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Hilton Offers Freebie After Four Stays or 10 Nights

Hilton has added its name to the list of major hotel chains extending their promotional activity into the new year.

The offer: "Earn a free night certificate when you complete four stays or 10 nights now through March 31, 2010, at participating hotels and resorts."

The qualifying and award stays can be at any of the Hilton family of brands, including Hilton, Doubletree, Hampton Inn, Embassy Suites, Conrad, Hilton Garden Inn, Homewood Suites, Hilton Grand Vacations, and the Waldorf Astoria Collection. A maximum of three free nights may be earned after 12 stays or 30 nights.

Advance registration is required.

Deal or No Deal

One way of looking at this offer is as a straightforward rebate: A free night after four one-night stays amounts to getting five nights for the price of four, effectively a 20 percent discount. If the qualifying stays are two or more nights, the percentage discount represented by the free night erodes accordingly.

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But that calculation assumes that the qualifying stays and the award night are taken at same-priced hotels. If the four paid stays were at lower-priced properties (Hampton Inn, for example) and the award night was taken at an upscale property (a Conrad, for example), the deal looks much better.

In any case, with a minimum of four stays required, this promotion is irrelevant for the infrequent traveler.

For those who travel less frequently, Starwood's winter bonus takes effect with the first night, and Marriott's applies to the second and subsequent stays.

With the economy on the rebound, this latest batch of winter promotions may be the last gasp of what has been an unprecedented two-year run of hotel bonuses. Get 'em while you can.

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