Not Surprising: Visa Luxury Hotel Collection Pulls Free Night Offer Early

A couple of days ago I wrote about the insanely lucrative promotion being offered through the Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection, which essentially offered a buy one get one free promotion for stays at Waldorf Astoria, Conrad, and Curio hotels. That’s an incredible offer, especially since this was in addition to the standard perks offered through the program, and also in addition to a $75 gift card after completing your first stay.

Visa-Signature-Complimentary-Night

I called it the hotel promotion of the year, and I think it goes without saying that the promotion was too good to be true. I’m not sure what exactly they were thinking when they introduced the promotion, for that matter.

Well, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that this promotion has been pulled early. When you go to the promotion page you’ll now see the following message:

Due to the unexpected popularity of the Hilton free night offer, hotel inventory subject to this offer booked up much sooner than anticipated and is no longer available. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused. Please note that the $75 USD gift card promotion is still available at Participating Hilton Hotels, see the offer page for more information.

Visa-Luxury-Collection

It’s no surprise that this has been pulled, so hopefully lots of you were able to take advantage of it over the past couple of days. At least the offer for a $75 gift card is still available, which could still be extremely valuable. You can earn it for just a one night stay.

Visa-Gift-Card

I’m still very curious what they were thinking when they introduced this promotion:

  • Did they intend for it to be a “buy two get one free offer,” in which case did they decide just to honor the promotion as published for those who already booked, but pull it early?
  • Was this promotion intended to create awareness of Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection through a very generous promotion?
  • In this day and age it blows my mind that companies are surprised by the “unexpected popularity” of overly generous promotions

Were you able to take advantage of this promotion? What do you think their motivation was for this promotion?

Comments

  1. Double edged sword of great blogs like yours. We get to learn about these great promotions but then we bleed them dry in a day or two.

  2. @Tokyo Hyatt Fan, I think most people who read this blog already have at least half a dozen visa signature cards. Nearly every travel reward card fits in this category.

    I think when people think up these promotions, they start with existing demand and say “how much would it cost if we gave everyone their last night free?”. What they don’t realize is that the promotion is so good that it will induce people to game the system. Instead of a four night stay with one night free, now people will make back to back two night stays (in different names) and get two nights free. This is the same thing that happened with Club Carlson’s credit card promotion. I would guess for a few years that it was live, nearly every single points redemption was for two night blocks.

  3. I think that the purpose was both to publicize the high-end visa products and to increase awareness of the Luxury Hotels and Resorts Collection. However, as structured the ad campaign was going to cost Visa a lot of money. So they either botched it and made it more “lucrative” than they’d intended, or the early termination was part of the plan all along: they get everyone excited and scrambling to book and then by design or not they pulled the plug when a preset level of response was reached. Either way, it is “mission accomplished.”

    Although a procrastinator, I did agree that this was likely too good to last so I went for it early , firs trying to book 2 nights at the ICONIC Rome Cavalier and finding no availability, and then at Conrad Hong Kong, which had what I wanted.

    Who said travel blogs are not good for anything? 🙂

  4. I stay at the Logan in Philadelphia a few times a month for business, and they daily rates are between 189-250 depending on the day of the week. I was excited about the promotion because I thought I could get a good deal, but the Visa Signature offer, had the rates for the Logan at 587.99, which is basically the same rate.

  5. @Allen — What you saw was likely the TOTAL for the stay. At check-out, the cost for one night was going to be deducted. What’s more is that the Visa Signature Luxury Hotel program has a best available rate guarantee: they will match any rate that’s lower than what they offer. You just need to bring it to their attention.

  6. My concern is why does my Visa Luxury Collection Reservation on the Hilton HHonors Website when clicking on the reservation only show the name of the hotel, the room type booked, arrival date, departure date, and name of guest while all of my other reservations include the room and plan selection including price, arrival date, departure date, hilton hhonors number, my home address, payment information, cancellation policy? In addition, on the mobile app my normal reservations mention the Hilton HHonors gold benefits while for the Visa Luxury Collection Reservation it shows the same limited information as on the website and doesn’t mention any Hilton HHonors gold benefits.

    I am getting concerned that the hotel will not recognize me as a Hilton Gold Guest and this hotel usually provides great upgrades for Hilton HHonors gold members including club floor access. In addition, I want to earn the Hilton HHonors double points but since none of the pertinent information is on the reservation has me concerned. The only positive is that it automatically does show the reservation when I log into the Hilton HHonors website.

  7. I was able to book 2 nights at the Logan in Philadelphia for $179/night with the promotion. With the 1 night free, $75 gift card, I’m only paying roughly $120 total for the 2 nights. Plus they’re providing the $25 meal credit, free breakfast, free wifi, and free room upgrade. Really looking forward to going! And the dates matched up with our anniversary so my wife’s really excited. Thanks for publishing this promo before it went away. It gave me major husband points!

  8. @JC – I *think* you’re going to get Gold benefits. I’m a Diamond member and one of my reservations (that isn’t until next March) has been proactively upgraded to the Executive level. No reason for that kind of upgrade this far in advance if they aren’t viewing it as a status upgrade. That said, my reservations are all cancelable, so I’ll see how it works out for others.

