Monday, July 11

Hilton Honors Credit Card Paying For This Year's Summer Vacation

I wasn't sure I wanted to sign up for the Hilton Honors credit card, but I also didn't want to spend typical Hilton prices to attend my son's basketball tournament, and signing up for the card took $100 off my initial stay. I was offered 80,000 or 100,000 bonus points, too, but I didn't really understand what that meant or if I'd be able to use them for anything before they expired. Anyhow, I was saving some money and I hadn't signed up for a credit card in a while, so whatevs. But then, six months later, it was time to book our summer vacation, so I checked out the points and realized I'd accumulated around 120,000 points, good for three nights at Hilton lower-end properties, and I'd have to say that's a win.

Initially, our family plan did not include heading home to Wisconsin, so we were going to use the points for one swanky night out or else two nights down in Miami or Orlando. However, since we're just staying at highway hotels, the points got stretched to three nights, still saving us around $600 on our trip. That said, once I booked the rooms, I'm pretty sure the points were used and not refundable, and our family dog will cost extra at each hotel with no option of using points to pay for the four-legged guest.

We actually used a booking loophole that made our stay a little cheaper by accident. I booked the rooms through Hilton directly in order to use my points, clicking the button to say we had a pet. Then, when given the opportunity, I booked the room I wanted away from noises that might make the dog bark. Then I chose the digital key option. Even though all three hotels initially charged my credit card, only one of the three kept a pet fee on the books. Our plan had not been to avoid paying, but apparently booking online and completely skipping the front desk might confuse employees. Anyhow, the lowest-priced pet fee is the only one of the three we paid a month after the trip, so until Hilton fixes the app so that people who check the pet button are forced to check their pets in, that's how we'll roll.

I'd like to point out that we may never stay in a Hilton hotel again, since they are mostly pricier than the La Quinta properties recommended by pet-owning relatives, and my credit card points will likely never again approach 100,000 (or have Covid-rollover extensions). While I was able to save around $700 total by opening a new credit card account, it took some effort, unlike another card offer I've recently received to get $750 cash back for just using the card for a few months.

I can't complain about this credit card or the offer, but I also can't say that I'll be using my American Express card or stay in Hilton properties exclusively from now on. That said, if used well, the Hilton Honors American Express Card offers a generous bonus for opening an account.

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