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Starting out from scratch with Hilton

Starting out from scratch with Hilton

Old Sep 24, 18, 10:53 am
  #1  
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Starting out from scratch with Hilton

I am a longtime Marriott member and am starting out from scratch with Hilton. What are your recommendations on the cards that I should get (if any), and in what order should I apply for them, to maximize my return? The main goal here is to accumulate as many points and free nights as possible for a big trip in late 2019 or summer 2020. I already have Priority Pass and Global Entry, so those perks won't move the needle for me by themselves, but I am not opposed to getting the Aspire card to obtain its Diamond benefits. Thanks!
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Old Sep 24, 18, 11:22 am
  #2  
 
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Originally Posted by hbcobra View Post
I am a longtime Marriott member and am starting out from scratch with Hilton. What are your recommendations on the cards that I should get (if any), and in what order should I apply for them, to maximize my return? The main goal here is to accumulate as many points and free nights as possible for a big trip in late 2019 or summer 2020. I already have Priority Pass and Global Entry, so those perks won't move the needle for me by themselves, but I am not opposed to getting the Aspire card to obtain its Diamond benefits. Thanks!
Depends. Can you use the Hilton resort credit and the airline credit fairly easily? If so, the Aspire seems to be the obvious choice as it offers the largest sign up bonus (although, with largest spend requirement) and biggest multipliers on everything except grocery stores, in addition to diamond status.
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Old Sep 24, 18, 11:51 am
  #3  
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Aspire card for sure...I'll assume that as a Flyertalker you'll need to buy an airline ticket and can find yourself to a Hilton resort once a year...

Don't forget to sign up for the current fall promotion - 2x base points on all stays and 3x on luxury/resort stays.

The biggest difference between Marriott and Hilton, as someone who has been active in both for 15+ years, is that Hilton undergoes big structural devaluations fairly regularly, and then they increase the raw numbers of points you earn per dollar. They have their own little Zimbabwean dollar here, which can be frustrating to some who want to hold their points for a longer period of time to redeem a big award. You have to earn/burn quickly with HH. Marriott, since it has just finished the SPG merger, will probably remain fairly stable for the coming couple of years.
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Old Sep 24, 18, 12:56 pm
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If you have status with Marriott you may want to use that to jump start with HIlton:
https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/hilt...ch-2019-a.html
The Definitive Hilton Honors Status Match Thread
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Old Sep 24, 18, 1:40 pm
  #5  
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One other thing that may not be obvious: if you are using the cash and points option, those stays accrue points on the cash co-payment, including any double or triple promo credit (same for eligible incidental spending). Unlike other chains Hilton allows those stays and ones that are entirely on reward points to count towards promotions, milestone bonuses, etc.
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Old Sep 24, 18, 4:41 pm
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For accumulating free nights, remember that these certificates are only for weekend nights. You get one certificate/year with the Aspire card, but keep in mind you can earn additional certificates by having the Ascend card and spending $15000/year on it. It is above my,pay grade, but I believe you can also earn a second night from the Aspire card by a fairly large spend, $40000/year or somesuch.
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Old Sep 24, 18, 7:56 pm
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Originally Posted by Cledaybuck View Post
Depends. Can you use the Hilton resort credit and the airline credit fairly easily? If so, the Aspire seems to be the obvious choice as it offers the largest sign up bonus (although, with largest spend requirement) and biggest multipliers on everything except grocery stores, in addition to diamond status.
I think the 150,000 in points ($900 value per TPG) is probably worth a $450 annual fee outlay in the first year, regardless of the other benefits. The resort credit and airline free credit will factor in to the decision to keep the Aspire past Year 1. I can make use of the airline fee credit, yes, so long as I can still apply it toward the purchase of airline gift cards. I will have a tougher time making use of the resort credit in Year 1, but should have an easier time in Year 2.

Originally Posted by pinniped View Post
The biggest difference between Marriott and Hilton, as someone who has been active in both for 15+ years, is that Hilton undergoes big structural devaluations fairly regularly, and then they increase the raw numbers of points you earn per dollar. They have their own little Zimbabwean dollar here, which can be frustrating to some who want to hold their points for a longer period of time to redeem a big award. You have to earn/burn quickly with HH. Marriott, since it has just finished the SPG merger, will probably remain fairly stable for the coming couple of years.
Thanks. My plan was to apply for multiple Hilton cards (in succession, not all at once) and do some light travel at Hilton properties (maybe 10 nights in the next year). Between the sign-up bonuses and the points earned from stays, I would hopefully rack up a balance to be able to redeem for a couple of nights at luxury properties in summer 2020. I was aware that Hilton changes the number of points needed for redemption based on demand, but I didn't know that it was a regular thing to change it across the board like this. When did the last structural devaluation happen, and how often does it occur? How much risk do you think there is in banking points now and waiting until summer 2020 to redeem them?

