That T-Mobile/Hilton “special” rate? It’s not special


OK, I know it’s Valentine’s Day, but I’m not going to be showing T-Mobile any love for one of their new benefits.

Last week they announced Magenta status – a suite of new travel-related benefits: Silver status in the Hilton Honors program, free refueling with Dollar Car Rental, free recharging with Hertz and a 15% “special discount rate” when booking stays with Hilton.

It’s that latter benefit that I’m taking issue with because there’s nothing special about it whatsoever. In fact, you could be a Verizon customer and book the exact same “special” rate.

Hilton T-Mobile special rate

The reason why is because the T-Mobile rate (you can check rates with it here) appears to exactly match Hilton’s non-refundable rate. With some special rates (e.g. the BenefitHub rates for Choice and Wyndham), you can sometimes not only save more than the non-refundable rate, but also get some flexibility with the cancellation period.

That’s not the case with the T-Mobile special rate. Instead, it not only matches the non-refundable rate, but it is itself a non-refundable rate. In search after search, that’s what I discovered – the T-Mobile rate listed at the top was the exact same figure as the non-refundable rate further down the list of rates.

Hilton T-Mobile rates in Virginia Beach - pricing breakdown 1
Example 1
Example 2.
Example 2
Example 3
Example 3

This was disappointing to me. As a T-Mobile customer, I’d hoped that the T-Mobile rate would offer some kind of savings or, failing that, flexibility versus the regular non-refundable rate. Alas not.

Nick’s Counterpoint

I was ready to be far more cynical in this post. However, when sharing my findings in our team Slack channel, Nick shared the following counterpoint which he’d shared with someone in the Frequent Miler Insiders Facebook group earlier that day:

I can’t imagine that would be cost-effective for T-Mobile to offer if T-Mo was paying for it and I can’t imagine that Hilton stands to benefit by giving a better-than-member-discount to customers with one cell provider over others — nor do they probably need to do so to meet their core objective (which is to bring more customers in the door, not to offer bigger discounts to T-Mobile’s customers)

I totally get that “Magenta” status doesn’t hold much value for our crowd. I wouldn’t have expected that it would. T-Mobile’s average customer likely isn’t a miles and points junkie — I’m guessing that the average customer may not have even been a member of Hilton Honors. So the selling point for Hilton to give away “Silver” status is that they drive a slew of new member sign-ups so they can now market to people who maybe have long been booking via Priceline, Expedia, etc and get those people to change behavior and book direct. They want to convince that crowd that they don’t need to look at Expedia or Priceline, they just need to look at Hilton dot com. They stand to “win” a lot more by converting the Priceliners to Hilton Honors members than they do by giving the miles and points outliers an extra 5% off.

And for the average T-Mobile customer, the member discount *is* a 15% discount over what they were getting before because they probably *weren’t* Hilton members. Yes, of course they always could have joined and gotten that 15% off (or whatever) without T-Mobile, but they likely wouldn’t have known it or taken the initiative to do it — and now, for them, it feels like a T-Mobile benefit. You and I know it isn’t, but to the average person it probably seems like a T-Mobile thing. And they are getting Silver status, which again isn’t much to you and me, but it means they are going to earn points at a slightly accelerated rate and maybe be able to do a 5th night free.

Again, you’re not wrong to be disappointed. This isn’t better that what we can already get on our own. But I wouldn’t generally expect something marketed as broadly as to the ~110 million T-Mobile subscribers to be better than what is broadly available to us. Yes, it would be awesome if it were better though!

Annoyingly, some good points to somewhat overcome my cynicism. The purpose of this post was more to warn readers with T-Mobile service not to waste time trying to find a deal here as there doesn’t seem to be one.

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Hilton avid

Thanks for this post!
This benefit is trash as expected, they could have definitely done better


Magenta status is mostly a joke anyway. If you don’t subscribe to their most expensive plans you don’t get most benefits and their weekly rewards have been mostly useless for years


Nick is correct. This is a “special discount” considering the regular rate was more expensive and especially if they’re not a member. Sure, if you’re a savvy traveler who churns cards for the signup bonuses and understand how and when to status match and other travel hacks, this is obvioisly not for you. However, for the novice or rare traveler, it’s something, which is better than nothing.


Nick is wrong. Costco has nearly as many members as T-mobile, and they find a way to offer better rental car rates and perks to their customers than you can get most anywhere. It can be done — so don’t act like it can’t. T-Mobile and Hilton just came up short here.


Have you checked the rental car “free gas” rates yet? It’s a joke!


they also had something before (IHG? ) and it was just as meh as this one


It’s just a coupon book at this point. The lowest price is never going to be through a cell phone discount.


No surprise at all to me. T-Mobile Tuesdays have been going downhill for months and months. One of the only few benefits that is truly a benefit is the which comes in March. We’ll see if that happens again this year.


I have noticed with Hilton the AAA discounts also simply line up with the Member Rate, whereas with Marriott the AAA discount is almost always a better deal (when available) unless there is a Stay Longer promo rate. Hyatt I have not looked at as much but seems to land somewhere between the two from what I remember.


This reminds me of another T-mobile benefit, 10c off per gallon at Shell “with complimentary Gold status”, via T-mobile Tuesdays app, now T life.

Of course, anyone can get Shell Gold status without T-mobile, so really T-mobile codes only give an extra 5c off.