Hilton

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Your current situation: you heard that the 75,000 HHonors point sign up bonus for the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card is ending on August 31, 2016. To reap the extra benefits from this limited time offer, you got the card and have at least 79k HHonors points headed your way after meeting that $2,000 minimum spending requirement, which is awesome.

But you haven’t redeemed many hotel rewards before and are a little intimidated about where to begin. Let me introduce you to Hotel Hustle.

Screen Shot 2016-08-22 at 2.17.07 PMThe Hotel Hustle search tool by Wandering Aramean can help you get the most out of the following hotel rewards programs:

  • Club Carlson
  • Hilton HHonors
  • Hyatt Gold Passport
  • IHG Rewards Club
  • Marriott Rewards
  • Starwood Preferred Guest
  • Wyndham Rewards

What Hotel Hustle Does

You input the city where you want a hotel as well as the range of dates you want to stay.

The search results will equip you with the following data points to help you make the best use of your reward points on the highest value redemptions:

  • Major chain hotels in the city that you specify
  • Award rooms available at those hotels
  • Cost of hotel night in the hotel’s award currency
  • Cost of hotel night in cash
  • The value of using your reward points on that hotel night (cents per point)

How to Use Hotel Hustle

Step 1: Initiate the search.

Input the city, zip code, or nearby airport of where you would like to book a hotel, as well as the date range of when you want to stay.

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The search results of hotels with award nights available will display on a map, color coded by hotel chain. On the right side of the map will be the details of each map pinpoint with the hotel name, the cash price, the points price, the cash + points price (if that’s an option), how many cents per point you’re getting, and a star rating called Hustle Hotness that represents how good of a value that specific redemption is (based on the previous data points as well as how much Wandering Aramean values the reward point).

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Note that all hotels in the chains listed on the left side of the map will show up as pinpoints on the map whether or not they have award nights available. The detailed list on the right side of the map will show you whether or not each hotel has award space.

Step 2: Pick your filters.

Zoom in or out by clicking the addition or subtraction sign on the top right of the map or adjusting the search radius drop-down menu on the left side. You can also filter by Hustle Hotness (view only 5 Star ratings, for example) with the drop-down menu on the left.

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If you only want to view certain hotel chain results tailored to your collection of hotel reward points, you can easily remove unwanted chains from displaying by clicking on the rewards program. They will then disappear from the map.

If you only have Hilton, Hyatt, and SPG points, then you'll probably want to narrow your results down to just those two programs like in this screenshot.
If you have just Hilton, Hyatt, and SPG points, then you’ll probably want to narrow your results down to just those two programs like in this screenshot.

Clicking on a map pinpoint will show you the hotel name, cash price, points price, and sometimes a picture of the hotel.

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Step 3: Booking An Award Night Once You’ve Found a Room

You can’t book on Hotel Hustle. You have to go to the hotel’s website, which are hyperlinked in the search results.

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How to Set a Alert if Your Desired Hotel Doesn’t Have an Award Night Available

Possibly the most time-saving aspect of Hotel Hustle is the option to set an alert if there is an award night you want at a specific hotel that isn’t available at the time of searching.

They do all the grunt work for you, relieving you of the need to check award space everyday– for free. If an award night opens up for the alert you set, you receive an email notification so you can hop right on booking it.

You have to have an an account on Wandering Aramean to set alerts. Create an account for free here.

If the hotel you are looking at in your search results doesn’t have an award night available, there will be a Create Alert link instead of a points value next the points field. Click Create Alert.

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You will receive an email notification once Wandering Aramean finds award space.

What about those other links on the main toolbar?

Below the Hotel Hustle search box, there are a few other links.

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Average Point Values

Wandering Aramean calculates averages of how much hotel points are worth. They factor these average values into the Hustle Hotness ratings.

My Values

If you disagree with Wandering Aramean’s average point values, you can set your own. This only affects the Hustle Hotness star rankings.

You have to have an account on Wandering Aramean to set your own values. Create an account for free here.

Manage Alerts

The Manage Alerts page is where you can monitor and edit all the alerts you have set, but it is not where you actually set them. To see how to set alerts, see the appropriately titled section above.

Hot Award Rates & Hot Cash Rates

It appears that these links are broken. I assume they are supposed to show results from recent searches that turned up high value redemptions or cheap hotel rooms.

Downsides

  • The search results load slowly at times.
  • Million Mile Secrets says that he’s experienced instances when Hotel Hustle’s cash price of the hotel room varies from what he has found online, so you might want to double check that before pulling the trigger. He also reported that the points information is right on target.

Bottom Line

Hotel Hustle is awesome because you can easily compare the cost of a hotel night in points to the cost in cash, search for hotel award nights specifically catered to the type of hotel reward points you have, and even set alerts if the award night you want is initially available so you don’t have to waste tons of time looking it up every day.

Just not sure which of your hotel points and/or where to use them on your next big trip? Use Hotel Hustle to help– it will save you lots of time and effort.

Have you used Hotel Hustle before? If so please share your experiences below.

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

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On August 31, 2016 at 5 pm ET the 75,000 HHonors point sign up bonus for spending $2,000 within three months of opening the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card is ending. It will most likely change to 40,000 HHonors points as that was the prior (and standard) offer. 

Here are the details of the current offer.
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Quick Facts

  • Sign Up Bonus: 75,000 Hilton HHonors Points after $2,000 in spending in the first three months
  • Category Bonuses: 6x at Hilton hotels (see full list of brands above); 3x at supermarkets, drugstores, and gas stations, 2x on all other purchases
  • Spending Bonus: Any year in which you spend $1,000 at Hilton hotels, you will get 10,000 more Hilton points
  • Value of Hilton Points: Free nights are available for 5,000 to 95,000 points, depending on the hotel’s category. I focus on the 5,000, 10,000, and 20,000 point hotels.
  • Perks: Free Hilton Silver Status, and Gold Status if you make four paid Hilton stays in 90 days
  • Global Acceptance: Chip technology, 3% foreign transaction fee (do not use the card abroad!)
  • Annual Fee: None

The standard offer for this card is 40,000 HHonors points, so that is what we can safely assume it will return to:

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What HHonors Points are Good For

After meeting the minimum spending requirement, you’ll have at least 79,000 Hilton points (more if you use the card’s category bonuses) Earn 1,000 more to get to 80,000 total, and you’ll have enough for:

I stayed at an awesome DoubleTree in Kuala Lumpur that was a Category 2 Hilton.

Read this full write up of all the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card‘s benefits to learn more.

Remember to consider Citi’s new sign up bonus rule before applying for this card: you are only eligible to earn a sign up bonus if you haven’t opened or closed a card from the same type (brand or co-brand) within the last 24 months.

Bottom Line

On August 31, 2016 at 5 pm ET the 75,000 limited time offer for the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card is ending. It will probably change to 40,000 HHonors points based on previous information.

35,000 HHonors points, which is most likely the difference between the bonus offer now and on August 31, is at least ten extra nights at Category 1 Hiltons, three nights at Category 2 Hiltons, or one night at Category 3 Hiltons.

Sign up soon so you don’t miss the deadline and all those free room nights.

Application link: Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

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The wording of the terms and conditions for Citi credit card sign up offers has changed. Now you are only eligible to earn a sign up bonus if you haven’t opened or closed a card from the same type (brand or co-brand) within the last 24 months.  This is significantly different from the prior rule which only restricted you to earning a sign up bonus on a card 24 months after you opened or closed the same card.

