Hilton

Secret way to earn Fast track to Hilton Gold status

Hilton has a four tier Loyalty program where members start from a blue (basic) followed by silver, Gold and the top most level is Diamond where each level is earned with more stays and nights in a calendar year. Blue and Silver are very basic and hardly get you any good benefits. Gold and Diamond benefits get you Early Check-in, late checkout, Free Breakfast (savings can be huge here) additional bonus Hilton points for each stay (25% Bonus for Gold and 50% for Diamond) and access to executive floor lounge in Hilton properties when available which gets you free drinks, snacks and meals throughout the day.

To achieve or retain HHonors Gold status, you need to earn either:
(1) 20 stays in a calendar year, or
(2) 40 nights in a calendar year, or
(3) 75,000 HHonors Base Points in a calendar year

Another way to earn Hilton status is by applying for the Citi Hilton Reserve card which comes with two free nights at any Hilton Worldwide plus gold status as long as you have the card. The annual fees on this card is $95 (not waived)

You can learn about all the benefits of various levels here 

Well I guess unless you travel a lot on work attaining these many stays and nights could be challenging. I will share with you a secret way to earn Hilton Gold status with just four stays

Secret Hilton

Make sure you are already registered with Hilton and have an HHonors number. Next go to this website –  HHonors.com/amexta

Enter you Hilton HHonors number and password and click on Enroll now. That’s it make sure you complete 4 stays at any Hilton properties in the next 90 days to quickly earn the gold status and enjoy some amazing benefits.

The website says this offer is only for American Express business travelers but looks like anyone can register and participate in the promo.

 

 

Categories: Hilton, Uncategorized | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Your next Hilton Stay could earn you 1000 HHonors points with digital Check-in

I received an email this morning from Hilton. It says “Open Your door” with your phone and earn 1,000 Bonus Points. hilton digital key

1,000 HHonor Points are not much but I will take them anyways. All you have to do is download the Hilton HHonors app and Select Digital Key. It will let you choose your room and bam!!

I like this Digital key feature because I hate those plastic keys which easily get deactivated when in contact with an electronic device such as cell phone and then you have to make trips back and forth to the front desk for new keys.

If you have an Hilton stay coming up check your emails, you may have received this offer for an extra 1000 points.

Categories: Hilton, Uncategorized | Tags: | Leave a comment

All about Curry Omelette and Global Entry

Introduction

The past weekend we drove to Newark/NJ to accomplish a lot of things – Attend a reception party, show in-laws NYC, Global Entry interview at Newark Airport and last but not the least is enjoy curry omelette at Embassy Suites Newark Airport.

The Scoop

The past weekend  we were scheduled to attend a reception party in New Jersey of our close friends. I am in the process of re-qualifying GOLD with Hilton (That gets you complimentary upgrades, FREE Breakfast, more bonus points and a lot more goodies). The gold status is awesome as a typical buffet breakfast in these hotels can easily cost $20 or more per person and the cost is even higher while staying at Hiltons in Europe. I recently applied for the Citi Hilton Visa Signature card that for a limited time has an increased sign-up bonus for 75000 HHonors points. I wrote a post on it few days ago. The holders of the credit card automatically get Silver Status with Hilton which is not too shabby for a no-annual fee credit card. And, with just four stays you can qualify to be GOLD with HIlton.

hilton breakfast

Specially designed Curry Omelette for the Desai clan at the Embassy Suites Newark

I used 24,000 HHonors points and $150 cash to book two nights at the Embassy Suites Newark Airport. The cash only stay was $259 per night so definitely a good use of Hilton points and cash option for decent savings. Obviously I charged the $150 on my favorite Barclay Arrival World Elite Mastercard so the cash portion will cost me even less after redeeming for travel credit. I always enjoy staying at Embassy Suites especially for the Complimentary Evening reception (free booze and snacks) and the awesome breakfast buffet with the Omelette station. The chef surprised me with a special Curry Omelette loaded with veggies something not on the regular menu. The omelette was DA BOMB!!!  If you happen to be stay at Embassy Suites Newark Airport do ask the chef to prepare the curry omelette for you from his stack of secret recipes.

