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Road Warrior Review: Hilton Brand Hotels
If you are a road warrior like me, you’ll know that taking advantage of as many rewards programs as possible. The hardest part is knowing which ones are the best and give you the most bang for the buck. I have had to learn through trial and error. I tried a program out for a while, then for one reason or another, decided to change course. If there is one lesson I have learned, it’s that loyalty pays off! This is part 3 of a series in which I will explore my favorite hotel chains based on their reward programs.
Hilton Brand Hotels
While I am sure they exist, I have yet to meet anyone who doesn’t like the Hilton brand of hotels. Overall, their quality is some of the best around. The beds are comfy and the locations are usually quite safe. I always enjoy my time at a Hilton brand property. Unfortunately, I have shifted my business to another chain. It wasn’t because of a bad experience. As I explore my likes and dislikes about the brand and the rewards program (Hilton Honors), you will see what led to my decision.
The Hilton Collection
Hilton Hotels & Resorts
Hilton Grand Vacations
Home 2 Suites
What I Like
- The Quality – I have stayed in nicer hotels, but not many! I have only ever had one complaint about the quality of a Hilton brand hotel. Otherwise, they have a 5-star rating in my book! I think my favorite thing was always the beds. They are SO comfortable!!
- Location, Location, Location – No matter where I go, I am likely to find a Hilton hotel nearby. They are like that old credit card commercial (AMEX, I think), everywhere I want to be! I have also never felt unsafe at any of these hotels.
- Customer Service – Again, no complaints from me! I have always gotten great service from the folks at Hilton! In fact, there have been times that they have been more accommodating than they had to be!
- Lap Desk – This may seem really dumb, but my favorite thing about staying at a Hampton Inn was the lap desk they provided. Sometimes, it’s the simple things in life that make you smile!
What Do You Love?
What is Your Favorite Feature of a Hilton Brand Hotel?
What I Dislike
- Price – I travel for work and have a set limit for expenses. I am not complaining about the limit, but when I have a choice between a hotel for $139 and one for $79, it’s an easy decision. Is the price worth it? Probably! However, I am one of those types that is actually more frugal with someone else’s money!
- Rewards Structure – To me, the entire program takes too much effort to calculate. There are three, count ‘em, THREE ways to advance up the ladder to better rewards: stays, nights, or base points. You might think, “That’s a good thing.” I disagree. For example, I just checked my account, which is currently at Silver. It will take me 19 stays, 37 nights, or 67,969 base points to advance to Gold. That just hurts my brain! I like simplicity! “Stay this many nights, get this prize." Plus, 40 nights in a year only gets you to tier 3 of 4! 40 nights with Wyndham or Choice and you are in the big leagues baby!!
- Redeeming Points – Cashing in the points, while easy, doesn’t get you as much as you would think. It took me quite some time to build up to nearly 40,000 points. The problem is that IF I AM LUCKY, that will give me a free night, but there is no guarantee. Some nights are as much as 50,000 points! I have gotten one as for as little as 20,000, but that’s pretty rare.
Tipping the Scale
There was no specific feature of another chain or a dislike of Hilton that ultimately changed my mind. It was a culmination of many factors. The catalyst event was what convinced me to look around and consider other chains besides Hilton. I had stayed at a Hampton Inn near the Mexican border in Texas. It was alright, but the quality was not up to the Hilton standard and the room was just over $100/night. A few weeks later, I was heading to a tiny town southeast of Dallas. My only option was a Comfort Suites priced at $48/night. I was immediately skeptical and expected the worst. Upon arrival, I was more than surprised! The room was enormous and was far nicer than that Hampton Inn! It was then I decided maybe Choice Hotels would be a good option to try. I had been frustrated with how long it was taking me to earn a useful amount of Hilton points, so this just tipped the balance and forced me to act.
Overall, I think Hilton does an amazing job! I would never complain about having to stay at a Hilton brand hotel. I just like how easy other programs make it to earn points to allow me to do what I love, travel! I have no doubt that Hilton will get some of my business throughout the coming years. However, I am not certain they will ever gain back the go-to status they once had.