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Hilton Offers Free Nights, but Not So Fast …

Hilton has dubbed its new promotion Fast Ways to Free Stays.

What’s fast? According to Hilton, earning a free night after either four stays or 10 nights. A quick check of my Random House dictionary shows the following definition for ‘fast’: “done in comparatively little time; taking a comparatively short time.” Hilton’s copywriters must have consulted a different dictionary.

Offer Details

Between April 6 and June 30, Hilton HHonors members can earn a free night or double base points after either four qualifying stays or 10 nights.

Registration is required, at which time program members must opt for either free nights or bonus points.

The free night certificate must be used within one year.

Deal or No Deal

First, the upside:

  • There’s no limit to the number of times the bonuses can be earned.
  • The free night can be taken any time within a year.
  • With Hilton’s network of more than 3,500 hotels, there’s a vast choice of awards, including some very high end properties in some highly desirable locations.

What will give many travelers pause, however, is the qualification hurdle: four stays or 10 nights, within three months.

That puts the bonuses out of reach of all but a small segment of the traveling public, mostly business travelers. And it’s not as though there aren’t plenty of hotel promotions with much lower requirements.

Hyatt, for example, is offering a free night after just two stays between March 26 and June 30.

And Choice Hotels is offering enough bonus points for a free night after two stays completed between February 22 and April 30.

Arguably, a free night in smaller hotel networks like those of Choice and Hyatt has less value than a free night in Hilton’s collection of 3,500 hotels worldwide. So the Hilton promotion does have potential value for those who meet the qualifying criteria. Inarguably, though, a free night earned after two stays is within much easier reach than a freebie after four stays.

In a recent interview in InsideFlyer magazine, Hilton HHonors chief Jeff Diskin vowed that the program was moving in the direction of “being more broad in our system promotions,” rather than focusing exclusively on ultra-frequent travelers. Perhaps future promotions will deliver on that promise. This one does not.

Reader Reality Check

Given your travel plans for the next three months, is this offer meaningful for you?

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