Example of New Rule

Let’s say you opened a Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card seven months ago. That means for the next 17 months (a full 24 months after you opened it) you are not eligible for the sign up bonus from the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card, the other Hilton co-branded card issued by Citi. If you close that Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card, the 24 month clock will start over again and you won’t be eligible for any other Citi Hilton cards for 24 months past the date you closed it.

Take a look at the following screenshots from the terms for the various reward earning Citi cards to see further examples of the new rule. If a card earns the same kind of reward currency as another card, then they’re the same type. Click on the screenshots to see any of them enlarged.

Hilton HHonors Screen Shot 2016-08-22 at 10.40.52 AM

Citi Hilton cards:

American Airlines (AAdvantage)Screen Shot 2016-08-22 at 10.42.53 AM

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Citi American Airlines cards:

ThankYou PointsScreen Shot 2016-08-22 at 10.44.36 AM

Citi ThankYou Points cards:

What about business cards?

Thankfully business cards are treated differently by the new rule, at least for now. When you last opened or closed a personal Citi card doesn’t have an impact on your eligibility for the sign up bonus on a business card. When you last opened or closed the same business card does follow the 24 month rule though.

Example: even if you have opened or closed a Citi AAdvantage personal card in the last 24 months, you can still get the sign up bonus on the Citi AAdvantage business card– as long as you haven’t opened or closed the Citi AAdvantage Business card in the last 24 months.

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Bottom Line

This is not good news for churners, albeit not too surprising considering the tightening of rules across the board. Citi changed its 18 month clock for repeat sign up bonuses to 24 months back in April, Chase has 5/24, and Amex has the once in a lifetime bonus rule.

If you have signed up for or closed a Citi card in the last 24 months and were considering another, beware if they share the same brand or co-brand. You must wait 24 months after opening or closing a Citi card to be eligible for another Citi card of the same type’s sign up bonus.

Feel free to share your questions and comments below.

Hat Tip Doctor of Credit

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

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The Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card comes with Two Free Weekend Nights worldwide at top tier Hiltons after spending $2,500 on the card in the first four months.

As a retention bonus, the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card offers an additional free weekend night certificate after spending $10,000 within a cardmember year.

Since any new cardholder will spend $2,500 on the card to get the first two free night certificates, that means that spending $7,500 more on the card during the first 12 months will entitle you to a third free night certificate, in addition to the Hilton points you’d normally earn on that extra $7,500 in spending.

This extra free night certificate is an incredible benefit for many people who highly value a free night at a top-tier hotel.

In fact, the benefit compares favorably to spending the same $7,500 on most other cards.

  • How much is a third free night certificate worth?
  • How does spending $7,500 extra on the Hilton Reserve card compare to spending $7,500 on another card?
  • Can you use all three weekend certificates for one stay?

How Do We Compare Spending on Different Credit Cards?

I use the idea of “rebate percentage” to compare spending on different credit cards.

Rebate percentage is simply the value of the miles, points, free night certificates, etc that we earn from spending on a card divided by how much spending we do on that card.

For instance, I value one SPG Starpoint at 2.5 cents. I get one Starpoint per dollar on my SPG card, so I get 2.5 cents per dollar rebated to me in the form of Starpoints when I use the card. That’s a rebate percentage of 2.5%.

In general, meeting minimum spending requirements to unlock sign up bonuses has the biggest rebate percentage, followed by category bonuses, followed by non-bonused spending.

Rebate Percentage Example for Citi Hilton Reserve

When spending on the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card, we earn Hilton points and free night certificates.

We need to value both in dollars in order to calculate a rebate percentage for the spending. What we’d like to determine here is whether or not spending an extra $7,500 on the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card is a good idea. The quick answer is: it depends!

That extra $7,500 in spending gets you one Hilton free night certificate. Hilton free night certificates can be used at all but a a few Hilton properties worldwide for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night check ins. Some of the hotels at which you can use a free night certificate go for $1,000 or more per night like the Conrad Koh Samui.

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That $7,500 in spending also gets you at least 22,500 Hilton points since the card earns:

  • Earn 10 HHonors Bonus Points per $1 spent on hotel stays within the Hilton HHonors portfolio
  • Earn 5 HHonors Bonus Points per $1 spent on airline and car rental purchases
  • Earn 3 HHonors Bonus Points per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases

Hilton points can be redeemed for free nights, starting at 5,000 points per night.

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While the value in a free night certificate is staying at a Category 9 or 10 property, the value with points is a Category 1 or 2 property. I stayed at an awesome Category 2 in Kuala Lumpur.

If you value all hotel stays at their retail value, you can get one cent of value per Hilton point at some properties. Most people will get half that value or less.

I’ve made a table of reasonable valuations for Hilton points and free night certificates below. Each column represents a person. I’m probably like Person 3, which means that my rebate percentage on an extra $7,500 of spending on the Hilton Reserve is 5.2%. Person 6, who values top-tier hotels at their retail value, gets a massive 16.3% rebate on his $7,500 in spending.

Rebate Percentage 2.23%3.72%5.2%6.69%8.17%16.33%
Free Night Cert Valuation$100$200$300$400$500$1,000
Hilton Point Valuation (cents)0.30.350.40.450.51.0

How Does Spending on the Hilton Reserve Stack Up Against Other Reward Cards?

Now let’s compare that rebate percentage to the rebate percentage you would get by spending the same $7,500 on another card.

Versus Non-Bonused Spending

The Starwood Preferred Guest American Express gives you 1 point per dollar on all purchases, and I value one Starpoint at 2.5 cents. That means a rebate percentage of 2.5%.

My rebate percentage would be 5.2% on the last $7,500 of spending to get my annual free night certificate from the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card, so I’m better off putting non-bonused spending on the Hilton Reserve.

Versus Category Bonuses

The Citi ThankYou® Premier Card earns 3x ThankYou Points on travel including gas, 2x ThankYou Points on dining out and entertainment, and 1x on other purchases.

I value ThankYou Points at 1.9 cents each, so travel/gas has a rebate percentage of 5.7%, and restaurants/entertainment have a 3.8% rebate percentage.

My rebate percentage would be 5.2% on the last $7,500 of spending to get my annual free night certificate from the Hilton Reserve, so I am better off putting travel and gas purchases on the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card but restaurant purchases on the Hilton Reserve.

Bottom Line

The Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card has a great sign up bonus of two free weekend nights at top-tier hotels worldwide. It also comes with free Gold Status, which more than cancels out the $95 annual fee for me.

You need to spend $2,500 to get the sign up bonus of two free weekend night certificates.

If you spend another $7,500, you will get a third certificate on your cardmember anniversary.

Spending that extra $7,500 will also get you at least 22,500 Hilton points.

The total value of the Hilton points and free night certificate vary by person, but at reasonable valuations, most people will see a rebate of 5%+ on that $7,500 in spending, which is a better rebate than you’d get putting that spending on most cards.

For more info on the free nights, and the $1,000-a-night hotels see:

Bonus

You can use your three free weekend night certificates for one stay. Each is good for a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday night, so the stay would be from Friday until Monday.

Each certificate is good for one year from issuance, so you’d want to take as much of the four months as possible to meet the minimum spending requirement to get those certificates as late as possible. You should get the third certificate on your cardmember anniversary, giving you about four months in which all three are valid– read more about this in the Flyertalk thread about the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card (check the Wiki at the top).

