I wrote about the Conrad Hotel in New York last year (hotel website here). The hotel had some good points but, overall, it didn’t fully work for me. But now I was back. Why?
Here is most practical reason. I was sitting on a large pile of Hilton HHonors points. I had converted some Amex Membership Rewards points to Hilton last year for a redemption which we ended up cancelling. I wanted to use them up if I could.
Secondly, the hotel does have a lot going for it:
It is new
Even the smallest rooms are a huge 43 square metres and are arranged as suites
Free breakfast as I am Hilton Gold
Free internet as I am Hilton Gold
24 hour free business centre with 3 good quality PC’s in it – helpful for working on this site
I was in a different part of the building this year and did not have to walk down the almost unlit (they think it’s arty) corridors as my room was overlooking the huge atrium.
I also got an upgrade to a 70 square metre suite, but more on that later.
Hilton HHonors and ‘Premium Room Rewards’
When Hilton HHonors was massively devalued in 2013, one sop was the introduction of ‘Premium Room Rewards’. These allowed you to redeem for effectively any room in any hotel. The downside was the value for money you got – it worked out at under 0.2p per Hilton point.
During early 2014, though, Hilton seemed to pull back a bit. Some hotels started struggling because no-one could afford to redeem there (some hotels jumped from 50,000 points to 95,000 points) and, in big tourist cities, redemptions were a big part of their business.
Hilton did not let struggling properties drop down a reward category or two, making them cheaper. What has happened is that some properties now have occasional special deals on ‘Premium Room Rewards’. My Conrad New York room was one of these.
A standard room last Saturday would have cost you $299 + 15% tax or 70,000 points. That is 0.49 cents per point, roughly in line with my often quoted 0.3p per point valuation.
My ‘Premium Room Reward’ was for a Riverview Suite. This was selling for $329 + tax, or just 65,500 points. It was cheaper than booking a standard suite. Not only that, but it was only one level below a corner ‘Premier Suite’ and I thought I might get upgraded to this as a Hilton Gold. (I was. It was 70 sq m and very pleasant.)
At $329 + tax, I was getting 0.58 cents per point (0.34p) which is a decent deal under the new regime.
The ‘Premium Room Reward’ I booked was flagged as a special offer online. If I check now for, say, Saturday 2nd August, the special offer has gone. On that day, a Riverview Suite is $299 + tax or 83,719 points. This is a poor 0.41 cents, or 0.24p per point.
Conrad New York photos
Here are a couple of shots of my ‘Premier Suite’. The extra space (70 sq m vs 43 sq m for a normal suite) is all in the dressing area (not pictured) and the larger living room. The bedroom and bathroom are almost identical to the standard suites as far as I can remember.
The bathroom could have been a lot bigger – it is not clear on the picture but the bath is effectively square and it is impossible to lay down.
There are some other pictures of the hotel in my post from last year.
As construction on 1 World Trade Centre winds down, the access route to the subway from the hotel is getting easier. It is still a 5 minute trot to get to it, but the upside is that you are walkable to huge number of lines across a few different stations.
The Battery Place shopping and restaurant mall (Brookfield Place) will also fully reopen soon and will be directly connected to the World Trade Centre site, cutting out the need to cross 6 lanes of highway to reach the subway.
Even as it stands, you won’t go hungry here. There is a Shake Shack in the building (and a cinema) plus a 24 hour bagel place which actually sells quite a lot more besides. The covered mini-mall outside the hotel also has a deli / supermarket and 3-4 other restaurants.
To be honest, in Summer, Soho House would be my preferred choice because of the outdoor rooftop pool and location. On a short trip without my wife, though, it was difficult to justify the cost – especially as I had the Hilton points to use up. The Conrad and I are now on better terms with each other and I would definitely use it again.
How to earn Hilton Honors points and status from UK credit cards (November 2022)
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 Premium and MeliaRewards Gold status. We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.
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 Amex points)
- American Express Rewards Credit Card (10,000 bonus Amex points)
and for small business owners:
- American Express Business Gold (20,000 bonus Amex points)
- American Express Business Platinum (40,000 bonus Amex points)
The conversion rate from American Express to Hilton points is 1:2.
(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.)