Another reason I chose to stay at this hotel is because they have free airport shuttle and it made getting to Newark Airport for our Global Entry appointment  that much easier (FREE). I have two credit cards in my stash – Citi Executive Credit card and the Citi Prestige credit card that both waive off $100 fees for Global Entry (includes TSA-precheck). I charged both of our fees (wife and I) on the two cards. The interview  was straight forward and took us max 10 minutes.

precheck

Happy faces after successful Global Entry Interview

I am ought to love global entry – No more taking off clothes at airport, Laptop remains in bag, quick access lines and you do not have to face a custom agent after arriving back in the US while traveling internationally. More benefits of Global Entry can be found hereOverall it was a fun and hectic weekend but the infamous Curry Omelette definitely took my breath away and I may stay again at the Embassy Suites Newark Airport just for it!!!

travel like a boss

Ready to Travel like a boss using TSA precheck and Global Entry

Would you like to Travel the world for pennies? Shoot me an email to help you get you started with my TRAVEL COACHING PROGRAM. I will help you save thousands while turning your travel dreams  into reality.

Categories: Embassy SUites, Food, Global Entry, Hilton, TSA Precheck | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stay 25 Free nights at Hotels worldwide using sign-up bonus from two cards!!

Introduction

By utilizing a couple of awesome limited time increased sign-up bonus offers from Citi and Chase you can score almost 25 FREE nights at Hilton and Marriott hotels worldwide. I will show you exactly how it can be done.

The Free Night Scoop

  • Chase Marriott Premier Rewards Card – Chase has increased the sign-up bonus on the Marriott Rewards card  to 80,000 points after spending $3,000 in 3 months. This is the highest point offer I’ve ever seen on the Marriott Rewards Premier card. This card does charge you annual fees of $85 and is not waived for the first year.

Here is the fine print of the offer –

Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card Application
  • Limited Time! Earn 80,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Enjoy 1 Free Night Stay at a Category 1-5 location every year after your account anniversary date!
  • For every $1 spent, earn 5 points at 3,800 Marriott locations, 2 points on airline ticket purchases directly with airlines, at car rental agencies & restaurants and 1 point everywhere else
  • The fastest way to earn Marriott Rewards points towards free nights
  • No limit to how many points you can earn
  • Pay no foreign transaction fees and enjoy wider acceptance when you travel with your embedded chip card and you make purchases at chip-enabled card readers
  • All for an $85 Annual Fee
Marriott category

Marriott Category and 5th night Free

You can book Marriott Category 1 hotel for 7,500 reward points or 6,000 PointSavers rewards.  The 75,000 points you earn from sign-up bonus can be used for staying 10 nights at a category 1 Marriott Hotel worldwide and if you are able to books rooms using the 6,000 PointSavers rewards that will be even more nights. But remember, Marriott has this awesome offer – when you redeem 4 award nights , your fifth night is free!!! To top it there are no blackout dates. With the 5th night free promotion you can maximize the redemption value and get most from this card. You can find all the category 1 Hotels that Marriott offers here – Link

There are more than 200 category 1 Marriott Hotels worldwide including several in Mexico, Caribbean and Europe

fairfield los cabos

Fairfield Inn, Los Cabos, Mexico is a Category 1 Hotel and looks very good!!

You could visit Los Cabos, Mexico and stay at the Fairfield Inn that has excellent reviews on TripAdvisor

Courtyard Marriott Banglore

Courtyard Marriott Bengaluru (Banagalore, India)

You could also visit India and stay at The Fairfield by Marriott in the vibrant city of Bengaluru (Bangalore). The list of category  hotel is quite extensive and I feel the increased sign-up bonus from the Chase Marriott Premier card can really help you save big money!!!

