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Bits: 100% bonus buying Hilton points, no more Heathrow Express First upgrades for Star Gold

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News in brief:

100% bonus when you buy Hilton HHonors points

Until 21st October, Hilton HHonors (the new Hilton Tallinn Park, recently reviewed here, is pictured below) is offering a 100% bonus when you purchase 20,000+ points.

The Hilton ‘buy points’ page is here.

Regular readers of Head for Points will know that I tend to value Hilton points at 0.3p each.  You are paying 0.40p ($800 / £643 for 160,000) here so the maths does not look good, especially given the current state of the £.

(Of course, the cost of booking hotels priced in $ or € for cash has also gone up due to the weakness of Sterling.  It may be time to start giving points a higher value if you plan to spend them outside the UK.)

Five star Hilton, Conrad and Waldorf-Astoria hotels typically run to 80,000 points per night.  In this sale you would be paying $400 for 80,000 points which is often more than you would be paying for a five star in a major city.  This is not a bargain.

However, Hilton HHonors IS a decent deal at cheaper point levels.   The Hampton by Hilton in Sheffield, for example, is 10,000 points per night.  At 0.40p per point you would be paying roughly £40 per night if you bought the points.  That is a 60% discount on the typical nightly rate of £100.  Hampton properties include free breakfast as well.

If you just buying a handful of points to top off your account, the price per point doesn’t matter anyway.  If you a few thousand short of a redemption then this is a decent opportunity to buy them.

hilton hotel tallinn park exterior press picture

No more free First Class upgrades on the Heathrow Express

Without telling anyone, Star Alliance has removed its perk of free First Class upgrades on Heathrow Express.

I have had a couple of emails this week from HfP readers who were unceremoniously booted out of First Class when they flashed their Star Gold card and a Standard Class ticket at the train guard.

The offer is still showing as available on the Star Alliance website here.  Trust me, it is dead.

There are still some codes for free First Class HEx upgrades, shared by fellow HfP readers after Heathrow Express emailed a lot out two weeks ago, in the comments section to this HFP article.

Comments (51)

  • Allan says:

    I was told by a guard on the HEX back in July that this would end in September.

  • Genghis says:

    “If you [sic] just buying a handful of points to top off your account, the price per point doesn’t matter anyway.”

    So a minimum of 40k points is a handful? It’s all relative I guess

  • TGLoyalty says:

    £250 stay at double points wouldn’t net you anywhere near 40k points my last stay of about that much was c9k and I’m Diamond triple would be c12k.

    MR to Hilton is 0.5p if you value an Avios or Flying Club mile at 1p

    So it’s not that poor even with the shocking FX rates at the moment

  • Mr Dee says:

    Sheffield doubletree 3 nights @ £90 = £270 – £50 Amex Discount = £220
    Return on points estimate: 15k @ 0.003p valuation each = £45
    =£175

    Sheffield doubletree 5 nights @ £90 = £450 – £50 Amex Discount = £400
    Return on points estimate: 25k @ 0.003p valuation each = £75
    Effective Cost
    =£325

    Same redemption by purchasing points:
    3 nights 30k @ 0.004p = £120
    5 nights (5 for 4) 40k @ 0.004p = £160

    This obviously will change based on the hotel your staying and the value that you will get.

    • Genghis says:

      Choosing one of the best value redemptions is not exactly a representative example.

      • Boris says:

        Raffles likes Sheffield 😮

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Illustrates just exactly when you use points and not cash though

        Also Don’t forget 5 nights for the price of 4 on points

      • Mr Dee says:

        Agree, you sometimes need to be selective on your points use and at the moment in the sale (Until tomorrow) there are some good deals to use the £50 off Amex deal especially as I believe its charged straight away

      • Mr Dee says:

        Manchester Deansgate 1 [email protected] £260 – £50 Amex Discount = £210
        Return on points estimate: 10k @ 0.003p valuation each = £30
        =£180

        Manchester Deansgate 5 nights @ £260 = £1300 – £50 Amex Discount = £1250
        Return on points estimate: 50k @ 0.003p valuation each = £150
        Effective Cost
        =£1100

        Same redemption by purchasing points:
        1 nights 50k @ 0.004p = £200
        5 nights (5 for 4) 200k @ 0.004p = £800

        Granted that there is a limit on the amount of points you can buy and prices do change but this was based on a random midweek night.

      • Genghis says:

        Since when does Joe Bloggs stay in Sheffield or Manchester for 5 nights?

    • Mr Dee says:

      No idea why he would!

      • Gareth Morgan says:

        One thing that has always puzzled me about the value of points is VAT. As VAT doesn’t seem to be charged on points purchases, presumably as the transaction is typically outside the EU, how do you value the redemption where, on business, you can reclaim the tax but for leisure you can’t.

  • Lady London says:

    At least the Star Alliance hasn’t tried to say taking away the free First Class benefit is “due to customer feedback” or “an enhancement”. Unlike some wellknown British Airlines….

  • Russell says:

    I cannot speak for Sheffield, but the Hampton in Newcastle / Tyne is very good value for the points.

    It too is only 10 000 points a night and we had a very pleasant two nights there earlier this year.

    We needed to book a further two nights over Christmas this year – 8 000 points an £38.60 – and the breakfast is MUCH better than the Holiday Inn Express up the road, which had no points availability at all on 24 Dec. The location of the Hampton is MUCH better too

  • Roosit says:

    Slightly OT but following an article earlier this week I thought I’d try the Hilton HHonors Visa. Before applying I tried the eligibility checker on the website – and was rejected. I tried both under my own and my husband’s name, neither of us usually has any problems when applying for credit cards, and we’ve never held a card with Barclays, so I’m wondering, is there anything else about this particular card that I should be aware of? Or is Barclays stricter than other providers? Eligibility on others still showing over 90%. Any thoughts much appreciated.

    • Rob says:

      Don’t think so, we’re not talking Amex Platinum here …

    • Mr Dee says:

      A friend got rejected last month because they held a barclaycard and basically said they didn’t try to even process the application or do a credit check.

    • Alan says:

      I’ve always found they have a much higher rejection rate than other cards – at times I suspect you can have too good a credit rating for them!

  • Rts says:

    A quick question; if I used my diamond membership with hhonors to book a room for my friend to use. Will they benefit from my diamond status despite me not being there?

    • Rob says:

      They will if the booking is in your name and your friend impersonates you or you book for 2 adults and name them as the 2nd guest.

      • Rts says:

        OK. So if I were to book 4 rooms for 8 people and 4 of the 8 were additional guests, this shouldn’t be an issue? All would benefit from diamond status?

        • Rob says:

          No. Status benefits are usually restricted to 1 room per booking (check the Hilton rules for the exact position Hilton takes). This would apply to cash or reward nights.

          • What's the Point says:

            Correct, I booked 5 rooms for a family do this year and only myself and the Mrs got the Diamond benefits…although I may have sneaked one of two other family members into the lounge at different times…

        • TGLoyalty says:

          You sometimes get them for up to 2 rooms, depends on property.

          You will only earn points for a maximum of two rooms per stay, and Night/Stay for just 1 of them.

          SPG lets you have up to 3 rooms for points not sure about status recognition or nights/stay accumulation

          • Rob says:

            SPG counts 3 for status. Not unknown for people to book 3 x £45 rooms for Sat nights at Heathrow to requalify.

    • John says:

      Yes unless it’s in a country where passport is required to check-in (e.g Spain)

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