Originally Posted by jerry a. laska View Post
If you have status with Marriott you may want to use that to jump start with HIlton:
https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/hilt...ch-2019-a.html
The Definitive Hilton Honors Status Match Thread
Unfortunately, I can't take advantage of this. Too many prebooked stays with other hotels to make it work right now. Obtaining status is less of an issue for me anyway than positioning myself for a few free nights at a luxury property down the road.

Originally Posted by Points Scrounger View Post
One other thing that may not be obvious: if you are using the cash and points option, those stays accrue points on the cash co-payment, including any double or triple promo credit (same for eligible incidental spending). Unlike other chains Hilton allows those stays and ones that are entirely on reward points to count towards promotions, milestone bonuses, etc.
Good to know. Thanks!

Originally Posted by Mike B View Post
For accumulating free nights, remember that these certificates are only for weekend nights. You get one certificate/year with the Aspire card, but keep in mind you can earn additional certificates by having the Ascend card and spending $15000/year on it. It is above my,pay grade, but I believe you can also earn a second night from the Aspire card by a fairly large spend, $40000/year or somesuch.
Thanks. I am only counting on the one weekend night at the anniversary.

Last edited by hbcobra; Sep 24, 18 at 8:44 pm Reason: Typo
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Old Sep 25, 18, 8:40 am
  #8  
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Originally Posted by hbcobra View Post
How much risk do you think there is in banking points now and waiting until summer 2020 to redeem them?
The last big systemwide devaluation was early 2017 (I think). That's when the entire concept of categories was scrapped, but Hilton still promised to keep a "max rate" on each property for a standard room. Those caps are still there - if you go look at most desirable properties in the system and find a standard room, you'll often find it for 95,000 points per night regardless of the room rate. The biggest change for me was down in the middle of the pack properties: places that were once 30k/nt were suddenly 60k. Once every few years I'd do a 5-night top-end HH stay, but throughout the year I used to do a lot of 1- or 2-night 30k stays for your basic $200-250 room. Those awards became a lot harder to find.

I think of you're looking top end, the trying to get to 380,000 points for 5 nights at a top property, you're *probably* safe as long as it's somewhere not at risk of gaming the standing room thing entirely. If you're redeeming summer '19 to travel summer '20, I'd feel more comfortable than if you mean redeeming summer '20 to travel in '21. Any kind of time horizon longer than a year worries me with HH.

The next shoe to drop, without much fanfare, could easily be that the property caps disappear, killing the idea of any kind of aspirational award once and for all. It becomes purely a cash-equivalent program where your revenue stays simply become pieces of future Hampton Inn nights or whatever. The Southwest of hotel programs. That can still be lucrative - especially if you earn 70 points per dollar like you can now with promotions and such - but it's not nearly as fun as when you can redeem points for the Maldives, W=A, or whatever else you might not book for yourself if you didn't have a loyalty program.
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Old Sep 25, 18, 8:46 am
  #9  
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Originally Posted by pinniped View Post
The last big systemwide devaluation was early 2017 (I think). That's when the entire concept of categories was scrapped, but Hilton still promised to keep a "max rate" on each property for a standard room. Those caps are still there - if you go look at most desirable properties in the system and find a standard room, you'll often find it for 95,000 points per night regardless of the room rate. The biggest change for me was down in the middle of the pack properties: places that were once 30k/nt were suddenly 60k. Once every few years I'd do a 5-night top-end HH stay, but throughout the year I used to do a lot of 1- or 2-night 30k stays for your basic $200-250 room. Those awards became a lot harder to find.

I think of you're looking top end, the trying to get to 380,000 points for 5 nights at a top property, you're *probably* safe as long as it's somewhere not at risk of gaming the standing room thing entirely. If you're redeeming summer '19 to travel summer '20, I'd feel more comfortable than if you mean redeeming summer '20 to travel in '21. Any kind of time horizon longer than a year worries me with HH.