The card also offers  1 Free Night Stay at a Category 1-5 location every year after your account anniversary date that very well justifies the annual fees of $85. You could stay at the beautiful Marriott in Costa Rica, San Jose using your card anniversary free night certificate!!

costa rica marriott

Costa Rica Marriott, San Jose a great way to redeem your free Anniversary night

  • Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature card – Citi has also increased the sign-up bonus on the HHonors Visa Signature card to 75,000 Hilton points. The typical offer on this card is 40,000 points and Citi did roll out another offer for 65,000 points few months ago which is when I signed up for the card so definitely this is one of the best offer on this card with NO ANNUAL FEES. 

Citi®+Hilton+HHonors™+Visa+Signature®+Card

Here is a summary of the card benefits –

  • Limited Time: Earn 75,000 Hilton HHonors™ Bonus Points after making $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 6 HHonors Bonus Points for each $1 spent at any participating hotel within the Hilton Portfolio.
  • Earn 3 HHonors Bonus Points for each $1 spent on purchases at supermarkets, drugstores and gas stations.
  • Earn 2 HHonors Bonus Points for each $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Enjoy the benefits of HHonors Silver status as long as you are a cardmember
  • No annual fee.

You may notice this no-annual fee card will automatically give you silver status (better chance for upgrade, some freebies and extra HHonors points). Also, no annual fees card are great as you don’t have to worry about cancelling the card when the annual fees is due that can help you establish long term relationship with the bank which is a key in this game!!!

fifth night promo hilton

Hilton 5th night promotion for Silver, Gold and Diamond members

Hilton offers free 5th night for Silver, Gold and Diamond member and by holding this card you automatically qualify for this promotion as you earn silver status. You can read more about the free night promo here – Link

Hilton-HHonors-Award-Chart

Hilton award chart

You can book category 1 Hilton Hotels for just 5,000 HHonors points. The  75,000 bonus points  equates to 15 nights at Category 1 Hilton Hotel worldwide. Here is a link to all the hotels in this category – LINKThere are almost 50 hotels to choose from. You should try to use the 5th night free promotion to gain most from this deal.

Hilton Pyramid Gold Resort

Hilton Pyramids Golf Resort, Cairo, Egypt

Hilton Pyramids Golf Resort in Egypt looks like a great property that you can redeem for only 5000 points. You may also consider visiting Turkey and stay at the Hiltom Garden Inn, Trabzon, Turkey for only 5,000 points

Hilton Garden Inn Turkey

Hilton Garden Inn Trabzon, Turkey

Conclusion

By combining the sign up bonuses from the Chase Marriott Premier rewards card (80,000 points) and the Citi Hilton Hhonors Visa Signature card (75,000 points) you can score more than 25 nights at Category 1 Marriott and Hilton hotels (combine). Also, both the hotel chains offer 5th night free promotion that can help you travel around the world paying pennies!!!!! With most hotels costing an average of $100 I value combined sign-up bonuses from the two cards worth at least $2500 and this is a fantastic deal. The Marriott card has an annual fees of $85 which is not waived and the Citi Hilton card has no annual fees. The Marriott card also offer free stay at any Category 1-5 hotel as an anniversary bonus which may justify paying the annual fees.

Want to learn more tricks and keep earning treats to travel around the world for pennies. Shoot me an email to join my Travel coaching program which for a limited time is totally free!!! I can make your travel dream turn into reality.

i want to travel the world

Categories: Chase, Citi Credit Cards, free travel, Hilton, Marriott | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Free Miles, 60K Citibank Offer, Southwest premier Credit Card 50000points and $100 Statement Credit

1) 250 Free Virgin Atlantic Miles – If you agree to install their shopping portal toolbar “Shops Away”, Virgin will award you 250 miles for doing so. To get this offer, click this link for Shops Away and then click shop today. After logging in and hitting shop now, click Mile Finder up top to see this offer. I would install this in a browser I normally don’t use such as Firefox.

2) 100 Free Aeroplan Miles – Signup to receive emails from Home Hardware and they will give you 100 Aeroplan miles for doing so. This is the frequent flyer program for Air Canada and while 100 miles isn’t a significant amount at all, it is an easy way to reset the expiration date on the miles in your account. Make sure to use a backup email address for this (unless you actually care to receive these newsletters).

