Hilton announced that for every 10,000 Hilton Honors points a program member donates, it'll give $25 to the Red Cross in support of Haiti. We're glad to see the chain making an effort to spur giving. But truth be told, the offer isn't particularly generous -- and most people will be able to find better ways to stretch their donation dollars.
After all, 10,000 Hiton Honors points will buy you upwards of $100 worth of hotel room. (Just 7,500 points pays for a free night in a Level 1 hotel, which usually costs somewhere between $100 and $120.) In fact, the program allows members to buy points at a rate of 1 cent per point, which values the 10,000 points at $100. Meanwhile, you can make a $25 donation directly to the Red Cross for just $25 -- less, in fact, since you can take a tax write-off if you make the donation yourself.
We're not suggesting Hilton isn't making a good faith effort to help. And, of course, if you have Hilton Honors points sitting around and are unlikely ever to use them, by all means donate them to Haiti relief. But chances are if you've accumulated points, you'll soon have an opportunity to use them. Our suggestion is to take the money you don't spend on the room -- far more than $25, most likely -- and donate it yourself.
UPDATE 1/26/10: Other major hotel brands, including Marriott, InterContinental, and Hyatt, are inviting members to donate points to Haiti, with similar point-to-dollar ratios. Hilton plans to match total HHonors member donations up to $250,000.
For ways to donate to Haiti relief, check out this list compiled by Huffington Post, or head straight to the Red Cross donation page. If you'd like to donate your Hilton Honors points, instructions on how to do so via phone or email can be found here.