Hilton Select Has Changed — But Has It Improved?

“W ell, if you enjoy fiddling with rebates which expire within six months for minimal benefits whose opportunity cost is not worth your time and paying for benefits which you can receive elsewhere for less money, then you should consider it. If you intend to be diligent about receiving significantly more value than the $299.00 annual membership fee, then perhaps you should consider it.”

That was part of my blistering assessment which I included in this article back on Friday, February 28, 2014 of a program called Hilton Select. I then ended that article with this thought:

“For me, I will avoid this like the plague: many of the benefits can be procured through many other venues which cost less and are more flexible; while other benefits are little more than useless marketing fluff — and the few benefits which may actually have value are not worth tying yourself to this program.”

Ouch.

Since that article was posted, the Hilton Select program had changed — but are the changes for the better?

Benefits of Hilton Select

For an annual membership fee of $399.00 per year, you are entitled to the following benefits:

  1. Cash back of five percent at participating hotels in top travel destinations in the United States — This is paid on a quarterly basis; and that is not the only restriction or disadvantage. Please refer to the summary of this article for more details.
  2. Bonus 5,000 Hilton HHonors points — This benefit will not exactly seal the deal; but it is better than nothing, I suppose.
  3. All of the benefits of Hilton HHonors — I am not even sure what that means; but anyone can become a member of Hilton HHonors free of charge simply by signing up without having to pay for Hilton Select.
  4. Cash back of five percent on car rentals and cruises — The car rentals and cruises discount of five percent is absolutely not worth the trouble, as you are required to book your travel through Hilton Select; and within 60 days of completing your travel, submit a copy of your itinerary as well as copies of your cruise ship ticket or car rental receipt to receive a rebate of five percent on each. This appears to be a leftover “benefit” of the original Hilton Select program.
  5. $25.00 Restaurant.com gift certificate every month — While you can secure a legitimate discount with this certificate, there are usually many rules, terms, conditions and stipulations with each certificate; and participating restaurant locations can potentially be too limited. Each certificate is valid for only one month and cannot be carried over to the next month.
  6. Up to 50 percent off at thousands of restaurants, retailers nationwide, theme parks, theatre, sports and more nationwide — This was actually listed as three separate benefits; but I lumped them together here because they appear to be the same discounts with which you would secure with an Entertainment book or electronic subscription for $35.00 or less, which can save you money but can also be hit or miss.
  7. Condé Nast Traveler magazine subscription — You can purchase a subscription to Condé Nast Traveler magazine for $20.00 — and you can most likely find a discounted rate somewhere else on the Internet.
  8. Roadside assistance with emergency road and tow benefits — This benefit is available 24 hours per day, seven days per week — but there are numerous limitations, which are outlined later in this article.
  9. Secure Internet web tool for safe browsing on mobile or desktop devices — This service is offered by a company called Guard Street; and as I have absolutely no experience with this service, I cannot vouch as to the need for it or the value of it. Presently, I have no use for it and am not interested in it.
  10. Secure e-mail account with encrypted data and storage — This service is also offered by Guard Street; and as I have absolutely no experience with this service, I cannot vouch as to the need for it or the value of it. Presently, I have no use for it and am not interested in it.
  11. Data vault for securely storing passwords, itineraries, etcetera — This service is also offered by Guard Street; and as I have absolutely no experience with this service, I cannot vouch as to the need for it or the value of it. Presently, I have no use for it and am not interested in it.

Benefits of Hilton Select Premier

For an annual membership fee of $549.00 per year, you are entitled to the same benefits as Hilton Select — but with the following benefits:

Summary

The good news is that a lot of the ridiculously worthless “benefits” are gone: rebate certificates loaded with restrictions for products and services such as travel with Delta Air Lines; personal helper services; pet assistant services; and an address book — but the bad news is that the annual membership fee laughably increased by $100.00 for both Hilton Select memberships.

Assuming we are discussing only the cash back benefit of five percent for qualifying stays at participating hotels in top travel destinations in the United States, you will have to rack up at least $8,000.00 in lodging costs — before taxes and fees — just to break even with the $399.00 cost of membership…

…and even then, the only way you can book, change or cancel reservations is by calling a specific dedicated telephone number — which may not be worth the effort. Let us use an arbitrary number and knock off $100.00 as your minimum return on investment for the possible inconveniences which may be associated with these restrictions.

Therefore, if you know that you will be spending anywhere between $10,000.00 and $20,000.00 — the maximum limit of cash back you can earn in a year is $5,000.00 — at the limited number of hotel properties which participate in Hilton Select, then perhaps becoming a member of Hilton Select might be worthy of your consideration.