3) Citibank 60,000 Hilton HHonors Points Visa – Citibank has temporarily increased the offer on this no annual fee Hilton HHonors credit card from 40,000 to 60,000 for spending $1,000 in 4 months. This card will not be useful for many of you except for those trying to top off their Hilton HHonors balance. I will be picking this card as I need to top off my Hilton balance and also the no-annual fee aspect is appealing although I may cancel this card and re-apply in 18 months to get the sign-up bonus again.

4) Yesterday, I received an email from Southwest with the best offer I’ve ever seen on the personal Southwest card – 50,000 points + $100 statement credit. This offer is targeted however and the link I have for the card pre-populates my information in the application. However it might be possible for anyone to get this offer by phone.

swcc

From my understanding there are several different offers being promoted to Rapid Rewards members including the standard 50,000 point offer on the personal Southwest card as well as a 60,000 point offer on the Southwest Business credit card. In the comments of this post from Doctor of Credit, someone was able to successfully apply for the 60,000 point offer on the business card even though they weren’t targeted as the phone number on the application was a direct line to a department that handed this special offer.

I don’t know if this will work for this offer but the phone number listed on the application is 1-866-836-0917. Applying by phone might work to get the better offer but this is a huge YMMV situation. They might ask for an invitation number in which you try to say you accidentally deleted the email but maybe they can look up the offer for you. Do not apply for the card on the phone unless the rep confirms you are applying for the better offer which includes the statement credit. 

Categories: cheap travel, Credit cards, Free Miles, Hilton | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Top 5 credit cards for Free Hotel Stays

You can visit creditcards.com to sign up for many of these limited time offers

Best Hotel Credit Cards For Free Stays

If you’re searching for the best hotel credit cards, look no further. I’ve chosen a handful of my favorites that offer high rewards, free lodging and extra perks for loyal cardholders. Hotel-branded cards, unlike most airline cards or retail cards, can actually be worth your while. Frequent guests will discover benefits that both curb costs and add another dimension of luxury to the hotel experience. You can check  creditcards.com to sign-up for these cards and more under Travel and Airline.

1. Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve 

Citi® Hilton HHonors<sup>TM</sup> Reserve Card
Current Bonus: 
Two weekend night certificates, each good for one weekend night (standard room, double occupancy) at most hotels and resorts within the Hilton Worldwide portfolio, after $2,500 spend in 4 months. 
Other Benefits: 
10 points for every $1 spent on hotel stays within the Hilton Worldwide portfolio. 5 points for every $1 spent on airline and car rental purchases. 3 points for every $1 spent on all other purchases. Automatic Hilton HHonors Gold status; Diamond status with $40,000 annual spend. No foreign transaction fees. SmartChip technology. Visa Signature benefits. Cardholders who spend $10,000 annually get an anniversary free weekend-night certificate that can be used at any property 
Annual Fee:
$95
Value: The value of the two free weekend nights could easily be worth $800-$1000, plus the free night at $10,000 in spend ($300) plus Gold status (Free-Breakfast, Upgrades etc ~$150) minus the annual fee of $95 = value of about $1,300 to me. I would use them at Conrad Koh Samui for a 2-night stay where a night can easily costs upwards of $500 or the gorgeous Conrad Maldives Rangali Island. Below is a snapshot of how much the rooms cost per night at Conrad Maldives (~$2400 per night …pheww!!)

 

conrad maldives

 

 

2. Starwood Preferred Guest Card

Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express Application

Current bonus : Earn 10,000 Starpoints after your first purchase on the Card and an additional 15,000 Starpoints after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 6 months.
Other Benefits: 2 Starpoints per dollar spent on Starwood spend, 2 stays/5 nights towards elite status qualification, Gold status after $30,000 in spend per year. 
Annual Fee: 
$65, waived the first year.
Value: I value the Starpoints at about 2.5 cents a piece ($625 for the sign-up bonus) and I leverage the 2 stay/5 nights elite benefits (~$100) to hit Platinum status, so the total value to me is about $725 for this card. I signed up for this card when the offer was increased to 30,000 Starpoints and used it to stay for three nights at Le Meridien, Barcelona. The stay would have costed us upwards of $300 per night for which I used 30,000 Starwood points and $50 out of pocket.