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

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The Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card offers two free weekend nights (Fri, Sat, Sun) at almost any Hilton worldwide after spending $2,500 in the first four months.

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“Almost any Hilton” basically excludes only all inclusive properties and time shares. This is the full list of excluded properties:Screen Shot 2016-08-05 at 10.30.43 AM

That leaves a ton of beautiful properties to choose from to use your Free Night certificates on, properties that cost thousands of dollars in exotic locations. But the actual fact of the matter is that one person is only going to earn two free nights, and the free nights are good for rooms with double occupancy (no more than two people), so the most you could stretch your stay at any of these aspirational properties is three nights since they are only good for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights (and still have one free night leftover to use at a different time).

hilton reserve

Unless you can build in the free nights into an already planned international trip, you probably don’t want to spend a lot of money or miles to go somewhere for two or three nights. That’s why I’m going to tell you about the best properties within (or very close) to the United States to spend your free night certificates on.

You should be able to use your Free Weekend Night Certificates any time a standard room is available– no blackout dates apply. So use your certificates on a holiday weekend to really save yourself some money. Certificates also cover taxes, but not resort fees.

Conrad New York

Category 9

The Conrad in New York is stunning. Located in Battery Park City on the Hudson River, it is just minutes from the World Trade Center memorial and would provide a lovely base from which to explore the city.
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Retail value for two nights: $979.72

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You’ll probably note the dates I looked up are over New Years Eve. Remember, no blackout dates, so you can use your Free Night Certificates on holidays! The Conrad New York currently has standard rooms available over this coming New Years.

Waldorf Astoria Park City

Category 9

All you have the energy to do after a day of skiing (or golfing) is relax in your hotel, so why not splurge your Free Night Certificates on this ultra-luxurious Hilton in Park City, Utah?

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Retail value for two nights: $1,609.58 (resort fees are not covered by the Free Night Certificates, so you will have to pay the $35 resort fee per night out of pocket)
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If you’re into skiing and hiking, another solid option is the Hilton Whistler Resort & Spa in Canada.

Boca Beach Club, A Waldorf Astoria Resort

Category 9

You’ll have a half-mile stretch of your own private beach in Boca Raton, Florida.

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Not to mention two championship golf courses.

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Retail value for two nights: $1,053.02 ($30 per night of that will not be covered by the Free Night Certificate as it’s a resort charge)
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Waldorf Astoria Chicago

Category 10

Lollapalooza is happening right now in Chicago. Plan ahead for next year to stay at the Waldorf Astoria Chicago, one of only two category 10 Hiltons in the United States– the other is the DOUBLETREE SUITES BY HILTON HOTEL NEW YORK CITY – TIMES SQUARE, and you’ll have an extravagant spa to recover in between stints at the music festival.

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This hotel (which used to be The Elysian) has glowing reviews, like this one from One Mile At A Time.Screen Shot 2016-08-05 at 12.44.58 PM

Retails value of two nights: $1,109.43

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Grand Wailea on Maui

Category 10

Hawaii is in the United States people– as Scott likes to remind us. It’s not out of the question for a weekend getaway (especially if you and your travel companion both sign up for the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card and you can stretch out your stay to four nights!)

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The Grand Wailea on Maui looks not only beautiful, but like a ton of fun for adults and kids alike.

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Retail value of two nights: $1,261.91 ($30 per night of that will not be covered by the Free Night Certificate as it’s a resort charge)

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The Miles to Use to Get There

We are in the middle of writing a series of posts of that aims at helping you master redeeming awards within the United States using transferrable points. So far we’ve written about ThankYou Points and Ultimate Rewards, and will be getting to Membership Rewards and SPG points shortly. By the time the series is finished, all the major loyalty programs will be covered.

Card Offer Details

You already know that the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card comes with Two Free Nights worldwide at top tier Hiltons after spending $2,500 in four months (note that you have four months to meet the minimum spending requirement– most card offers require you to meet the spending threshold within three months).

Here are the other offer details:

  • Earn 10 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points per $1 spent on hotel stays within the Hilton Portfolio
  • Earn 5 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points per $1 spent on airline and car rental purchases
  • Earn 3 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Enjoy the benefits of HHonors Gold status as long as you are a cardmember
  • No foreign transaction fees on purchases
  • Travel with ease and enjoy global acceptance with your Citi chip credit card
  • $95 annual fee that is not waived the first year

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Two Opposite Strategies to Maximize Hilton (Hilton Reserve vs. Hilton Points)

So far I have just discussed strategies for maximizing the two free night certificates you earn from the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card. The other strategy for maximizing Hilton’s reward program is collecting the 75,000 point bonus from the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card, which you get after spending $2,000 in the first three months after opening the card, and using your HHonors points for booking up to 20 free nights at category 1 Hiltons, ten free nights at category 2 Hiltons, or five free nights at category 3 Hiltons.

The point is that Hilton has an extreme award chart, on which some free nights cost 19 times other free nights. That requires us to adopt an extreme strategy and either try to get value with points at the bottom end (for lots of free nights with the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card), with free night certificates at the top end (for two free nights at a five star hotel via the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card), or do both at once.

Bottom Line

The Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card offers two free weekend nights (Fri, Sat, Sun) at any of these amazing properties as well as over 500 others worldwide. You can use two nights together on one stay or do two separate one-night stays. If you and a companion both get the Hilton Reserve, you can combine three certificates for a stay from Friday to Monday at one property and still have one certificate left (each night certificate is good for a room with double occupancy).

Scott wrote about six top properties in this post last year, as well as where he redeemed his Hilton Free Weekend Nights Certificates in Rome. Don’t forget to check those out for more ideas of where you can redeem your Free Night Certificates as part of an international trip.

What other top properties did I leave out? If you have stayed at a Category 9 or 10 Hilton within the United States that you think is particularly worth it, let us know in the comments.

**Note that you’ll have one year after the free night certificates are issued to use them, and they are issued about six to eight weeks after you meet the minimum spending requirement. Read the full offer terms and conditions.

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

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If you have an American Express Hilton HHonors™ Card or an American Express Hilton HHonors™ Surpass® Card than you can earn 5,000 bonus Hilton points for charging a two night stay to your card at any Hilton hotel. Read the full details for the promotion here.
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What To Do For The 5,000 Point Bonus

1. Register here

2. Stay at Hilton hotel for at least two nights (only paid stays count) by October 31, 2016.

3. Charge it to your American Express Hilton HHonors™ Card or American Express Hilton HHonors™ Surpass® Card

4. Wait four to six weeks after your stay and the points should arrive in your HHonors account.

The 5,000 Point bonus does not count toward HHonors Elite tier qualification. You also can’t retroactively register for a reservation you’ve already made.

Bottom Line

I value Hilton points at .4 cents each, so this bonus is worth roughly $20. It’s not much, but you might as well register if (and only if) you were planning on staying at a Hilton for two nights by October 31. Double check for better offers for your stay before jumping at this one though, as the terms state that the “offer may not be combined with other select promotions, offer or discounts”.

Hat Tip Doctor of Credit

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

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5

Today I’m going to tell you how to get to Egypt economically with miles, and stay there in style for free.

The Hilton chain has a large presence in Egypt– there are a number of beautiful hiltons in interesting places, many of which are classified as category 1, 2, or 3. Why is that significant?

The Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card offers 75,000 bonus HHonors points after spending $2,000 on the card in the first three months.