As for Hilton Select Premier, the same $5,000.00 maximum limit applies but costs $150.00 more than Hilton Select; so if you know that you will be spending anywhere between $6,500.00 and $10,000.00 at the limited number of hotel properties which participate in Hilton Select, then perhaps becoming a member of Hilton Select Premier might be worthy of your consideration.

In my opinion, the only benefits of potential value are the cash back from hotel stays and the Hilton HHonors points. The remainder of the benefits are either of marginal value or are worthless when you consider the return on investment on either of the membership fees which you would pay; and many of those benefits are products and services which I would otherwise not purchase. That does not necessarily mean that they are of marginal value or are worthless to you — but I would not be surprised if you felt similarly.

I will say this: Hilton Select might be considered an improvement over its original iteration had the membership fee not increased by $100.00 — and even that is debatable — so I will not be joining on as a member in the foreseeable future.

For details on the plethora of rules, restrictions, terms and conditions riddled throughout the benefits of this faulty program, see below the line so that you may judge for yourself as to whether or not the “benefits” of Hilton Select would be advantageous to you.

Source: Hilton Select.


Participating hotels and inventory available under this cash-back program are limited to the number of rooms, unit types and dates provided by participating hotels and resorts. Reservations are subject to availability; and black-out dates apply. Participating hotels and resorts and available accommodations are subject to change at any time and from time to time. Accordingly, accommodations may be available through Hilton Worldwide or other travel service providers that are not available through Hilton Select for this cash back program.

Cash back percentage shall be calculated on the room rate paid by the Hilton Select member and is not calculated on any other amounts including taxes or personal charges incurred during a stay. Cash back benefits are not eligible for reservations made using Hilton HHonors Points. Cash back amounts are accrued after completion of a qualifying stay. The cash back benefit is limited to reservations used by the Hilton Select member for a maximum of two separate guest rooms at the same property. All reservations must be in the name of the Hilton Select member. If a Hilton Select Member makes more than one reservation for the same day or dates, any cash back benefit shall be calculated against the reservation of lowest nightly rate.

Earned cash back awards shall be paid out on a quarterly basis provided a minimum of $50 is accrued at the scheduled pay-out date. Cash back awards may be accrued during a 30 day trial membership, however accrued awards shall be forfeited if the Hilton Select member cancels or does not continue membership past the trial period. Upon termination or expiration of Hilton Select membership, any accrued cash back awards shall be paid within 90 days; provided however, a Hilton Select member who has cancelled their membership and received a full refund of the membership price, shall forfeit any accrued but unpaid cash back award. Likewise, if any cash back awards or rebates have been paid to the Hilton Select member, any refunds shall be reduced by the amount of those payments.

Cash back of five percent on car rentals and cruises

Hilton Select Members can earn 5% cash back on car rentals and cruises booked with Hilton Select. Simply book your travel through Hilton Select, and within 60 days of completing your travel, submit a copy of your itinerary as well as copies of your Cruise Ship Ticket (5% rebate) or Car Rental Receipt (5% rebate).

In order to receive your reimbursement check, you must meet the following requirements: You must have booked your travel through the Hilton Select Travel Center, and within 60 days of completing your travel, submit a copy of your itinerary as well as copies of your Cruise Ticket (5% reimbursement) or Car Rental Receipt (5% Reimbursement). You must have been a current member of Hilton Select when you booked and completed travel and when you requested your reimbursement check. The original itinerary and travel receipts are required. No reproductions will be accepted. Please write your Hilton Select Member ID at the top of the itinerary and mail to: Hilton Select PO Box 68973, Schaumburg, IL 60168. Please allow 4 to 6 weeks for receipt of your cash back check.

Your membership includes a $25 Restaurant.com Gift Certificate every month you are a member, up to $300 per year. The Restaurant.com Gift Certificate can be used at over 15,000 participating restaurants nationwide. Offers vary and require a minimum purchase threshold as well as gratuity. Other restrictions may apply. The Restaurant.com Gift Certificate must be printed from the HiltonSelect.com website and the printed offer brought to the restaurant. If a dining certificate has been used for that month, the next one is available at the beginning of the next month. Gift certificates cannot be reused. Only one certificate is available per month and certificates do not carry over from month to month.

Only one Restaurant.com Gift Certificate can be used per party, even if the diners are seated at separate tables or the party receives more than one check. Gift certificates cannot be combined with other restaurant certificates, third-party certificates, coupons or promotions. The Restaurant.com Gift Certificate can be used for dine-in meals only, unless stated differently on the offer. The certificate is not valid for taxes, tips, merchandise or prior balances.

