Archive for the Hotel Category

Free Hilton HHonors Gold status

Posted in Credit Cards, Deals, Hilton HHonors, Promotion with tags , , , on April 11, 2013 by getgowing

MilesQuest gives a step-by-step process for getting FREE Hilton HHonors Gold status.

I had a recent free hilton gold expire from a similar offer last year.  When I went to do this, I had to use a different browser when filling out the visa infinite offer page.  Not exactly sure when the status expires, but it definitely is at least good through 12/31/2013, possibly longer.
The main benefits of Hilton Gold are:
  • Free internet
  • Elite line access for less wait time
  • Upgraded rooms on availability (not to suites)
  • Lounge access if you are upgraded to an Executive Floor room
  • Free access to Fitness center/health clubs
  • Late checkout
Feel free to share.

COMPLIMENTARY Hilton HHonors Gold Elite Status until May 2013 !

Posted in Credit Cards, Deals, Hilton HHonors, Hotel, Promotion with tags , , , , , on December 24, 2011 by getgowing

Merry Christmas Eve!

Hilton is running a promotion right now for Visa Infinite cardholders to give them FREE Hilton HHonors Gold Elite Status until May 2013 through this link.

Sign-up landing page

(If you are not a Hilton HHonors member you can sign up here.)  It only requires for verification the first 6 digits of your card number.  Now, if you can’t find your Visa Infinite card, a prudent 10100 search can yield you your first 6 digits.  I have heard of people having difficulty signing up; try using a different browser or clearing your cache/cookies.

Normally, to attain Gold status, it requires either:

  • 16 stays, or
  • 36 nights, or
  • 60,000 Base points earned

There was a previous offer for Visa Signature cardholders earlier in the year which I wrote about here.

The main benefits of Hilton HHonors Gold Elite are:

  • Complimentary High-Speed Internet Access
  • 25% bonus on all HHonors Base points credited
  • If staying at a Hilton, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, or Doubletree: room upgrade (space-available) to an Executive Floor room, which includes lounge access! (Lounges typically have beverages/cocktails, hors d’oeurves, and a business center, but varies by property. If you are not upgraded to an Executive Floor room, then complimentary Continental breakfast is given in lieu of lounge access.)  You also get 1,000 bonus points when staying at these properties in addition to your 25% bonus on Base Points.

There are other benefits that are property specific.  You can see the full details of Hilton Gold on this page.

Get in on this ASAP, before this offer goes away.

Visa Signature cardholders can get FREE Hilton HHonors Gold Elite membership!!!

Posted in British Airways Chase Visa, Credit Cards, Deals, Hilton HHonors, Hotel, Promotion with tags , , , , on June 10, 2011 by getgowing

First, you need to have a Hilton HHonors account.  If you do not have one, sign up free HERE.  Also you need a Visa Signature card.  If you got in on the British Airways Chase Visa card that offered 100,000 miles I blogged about before, that card is eligible for this promotion.

Here are the important excerpts from the terms and conditions for this promotion.  I will bold the important parts.

Can anyone participate in this promotion?

To participate, you must be an HHonors member, have a U.S.-issued Visa Signature card, and register for the promotion at

What is the Instant Gold Membership offer?

U.S.-issued Visa Signature cardholders can earn instant Hilton HHonors™ Gold membership by registering for the promotion After registering, HHonors members will receive Gold benefits for all stays through August 31, 2011.  If, after registering, the HHonors member completes three stays by August 31, 2011, using their Visa Signature card, then they will retain their Gold membership through March 31, 2013.

What are the Terms and conditions?

