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:
And here is an interesting photo of my mini-bar:
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 and status from UK credit cards (October 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.
The Platinum Card comes with a limited time bonus of 60,000 Amex points (converts to 120,000 Hilton Honors points) until 2nd November 2021.
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 with American Express Gold (30,000 bonus points – special offer to 9th November 2021), the American Express Rewards Credit Card (5,000 bonus points) and – for small business owners – American Express Business Gold (20,000 bonus points) and Business Platinum (40,000 bonus 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.)