If you spend $2,500 on the card in the first three months, you’ll have at least 5,000 points from that spending (you get 2 points per dollar on everyday spending) plus you’ll unlock the 75,000 point sign up bonus for at least 80,000 points total.

Eighty thousand Hilton points are enough for…

…because you get the fifth night free on award bookings as a cardholder of the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature®.

But before I get ahead of myself, let’s start with how to get to Egypt–you should always book airline awards first since they are capacity controlled and hotel loyalty programs are not.

How to Get to Egypt With Miles

All Nipon Airways (ANA) and Singapore have some of the cheapest awards to the Northern Africa region. It costs:

  • 75k/115k/150k Singapore miles in economy/Business/First Class
  • 65k/104k ANA miles in economy/Business Class

ANA awards must be booked as a roundtrip, no one ways allowed. I didn’t mention their First Class price because it’s not the best deal to Northern Africa– check out this Comprehensive Spread Sheet of 8 Star Alliance Award Charts: Cheapest Awards to Africa and Middle East for better options.

The caveat to those cheap mileage prices above is that you will pay fuel surcharges. However, you can dramatically lower fuel surcharges by flying United to Europe and connecting there via a Star Alliance partner to Cairo since ANA nor Singagpore collect fuel surcharges on United flights.

For example, on united.com I found Saver award space from Newark to Paris on a United flight (ignore the mileage price, you will pay what Singapore or ANA charges):

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And then from Paris to Cairo, flying Egyptair:
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The Newark to Paris leg will have no fuel surcharges as United doesn’t charge them and Singapore/ANA only collect them when the normal cash ticket has fuel surcharges.

To see how much your fuel surcharges will cost for the Paris to Cairo leg, you can check ITA Matrix:

Screen Shot 2016-07-28 at 9.47.45 PMAnything labeled YQ or YR is a fuel surcharge (the amounts outlined in red). In this case, you would only pay a little over $50 in fuel surcharges, along with the necessary amount Singapore or ANA miles, and the required taxes.

How to Get Singapore or ANA Miles

ANA is a 1:1 transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards as well as Starwood Preferred Guest.

Singapore Krisflyer is a 1:1 transfer partner of all of the transferrable points.

  • One of the easiest ways to earn a lot of Ultimate Rewards is by signing up for the Sapphire Preferred, which offers 50,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 in the first three months and another 5,000 bonus points for adding an authorized user. While I can not directly link to the current offer for the Sapphire Preferred, you may find it by clicking below if you decide to apply. (I receive a commission, and your support keeps this blog going.)

The bottom line is there are tons of ways to earn Ultimate Rewards, Membership Rewards, Starpoints, and ThankYou Points. Read more about them in our Top 10 Travel Credit Cards list that is updated bi-monthly.

Now to the fun part– let’s look at where you can stay. Below are our top picks for hotels in Egypt that you can stay at for free using your HHonors points.

Category 1 Hiltons in Egypt

Category 1 Hiltons cost 5,000 miles per night. You also get your fifth night free as a Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® cardholder, so you could book up to 20 free nights at any of these hotels.

Hilton Alexandria Corniche

Retail cost of 20 nights: $2,775

You can enjoy a central and seaside location in Alexandria, Egypt for an average of 4,000 points per night instead of the $138.75 per night cash price.

Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 8.00.23 PMThe glowing reviews describe the fantastic views of the Mediterranean Sea…

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…and the dedicated staff that provide meticulous service.

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Five nights would cost $693.75 or 20,000 points with the fifth night free.

The Hilton Sharm Waterfalls Resort is another Category 1 Hilton. It has a cheaper retail value, so you’re squeezing quite as much value out of those Hilton points, but it’s gorgeous either way. It’s located in Sharm El-Sheikh, on the shore of the Red Sea.

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Hilton Sharm Waterfalls Resort

Here are some other Category 1 Hiltons spread around Egypt:

  • Hilton Hurghada Resort
  • Hilton Hurghada Plaza
  • Hilton Sharm Dreams Resort

Category 2 Hiltons in Egypt

Category 2 Hiltons cost 10,000 miles per night. With the fifth nights free, you could book up to 10 free nights at any of these hotels.

Hilton Pyramids Golf Resort

Retail cost for 10 nights: $2,073 for ten nights

You can stay less than 10 miles from the Pyramids of Giza at a beautiful, modern golf resort.

Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 11.12.01 PMGuests praise the pool, the location, and the golf course.Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 11.12.08 PMScreen Shot 2016-03-07 at 11.12.16 PM

With cash, five nights in the high season go for $1,036. That’s over 2.5 cents per point.

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Here are some other Category 2 Hiltons in Egypt:

Category 3 Hiltons in Egypt

Category 3 Hiltons cost 20,000 miles per night. With the fifth nights free, you could book up to five free nights at the Hilton Cairo World Trade Center Residences 

Retail cost for five nights: $856

Somehow the Hilton Cairo World Trade Center Residences, where the base room is a two-bedroom suite, is only a Category 3. Use it as a base and by day you can explore the Pyramids, Sphinx, and Egyptian Museum.Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 6.14.59 PMThe pool area looks fantastic as well.

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The two-bedroom, 1,900 square ft suite costs 80,000 Hilton Points for a five night stay.

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Category 4 Hiltons in Egypt

Category 4 Hiltons are pricier at 30,000 Hilton points a night, but the Hilton Luxor located on the banks of the Nile River looks like it could be worth it.

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I would consider booking this property with cash though, as it only costs about $122 a night.

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Bottom Line

By signing up for the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card, you can get enough Hilton points for an extended vacation around Egypt. To get there, use Singapore or ANA miles–just make sure the transoceanic leg of your airline award is on United to avoid expensive fuel surcharges.

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

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6

Hainan Airlines is a new partner of Alaska Airlines, and their flights are now bookable on alaskaair.com. Their award chart is dirt cheap.

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That’s right, 50,000 miles one way in a flat bed for over 13 hours, with connections all over Asia. The only other deal that can compare is using Alaska miles to book Cathay Pacific flights for the same amount of miles and a little less out of pocket expenses (Hainan charges mild fuel surcharges– about $140 per one way). But award space on Cathay Pacific can be scarce unless it’s eleven months out or a week before, and Hainan award space is wide open at the moment.  If you wanna see the scope of what you can book for that price, look for the countries in Asia on Hainan Airlines destinations wikipedia page.

So there’s that.

And the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card  offers 75,000 bonus HHonors points after spending $2,000 on the card in the first three months.  Just from the sign-up bonus, the spending it requires to meet it, and then spending $500 more you will accrue at least 80,000 Hilton HHonors points.

And there’s that.

Combine those two deals and you get a very cheap award to Asia (potentially in Business Class with a flat bed), and free accommodation while you’re there. 

How to get to Asia in a flat bed for 50,000 miles and stay for free while you’re there…

  • Step 1: Get the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card
  • Step 2: Research where you want to go in Asia where Hainan flies and there are Hilton Hotels
  • Step 3: Meet the minimum spending requirement for the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card
  • Step 4: Accumulate Alaska Airlines miles by opening the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card as well as the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business Card
  • Step 5: Book your Alaska Airlines award flying Hainan
  • Step 6: Book your Hilton hotels

Step 1: Get the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card.

Step 2: Research the city in Asia you want to visit that Hainan flies to that also has Hiltons.