Welcome Le Meredien Barcelona

We were welcomed to our suite in Barcelona with Cold Champagne and yummy chocolate coated strawberries!!

 

Barcelona suite 1

The view of La Ramblas from the room was breathtaking!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card

IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card Application

Current Bonus: 70,000 points after $1,000 spend in 3 months. 
Other Benefits: 
Earn 5 points per dollar spent at IHG properties, 2 points per dollar spent at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants, and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases. Platinum Elite status. 10% points back on all IHG Rewards bookings. Annual free night at any property worldwide upon card anniversary. 
Annual Fee:
$49, waived first year
Value: I value IHG Rewards points at about .7 cents a piece so 70,000 = $490  plus the 10% return on all award bookings would be at a minimum 70,000 from the sign-up bonus, so 7,000 points ($49) and Platinum status ($50) for a total value of about $589. You can maximize the reward stay by reading my article on scoring IHG Hotels worldwide for 5000 points. Via the sign-up bonus you could almost score 14 nights at 5000 points per night via the pointsbreak offer IHG Hotels rolls-out every few months. I would use my anniversary night to stay at IHG Intercontinental Bora Bora Resort

You could use your anniversary night y to enjoy this breathtaking view. Great use of the $49 annual fees to score these bungalows which go for almost $1000 a night

 

4. Hyatt Visa

The Hyatt Credit Card
Current Bonus: 2 free nights at Hyatt properties worldwide after $1,000 spend in 3 months.
Other Benefits: Receive automatic Hyatt Gold Passport Platinum elite membership . Earn 3 points for every $1 spent at all Hyatt properties. Earn 2 points for every $1 spent at restaurants, on airline tickets purchased directly from the airline, and at car rental agencies. Earn 1 point for every $1 spent elsewhere. No foreign transaction fees. Smart Chip technology and extra protections. Free night at category 1-4 property every year after your card anniversary.
Annual Fee: $75, waived first year
Value: Those two free nights could easily be worth $800 a night considering they’re valid at all Hyatt hotels including swanky Park Hyatt properties around that world, plus $50 for elite membership gives this card an value to me of about $1600. You could use your 2 free nights to stay at Park Maldives Hadahaa, Park Hyatt Tokyo to name a few.

 

Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa

 

 

Best Park Hyatt to Stay 2 Free Nights with the Hyatt Visa

Park Hyatt Tokyo

 

5. US Bank Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature

 

 

Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature card

 

 

 

 

 

Current Bonus: 85,000 Gold Points – 50,000 after first purchase, 35,000 after $2,500 spend in 90 days
Other Benefits: 
10 points per dollar on eligible purchases at participating Carlson Rezidor hotels worldwide, and 5 points per dollar elsewhere. 40,000 bonus points each year after you renew your card and pay the annual fee. Bonus Award Nights –when Gold Points are redeemed for two or more consecutive award nights, the last night is free – exclusively for cardmembers. Automatic Gold Elite Status once the card is used. Existing Gold Elite members receive 15 qualifying nights toward Concierge Elite Status.
Annual Fee: $75
Value: I value Club Carlson points at about 0.6 cents a piece, so the 85,000 = $510 plus the free award night benefit is an easy way to save at least 70,000 points a year ($420) plus $25 in elite status perks – $75 = $880 in value to me. I absolutely love the fact that your last night is always free on stays of 2+ nights. A couple can combine these to easily stay at some top hotels around the world for free!! For example, you can use 50,000 points to stay at Radisson Blu Resort Marina & Spa, St. MartinRadisson Blu Hotel Waterfront, Cape TownRadisson Blu Plaza Hotel SydneyRadisson Blu Le Metropolitan Hotel, Paris Eiffel and many more!!

