Last Friday I received a letter co-branded with the Hilton HHonors and United Airlines Mileage Plus logos stating, “We’ve opened the doors to Gold status just for you.” Thanks, Hilton, I’m already a Gold and you’ve just opened up a brand new account and sent me a new card. Reading on, though, it’s a targeted offer due to my elite status with United that grants the status through March 2013 plus extends 25,000 HHonors bonus points (enough for the free night in a category 3 property) and 5,000 Mileage Plus miles after completing five stays between July 1 and October 31, 2011. Naturally I called HHonors and (after two calls) successfully added this offer to my existing account.
Hilton has been doling out elite status like candy this year with minimal or no effort required. I happily took a challenge earlier in the year that gave me instant Silver and then Gold after four stays, and just recently Visa Signature cardholders were granted instant Gold (or 5,000 bonus points if you were already Gold and had the Signature card). Anyway, it seems like numerous people holding even the lowest elite status with an airline received an offer similar to mine. The discussions on Flyertalk and MilePoint show that other United flyers, as well as US Airways and Delta elites, received some variation and a few included 50,000 HHonors points (I’m a bit jealous there).
What’s great for me is the fact I know I’ll have at least five stays under my belt regardless of this promotion by the end of October, so this is basically “free” bonus miles & points. What’s irritating, though, is Hilton didn’t do their due diligence and merge & purge lists between their database and the airline’s first. I suppose the effort required for that was too great and as it is, the letters were sent out Standard mail (mine dated June 27th & arrived on July 29th). I recognize the value in Standard mail, but marketers should budget in the delivery time as more folks might have jumped on this offer had it been timely. Perhaps the lost revenue in that case would have more than paid for First Class mail?
The letter contained the new account number with the pin, which is required when activating this promotion at http://HHonors.com/instantgolden, so success in registering for it if you didn’t get a letter is unlikely. If you’re an elite on a U.S. airline, it still might not hurt to call Customer Care to see if you can qualify. Gold status with Hilton bestows a 25% base points bonus, complimentary high-speed internet, continental breakfast and space-available room upgrades at Hilton, Conrad & DoubleTree properties (or additional bonus points if that’s your preference stored in your ‘My Way’ profile).