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Who won ‘Best Hotel Loyalty Promotion 2019’ at the Head for Points Awards?

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Over Christmas and New Year, we are unveiling the winners of the inaugural Head for Points Travel & Loyalty Awards.  Today is Day 9 and our final hotel award, which in general were much tighter votes.  Today we are looking at which was the best hotel loyalty scheme bonus promotion in 2019?

This was another close category, with the winner taking just 25.1% of the vote compared to 22.6% for the runner-up.

The Head for Points Travel & Loyalty Awards 2019 are a great opportunity to recognise the cream of the crop when it comes to UK premium business and leisure travel. A lot of the areas we are covering, such as airport lounges and travel credit cards, are ignored by other awards because they are too niche – but for our readers, they are very important and appreciated.

Over 4,500 HFP readers voted over three weeks in November. There were 12 categories in total. As well as giving an award to each category winner, we are also giving out a number of ‘Editor’s Choice’ awards for products and services which we personally admire.

Each winner will receive a trophy which we will be presenting at a special dinner in January.

What is the best UK Airport Lounge

Today we are announcing the winner of ‘Best Hotel Loyalty Promotion 2019’

And your winner is….

Hilton Honors – Power Up (Q4 2019)

This was another tight category but Hilton managed to hold off a strong challenge from IHG’s Accelerate promotion.  These two are not entirely comparable, of course, because ‘Power Up’ was a specific offer whilst Accelerate ran four times in 2019 and the targets were personalised.  Some people found their Accelerate targets very easy, others found them impossible.

Impressively, in third place came the exclusive Head for Points offer we ran with Hotels.com Rewards.  This got you an additional free night credit when you booked a two-night stay.  In fourth place was another semi-exclusive HFP offer (because no-one else wrote about it!) of 5,000 bonus Avios or other miles for your first Rocketmiles hotel booking.

We then had Marriott Bonvoy’s ‘Endless Earning’, another HFP exclusive offer with Kaligo.com and offers from Accor, Radisson and Hyatt.

Hilton Power Up

What did Power Up offer?

Power Up was a very simple promotion, which was extra-lucrative if you still had the old Hilton Honors Barclaycard (no longer available to new applicants).

It ran for four months, from 9th September to 5th January (so you still have 3 days to benefit!)

You received double base points on all your stays

You received triple base points if you paid with the old Hilton Honors Barclaycard

Note the lack of small print, which is a sure fire way of keeping your members happy:

Every Hilton Honors hotel in the world was included

Existing bookings still counted

There was no silly ‘starting with your second stay’ rule – every stay during the four months counted

Given that I value a Hilton Honors point at around 0.33p, you were getting a good return on your spending here.  20 points per $1 is an 8% rebate and that is before you add in any status bonus.  Hilton Honors Barclaycard holders were getting a 12% rebate before status bonuses.

From a personal point of view, this promotion worked out very well because I had a £1,200+ Hilton stay during the period.  Double base points plus the additional 100% bonus from my Diamond status was very lucrative – I was just sorry that I had cancelled my Hilton Barclaycard a couple of years ago!

Hilton Paris Opera

Hilton has jumped around between ‘double base points’ and ‘x,000 bonus points per stay’ offers all year.  This allows everyone to benefit, irrespective of stay patterns.  If you tend to do cheap one-night stays at Hampton by Hilton then you will do better with 2,000 bonus points per stay.  If you do long expensive stays then you will do better with double base points.

I look forward to giving Hilton their award at our winner’s dinner on 13th January.  Tomorrow we come to our first credit card award – who will win ‘Best UK Travel Rewards Credit Card’?

Comments (20)

  • RussellH says:

    Rob,

    You mention above that you had cancelled your Hilton Visa card, and so missed out on the triple points part of the offer.
    You have often mentioned locking a card away in a drawer, why did you not follow that strategy here?
    Same question to other readers too!

    • Alex W says:

      I think I cancelled mine because I believed that too many credit cards was bad for one’s credit rating. If I’d known 4 years later I still couldn’t apply for another one I might have kept it. Hindsight eh. I also wish I’d kept my IHG premium as I got rejected when I reapplied! Luckily Mrs W still has it and just managed to hit Spire purely from CC spending.

    • Russ says:

      I kept the card as I didn’t have many cards at the time plus it doesn’t cost me anything to hold. I just wish I’d gotten the other airline cards before they were pulled. As Alex W says – hindsight is a wonderful thing.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        The other airline cards were all replaced with other nine points cards though.

        Only Hilton and Marriott are still going from all of the old cards no longer available to new applicants.

    • Rob says:

      I had a tidy up a few years ago. I was getting Hilton Gold via Plat and the earn rate was no better than converting Amex MR points.

      • Thomas Howard says:

        Are we likely to see Hilton or Marriott Visa/MasterCards launched this year? For me the Creation card is IHGs one redeeming feature.

        • Freddy says:

          The earning rate on a creation Marriott card would be a lot worse than the current amex card so hope there is no change there.

          • Rob says:

            The Creation Marriott card was 1 point per £1 so not exactly lifechanging vs 3 per £1 on the SPG Amex, albeit there was a £75 fee there.

          • Charlieface says:

            There was also 2000 bonus points a year and 10 night credits, it’s a shame Amex don’t offer that.

      • Crafty says:

        Wow, you must regret that. I find it an extremely lucrative card. I was lucky that I was between churns at the time it was withdrawn.

  • John says:

    Hi Rob,

    My IHG status is still Spire despite not qualifying for it since 2016. I bought Amb in 2017 which extended it to end of 2018, and was not demoted for 2019 (which I recall happened to you too). It looks like it has stuck for 2020.

    I have averaged fewer than 10 paid nights at IHG per year and around 10-15 reward nights.

    In other news, thanks to BA for renewing both my and my wife’s Silver following the birth of our son in May 2019. I earned 200 TPs and my wife 0 (our BA year is more or less the calendar year).

    • Pangolin says:

      It seems to be an unofficial/unadvertised feature of the Ambassador programme that renewing it preserves your IHG status.

      • John says:

        I didn’t renew ambassador. My status should have expired at the end of 2018. So buying amb once seems to have given me “lifetime” status so far

    • The Original Nick says:

      John, I think that IHG status’s tend to change around the end of January for the year. Rob can probably confirm this if I’m correct.

  • The Savage Squirrel says:

    “Note the lack of small print, which is a sure fire way of keeping your members happy”

    This. 1000x this! Complex TandCs that lead to bonus denial annoy members and leave you worse off as a brand than running no promotion at all (and clog up CS agents who have to deal with the unhappy). If your promo is open to abuse and needs a load of T&Cs to prevent it then …. you designed a rubbish promo. Bin it and design a better one!

  • John says:

    This year Hilton’s IT worked nearly perfectly for me with every stay bar one crediting correctly by 7am UK time the day after checking out, including all the promos. The one stay which didn’t credit was resolved within 24 hours of contacting the diamond email helpline, and I got 3 emails from different managers at the hotel apologising.

  • Mr(s) Entitled says:

    Says it all about how unexciting the year was when the award itself generates single digit comments.

    • Freddy says:

      Totally agree – no wonder hotels.com keeps cropping up with its free night award (equivalent 10% rebate)

      • Ayearinmx says:

        I stay over 80 nights a year for work, of which probably 70 are in small places without chain hotel options… So for me, hotels.com is an excellent programme, which I can then enjoy personally. I also used the kaligo and rocket miles promotions found on here.