11 Free Nights at Category 3 Hiltons With Two Cards: My Top Choices

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The Hilton Honors Card from American Express is offering 80,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 in the first three months. It has no annual fee.

The Hilton Honors Surpass Credit Card from American Express is offering 100,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 in the first three months. It has a $75 annual fee.

Credit card links have been removed from posts and added to the menu bar at the top of every page of MileValue under the heading Top Travel Credit Cards.

You can turn $5k or less of every day spending on the two cards into 48 free hotel nights in Category 1 Hiltons, or 23 free hotel nights in Category 2 Hiltons, or, the subject of this post, you can get eleven free hotel nights in Category 3 Hiltons.

The Deal

If you spend $2,000 on the Hilton Honors Card from American Express in the first three months, you’ll have at least 6,000 points from that spending plus you’ll unlock the 80,000 point sign up bonus for at least 86,000 points total. Category bonuses are:

  • 7 HHonors Points for every $1 spent on hotel stays within the Hilton Portfolio
  • 5 HHonors Points for every $1 spent on restaurants, supermarkets, and gas stations
  • 3 HHonors Points for every $1 spent on all other purchases

If you spend $3,000 on the Hilton Honors Surpass Credit Card from American Express in the first three months, you’ll have at least 9,000 points from that spending plus you’ll unlock the 100,000 point sign up bonus for at least 109,000 points total. Category bonuses are:

  • 12 HHonors Points for every $1 spent on hotel stays within the Hilton Portfolio
  • 6 HHonors Points for every $1 spent on restaurants, supermarkets, and gas stations
  • 3 HHonors Points for every $1 spent on all other purchases

109,000 Hilton points + 86,000 Hilton points = 195,000 Hilton points

Changes to Hilton Program

There have been some changes to the Hilton Honors program. They no longer, technically, have hotel categories nor a published award chart–you can read more about that here. The main takeaway though is that no Hilton’s award price per night will exceed the top price of it’s previous category…

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So what used to be called Category 3 Hiltons will remain 20,000 points (or possibly be less if the cash price of the room is cheap). At 20,000 points a night, 195,000 Hilton points are enough for two 5-night stays (plus one extra night, so 11 total) at Hilton Category 3 hotels. That’s because you get the fifth night free on award bookings as a cardholder of the Hilton Honors Card from American Express and/or the Hilton HHonors Surpass Credit Card from American Express).

Below are some of the best (what used to be) Category 3 Hiltons.

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

Retail cost: $1,004 or 5 nights free with 80,000 points Hilton Points

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

…and 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 $1,0004 or only 80,000 points with the fifth night free.

Hilton Cairo World Trade Center Residences

Retail cost: $1,037 or 5 nights free with 80,000 Hilton points 

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.

Screen Shot 2015-07-13 at 12.22.47 AM

Book the two-bedroom, 1,900 square ft suite for five nights for 80,000 Hilton points or $1,037.

Hilton Jaipur (India)

Retail cost: $815 or 5 nights free with 80,000 Hilton points 

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

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 7.33.55 PM

…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 $815.

Other Expensive Properties

Bottom Line

I think (prior) Category 1–where 195k points is 48 free nights–and (prior) Category 2 Hiltons–where 195k points is 23 free nights–offer better value with Hilton points than (prior) Category 3 hotels where 195k points is only enough for two five-night stays plus one extra night.

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

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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.

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17 COMMENTS

  1. I applied for the card couple of weeks back and got approved when the offer was 40K. I called into Citi to upgrade the offer to 75K but was told their marketing department will look into this and I will be notified via mail in the next 7-10 business days if the upgraded offer was put on my card. I had done similar thing with Citi Prestige few months back and was able to match to the higher offer of 50K. I’m hoping the same. Do you know if anyone was able to upgrade to the higher offer?

  2. […] 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. […]

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