The next shoe to drop, without much fanfare, could easily be that the property caps disappear, killing the idea of any kind of aspirational award once and for all. It becomes purely a cash-equivalent program where your revenue stays simply become pieces of future Hampton Inn nights or whatever. The Southwest of hotel programs. That can still be lucrative - especially if you earn 70 points per dollar like you can now with promotions and such - but it's not nearly as fun as when you can redeem points for the Maldives, W=A, or whatever else you might not book for yourself if you didn't have a loyalty program.
Great insight. Thank you! Likely redeeming fall/winter 2019 for travel in summer 2020.
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Old Sep 25, 18, 11:47 am
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Originally Posted by pinniped View Post
The last big systemwide devaluation was early 2017 (I think). That's when the entire concept of categories was scrapped, but Hilton still promised to keep a "max rate" on each property for a standard room. Those caps are still there - if you go look at most desirable properties in the system and find a standard room, you'll often find it for 95,000 points per night regardless of the room rate. The biggest change for me was down in the middle of the pack properties: places that were once 30k/nt were suddenly 60k. Once every few years I'd do a 5-night top-end HH stay, but throughout the year I used to do a lot of 1- or 2-night 30k stays for your basic $200-250 room. Those awards became a lot harder to find.

...
The next shoe to drop, without much fanfare, could easily be that the property caps disappear
.
you may not have run into it yourself, but Hilton allows properties to opt out of the cap. The way it shows up online is the standard room/award is available to book with cash but no option to pay with points. Calling in, they'll let you pay with points but it's the standard dynamic rate based on room cost, which can be many multiples of that property's "cap"
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Old Sep 25, 18, 12:57 pm
  #11  
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Originally Posted by B3nder View Post
.
you may not have run into it yourself, but Hilton allows properties to opt out of the cap. The way it shows up online is the standard room/award is available to book with cash but no option to pay with points. Calling in, they'll let you pay with points but it's the standard dynamic rate based on room cost, which can be many multiples of that property's "cap"
I've seen it in one or two places, but I just assumed I was seeing something else...like not actually the "standard" room available. I figured it was more gaming of the definition of a standard room than removal of the cap.

So...great. I guess that could be spreading faster than I thought.
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Old Sep 25, 18, 2:13 pm
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Originally Posted by hbcobra View Post
I think the 150,000 in points ($900 value per TPG) is probably worth a $450 annual fee outlay in the first year, regardless of the other benefits. The resort credit and airline free credit will factor in to the decision to keep the Aspire past Year 1. I can make use of the airline fee credit, yes, so long as I can still apply it toward the purchase of airline gift cards. I will have a tougher time making use of the resort credit in Year 1, but should have an easier time in Year 2.



Thanks. My plan was to apply for multiple Hilton cards (in succession, not all at once) and do some light travel at Hilton properties (maybe 10 nights in the next year). Between the sign-up bonuses and the points earned from stays, I would hopefully rack up a balance to be able to redeem for a couple of nights at luxury properties in summer 2020. I was aware that Hilton changes the number of points needed for redemption based on demand, but I didn't know that it was a regular thing to change it across the board like this. When did the last structural devaluation happen, and how often does it occur? How much risk do you think there is in banking points now and waiting until summer 2020 to redeem them?



Unfortunately, I can't take advantage of this. Too many prebooked stays with other hotels to make it work right now. Obtaining status is less of an issue for me anyway than positioning myself for a few free nights at a luxury property down the road.



Good to know. Thanks!



Thanks. I am only counting on the one weekend night at the anniversary.
But if you are not using those credits, you might be better off with 125,000 points for a $95 AF, unless you are planning to get both.
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Old Sep 25, 18, 2:31 pm
  #13  
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Originally Posted by B3nder View Post
.
you may not have run into it yourself, but Hilton allows properties to opt out of the cap. The way it shows up online is the standard room/award is available to book with cash but no option to pay with points. Calling in, they'll let you pay with points but it's the standard dynamic rate based on room cost, which can be many multiples of that property's "cap"
Hi B3nder,

Just sent you a PM to get more details from you on the property and when you tried to book. Would like to pass this along to the Hilton Honors team directly, if you're willing to share your experience.

Thanks!
Lauren
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Old Sep 25, 18, 3:32 pm
  #14  
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So, this begs the official question: is it *not* actually Hilton policy to permit a hotel to opt out of the property cap for a standard room? e.g., Must every property have something defined as a standard room for 95,000 points or less? (Perhaps excluding all-inclusives and HGVC.)
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Old Sep 26, 18, 12:22 pm
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Originally Posted by HonorsRepresentative View Post
Hi B3nder,

Just sent you a PM to get more details from you on the property and when you tried to book.
.
Thanks, sent reply message.
Don't have exact dates when it applied last year or all of the properties I saw it at, but the one I remembered is still blocking point reservations through website for the first random date period I just tried.
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