AXON vs. 5th Night Free – Which One is Better?

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Related Posts:

  1. Earning Status with Hilton
  2. What does Hilton Status Get You?
  3. Earning Points with Hilton and the Double-dip Option
  4. Redeeming Points Utilizing Hilton AXON Awards
  5. Redeeming Points Utilizing Hilton’s 5th Night Free Awards
  6. AXON vs. 5th Night Free Award – Which One is Better?
  7. The New Hilton Honors Program

As I’ve mentioned before a few times in this Hilton Honors series, the Hilton program went through a massive devaluation. However, there are two awards to utilize to stay for less points – AXON awards and 5th night free. With both of these discounted awards, they are not available to everyone, but not too difficult to achieve. To quickly recap:

  • 5th night free award access: Must have elite tier status – Silver, Gold, or Diamond
  • AXON award access: Must have one of the two American Express co-branded Hilton credit cards

If you have both status and one of the two Amex credit cards, you have access to both award types. They are very different saving opportunities, so it is important to know which one is better for your particular point redemption.

Before I get into the numbers, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • AXON awards are not available at category 1, 2, 3, and 4 hotels.
  • AXON awards are only available on stays of 4 nights
  • Sometimes off-peak award redemptions are cheaper than AXON awards
  • 5th night free option is only available on stays of 5 nights (or increments of 5 nights)
  • 5th night free option is available on off-peak and on-peak award stays

So which is better, AXON or 5th night free?

  • Category 5 hotel, typically requires 30,000 – 40,000 points
    • AXON5 discount for 4 nights = 130,000 points total, so 32,500 points/night
    • 5th night free for 5 nights = 120,000 – 160,000 points, so 24,000 – 32,000/night
    • WINNER: 5th night free for all stays
  • Category 6 hotel, typically requires 30,000 – 50,000 points
    • AXON6 discount for 4 nights = 160,000 points total, so 40,000 points/night
    • 5th night free for 5 nights = 120,000 – 200,000 points, so 24,000 – 40,000/night
    • WINNER: 5th night free on off-peak award stays, for peak award stays they are equal (anything in between is 5th night free)
  • Category 7 hotel, typically requires  30,000 – 70,000 points
    • AXON7 discount for 4 nights = 190,000 points total, so 47,500 points/night
    • 5th night free for 5 nights = 120,000 – 280,000 points, so 24,000 – 56,000/night
    • WINNER: 5th night free on off-peak award stays and AXON on peak award stays
  • Category 8 hotel, typically requires 40,000 – 70,000 points
    • AXON8 discount for 4 nights = 220,000 points total, so 55,000 points/night
    • 5th night free for 5 nights = 160,000 – 280,000 points, so 32,000 – 56,000/night
    • WINNER: 5th night free on off-peak award stays, but AXON awards on only peak award stays (anything in between is 5th night free)
  • Category 9 hotel, typically requires 50,000 – 80,000 points
    • AXON9 discount for 4 nights = 260,000 points total, so 65,000 points/night
    • 5th night free for 5 nights = 200,000 – 320,000 points, so 40,000 – 64,000/night
    • WINNER: 5th night free for all stays
  • Category 10 hotel, typically requires 70,000 – 95,000 points
    • AXON10 discount for 4 nights = 300,000 points total, so 75,000 points/night
    • 5th night free for 5 nights = 280,000 – 380,000 points, so 56,000 – 76,000/night
    • WINNER: 5th night free on off-peak award stays, but AXON awards on only peak award stays (anything in between is 5th night free)

So for the most part, the 5th night free redemption option is far better then the AXON awards. There are a few times when AXON award redemption is better, but typically only when you are looking to stay during the most peak time at a hotel.

Since 5th night award is predominately a better redemption option, it is important to have elite status with Hilton. As I mentioned in a previous post, here are the ways to get elite status:

  • 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 which comes with 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):
  • 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.

Overall, Hilton requires a lot of points for free night awards, so this can be a huge help and allow your points to be stretched further.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. As always, thanks for supporting the blog and enjoy traveling on a deal!

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