Provider is not responsible or liable if any establishment breaches its contract or refuses to accept the discount coupon. Provider is not liable for bodily injury or property damage resulting from any accident, event or occurrence on, or resulting from the use of the premises of participating businesses. Provider is not responsible for or warrant the condition of the premises of participating businesses or their safety. Provider disclaims any and all responsibility or liability for any bodily injury or property damage resulting from the acts or omissions of the participating businesses.

  1. Only one coupon may be used for every two people, up to a maximum of three coupons per party, and separate checks are not allowed. Some restaurants include a “when dining alone” option in their offers. These offers are valid only when dining alone.
  2. Dining offers cannot be used with children’s menu items, discount-priced daily specials, senior citizen rates, Early Bird specials, carryout/takeout (except in the Informal Dining section), buffets, etc., unless otherwise noted.
  3. Tipping for satisfactory service should be 15–20% of the total bill before the offer is subtracted. An Offer is defined as a discount, whether it is contained in the form of a coupon sheet or a custom coupon book. Discounts exclude tax, tip, alcoholic beverages and sale items, where applicable, and may be subject to additional conditions and restrictions. In most cases, to qualify for a free offer or complimentary item, you must purchase goods or services from the merchant making the offer.
  • Present your coupon to a participating merchant upon ordering or making your purchase to receive your discount. The least expensive item(s), up to the maximum value stated, will be deducted from your bill (exclude tax, tip, and/or alcoholic beverages, where applicable), or you will receive a percentage off the designated item(s), up to the maximum value stated, depending on the offer. For restaurants offering one complimentary “menu item” when a second is purchased, a “menu item” is a main course item.
  • Read the offer carefully for conditions, restrictions and exclusions which may supersede these Rules of Use.
  • The merchant will retain your coupon to indicate you have used the offer. You may only use an offer once, and you may not combine the offer in conjunction with any other discount or awards program/offers. Certain offers may be restricted to one offer per party, per visit.
  • Valid dates and times are listed on each offer. Major holidays, including those defined below, and regional holidays observed by participating merchants, are excluded, even if the offer reads “valid anytime”: New Year’s Eve/Day Valentine’s Day St. Patrick’s Day Easter Mother’s Day Father’s Day Sweetest Day Thanksgiving Christmas Eve/Day If in doubt, please check with the merchant.

Your membership includes access to discounts at over 300,000 offer locations to save nationwide. That includes up to 50% savings at popular stores and restaurants in your neighborhood.

Condé Nast Traveler Magazine Subscription

A 1-year bonus subscription to Condé Nast Traveler Magazine (a $10 value) is included with your Hilton Select Membership. You will not be billed for this subscription. Please allow 6–8 weeks for delivery of your first issue. Full disclosures, terms of use for all Hilton Select benefits are available when you log in to the Member area of HiltonSelect.com.

At home or on the road, a toll-free call to a dedicated number will dispatch one of 30,000 technicians for towing, fuel delivery, tire changes, jumpstarts and more—available to Hilton Select Members 24 hours a day, 7 days per week, 365 days a year.

  • Simply call the toll-free number and provide us with your Hilton Select Member information.
  • We will assist you in getting help for your towing, tire change or other roadside assistance needs.
  • Roadside Assistance covers you for up to three assistance dispatches per year. Each occurrence has a benefit limit of $100. Full disclosures, terms and conditions for all Hilton Select benefits are available when you log in to the Member area of HiltonSelect.com.

Your membership includes access to a roadside assistance service, with live agent telephone dispatch service, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, through a network of over 30,000 technicians across the nation. The protection covers up to three $100.00 claims per year on towing, fuel deliveries, vehicle extractions, vehicle tire changes, vehicle lock outs, vehicle jump starts, battery service and other services. Covered services do not require up-front payment and reimbursement; they are provided without payment. If a claim is more than $100.00, you are responsible for any costs above and beyond the $100.00 claim limit. Cost information will be provided by the dispatcher at the time of the call, and payment, if required after the $100.00 claim limit, is expected at the time of service payable to the service provider. Protection coverage includes full road and towing services for all self-propelled four-wheeled vehicles, trucks and RVs with a carrying capacity of up to one ton (2,000 pounds) designed, licensed, and used for private, on-road transportation up to $100 to the nearest service facility. Motorcycles are provided service; however, the dispatch agent must be informed that the vehicle is a motorcycle when calling for service in order to dispatch the appropriate equipment. The emergency road and tow benefit applies to any non-commercial vehicle you are driving at the time of disablement. Any car owned, leased or borrowed by a member of Hilton Select will be covered, as long as the member is with the vehicle. Roadside Assistance also provides partial road services for recreational vehicles and trucks with more than four wheels and/or a carrying capacity of more than one ton consisting of jump starting and gasoline/diesel fuel delivery service only.