Hilton HHonors Member must register by August 31, 2011 with their valid U.S.-issued Visa Signature card at Hilton HHonors Members with Blue or Silver status or Gold members not currently participating in another fast track offer will receive HHonors Gold Elite status at the time of registration valid through August 31, 2011. By completing three qualifying stays at any participating hotel and resort in the Hilton Worldwide portfolio by August 31, 2011, Member will retain HHonors Gold Elite status through March 31, 2013.  Thereafter, standard requirements must be met to maintain HHonors Gold Elite status.  If Member does not complete three qualifying stays prior to August 31, 2011, Member will return to their former HHonors tier status after August 31, 2011, and standard tier requirements again apply.  Offer available only to valid U.S.-issued Visa Signature cardholders and is not transferable. Full details of HHonors Gold Elite Membership will be mailed to Member after completing three qualified stays prior to August 31, 2011, or click here.  HHonors Gold Elite benefits are subject to availability and may vary at each hotel.  This offer may be terminated without notice. Hilton HHonors™ membership, earning of Points & Miles™, and redemption of Points are subject to HHonors Terms and Conditions. ©2011 Hilton Worldwide.

When does the promotion end?

August 31, 2011

Basically, its free Gold status until August 31, 2011.  If you stay three times and pay with your Visa Signature card by August 31, you get to keep Gold status through March 31, 2013!  (It may be worthwhile to make up reasons to stay in a Hilton property to keep the status for 19 more months.)  Here are the main benefits of Hilton HHonors Gold Elite status:

  • Complimentary High-Speed Internet Access
  • 25% bonus on all HHonors Base points credited
  • If staying at a Hilton, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, or Doubletree, a space-available room upgrade to an Executive Floor room, which includes lounge access and free hot breakfast in the lounge! (If you are not upgraded to an Executive Floor room, then complimentary Continental breakfast is given in lieu of lounge access)  You also get 1,000 bonus points when staying at these properties in addition to your 25% bonus on Base Points.

There are other benefits that are property specific.  You can see what they are on This Page.

Hotel room upgrade $20 trick

Posted in Hotel, Las Vegas, Travel Tips with tags , , , , , on May 20, 2011 by getgowing

This weekend, several of my friends are convening in Las Vegas for an Advisory Board Meeting for Winter Guard International.  I recently made a trip there in February and used a trick to score this room/suite in the Planet Hollywood Hotel & Casino Resort.

The "Boulevard Suite"

View from the front door (double-door entrance; the bedroom had its own entrance, too)


The room also came with 2 sets of robes and slippers

My favorite amenity in the room.

View from the windows

View from the bedroom window in the morning

Our original room was a standard room, though comp’ed (complimentary through some channel, this instance being Harrah’s) through our gambling time in Atlantic City.

The technique used to possibly get an upgrade is called the $20 sandwich.  When checking-in to the hotel, when they ask for an ID and credit card, fold a $20 bill small enough so it fits in between the two cards.  Hand all of that over to the agent.  In the midst of checking in, ask if there are any complimentary (though not exactly cause you just paid $20) upgrades, or ask if there is anything nicer available that you can check in to, etc….  And that’s it.

It helps if you are friendly and cordial.  Strike up a conversation.  Ask them how their day is going.  How much longer is their shift?  Give them some chocolate…everybody likes chocolate (except my friend Sarah).

Now a few other things that I didn’t mention earlier.  My friend who checked in for us also has status with the casino.  AND, the woman who helped us was from Northern New Jersey, so maybe some Jersey pride helped a little bit too.

Here is another recent example (from early April 2011) of getting hooked up in Las Vegas at check-in at The Cosmopolitan from my friend Kim.

She originally had a studio room, or something like that, booked.  She had two nights comp’ed.  And had no status with the hotel/casino.  She told the man at check-in that she was planning a Bachelorette Party for her sister, and gave him a $40 sandwich.  She ended up getting an upgrade to a two bedroom wrap around suite (I’m assuming it was a corner) on the 55th floor.  Granted, she’s a tall, beautiful, blonde woman and a guy was checking her in.  He also gave her 2-for-1 bottle service coupon at the hotel/casino’s nightclub.

Sweet balcony

View from the balcony

Suites are the ultimate upgrade, but many times, you can get a room with a better view, newer amenities, late check out, or a higher floor to name a few.