I did some of the research for you assuming you have 80,000 Hilton HHonors point to work with. These are some of the best deals I’ve found in cities where Hainan flies in Asia. There are probably more. Please let us know in the comments section if you find any.

Category 1 hotels – 5,000 points a night, but the fifth night free for Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Cardholders, so you could potentially book up to 20 nights for free

Category 2 hotels – 10,000 points a night, but the fifth night free for Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Cardholders, so you could potentially book up to 10 nights for free.

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Double Tree by Hilton Beijing

 Category 3 hotels – cost 20,000 points a night, but the fifth night free for Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Cardholders, so you could potentially book up to 5 nights for free.

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Hilton Chongqing
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Hilton Haikou Meilan
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Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Guangzhou
  • Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Sukhumvit in Bangkok, Thailand
  • While you might not want to stay out at the Narita airport in Tokyo for five nights, the Hilton Tokyo Narita Airport hotel is a Category 3 hotel and costs 20,000 points a night. It could be useful for an overnights after a flight or before a flight out of Tokyo Narita.

Category 5 hotel – 30,000 points per night. Pricey, but it could be used for two nights of a trip compounded with other cheaper hotels. It’s a beautiful property.

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Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort & Spa

Step 3: Meet the Minimum Spending Requirement for the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card.

Spend $2,000 within three months of the account opening and you’ll get 75,000 bonus points. As you get at least two points per dollar on everyday spending (three points for every dollar spent at supermarkets, drugstores and gas stations, and six points for every dollar spent at a Hilton) you’ll accrue at least another 4,000 points just from meeting the minimum spending requirement. The most you would have to spend to get to 80,000 points is $500 more, and then you would have enough points to book 20 free nights in a Hilton Category 1 hotel10 free nights in Category 2 Hiltons, or 5 free nights in Category 3 Hiltons.

Step 4: Accumulate Alaska Airlines miles by opening the Alaska Airlines Cards.

The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card earns 30,000 miles for spending $1,000 within three months of opening the account.

While I can not directly link to the current Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card offer, you may find it by clicking below if you decide to apply. (I receive a commission, and your support keeps this blog going.)

The Alaska Airlines Visa® Business Card also earns 30,000 miles for spending $1,000 within three months of opening the account.

You would earn 62,000 Alaska miles for signing up for both, which is enough for a roundtrip for one person in economy to everywhere Hainan flies in Asia. Or you could use 50,000 miles to fly one way in flat bed Business Class and use another type of miles to get home (like 80,000 Korean miles in Korean Airlines First Class).

Starpoints also transfer 1:1 to Alaska miles with 5,000 bonus miles for every 20,000 points transferred.

Step 5: Book your Alaska Airlines Award flying Hainan.

Hainan’s award space is excellent for two passengers on many flights, but it’s still better to book airline awards before hotel awards since hotel awards aren’t as restrictive with availability. Airline awards are capacity controlled while hotel loyalty programs will you give you the last room available.

Read this post on booking Hainan flights with Alaska miles.

Step 6: Book your Hilton hotels with your Hilton HHonors Points.

And pat yourself on the back for being truly resourceful.

Bottom Line

Hainan is a new redeemable partner of Alaska Airlines, whose miles are easy to collect since the cards that earn them have low minimum spending requirements (and are still churnable). You can fly from the United States to all over Asia for 60,000 Alaska Airlines miles roundtrip in Economy or 100,000 Alaska Airlines miles roundtrip in Business Class, with a flat bed.

If you open the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card you will get 80,000 points from meeting the sign-up bonus and spending $500 moreand then you can book 20 free nights in a Hilton Category 1 hotel10 free nights in Category 2 Hiltons, or 5 free nights in Category 3 Hiltons for your trip to Asia.

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

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11

In 2013, Hilton gutted its award chart for its top tier properties by adding several categories and moving the most expensive properties from 50,000 points per night to 95,000.

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But during the gutting of the top end, the bottom tiers actually got less expensive! Categories 1 and 2 both got 2,500 points per night cheaper. Category 1 dropped to 5,000 points per night and Category 2 dropped to 10,000 points per night.

You now have to pay 19 times the number of points for a free night at Category 10 hotels compared to Category 1 hotels. That’s an extreme difference. IHG Rewards requires only 5 times the points for a top tier versus bottom tier hotel.

For me, Hilton’s extreme chart has bifurcated the Hilton program and created two viable strategies to maximize the program.

Strategy 1: Top Tier

The first strategy is to get the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card with Two Free Weekend Nights worldwide at top tier Hiltons after spending $2,500 in four months. This card also comes with automatic Hilton Gold Status.

Screen Shot 2015-11-16 at 11.50.03 PM

The free night certificates are good for Friday, Saturday, or Sunday nights, and the Gold status ensures free wifi and breakfast on your stays.

Since it costs one free night certificate whether you stay at a Category 1 or a Category 10, you should endeavor to use them at the most expensive hotels, namely one of the 62 Category 9 and 10 Hilton properties. I have already covered a few of these top properties before.

This “Top Tier” strategy for folks who want to stay at $1,000+ per night properties they couldn’t otherwise dream of, like the Conrad Koh Samui in Thailand.

Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 1.23.38 PM

Strategy 2: Most Free Nights

The second strategy is to get a card with a sign up bonus in Hilton points, not free nights, and use them at low category hotels–a card like the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card, which for a limited time is offering 75,000 Hilton Points after spending $2,000 in the first three months and automatic Hilton Silver status. Check out my review of the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card.

Screen Shot 2015-11-17 at 12.06.33 AM

Spending just $2,500 on the card in the first three months gives you at least 80,000 points, enough for:

  • 20 free nights at 54 Category 1 hotels
  • 10 free nights at 140 Category 2 hotels
  • 5 free nights at 400 Category 3 hotels

…including the 5th-night-free bonus available to all Hilton elites on award bookings.

Here are my top picks for the best Category 1, Category 2, and Category 3 hotels if pursuing this strategy.

Screen-Shot-2016-03-07-at-11.12.08-PM
The Hilton Pyramids Golf Resort in Giza is a luxurious Category 2 hotel. You could stay for up to 10 nights here with 80k Hilton points!

Forsake the Middle

These strategies use categories 1, 2, 3, 9, and 10. I think Categories 4-8 hotels in the HHonors program offer poor value. They are too many points during peak season–30k to 80k per night–to get maximum value with points compared to Categories 1-3, and they are too cheap with cash to get maximum value with free night certificates compared to Categories 9-10.

If you want middle tier hotels, try a different program like IHG, Hyatt, or SPG, or look into Hilton Points & Money Awards which can sometimes be a good deal.

You Can Simultaneously Pursue Both Strategies

You can pursue both of the strategies outlined above simultaneously, the points strategy for a lot of free nights and the Hilton Reserve strategy for a few unforgettable nights at one of the best hotels in the world. Just make sure that if you get both the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card and the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card, you get them at least eight days apart. (They are both Citi cards, and Citi will not approve two cards in a week.)

Resources to Plan Your Personalized Strategy

Where should you stay?

Reader Jeremy created and shared a spreadsheet of Category 1, 2, 9, and 10 properties that you can download here. For each hotel, the name, location, and a link to its Trip Advisor reviews are listed. It is a few years old, so some properties have changed categories, but it can be a good place to start.

It is also a few years old. For up to date category information, check here. You can change categories by changing the number at the very end of the URL.