  • Towing: If your car can’t be started, towing from the point of disablement will be provided to the nearest service provider. If service is provided through the dispatch network, towing will be limited to $100. Any expenses incurred beyond the $100 limit will be the responsibility of the member, payable directly to the service facility, and are not reimbursable. In either case, service is limited to one tow or service call per disablement.
  • Winching: If your vehicle is stuck in a ditch, mud or snow, but is accessible from a normally traveled road, service will be given to tow or winch the vehicle. Dispatch coverage for winching is limited to $100; any expenses incurred beyond $100 will be the responsibility of the member, payable directly to the service facility and are not reimbursable.
  • Battery Service: Battery service is available to provide a battery jump and minor roadside adjustments to start the car, even if it’s in your driveway.
  • Fuel Delivery: An emergency fuel supply will be delivered to a member in immediate need. The member must pay for fuel at the current pump price.
  • Lockout Service: If you lock your keys in the car or lose your keys, we’ll make arrangements for lockout service. The cost of making replacement keys or lock repair is not covered.
  • Flat Tire Assistance: If the member’s vehicle has an operable spare tire, it will be installed to replace a flat tire. If the vehicle has two or more flat tires or it does not have an operable spare, the vehicle will be towed in accordance with the towing benefit.
  • $100.00 Trip Interruption: When a member is more than 100 miles from home and experiences a disablement that requires an overnight stay, we will reimburse the member up to $100.00 for lodging when the member stays at a Hilton property.

If any of the roadside assistance services in your area are unavailable through our dispatch service, we will issue you an authorization number so that you can call the nearest provider and be reimbursed for the cost up to $100.00. Reimbursement request must be pre-authorized to be valid. Mail your receipt with your name, membership number, and the authorization number given to you by our dispatcher to: Paragon Motor Club, Inc. c/o Hilton Select, Attn: Reimbursement, P.O. Box 162526, Austin, TX 78716. Reimbursement claims postmarked more than 60 days after the service date will not be honored.

Roadside Assistance Excludes: Service if member is not with the disabled vehicle. Transportation for the member to the vehicle for service or from the vehicle to another destination after service has been rendered. Service will not be rendered to disabled vehicles not accessible to regularly traveled roads or in places that would be hazardous for service vehicles to reach. Towing of a vehicle off a boat dock or marina. Delivery or repair of tires. Installation or removal of snow tires and chains or dismounting, repairing or rotating tires. Vehicle storage charges. Cost of parts, installation, products, materials, impounding and additional labor relating to towing. Service of any kind on vehicles used for commercial purposes or using dealer tags (Note: All trucks in New York have commercial license plates whether they are used for business or private use. If the truck is used for private use, we will dispatch). Service for taxicabs, tractors, boats, trailers, dune buggies or vehicles used for competition, or stolen vehicles. Service for unlicensed vehicles. Service for vehicles with expired safety inspection sticker, license plate sticker, and/or emission sticker(s) where required by law. Service for vehicles illegally parked or impounded. Repeated service calls for a car in need of routine maintenance. Service when a vehicle is snowbound. We do not hoist, winch or shovel vehicles from unplowed snow banks, snowbound driveways or curbside parking.

Hilton Select Members can protect their privacy with a secure web tool that allows safe browsing at home or while traveling.

Your membership includes a secure web tool that you can use while you shop and bank online or navigate the internet. This tool allows you to keep your credit card numbers, passwords, banking information and other personal information hidden while you are online from criminals, fraudsters, hackers and big data marketers while it is activated. As a result, they can’t build a profile about you which could compromise your privacy and security while traveling or at home. This fast, high bandwidth virtual private network also allows you to access restricted sites overseas like ABC, CBS, Fox News and more. The provider of this service maintains its terms and conditions for these protection tools in its website where these protection tools are accessed. These terms and conditions may also be accessed by clicking the following link:  www.guardstreet.com/pages/terms.

Hilton Select Members can protect their data and privacy with a secure email account offering encrypted data and storage on Swiss servers.

Your membership includes a secure email account that lets you rest assured that all of your stored email and information is safe from hackers and identity thieves while you are traveling or at home. Your email is protected using military grade encryption, under the same privacy laws that govern the Swiss banking industry. Your emails are scanned for viruses and you can even require a passcode for another party to open your email. You can access your email from your computer or any smart phone. The provider of this service maintains its terms and conditions for these protection tools in its website where these protection tools are accessed. These terms and conditions may also be accessed by clicking the following link: www.guardstreet.com/pages/terms.

