you say) so I’d return again.

    Minor typo BTW – it’s just the “Hilton Munich City”, there’s no Centre in the name 😉

  • Simon says:

    Haven’t made a hotels.com booking using my Amex Gold Card for a few months but I always got triple points for the booking, although you are billed in pounds as the transactions are processed in the USA they counted as outbound spend.

  • Danksy says:

    Gold after 4 stays Paul? Tell me more? It took me about 12 months to get mine!

      • AndyGWP says:

        This is of interest to me, though the other links appear to have expired (and the berkshire hathaway only runs for stays until the end of September so I can’t use it)

        Any thoughts on whether the Carlson Wagonlit has new terms? (the post indicates this offer went live in 2013, but the link still works and there appear to be no T&C’s!)

        • Rob says:

          If the link still works I would presume it is OK ….

          • Simon says:

            Would a stay booked with points count towards the 4 stays do you know?

          • Alan says:

            Yes, Hilton give stay credit for all points, cash+points and cash bookings (not made via 3rd parties) so any of those routes would be fine.

          • Rob says:

            Yes, should do.

          • Simon says:

            Thanks Alan and Rob.

            I knew about the 4 nights for Gold offer but didn’t think about it when I was away for my summer holiday and stayed at some Hilton’s so missed an opportunity.

            I’ve got one stay at a Hilton next week and the Hampton in Newport which is available for 5,000 points isn’t too far for me, 15,000 points for Gold seems reasonable to me although I’d have to pay 3 lots of the Severn bridge tolls as well!

            I did the MilePoint offer last year, reading their forum they are doing a premium package this year but they say it won’t involve Hilton.

      • Moonman85 says:

        Last year I completed a 4 stay in 90 day promotion to get gold.

        Would I be able to use this 4 stay in 90 day promotion again? And if so would I drop down to automatic silver you get until you complete the 4 stays?

        • Rob says:

          There was a HFP reader a few months ago who registered for a promo like this and dropped down to Silver! Not 100% sure it would work again but I reckon it would – although I would be more confident if I had already dropped down from Gold.

  • Danksy says:

    I’ve had poor experience with getting 3rd party booked stays credit points.

    Barcelona via hotels .com didn’t work
    Dublin doubletree via BA didn’t work
    London bridge via hotels.com didn’t

    Overall I’d say about 20% success rate! since I was chasing gold status for a while direct booking was more preferable to me at the moment!

  • jon says:

    Thanks for the write up.
    One point of interest, I recently stayed in a Hilton Garden Inn in the US booked via a 3rd party and was able to get my points and stays by filling in a missing stay request on the honours website. They were more diligent when I tried the same trick twice though!

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