I just booked a Hilton hotel reservation directly through the Hilton website for early August, and noticed an offer that I had not seen before pop up on the confirmation page. It was for something called Hilton Select, or Hilton Select Premier. As a Hilton fiend ever since my first trip to the Conrad in Hong Kong, I thought to myself, what on earth is that?
Upon further research, Hilton Select and Hilton Select premier is advertised as a membership club you can join and receive cash back on domestic (US) hotels, car rentals, cruises, and airfare as well what I can only describe as a combination of random benefits ranging from road side assistance to $10 off theater tickets every 3 months to a personal concierge who can, according to the offer offer, help you pick flowers or advise you on pet nutrition.
WHAT? Details are below, so please analyze these for yourself:
Hilton Select, for $399/ year:
Up to $200 back on future hotel stays through two certificates: one for the first six months and one for the next six months; each valid for up to $100 for a one night stay at a Hilton Hotel anywhere in the U.S.
5% cash back at participating hotels in top US travel destinations
All the benefits of Hilton HHonors® plus 5,000 Bonus Points*
$25 Restaurant.com Gift Certificate every month
5% cash back on domestic airfare, rental cars and cruises
Discounts of up to 50% at thousands of retailers and restaurants nationwide
Roadside assistance with emergency road and tow benefits available 24 hours a day/7 days a week
Hilton Select Premier, for $549/ year:
Two future hotel stay certificates doubled and good for up to $200 each toward a one night stay at a Hilton Hotel anywhere in the U.S.
10% cash back at participating hotels in top US travel destinations
Hilton HHonors Bonus Points: 10,000.
24/7 Travel Concierge
Up to $40 per year in Wi-Fi Rebates for in-flight service purchases
24/7 VIP Concierge
24/7 remote U.S.-based support for your PC, Mac, software, digital cameras, smartphones, printers, MP3 players and tablets
24/7 expert help on everything including pet health, nutrition, boarding and so much more
Some of these membership “benefits” are useful, especially if you have some random combination of needs like a broken laptop, while your pet develops an allergic reaction to dog food, but you can’t drive him to the vet because your car breaks down. Otherwise, Im pretty sure Hilton is banking on you not reading the fine print on this offer, some of which is as follows:
The 5% cash back at Hilton hotels is only in the US, and only at a select (read low occupancy/ trouble attracting repeat guests) number of hotels. It also only includes Hilton hotels, and not Waldorf Astoria or Conrad, which are among Hilton’s nicer properties. The same applies to the $100 and $200 credit certificates issued every 6 months. The 5% back on domestic airfare, cars, and cruises (are any cruises even domestic these days?) involves you submitting invoices, via US mail, after you travel to get your cash back which is a pain.
My favorite fine print though still has to be about pet assistance “benefits,” which include:
Coordinating breeders/owners to send pets to locations to breed (Is this someone’s job?)
Pet hospice service (how morbid)
Locating parks (WHAT?)
Finding the best pricing on pet food (PETCO, anyone….)
Pet memorial services (How many people are you inviting??)
Assistance in locating an online pet first aid class (It’s called a Google search)
Is this real life? Is this really something Hilton is advertising as a select membership club with perks? I can understand that for someone who travels frequently to a specific hotel that participates in the 5% or 10% cash back offer, paying $399 or $549 to get cash back of up to $5,000 per year makes sense. (The list of participating hotels can be found here: http://www.hiltonslct.com/)
Otherwise, please do not waste your time or money or sanity! The 5,000 or 10,000 Hilton HHonors points are worth very little, the select benefits are actually comical, and unless you know for sure you will go to a hotel on the Hilton Select/ Select Premier list and annually spend over $8,000 (Select to earn $399 in cashback at 5%), or $5,499 (Select Premier to earn $549 in cashback at 10%), it is not worth it!
I would, however, recommend a Hilton credit card (link to different offers below) if you do stay with Hilton frequently, either the American Express Surpass Card or the Citi Reserve card. http://hhonors3.hilton.com/en/earn-use-points/credit-cards/index.html