This technique may not work at the properties in the big hotel chains:  Starwood, Marriott, Hilton, InterContinental Hotels Group, and Hyatt.  I have only heard of this trick working mostly in casino hotels, but I have personally not tried it in the big chains and been denied.  Try it out.  Maybe the stars will align for you making your dream vacation that much dreamier.

Your Mileage May Vary

Free Starwood Preferred Guest Gold Status / Delta promotion

Posted in Airlines, Deals, Delta, Hotel, Starwood with tags , , , , on May 8, 2011 by getgowing

Another targeted promotion, but it doesn’t hurt to try and see if you fit the target bill.  I think one of the requirements is that you have never been enrolled in the Starwood Preferred Guest program before.  You also have to choose Delta as your preferred choice of mileage earning (instead of SPG points).  The American Express Platinum card already comes with Starwood Preferred Guest Gold Status, so if you got in on that deal, make sure you contact SPG and get that all set up.  Usually it takes 25 nights (or 10 stays) in a calendar year to normally qualify for SPG Gold status.

The main benefits of SPG Gold Status gets you:

  • 50% bonus on earned points over standard members
  • room upgrades (not suites, but higher/newly renovated/corner/better view with availability)
  • 4pm late checkout when available
  • a special customer service line
  • expedited check-in counter

Starwood Preferred Guest Gold Status/ Delta Promotion

In this promotion, you can also get a welcome gift with a choice of either:

  1. a $25 SPG Award Certificate
  2. a one-year subscription to the magazine of your choice

From the promotion sign-up website:

In addition to the miles earned for each stay, you can also earn 3,000 bonus miles for every three eligible nights — up to 9,000 bonus miles — from May 1 through August 31, 2011.

If you didn’t know already, the Starwood group of hotels are:

  • Westin
  • W Hotels
  • Sheraton
  • Four Points by Sheraton
  • element
  • St. Regis
  • aloft
  • Le Meridien
  • The Luxury Collection Hotels & Resorts

Again, a great deal if you can successfully sign up.  Definitely worth a try.

Hilton London Paddington Station review and the adventure trying to make a phone call

Posted in Deals, Hotel, London, Trip Report with tags , , on May 3, 2011 by getgowing

Read how I scored this hotel in my quick overview of how to maximize Priceline HERE.

I only spent about 6 hours total in this hotel, and I forgot to take pictures of anything.  The room was small, with only two twin beds.  The view overlooked the glass roof of the Paddington Station, so that was nice.  However, the customer service was not so nice.  I expected more from a Hilton.  At the previous hotel (Courthouse Doubletree by Hilton London-Regent Street), the concierge and front desk tried to do whatever they could to please us, and would seemingly go out of their way to do so.

The Hilton Paddington Station was the first upper-middle tier hotel I’ve stayed at that didn’t have a free business center.  There was nowhere inside to check email for free.  Ridiculous.  They charged £5 per 30 minutes.  £5 for 30 minutes.  To connect to the internet.  On their crappy desktops.  Horseshit.

Then when I go ask if I can use the hotel phone to call my friend’s cell, they said they can’t let me use their phones (when the Doubletree concierge even dialed the number for me and gave me the phone).  He said if you have £ coins you can go to the train station and use their payphones.  I even asked as a favor if I could use his mobile, but also got denied.  So I run over to McDonalds to try and use their internet so I can call my friend using Skype, but I couldn’t connect to their network.

I’m now getting a little desperate, and start asking people on the street if I can use their mobiles.  I finally run into this Filipino family pulling their luggage, who just stopped on a corner to decide where they were going to eat.  I politely interrupt their Tagalog conversation to ask if I may use one of their phones to call my friend.  The mother initially says no, but then the father asks if I am Filipino, to which I say yes.

“Ok.  Sige na”  (Ok.  go ahead.)