Radisson Blu Sydney

Radisson Blu Sydney

Radisson Blu Cape Town

Radisson Blu Cape Town

Radisson Blu Eiffel

 

I’d love to know which cards you have or plan to sign up for and where would you use your free nights?

 

You can visit creditcards.com to sign up for many of these limited time offers

Categories: cheap travel, Club Carlson, Conrad, Europe, free travel, Hilton, Hyatt, IHG Hotel, Radisson, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Have you started your mileage run for 2015?

[Disclosure: I do  earn referral for some of the credit cards in this post. Thanks for the support if you ever apply through the site.  To find other top deals check out the top credit card offers or you can also check offer at creditcards.com.]

January is coming to a close and I hope you have started your mileage run for 2015 or your first App-O-Rama. If you have not there are still some limited time offer you can capitalize on such as the US Airways Premier World Mastercard. I am not sure how long this card will be around but it is a quick and easy 50,000 miles for a $89 annual fees (not waived) and no minimum spending (which is great!!) and there have been reports via flyertalk of getting this card more than once (I got denied after applying for my second card and received a letter stating I already have enough open credit with them so the trick could be calling Barclays before applying for the second US Airways card and reducing your line of credit). I applied for the below three cards for myself and one for my wife. Below are the results –

Credit Card, Account or Spend Miles or Points Type Cost / Minimum Spend
Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature Card

85,000

Club Carlson Points 50,000 points after first purchase and 35,000 after spending $2500 in first 90 days, $75 annual fees
American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card

50,000 X 2

Amex Reward Points $1000 spend in 3 months, annual fee waived 1st year. This was a limited time offer. Current offer is for 25,000 points
US Airways Premier World Mastercard

50,000

US Air/AA Miles I got denied as this was my second card and did not get lucky as some others have reported

I will pay $75 in annual fees for first year and earn 100,000 Amex membership points (can be transferred to other partners) and 85,000 Club Carlson points which can be used up to nine night stay at some properties and utilizing several promotions such as second night free for stay of two nights or more for holders of Club Carlson Premier Rewards Credit Card

Strategy for a couple  to stay  5 days in a Top Hotel and fly for almost free to any destination ?

Here is a simple strategy using credit card sign-up and some limited time offers that a couple can utilize and travel for almost free to most destinations in US, Caribbean, Mexico.

Credit Card, Account or Spend Miles or Points Type Cost / Minimum Spend
US Airways Premier World Mastercard X 2 (one each for hubby and wifey)

100,000

US Air/AA Miles $89 X 2 Annual Fees Not waived, but its like getting 4 domestic roundtrip -US tickets for less than $200 and no minimum spending
Chase INK  Business Plus

50,000

Ultimate Rewards Points $5000 spending in three months, Points can be transferred to Hyatt and other hotels to get some real good value
Capital One Ventures Rewards Credit Card

44,000 points

Travel Credit of $440 $3000 spend in 3 months, annual fee waived 1st year. Can be used towards any expenses such as rental cars, check-in bags and hotel taxes and tariff
Citi Hilton Reserve Card

2 Free weekend Nights at some classy Hiltons worldwide and free Gold status

Hilton Hhonors $95 Annual fees not waived. Gold status at Hilton is great value as it gets you free breakfast, upgrades and lot more!! $2500 in purchases within first 4 months
Total – 5 Credit cards between 2 people 150,000 Miles and Points , $440 Travel credit and 2 nights at Hilton  $295 Annual fees out of pocket for first year for some fabulous travel

I think its a great value you are getting (4 domestic tickets, 5-7 night stays and $440 travel credit) in the first year even after paying $295 in annual fees. Just a word of caution that Capital one does a credit check on all three bureaus unlike other credit card issuers who typically just check one. You may also consider the Barclay Arrival World Elite Master Card which also gives you $440 in travel credits and is one of my favorite cards out there and that is the reason I am keeping it  for the second year.

I am offering FREE Travel coaching to help you plan your next trip. This will typically be done via skype/phone call for a 30 minute consultation. Feel free to drop me a line I’d love to hear from you.

Categories: Capital one, Chase, Hilton, Travel coaching, US Airways | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

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