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This is post #9 of a series regarding the Hilton HHonors hotel program.
- Introduction to a new Hilton Credit Card – Citi® Hilton HHonorsTM Reserve Card
- Hilton Credit Card Comparison
- Earning Status with Hilton
- What does Hilton Status Get You?
- Understanding the Double-dip Options
- Utilizing Hilton GLON Awards
- Utilizing Hilton AXON Awards
- GLON vs. AXON – Which One is Better?
- Utilizing Hilton 5th Night Free Awards
- AXON vs. 5th Night Free – Which One is Better?
- Understanding Hilton Cash & Points Redemption
About a year ago Hilton went through a pretty massive devaluation. For the most part, you will now need to redeem more points for the same free night and the GLON awards which provided some significant discounts are no longer available. However, with that said, they did introduce a nice benefit to those with elite status – Silver, Gold, and Diamond members get their 5th night free on all award redemption reservations.
The good thing about this new perk is that there is no category restriction. The 5th night free applies to all hotels and you can get up to four free nights on a reservation (which means the stay must be 20+ consecutive nights).
When booking a reservation that includes 5 or more nights, unlike other hotel chains where it stays “0 points” for the 5th night, Hilton deducts the points evenly from each night. Since Hilton has peak and off-peak nights and one reservation could potentially include both point categories they add up the total number of points for the stay, take the average to determine what the 5th night would require, and deducts that from each individual night. So when you go to book your reservation you will see that the number of points required per night for a 5+ night stay is less then a 4 night stay, for example. As long as you are signed into your account and have Silver, Gold, or Diamond status, the discount will apply automatically to your reservation. Unfortunately though, the 5th night free benefit only applies to standard rooms.
In the screen shot above you can see that each night states 16,000 points a night. However, this hotel typically requires 20,000 points a night. Since I have Gold status, Hilton added up the total points required for the stay which was 100,000 points, divided the points by the number of nights (5) which was 20,000 points, and then allocated those points evenly to be deducted from each night (4,000 points a night deducted). If I did not sign into my account or selected only four nights, I would see that each night costs 20,000 points.
While this 5th night free perk is good, it is not better then the GLON awards that they took away when this benefit was introduced. Also, the 5th night free benefit cannot be combined with the AXON awards. I’ll dedicate an entire post comparing the two, however, in some situations AXON awards will be better
What are some ways to earn status? Since the only way to access these discounted awards is by having status (Silver, Gold, or Diamond), if you have a big stay coming up, it is really in your best interest to earn status prior to redeeming your points. I have an entire post dedicated to earning status with Hilton, so you can check out the details here, but to quickly recap:
- Stay at Hilton branded hotels – 10 nights or 4 stays in a calendar year will earn you Silver status (for the remaining year and the following year) which is all you need to access these awards
- Have a Hilton branded credit card – all of their credit cards give you automatic status for the entire time you are a card member (you can learn more about each individual card at the bottom of the post):
- Citi® Hilton HHonorsTM Visa Signature Card – Automatic Silver status (no annual fee ever)
- Hilton HHonors Card from American Express – Automatic Silver status (no annual fee ever)
- Citi® Hilton HHonorsTM Reserve Card – Automatic Gold status (annual fee)
- Hilton HHonors Surpass Card from American Express – Automatic Gold status (annual fee)
- Sign up for a “Fast Track to Gold” challenge, where if you stay 4 times in 90 days you’ll receive Gold status. This often comes up quite often and most are typically eligible. You can learn about the current offer here.
Enjoy your discounted awards!
- Citi® Hilton HHonorsTM Visa Signature Card: 75,000 bonus points for new applicants after spending $1,000 within 4 months; Earn 6 points per $1 spent at Hilton Hotels; Earn 3 points per $1 spent at supermarkets, drug stores, gas stations; Earn 2 points per $1 spent on all other purchases; no annual fee.
- Citi® Hilton HHonorsTM Reserve Card: 2 free weekends nights to use at any Hilton portfolio hotel (excludes all-inclusive resorts, Hilton Grand timeshare properties, and Waldorf Astoria hotels with no standard rooms offered) – must spend $2,500 in 4 months to earn this bonus; Earn a free weekend night annually if you spend $10,000 on the card during your card membership year (rolling 12 months, not calendar year); Earn 10 points per $1 spent at Hilton Hotels; Earn 5 points per $1 spent on airlines and car rental purchases; Earn 3 points per $1 spent on all other purchases; $95 annual fee.
- Hilton HHonors Surpass Card from American Express: 100,000 points for new applicants after spending $3,000 on the card within the first 90 days; Earn 12 points for $1 spent at Hilton hotels, 6 points per $1 spent at supermarkets, restaurants, gas stations; Earn 3 points per $1 spent on all other purchases; $75 annual fee (not waived the first year).
- Hilton HHonors Card from American Express: 75,000 points after spending $1,000 within 3 months. Earn 7 points per $1 spent at Hilton hotels; Earn 5 points per $1 spent at supermarkets, restaurants, gas stations; Earn 3 points per $1 spent on all other purchases; no annual fee.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links for some of the credit cards. As always, thanks for supporting the blog and enjoy traveling on a deal!