If you’re interested in cruising or Hilton HHonors points, you’ll want to enter the Anchors Away promotion. In exchange for your email, Hilton is offering you the chance to up to 500,000 points, as well as a cruise certificate.
Buying A Cruise from A Travel Partner
As travel companies look for new sources of revenue, commissions from cruise lines begin to look good. Cruises are one of the few remaining modes of travel that still pay a commission to agents. Since you’re not going to be on a hotel or airline’s website if you aren’t interested in travel, these places are natural destinations for cruise lines to build a book of business. Buying a cruise from a travel partner works the same way as making any other purchase through their dedicated shopping site. You’ll get points or miles based on how many dollars you spend. You may also get a bonus based on the length of the cruise (which is usually correlated to the cost). The travel agent partner buys the points from the airline/hotel and pays them to you out of their commission.
The question is, do you want to buy a cruise through a travel partner. The answer is, as always, “it depends.” Travel agents are typically willing to throw in extras, such as an on-board credit, a drink package, etc. It’s easy enough to compare an individual agent’s offering with what you can get online. But there is another factor to keep in mind, and I cannot stress this one enough: There is a certain advantage to having an individual, experienced travel agent on your side, as opposed to a call center. Cruises are complicated vacations. If something goes wrong, you’ll want to have confidence in the person you are calling to fix it. It’s a lot easier to find that person through a friend of family member than it is through a random 800-number. I’m not implying that the mass travel agents don’t know what they are doing, but I want to know who the agent on the other end of the phone is. If I know it’s somebody with twenty years of experience booking cruises, I’ll be much more comfortable. That’s worth more than a drink package.
The Anchors Away Promotion
Fortunately, the Anchors Away promotion means that you don’t have to worry about any of that. Entering is simple. Simply fill out your information at the contest site and you’re in. Yes, you are giving the company your email address. Do what you like with their emails. You can win one of five prizes, including the Grand Prize of 500,000 HH points, a 4-night hotel stay and a $2,500 cruise certificate. “First Prize” is 250,000 points and a $500 cruise voucher. Yup, you’re going to be responsible for the taxes, so read through the terms and conditions. Hilton values points at 0.5 cents each for tax purposes. That’s not an entirely unreasonable valuation. Of course, you should see your tax adviser for further details.
The Bottom Line
I love these contests that require nothing more than an email. You have nothing to lose and could end up with a really nice prize.