Being a fellow Filipino certainly has its perks.  🙂

London April 2011 part 2

Posted in Deals, Hotel, London, Trip Report with tags , , , , , on May 3, 2011 by getgowing

Its now Sunday, day 2 of our extended weekend trip to London.  One thing we all wanted to see was the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace.  The Changing was scheduled for 11:30am.  Buuuuut, us getting home so late, and just being on vacation, we wake up late.  We probably could have made it, but throughout the morning, Jamie yells at both of us as our alarms are going off to turn them off.  Who am I to argue for a few more minutes of snoozin?……I knew better than to listen.  But the idea sounded sooooooooo good at the time.  Oops.  But all wasn’t lost.  We power walk over to the Palace and get there at 11:45a, but still just in time to see the entire thing, mini parade and all!

Tulips in St. James Park as we powerwalk to Buckingham Palace

Here they come!

And there they go!

Military Band leading the procession to the Wellington Barracks.

One of the gates to Buckingham Palace

As the Band was marching off, they started with a super super slow silent march (seemed like the tempo was around 50bpm.  Amazing with no given tempo or cadence) that looked pristine.  Then all of a sudden it was a normal tempo march, and they started playing.

For the best view of the band leaving, (if facing the Palace) stand on the left side of the Queen Victoria Memorial.

Now, I remind you this is a quick trip, added on last minute due to a great fare that Delta had (~$350 roundtrip from JFK.  Though after all was said and done, we got it for ~$420 with a day trip to Amsterdam).  The next several sights we just taken in front of the sight, didn’t actually go in.  We wanted to see everything and so I don’t have as much info as I’d like on these sights.  Guess I’ll just have to go back.  🙂

Inside Westminster Cathedral

View from the top of the Westminster Cathedral Bell Tower

Better view from the top of the Westminster Cathedral Bell Tower

Westminster Abbey

Big Ben & some of the Houses of Parliament

London Eye and the old County Hall building

Trafalgar Square

The Tower of London and Tower Bridge

In addition to these sights, we also:

  • walked by the Admiralty Arch, which is between Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square (though closer to the Square)
  • walked along the Southern bank and passed by Royal Festival Hall
  • a cool skate park built semi-underground along the South bank
  • the South Bank Book Market
  • the New Globe Theater
  • Borough Market (though it was already closed when we got there)
  • walked past London Dungeon

If you want to see ALL the pictures I’ve taken which include most of these, check out my GetGowing Facebook fan page.  And it would be greatly appreciated if you also Liked it, too.

Get Gowing Facebook Fan Page

At this point, we’re all pretty beat.  We probably walked a good 4-5 miles that day, and the day wasn’t over yet.  We grab our luggage from the Courthouse Doubletree and then go check in at the Hilton London Paddington Station.  (See my Priceline entry on how I got this hotel for 60% off).  We lucked out getting this hotel (since through Priceline you don’t know the exact hotel you’re bidding on) since we needed to catch the Heathrow Express train from Paddington Station, which the hotel was connected to.

I was meeting up with a friend I went to college with, so we split up for the rest of the evening.  They went to check out Abbey Road Studios, and I went to go get some fantastic Indian food.  It was an adventure in of itself just trying to contact my friend to so we can meet up and get some food.  Read about it in my Quick Review of the Hilton London Paddington Station hotel and the adventure trying to make a phone call.

I finally get in touch with my friend, and we meet up for some of the best Indian food London has to offer on Brick Lane.  Apparently this street is the place to go for curry.  There are just tons of restaurants that line the street.  And outside several of them, there would be a hawker at the door beckoning you to come inside.

“Best curry in London!”

“Best curry in the world, come get some!”

they would shout out.  They were more aggressive than the people trying to sell porn/prostitutes/club tickets on the Strip in Vegas.

Brick Lane

After the meal, we get carried away just catching up, talking about the “games” and travel that I talk about on this blog, that I miss the last tube.  So how did I get home??  Double-decker bus of course!

I grabbed a seat upstairs in the front row to see all the action.

I get back and finally go to bed around 2:30-3:00am, only to wake up at 7am to be on my way to Amsterdam!

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