  9. @JC – difference between booking from third party site and HHonors site? Third party, while can link your HHonors number, cannot tell whether you are a regular member or one with elite status. And the HHonors website likewise doesn’t display everything from the third party booking, although the hotel will have the information. I wouldn’t worry too much about whether the hotel will be able to recognise your status – I’ve made a booking via the Visa site before (not this promotion), and it turned out fine.

    What I would worry is whether Visa will honour booked stays or whether they plan to backtrack and cancel altogether…

  10. The reservation that I made before should still be second night free, right?
    I am going to stay 5 nights with my partner in Shanghai in December. I booked all in Park Hyatt before I switched to 2 nights Waldorf, 1 nights Ritz, 2 nights Park Hyatt, to also maximize the LHR offer, just because of the visa signature hotel offer.

  11. @Charlie I booked two nights too and received the email staying “Stay 2 – Enjoy A Free Night”. At the same time, I received a welcome email from Guest Relations Manager of the hotel to confirm my stay. It looks to me a “contract” has been made.

  12. I will let you know tomorrow after I check in for my two nights (with one night free) at the Waldorf-Astoria Chicago.

    After reading your post, I cancelled my AmEx Hotel Collection reservation and booked a MUCH nicer room at the WA for a cheaper price. Funny… I had previous cancelled my AmEx Fine Hotel reservation and booked the Hotel Collection one because AmEx was offering $80 cash back for pre-pay, and I didn’t really need the 4PM late check-out or the breakfast (tons of Chicago joints I’d rather done at).

    Glad I moved on this deal when I did!

  13. I was able to book:
    2 nights Logan Philly
    2 nights Conrad Chicago (new, can’t wait to try this one)
    4 nights Conrad St. James
    2 nights WA Berlin

    Sorry to see it go. I stay Conrad BKK every 8 weeks and hadn’t gotten around to booking yet!

  14. @Stephen Bepko – Will you please repost after staying at the WA Chicago? I used this promo to book the same hotel and like you I went for a much nicer room than usual. I’m curious as to whether the 2nd night will be deducted automatically or will we have to pull up screenshots, etc. to show them the promo language. Thanks!

  15. It will be helpful if those who complete stays booked through this offer can report their experiences.

    For HH elites I think that your status will be automatically recognized when you check in based on your account number, which is associated with the visa booking.

  16. Marketeers aren’t necessarily rocket scientists. Anyone remember Microsoft’s bing search engine promotion of 20% cash back on purchases after searching to buy something on bing? I was buying gold coins on ebay and Microsoft sent me a check for $200 each time.

  17. Re-booked Conrad Dublin and Conrad Pune just in time. Now hope they recognize Diamond. But with free breakfast and $25 F&B credit, I can’t complain.

  18. In under the wire for a 3-night stay in Park City (although only marginal savings since there was already a sweet suite deal), but I always like feeling like I got away with something.

  19. Just stayed at Conrad Seoul using this. 2 night stay, second night was deducted at checkout. Diamond benefits were applied.

  20. I’m in a suite at the Philadelphia Logan (curio collection) right now, waking up from my free night. They mentioned the promo at check in appears to be no problem. Thanks Visa!

  21. @Yellowlarva sez: “Just stayed at Conrad Seoul using this. 2 night stay, second night was deducted at checkout. Diamond benefits were applied.”

    Thanks for reporting! Could you be a bit more specific about what “Diamond benefits were applied”, as well as about whether or not you got any points from promos (e.g. HHonors Q4 Double Points promo)?

    @Jim Miller — It’ll also be great if you’d report your experience, especially with respect to points earned after you check out.

    Note that it typically takes 48 to 72 hours for points earned on stay to show up in one’s account.

  22. Hi, has anyone managed to stay 4 consecutive nights through 2 separate bookings? I’ve got two nights under my card and the subsequent 2 nights under my wife’s. Wondering how they can monitor, if at all.

  23. I completed a 2 night stay under this promo at Conrad Macao. I was charged as if I only stayed 1 night at check out, including service charges and taxes. Incredible promotion – thank you Lucky.

  24. @DP81

    It’s been stated, but I just checked out and the second night was deducted.

    Like booking at AmEx Fine Hotel & Resorts, the initial bill of for the full price for all the nights… With the free night deducted at check-out.

    As a promotion, at least it got one traveller to consider the Signature Visa hotel program in the future.

  25. @DCS

    I booked the lowest available room category (city view King) and was upgraded to a river view executive. I asked about this at check-in and they told me it was due to diamond status. The associate said the visa category upgrade would only be to a river view king (no executive lounge access). Also, I received the promo points from the Q4 double points promotion.

  26. They’ve shortened the apology message:

    “Due to popularity of the complimentary night offer, the offer is no longer available. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause. You can book a stay at any participating Waldorf Astoria, Conrad or Curio hotel by October 31, 2016 and receive a $75 USD Visa gift card after your stay (see promotion page for more information).”

  27. @Yellowlarva — Thank you for the clarification, which really makes it clear that perks that one gets through one’s HH status supersede those through the Visa Luxury Hotels & Resorts promo, and that any other HHonors activities, like ongoing promos, proceed as if one had booked through hilton.com, since you also got the HH Q4 2x global promo bonus points.

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