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Tropicana Las Vegas Rebranded as a DoubleTree hotel

According to this thread on FlyerTalk and this article in USA Today, the Tropicana Las Vegas is being rebranded as a DoubleTree hotel. This change finally allows Hilton HHonors members the ability to earn and redeem points while staying on the Las Vegas Strip. Previously, the only Hilton options were the Hilton Grand Vacation Suites and the Grand Vacation Suites at the Flamingo. Both of these properties are slightly off the Strip.

Hilton also has a hotel, the Elara, adjacent to the Miracle Mile and Planet Hollywood that allows guests to earn points but not to redeem them for award nights.

The Tropicana Hotel is scheduled to open as a Hilton property sometime in December and is not currently accepting reservations through Hilton’s website. I attempted to make a dummy booking to check paid and award rates but was not allowed.

Currently, neither Starwood nor Hyatt has on-Strip properties. Starwood lost Planet Hollywood in early 2010. Marriott allows redemptions at the Cosmopolitan resort for 35,000 points a night.

I mention rival  chains because the DoubleTree will be a rare Vegas Strip hotel where elite status will be recognized. HHonors members should receive bonus points, complimentary internet, free breakfast, and space available upgrades depending on their status level. Gold members should receive the benefits below.

Diamond members will receive even more benefits, including breakfast and points, though it remains to be seen if this hotel will have a dedicated Executive floor.

According to the official hotel website, the DoubleTree will be assigned as a category 5 hotel, so it will take 35,000 HHonors points to redeem for one night.

The Hilton award chart is notoriously top heavy, meaning most hotels fall in the more expensive categories (4-7). There are very few properties in the lower tiers compared to the higher categories.

With rates at the Tropicana most likely falling in $70-$150 range, it will probably be best to book rooms with cash. Redeeming points even at $150 yields only 0.41 cents per point in value. I arrived at this number by dividing $150 by 36,500 (35,000 it costs for an award night plus the 1,500 base points that I forewent by not booking with cash).

Hilton has some great luxury properties,  including the Hilton Bora Bora Nui resort and Conrad Koh Samui in Thailand for 50,000 points a night. Standard rooms at these properties can be over $700. Though I would never pay that much for a room, I would value rooms at these hotels at around $275/night. Using this valuation, I would be redeeming points at  0.55 cents.

When you also take into account how many great hotel deals there are in Las Vegas–mid-Strip, mid-week at Imperial Palace is usually $40–along with the aspirational properties in Hilton’s portfolio, it will probably  be better to save your points for another vacation.

As loyal readers know, I am not usually big on hotel rewards programs and can usually get a better deal using Priceline. For more details on how I go about that, check out my post on the subject, Saving Hundreds on Hotels with Priceline.

Dates Announced for 2013 Frequent Traveler University

According to this thread on MilePoint, dates for the 2013 Frequent Traveler University have been set. The event will take place at the Hilton McLean Tysons Corner from April 26-28.

Frequent Traveler University (or FTU) is a great place to meet other bloggers and mingle with like-minded points and miles enthusiasts. There will be several talks and breakout sessions hosted by prominent bloggers on topics ranging from hotel elite status to mileage running tips.

I had a blast at the Chicago Seminars earlier this month and am very excited to be speaking at the Los Angeles FTU (November 30-December 2) about Three Vacations, Two Awards–free oneways on awards.

Though the Los Angeles event is sold out, you should definitely mark your calendars for the 2013 FTU in Virginia. As mentioned by Gary Leff, organizer and View from the Wing blogger, these events are great f0r picking up tips and tricks that aren’t publicized on the message boards or blogs. They also provide networking opportunities with fellow travelers and bloggers.

Recap

The Las Vegas Strip is seriously lacking properties from the major hotel chains. With Hilton’s addition of the Tropicana, travelers can now earn and redeem Hilton HHonors points while visiting Las Vegas. The ability to receive recognition as a Hilton elite member via room upgrades, late check out, and free internet only sweetens the deal.

Dates are set for the 2013 Frequent Traveler University from April 26-28 in Tysons Corner, Virginia. Though sign-up details haven’t been announced, be sure to mark your calendars now and check back here for more information. Tickets are expected to sell quickly. This is one points-and-miles meet up that you don’t want to miss!

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