So I am officially on my first mattress run. Yays(?).
In the word of miles and points, a classic mattress run is defined as “Booking and paying for hotel nights you do not usually need solely for the purpose of earning points, reward nights, and / or elite status”.
I did not intend for this to happen so soon.
With my earlier acquisition of GHA Black which resulted in a fantabulous staycation at Parkroyal Pickering, I knew I had a chance of being matched to Hilton Diamond. There were multiple conversation in the Milelion Telegram group about a relatively good sucess rates so I kind of made a mental note that I will do it at some point.
But that would mean a unprecedented 90-day Hilton binge.
The ironic thing is, I’ve never been a Hilton person. I’ve always defaulted to Marriot Bonvoy, Accor, IHG, or even Golden Circle. Anything but Hilton. But with the value of the benefits, it may change the game.
On hindsight, I should have only applied for the match when I have upcoming Hilton stays. But I didn’t want to book first, then risk not being matched. But I also wanted to try and be matched in time with the Hilton SEA sale which was happening until 02 Feb 2019.
Plus, I was also kind of misled by the CSO who gave me an ambiguious answer about whether the start date can be requested.
These sneaky CSOs.
I was questioned left right centre (thanks all you unfriendly people in the Milelion group) about mattress running for Diamond. Gold is as good, some say, as it already provides free brekfast for 2pax. And also Executive Lounge access but ONLY if you get upgraded to an Executive room.
Too high risk for me.
I needed to have confirmed lounge access – and that would only be possible by keeping my Diamond and hitting that 8 stay. Lounge access for 2pax at any Hilton property worldwide until March 2021 (verified twice by 2 different hopefully not-sneaky CSOs) was way too attractive.
Plus, with the Points Unlimited promotion I am registered for, along with Diamond’s 100% earning rate, AND an extra 1,000 points per stay, it seemed like the effort (and $) would be at least worth it.
(The full benefits of Diamond is listed here. Some of which I question though – 2 free bottles of water is a top tier elite perk?)
I gave it a shot via the Hilton Status Match website , duly submitted proof of my GHA Black as well a recent stay within the last 12 months, and waited. And was rejected. Huh?!
“We appreciate your interest in attaining Elite status with Hilton Honors. After careful review, regrettably, we are unable to process your request with the provided documentation as they are either ineligible to compare against Hilton Honors program or not an eligible hotel brand”.
As expected, a generic explanation of why they said no. After further questioning, they came back with
“Please be apprised that the documents you have submitted for the status match didn’t match the criteria as the verifying documents must reflect your same name registered with Hilton as well as the competing program brand, and the membership level at the matching property must be reflecting on your attached document with the hotel brand logo”
Ah so des.
The problem seemed to be with the picture of the GHA membership card – there is nowhere on the card which says “Black” – because the card is just erm black in colour. So I re-sent via the website again that showing my GHA profile on the app clearly having the word ‘black’ under my name.
After 5 working days I got this in my inbox:
The adrenaline rush was immediate but it gave way to suddenly realizing my 90-days countdown has started, ending on 08 May 2019.
I was heading to Bangkok in April but had already booked Renaissance. I planned to go Macau in May but the only Hilton property there is Conrad Contai, which is priced at $1,500HKD a night. Gah!
And I did not want to blow thousands as well. Which could very well possibly happen if you try to hit all your 8 stays in Singapore. DoubleTree by Hilton in Johor is a constant favorite for mattress run for the cheaper rate but the thought of making my way across the customs makes me cringe.
So thankfully, Hilton offers day stays easily bookable via their websites (the horrors of not having someone special to stay the night with you). Good time to take advantage of my newly set up Shopback account too (3% cashback is better than nothing okay)!
A plan was hatched to hit all 8 stays at minimal cost and maximising the no. of properties to explore: book day stays in SG + Bangkok during my trip and try to get maximum value out of the upgrades / Executive Lounge access. Plus, I also confirmed with a Hilton CSO that the complimentary stay voucher recieved from Amex Ascend Krisflyer will also be counted as a valid stay. Score!
But there was a couple of restrictions I had to work with:
- consecutive date bookings at the same property will count as one stay regardless of check in and check out activity
- a day stay + a night stay at different properties on the same day (ie same check in date) will count as only 1 stay.
- BKK Waldorf is insanely expensive even for day stays (but right next door)
- We dont have cheap properties in SG like in the US / Europe. Bah.
The tentative schedule and sequence now looks like this (with costs after taxes for reference):
- Day Stay @ Hilton Singapore (SGD161)
- Day Stay @ Conrad Centennial Singapore (SGD195)
- Day Stay @ Hilton Garden Inn Singapore (SGD117)
- Day Stay at DoubleTree By Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok (THB1754 = SGD76)
- Day Stay @ Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok (THB2,304 = SGD100)
- Stay @ Millennium Hilton Bangkok (THB3,500 – SGD151)
- Stay @ Conrad Bangkok (covered by Amex KF Ascend voucher)
- Day Stay at DoubleTree By Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok (THB1754 = SGD76) (this will also cover my day of departure from BKK as my flight only departs 9pm)
That’s a total cash outlay of $876 to experience 7 different hotels @ SGD125 each and I will finish my challenge by end April.
The Amex voucher has been planned to cover the most expensive property, and with the day stays properties starting cocktail hours @ 5:30pm, hopefully be able to enjoy a little bit of that before we head back to our hotel each night to enjoy more food & drinks.
I can also theoratically replace No. 8 with an extra Amex Ascend voucher which I have but not sure if redemption will be sucessful since in the T&C they technically only allow one voucher redemption per year.
And I am happy to report that that my BKK travelling partner do not mind hotel hopping with me hehe.
Yays to Diamond until March 2021! $900 for 2 years of lounge access and free cocktails sounds like a good deal for me already.
I am crossing fingers that it’ll all work out. Somehow. Without a glitch.
*all pictures are grabbed from official sites and credits should be given to them.