Bottom Line

Hilton has an extreme award chart on which some free nights cost 19 times other free nights. That requires us to adopt an extreme strategy and either try to get value with points at the bottom end (for lots of free nights), with free night certificates at the top end (for two free nights at a five star hotel), or do both at once.

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

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6

Hilton offers the chance to combine points and money to book hotel rooms, which can be a way to stretch both your points and money further. But are these Points and Money awards a better value than free night awards?

I’m digging deep into the Hilton program because right now the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card offers 75,000 bonus Hilton points after $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

Check out my review of the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card, which explains how the sign up bonus is worth 18 free nights at Category 1 hotels.

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What are Points and Money Awards?

Points and Money awards allow you to book a room with 40% of the number of points that a free room costs plus a cash co-pay.

Of course, if you’re familiar with the Hilton chart, most categories have a range of points for a free night. The 40% is always of the maximum number of points needed for that category. So Category 7 Points and Money Rewards require 24,000 points (40% of 60,000) plus a cash co-pay.

Screen Shot 2015-06-24 at 7.18.37 PM

While free night awards are available whenever a standard room is for sale, Points and Money awards are capacity controlled and only available at the discretion of the hotel. 

Points and Money awards do not offer the fifth night free like free night awards booked by elites do. (The Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card confers Silver elite status.)

How to Think about Points and Money Awards

I think about Points and Money awards two ways.

“Price” to “Buy” Points

I think about them like I am booking a free room and then simultaneously being offered the chance to buy back some of my Hilton points.

For instance, a free night at a Category 1 hotel costs 5,000 points. The Points and Money option at Category 1 hotels costs 2,000 points + $30. If I booked the Points and Money option, I’d think about it like “buying” the 3,000 points I was saving compared to a free night for $30. That is like buying Hilton points for 1 cent each. That’s a terrible deal, since Hilton points are worth 0.4 cents each to me.

But many categories offer a better deal for “buying” back the points you save compared to a free night. Below is a chart showing the prices of free nights, Points and Money nights, and the “price” you are paying to “buy” points in each category. The last two columns show the “price” of “buying” points depending on whether the free night is the the minimum number or maximum number of points in its range.

For instance, if a Category 4 hotel offers a free night for 20k points, and you pay 12k + $50, you just bought 8k points for $50 or 0.625 cents each. Bad deal! But if the free night was 30k points and you pay 12k + $50, you just bought 18k points for $50 or 0.28 cents each. Good deal!

Screen Shot 2015-07-20 at 2.08.53 AM

The big thing to notice is that Points and Money awards are a much better deal when a free night costs the maximum number of points allowed by its category. For instance, a Category 6 hotel that costs 50,000 points is a much better Points and Money candidate than a Category 6 hotel charging only 30,000 points for the night.

Total Value Expended

The other way I think about Points and Money awards is how much total value I am expending for the night. I value Hilton points at 0.4 cents each, so a free nights costs me the number of points needed times 0.4 cents. A Points and Money night costs me the number of points needed times 0.4 cents plus the cash co-pay.

Below is a chart showing the value I’m expending for free nights and Points and Money nights in each category.

Screen Shot 2015-07-20 at 2.09.03 AM

Notice that Category 1 and 2 properties are always a better deal as free nights. Category 3 properties are always a better deal as Points and Money nights. Categories 4-10 can be a better deal with either. It depends on exactly how many points a free night costs, since that is variable in Categories 4-10.

How to Search Points and Money Availability

Each hotel decides whether to open Points and Money availability. To search for it, perform a normal search with “Use flexible dates” and “Use HHonors Points” checked on Hilton.com (first click advanced search in the search box in the middle of the page). I like to perform my search for only a single night to get exact results on which nights have Points and Money space.

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For the hotel that interests you, click “View available dates.”
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You’ll get a list of dates with the number of points required for a free night, not a Points and Money night. 

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To get the Points and Money availability, change the dropdown menu to “Points and Money Rewards” and click Update.

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Now you can see which nights have availability. This allows you to go back and search for a date range you already know has space.

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Bottom Line

Points and Money awards from Hilton can be a great way to stretch your points farther. They are particularly attractive for great Category 3 hotels (here are my favorite Category 3 Hiltons), and Category 4-10 hotels that are charging the highest number of points for a free night.

Do the math between paying for a stay with with cash, with points, or as a Points and Money award to determine the best deal for each stay.

Right now the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card offers 75,000 bonus Hilton points after $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. Those points can be the basis of a lot of Points and Money nights.
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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

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8

For a limited time, the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card offers 75,000 bonus HHonors points after spending $2,000 on the card in the first three months. You can turn $2,500 or less of every day spending on the card into 20 free hotel nights in Category 1 Hiltons, worth over $3,600 or 10 free hotel nights in Category 2 Hiltons worth over $2,000. Or, the subject of this post, you can get five free hotel nights in Category 3 Hiltons worth around $1,000 in the high season.

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The Deal

If you spend $2,500 on the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card in the first three months, you’ll have at least 5,000 points from that spending plus you’ll unlock the 75,000 point sign up bonus for at least 80,000 points total.

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Eighty thousand Hilton points are enough for one 5-night stay at Hilton Category 2 hotels. (Hilton Category 2 hotels cost 20,000 points per night, but you get the fifth night free on award bookings as a cardholder of the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card). Eighty thousand Hilton points are enough for:

  • 20 free nights at Category 1 Hilton hotels (my picks here)
  • 10 free nights at Category 2 Hilton hotels (my picks here)
  • 5 free nights at Category 3 Hilton hotels (my picks in this post)

There are 417 Hilton Category 3 properties. The complete list is here. A ton of the properties caught my eye, so I searched their award availability and normal price to see where the best place for a five night stay would be.

Cool Locations, Nice Hotels, But Too Cheap

There were a lot of hotels that are in amazing cities and have great reviews, but I wouldn’t use Hilton points for an award because they are much cheaper than some other Category 3 properties. These include:

My Top Picks

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Cape Town – Upper Eastside

5 nights free with 80,000 points from Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card
Retail cost: $890

Cape Town is the most beautifully laid out city I’ve ever visited with the iconic Table Mountain dividing the sections of the city and offering stunning urban and ocean views. I spent five days in Cape Town, but I could easily live there for an entire summer. It’s cosmopolitan, cheap, and beautiful.

The DoubleTree by Hilton in Cape Town has great reviews. The lounge is modern and funky…Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 6.29.29 PM

Multiple reviews mentioned the high quality of the food. From the looks of it, they have their own garden in the back.

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Five nights would cost $890 or only 80,000 points with the fifth night free.

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Hilton Cairo World Trade Center Residences

5 nights free with 80,000 points from Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card
Retail cost: $856

I recently had to cancel a trip to Cairo. I would love to go to see the Pyramids, Sphinx, and Egyptian Museum. Somehow the Hilton Cairo World Trade Center Residences, where the base room is a two-bedroom suite, is only a Category 3.Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 6.14.59 PMThe pool area looks fantastic as well.

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Book the two-bedroom, 1,900 square ft suite for five nights for 80,000 Hilton points or $856.

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Hilton Jaipur (India)

5 nights free with 80,000 points from Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card
Retail cost: $656

This hotel’s nightly rate isn’t as expensive as some of the others mentioned in this post, but it looks beautiful…

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…as do the attractions around Jaipur, so I’m going to mention it anyway.

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The Jal Mahal, a sunken palace in Man Sagar Lake. Photo by Arian Zwegers, taken from Flickr Creative Commons

Watch a virtual tour of the impressive hotel. Book the Hilton Jaipur for five nights for 80,000 Hilton points or $656.

