After thirty years working for one of the nation’s esteemed financial institutions I should know better.

I’m off to Boston for a New England driving holiday with my son Chris in June.  It seemed like a fantastic time to cash in the Avios so we’re heading there in first class.  A real treat.

Our previous USA driving holidays have usually involved picking up the hire car as soon as the airport has been negotiated.  This time it crossed my mind that I’m intending to enjoy the on board hospitality to the full.  And I’ve no desire to face a DUI charge in a Massachusetts court.  Although I do love Boston Legal and Ally McBeal.

Anyway, a search online revealed that there’s only one on site hotel at Boston’s Logan airport and as it’ll be approaching midnight it seemed like the obvious option to book in to.

I didn’t realise Boston is home to the planet’s most extortionate hotel rates.  $395 a night in the Hilton there.  I booked the room on a cancellable basis, but had a cunning plan.

That plan involved heading to TopCashback, searching for “Hilton Credit Card” and clicking through to apply for the card (earning £20 cashback in the process).  I did this knowing that a £750 spend over three months guaranteed me a free night at any Hilton worldwide.  A smug glint came to my eye as I was accepted, and I started salivating at the thought of saving $395.

Sure enough the card arrived.  I spent the £750 (hotels for a week elsewhere!) and a few days later an email arrived with details on how to redeem the voucher.

This involved ringing a USA telephone number and being transferred several times.  I have a track record of struggling talking to Americans by phone, made worse here by my Bell’s palsy imposed lisp.  Twenty minutes into the call a bombshell.  “The voucher is only valid at weekends Sir”.  We land on a Tuesday night.  Gutted isn’t the word.  You’d have thought that email would have mentioned it!

Straight to the card application site again thinking I’ve been misled, but a Friday to Sunday rule is clear as day in the paragraph highlighting the free night.

So I’ve still got a free one night voucher for a Hilton somewhere between now and the end of July.  I’m not quite sure where I’ll be able to utilise it for £300+ in value though.

In the meantime, I need to review hotel arrangements in Boston that night.  A nearby cheap motel could be an option.  It lacks convenience and a bit of class though.

Always check the terms and conditions folks!  But if you’re a couple and fancy a free weekend away you can both apply for cards, both spend £750 within three months, both get a voucher each and then redeem them together.  Earn £40 in the process from TopCashback.  Let me know if you want a link to the latter – there’s a couple of quid innit for me!