My grandparents used to have a friend named Hilton, and I remember one time being really confused as they talked about him, finally asking, “Is that the Nazi Hilton?” Hilton, Hitler, same thing to a six-year-old Jewish kid I guess. Anyway, I bring this up as a segue into a post about Hilton hotels, which are NOT affiliated with the Nazi movement.
Because I’m not a huge fan of Hilton’s loyalty program, I don’t make an effort to stay there very often. I have a friend who travels constantly for work, and he puts all his spending on a Citibank Hilton card. He bragged to me that he had amassed 800,000 Hilton points, and I scoffed “Enjoy three nights at a Waldorf Astoria.” SICK BURN!!! Hahahaha.
When it comes to hotels, I try to stay at Hyatts if possible, since their loyalty program works best for me. Decent at-hotel earning, Chase transfer partner, and fairly valuable points. Check, check, check. The only exception is if there’s an Intercontinental, since I’m always treated really well as an Ambassador. For work travel, I’ll usually stay at an IHG, since they’re cheap, and the expectation when I book travel is that I’ll choose the cheapest hotel where the rooms don’t open onto the parking lot (which usually ends up being a Holiday Inn of some sort). Plus, the IHG loyalty program ends up being pretty useful for non-aspirational redemptions. I mean, Holiday Inns are everywhere, so, for instance, if I want to take a weekend hiking trip but don’t want to spring for a fleabag motel in Red Bluff, I can just drop 20,000 IHG points and sleep in relative comfort.
(I’m getting really off-track here, but the math on IHG redemptions is actually better than people give it credit for. Sure, I’d never transfer Ultimate Rewards points to IHG, but the points accrue so quickly that their low value isn’t that huge of a drawback. For instance: if I pay with the IHG co-brand card, I’ll earn 20 points per dollar at most hotels. Assuming I use the Hyatt co-brand card at a Hyatt, I’ll earn 8.15 points per dollar. A top-tier redemption at an Intercontinental is 60,000 points, while Hyatt is 30,000. That means that IHG is exactly 2x the cost of Hyatt for an aspirational redemption, although you can earn IHG points more than twice as quickly.)
This is all to say that I don’t pay attention to Hilton or Marriott, since I just don’t travel enough to spread the love among all the chains. On my most recent trip, however, I stayed at the Hilton Copenhagen Airport, since it’s physically connected to the airport, and we were flying out early the next day. I got a decent deal on a cash + points room (20,000 points + $100 for a room that cost around $275 per night), so I booked it after transferring over Citi points (which were on a 1:2 bonus at the time). I wasn’t expecting much, but the stay was actually pretty great.
The room was nice in a sterile, modern way – but really comfortable overall. And, the best part is that I got a nice upgrade to an executive club room due to having Gold status through my Amex Platty (a status level I basically forgot I even had). This was a nice surprise, since I’m used to never getting upgrades from mid-tier status thanks to my 0.00 batting average at Hyatt.
It gets better, though. I noticed that the breakfast buffet on the bottom floor was OUTRAGEOUS – like three full football fields of breakfast food. It just kept going and going. I’ve never seen anything like it. Needless to say, it dwarfed the spread in the executive lounge, so I asked at the desk if I could have two vouchers as part of my Gold benefits, and they gave them to me. Ask and ye shall receive, right?
This has me rethinking my prior disregard of Hilton, since free breakfast is worth more to me than the points I’d earn at an IHG or Hyatt – especially considering that I earn 90% of my hotel points from credit card spending anyway. And I haven’t run the numbers on it, but I suspect that my point above about IHG’s vs. Hyatt’s at-hotel earning applies to Hilton as well.
We’ll see. Reading some old posts, I’ve said some shit that sounds completely ridiculous to me now, so I may end up continuing to shun Hiltons that aren’t connected to airports. (And also, it may be true that the CPH Hilton is especially good, and I won’t have the same experience at US ones.) What say you? Seriously, post a fucking comment already.