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Other Expensive Properties

Bottom Line

I think Category 1–where 80k points is 20 free nights–and Category 2 Hiltons–where 80k points is 10 free nights–offer better value with Hilton points than Category 3 hotels where 80k points is only enough for one five-night stay.

But there are great Category 3 properties worldwide that can go for over $1,000 for a five-night stay during high season.

There are 404 Hilton Category 3 properties. The complete list is here.

If you spend $2,500 on the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card in the first three months, you’ll have at least 5,000 points from that spending plus you’ll unlock the 75,000 point sign up bonus for at least 80,000 points total. Eighty thousand Hilton points is enough for a 5-night stay at Hilton Category 3 hotels. (Hilton Category 3 hotels cost 20,000 points per night, but you get the fifth night free on award bookings as a cardholder of the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card.)

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

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For a limited time, the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card offers 75,000 bonus HHonors points after spending $2,000 on the card in the first three months. You can turn $2,500 or less of every day spending on the card into 20 free hotel nights in Category 1 Hiltons, worth over $3,600 or 10 free hotel nights in Category 2 Hiltons worth over $2,000.

The Deal

If you spend $2,500 on the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card in the first three months, you’ll have at least 5,000 points from that spending plus you’ll unlock the 75,000 point sign up bonus for at least 80,000 points total.

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Eighty thousand Hilton points are enough for two 5-night stays at Hilton Category 2 hotels. (Hilton Category 2 hotels cost 10,000 points per night, but you get the fifth night free on award bookings as a cardholder of the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card). Eighty thousand Hilton points are enough for:

  • 20 free nights at Category 1 Hilton hotels (my picks here)
  • 10 free nights at Category 2 Hilton hotels (my picks in this post)
  • 5 free nights at Category 3 Hilton hotels (my picks here)

There are 141 Hilton Category 2 properties. The complete list is here. A ton of the properties caught my eye, so I searched their award availability and normal price to see where the best place for a five night stay would be.

Cool Locations, Nice Hotels, But Too Cheap

There were a lot of hotels that are in amazing cities and have great reviews, but they aren’t quite as expensive as some other Category 2s, but even with these hotels you are getting 1 cent or more of value per Hilton point, which is amazing. These include:

My Top Picks

HILTON PYRAMIDS GOLF RESORT

5 nights free with 40,000 points from the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card
Retail cost: $2,073 for ten nights

You can stay less than 10 miles from the Pyramids of Giza at a beautiful, modern golf resort.

Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 11.12.01 PM Guests praise the pool, the location, and the golf course.Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 11.12.08 PMYou can stay five nights at this hotel for 40,000 Hilton points leaving you 40,000 points for five more nights at any other hotel in this post.
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With cash, five nights in the high season go for $1,036. That’s over 2.5 cents per point.

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DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Sheffield Park

5 nights free with 40,000 points from the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card
Retail cost: $1,680 for ten nights

This hotel is located in Sheffield, the greenest city in the UK. Access the Peak district, a beautiful place for hiking for cycling, is only five miles from the hotel.

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According to reviews, the spa and pool are quite nice.

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You can book five nights at this peaceful hotel for 40,000 Hilton points, leaving you enough points for five more nights at any other hotel on this list.

That’s a fantastic deal since five nights in July cost $754.60. That’s about 1.9 cents per point.

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Hampton Inn & Suites Mexico City – Centro Historico

5 nights free with 40,000 points from the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card
Retail cost: $1,270 for ten nights

This hotel is located in the heart of Mexico city’s gorgeous historic district– just blocks from the main square, Zocalo.

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The reviews rave about the staff, and that terrace looks like a lovely place to unwind with a margarita after a day strolling the streets of Mexico city, stuffing yourself with tacos.

Screen Shot 2016-07-03 at 10.36.11 PMYou can stay five nights at the Hampton Inn & Suites Mexico City to sample the food and culture of one of the Americas’ biggest cities for 40,000 Hilton points, leaving you enough points for five more nights at anywhere else in this post.

That’s a great deal since five nights in July go for $635.58, which is about 1.6 cents of value per point.

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Other Expensive Properties

Here are some other expensive hotels in interesting cities that are Category 2 Hiltons you can book for 40,000 points for five nights:

Bottom Line

I think Category 1–where 80k points is 20 free nights–and Category 2 Hiltons–where 80k points is 10 free nights–offer the best value for the sign up bonus on the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card.

There are Category 2 hotels that are near $1,000 for five nights in the high season, meaning 80,000 points could be worth around $2,000 in hotel stays.

There are 141 Hilton Category 2 properties. The complete list is here.

If you spend $2,500 on the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card in the first three months, you’ll have at least 5,000 points from that spending plus you’ll unlock the 75,000 point sign up bonus for at least 80,000 points total. Eighty thousand Hilton points is enough for two 5-night stays at Hilton Category 2 hotels. (Hilton Category 2 hotels cost 10,000 points per night, but you get the fifth night free on award bookings as a cardholder of the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card.)

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

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The Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card offers 75,000 bonus HHonors points after spending $2,000 on the card in the first three months. You can turn $2,500 or less of every day spending on the card into 20 free hotel nights, worth over $3,600.

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How to Get 20 Free Nights

Here’s the card’s earning rates and category bonuses:

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If you spend $2,500 on the card in the first three months, you’ll have at least 5,000 points from that spending plus you’ll unlock the 75,000 point sign up bonus for at least 80,000 points total. Eighty thousand Hilton points is enough for four 5-night stays (20 nights total) at Hilton Category 1 hotels.

75,000 point bonus + 5,000 points from spending = 80,000 points, enough for 20 free nights

Here’s a map of Hilton Category 1 properties, though there have been some changes and additions to the categories since those were made. Here’s an updated list from hilton.com of 53 Category 1 hotels.

Category 1 hotels cost only 5,000 points per night, so while 80,000 points isn’t even enough for one night in a Category 10 hotel on some nights, it is enough for 16+ nights in Category 1 hotels.

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The “+” in 16+ comes from the fact that elite members get the 5th night free on award stays, and the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card confers automatic Hilton Silver Status. That means that with 80,000 points, you can book 16 one-night stays or 4 five-night stays to get 20 free nights.

Where to Get 20 Free Nights

Here are some of the Category 1 hotels that caught my eye:

Hilton Salalah Resort (Oman)

20 nights free with 80,000 points from Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card
Retail cost: $3,362

You can enjoy a luxurious Indian Ocean Resort with a huge pool for only 4,000 points per night on average instead of the 64.70 OMR ($168) cash price.

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Reviewers rave about the staff, food, and nearby beach.

Screen Shot 2016-03-02 at 2.10.43 PMSeveral also single out the pool as excellent.Screen Shot 2016-03-02 at 2.11.09 PM

Five nights would cost $840.59 or 20,000 points with the fifth night free.

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Hilton Alexandria Corniche (Egypt)

20 nights free with 80,000 points from Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card
Retail cost: $2,775

You can enjoy a central and beautiful seaside location in Alexandria, Egypt for an average of 4,000 points per night instead of the $138.75 per night cash price.

Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 8.00.23 PMThe glowing reviews describe the fantastic views of the Mediterranean Sea…

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…and the dedicated staff that provide meticulous service.

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Five nights would cost $693.75 or 20,000 points with the fifth night free.