Hilton Select Members can use this powerful tool to securely store important login credentials and personal information.
Your membership includes a personal Data Vault which provides you a place to securely store, share and access all of your important documents, photos, emails and passwords. It provides you the same safety, security and privacy as a Swiss bank account with all the information stored on servers located in Switzerland. It is protected using military grade encryption, under the same privacy laws that govern the Swiss banking industry. Typical documents you could store for your family and access at home or while you travel include medical records, financial records, legal documents and travel documents like copies of visas, passports, itineraries and immunization records. The provider of this service maintains its terms and conditions for these protection tools in its website where these protection tools are accessed. These terms and conditions may also be accessed by clicking the following link: www.guardstreet.com/pages/terms.

Dining, Leisure & Shopping Discounts

As a member of the Hilton Select program you have access to member-only discounts on everything from pizza and the zoo, to movie tickets, oil changes, car rentals and hotels. With over 302,000 available discounts across more than 10,000 cities in the United States and Canada, you’ll find that you’re never far from savings.

All offers are subject to change at any time and are accessible online, by phone, or in-store with printable and mobile coupons. Please refer to each offer’s online listing for complete offer details, redemption options, and expiration dates as certain restrictions may apply. All offers are intended for the personal use of the individual purchaser and are not valid with other discount offers unless specifically stated. Offers may not be reproduced and are void where prohibited, taxed or restricted by law. Provider is not responsible or liable if any establishment breaches its contract or refuses to accept the discount or coupon provided. Provider is not liable for bodily injury or property damage resulting from any accident, event or occurrence on, or resulting from the use of the premises of participating businesses. Provider is not responsible for or warrants the condition of the premises of participating businesses or their safety. Provider disclaims any and all responsibility or liability for any bodily injury or property damage resulting from the acts or omissions of the participating businesses.

3 thoughts on “Hilton Select Has Changed — But Has It Improved?”

  1. Michele Lemieux-Madison says:

    Last November, I was on my way back from a trip, exhausted and still reeling from the loss of my husband when I had a very forceful salesman push Hilton Select on me. Oh of course, I have 30 days to cancel, but I could go to Vegas or Florida for 2 nights for free, blablabla.
    I got home and had so much on my mind that I completely forgot. When it was too late to cancel, I decided to take the 2 night Vegas trip. Then promptly forgot about the whole thing. I do not use any of their other services, I do not need them.
    This year, I received my bank statement and the yearly membership was taken off. I called them, but of course, since it is over 7 days, they won’t do anything about it. No matter that I did not use any of the services or that I explained my circumstances. I admit I should have cancelled before the due date, but I could have at least received an email confirming that they would deduct their yearly fee like I get from Microsoft, my website host and Amazon!
    I have never been more disappointed in Hilton. Such a large company with so little regard for their customers!

  2. Penny Keller says:

    I was given the sales talk when I called for reservations. When I finally had a chance to read about it I realized what the salesman said and what the package included were worlds apart. I disputed it with my credit card. I believe it has been settled in my favor but not certain. If Hilton chooses not to, it will cost them much more than the annual membership fee as I will see they will lose considerable business meetings that would have been held at Hilton properties. This incident has really changed my opinion if Hilton. I will think twice when selecting a venue for a business event

    1. Karen Neville says:

      Just got off the phone with the sixth phone rep and fourth supervisor one of whom was rude with me regarding my expired free Vegas stay and $100 certificate. In Aug. 2016, I booked a room at the John Wayne Airport Hilton for my high school reunion. Long ago, I was a Hilton Honors member and I inquired about the program. The desk clerk transferred me to a salesperson at Hilton Select ($299/year). Since I thought I was dealing with Hilton, I thought that everything was legit and I would receive customer support and service worthy of the HIlton name. In Dec I was planning to use my Vegas stay., but my dad had serious complications as a result of a knee replacement. He just started walking on his own again in April. Now that he was so much better, I called to find out how to redeem my certificate. It expired in February and there was nothing anyone could do because it’s “in the computer”. Still, my Vegas stay was o.k., or so I was told. Called this morning April 29 to book it for my next vacation in July and was told I had to make that reservation back in Feb. and now we were “too far in” from the expiration date to make any changes. Oh well, at least I got a chocolate cookie when I checked into my room in September for our high school reunion. My girlfriend, standing next to me, was not offered a cookie because she wasn’t a “member”. We’re still joking about that. Being on the board of three large organizations, I will recommend against booking anything related to Hilton. I will tell my associates, friends and family members to avoid Hilton like the plague.

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