Here are some other properties that caught my eye in Category 1 because they are resorts or in interesting locations:

  • Hilton Garden Inn Bali Ngurah Rai Airport (Indonesia)
  • Hilton Hurghada Resort (Egypt)
  • Hilton Hurghada Plaza (Egypt)
  • Hampton by Hilton Krakow (Poland)
  • Hilton Garden Inn Tucuman (Argentina)
  • Hilton Sharm Dreams Resort (Egypt)
  • Hilton Sharm Waterfalls Resort (Egypt)
  • DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Sighisoara – (Romania)
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Hilton Sharm Waterfalls Resort

There are also a number of Category 1 properties in Mexico, Turkey, Colombia, and China, and a couple in the Unites States. Check out the full Category 1 list.

Bottom Line

The limited time offer on the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card offers 75,000 bonus Hilton Points after spending $2,000 in the first three months.

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The card earns at least 2 points per dollar, so spending $2,500 on the card in the first three months would give you at least 80,000 points between the normal points for spending and the sign up bonus.

The card’s automatic Hilton Silver status means you get the fifth night free on award stays.

That stretches 80,000 points to 20 free nights at Category 1 hotels when you book four five-night stays.

Check out this (slightly out of date) map and spreadsheet of Hilton Category 1 properties to see if any excite you because the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card is a great no annual fee card to consider if you use the points at low category hotels.

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

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Starting today and for a limited time, the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card is offering 75,000 bonus HHonors points after spending $2,000 on the card in the first three months. This is enough points for 15-18 free nights at Hilton Category 1 hotels.

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Hilton points can be redeemed at all of the following brands.

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This is the biggest sign up bonus ever offered on this no-annual-fee Hilton card.

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Quick Facts

  • Sign Up Bonus: 75,000 Hilton HHonors Points after $2,000 in spending in the first three months
  • Category Bonuses: 6x at Hilton hotels (see full list of brands above); 3x at supermarkets, drugstores, and gas stations, 2x on all other purchases
  • Spending Bonus: Any year in which you spend $1,000 at Hilton hotels, you will get 10,000 more Hilton points
  • Value of Hilton Points: Free nights are available for 5,000 to 95,000 points, depending on the hotel’s category. I focus on the 5,000, 10,000, and 20,000 point hotels.
  • Perks: Free Hilton Silver Status, and Gold Status if you make four paid Hilton stays in 90 days
  • Global Acceptance: Chip technology, 3% foreign transaction fee (do not use the card abroad!)
  • Annual Fee: None

Sign Up Bonus

The Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card has a sign up bonus of 75,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 in three months on the card.

After meeting the minimum spending requirement, you’ll have at least 79,000 Hilton points (more if you use the card’s category bonuses discussed below.) Earn 1,000 more to get to 80,000 total, and you’ll have enough for 20 free nights in a Hilton Category 1 hotel10 free nights in Category 2 Hiltons, or 5 free nights in Category 3 Hiltons. I stayed at an awesome DoubleTree in Kuala Lumpur that was a Category 2 Hilton.

Double Tree Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

Perks

The Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card comes with automatic Hilton Silver status, which earns a 15% points bonus on Hilton stays, late checkout, and free access to fitness centers. Plus only folks with Hilton status get the 5th night free on award stays.

Better yet, if you complete four Hilton stays in the first 90 days of card membership, you get bumped up to Hilton Gold status, which earns a 25% points bonus on Hilton stays and maybe a little better treatment at the front desk.

Spending

There are category bonuses for Hilton stays, supermarkets, drugstores, and gas stations.

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  • Earn 6 HHonors Bonus Points for each $1 spent at any participating hotel within the Hilton HHonors portfolio.*
  • Earn 3 HHonors Bonus Points for each $1 spent on purchases at supermarkets, drugstores and gas stations.*
  • Earn 2 HHonors Bonus Points for each $1 spent on all other purchases.*

Plus you get 10,000 bonus points any year in which you spend $1,000 or more at Hilton hotels.

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That means this can be a good card to put $1,000 worth of Hilton stays on each year, which would earn 16,000 points between the 6x category and 10k bonus.

Annual Fee and Foreign Transaction Fee

The Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card has no annual fee ever. For a card that gives you ongoing status, that’s unbeatable.

The card does charge a 3% foreign transaction fee though, so never use it abroad.

Full Offer

The Hilton card is ideal for folks who want a no-annual-fee card that rewards their loyalty to Hilton.

  • Limited Time: Earn 75,000 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points after making $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*
  • Earn 6 HHonors Bonus Points for each $1 spent at any participating hotel within the Hilton Portfolio.*
  • Earn 3 HHonors Bonus Points for each $1 spent on purchases at supermarkets, drugstores and gas stations.*
  • Earn 2 HHonors Bonus Points for each $1 spent on all other purchases.*
  • Enjoy the benefits of HHonors Silver status as long as you are a cardmember*
  • No annual fee.*

Application Link: Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

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Until June 3, 2016, you can buy Hilton HHonors points and get a 100% bonus on the points purchased.

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Hilton points normally cost 1 cent each. With the 100% bonus, the price drops to 0.5 cents per point.

If you buy 80,000 Hilton points before June 3, you’ll receive 160,000 points for $800. With the bonus, you can buy any amount of points from 2,000 to 160,000 in 2,000 point increments during the promotion.

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Here is the Hilton award chart.

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When to Buy (Math)

Is buying Hilton points for 0.5 cents each a good deal?

I would not buy Hilton points speculatively for 0.5 cents each because I value them at 0.4 cents each. But if you have an immediate high value redemption in mind, buying points can be a good deal.

For instance, at these prices, Category 1 properties would be $25 per night. Category 2 properties would be $50. Top tier Category 10 properties would be $350 to $475 per night. For all these categories, you can get a big discount off the retail nightly rate if you travel at a peak time.

You can get an even bigger discount on five nights stays because the fifth night is free with points. That drops the per night price of Category 1 properties to $20, Category 2s to $40, and Category 10s are $380 or less.

That’s fantastic when the Category 2 DoubleTree in Kuala Lumpur is about $100 per night…

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…or the Category 10 Conrad in the Maldives is almost $1,600 per night.

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Check out: Only Two Good Hilton Strategies

Consult the Hilton award chart to see how many points you’d need to book the hotel you want for a night. Search the dates you’d like to stay to see the paid price. If buying the points makes sense, there is award space on your dates, and you are ready to redeem now, buy the points.

Also keep in mind, that you don’t need to buy points when you can just open Hilton branded credit cards for free stays.

Right now, the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card comes with Two Free Weekend Nights (Friday, Saturday, or Sunday) worldwide at top tier Hiltons after spending $2,500 in four months. The card also comes with free Hilton Gold Status (upgraded internet, breakfast) as long as you hold the card. All that more than offsets the $95 annual fee.

Buy Hilton Points with These Credit Cards

Hilton points purchases are processed by points.com, so the purchases will not code as a bonus “travel” or “hotel” purchase on any credit card. You will not earn category bonuses from the purchase of Hilton points.

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That means you should make the purchase with whatever card you need to meet a minimum spending requirement on.

Bottom Line

You can buy 2,000 to 160,000 Hilton points for 0.5 cents each. That’s too high to buy speculatively, but there are a lot of immediate awards you can book where that price offers great value.

Application Link: Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card with Two Free Nights worldwide at top tier Hiltons after spending $2,500 in four months

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

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