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How To Redeem Hilton Honors Free Night Awards

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Hotel credit cards offer all kinds of fantastic perks, ranging from elite status to free night awards. In the case of Hilton Honors, there are four co-branded American Express cards, with annual fees ranging from $0 to $450. Three of these cards offer the opportunity to earn one (or more) free weekend night rewards.

In this post, I wanted to take a closer look at how those benefits work, especially given the added flexibility that these rewards are offering at the moment.

Which Hilton credit cards offer free night rewards?

There are three Hilton credit cards that can potentially earn you free weekend night rewards.

Hilton Aspire Card free night award

The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card (review) offers up to two free weekend night rewards every year:

  • You receive one every cardmember year just for having the card, including the year in which you open the card
  • You receive one when you spend $60,000 on the card in a calendar year
Redeem your certificate at the Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam

Hilton Surpass Card free night award

The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card (review) offers a free weekend night reward when you spend $15,000 on the card in a calendar year.

Hilton Business Card free night award

The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card (review) offers up to two free weekend night rewards every year:

  • You receive one when you spend $15,000 on the card in a calendar year
  • You receive one when you spend $60,000 on the card in a calendar year

Can you earn Hilton free night certificates from multiple cards?

You sure can. In theory, you could have all three of the Hilton credit cards that offer free night certificates, and you could earn up to five of these for your account per year, in conjunction with qualifying spending. Note that you’re also eligible for the welcome bonuses on each of these cards.

Redeem your certificate at the Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal

How soon do weekend night rewards post to your account?

In all cases, weekend night rewards post within 8-12 weeks of when they’re earned:

  • In the case of those weekend night rewards earned through spending, expect the certificates to be deposited in your account 8-12 weeks after the spending threshold is reached
  • In the case of the Hilton Aspire Card annual certificate, expect it to post within 8-12 weeks of your anniversary (and in the first year within 8-12 weeks of when you open the card)

For what nights are weekend night rewards valid?

Historically, Hilton weekend night certificates can be redeemed for stays on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. However, these have added flexibility for the time being — rewards issued through December 31, 2021, can be redeemed for any night of the week.

That offers some fantastic flexibility that you wouldn’t otherwise get.

Redeem your certificate at the Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach

How long are weekend night rewards valid?

Generally speaking, Hilton weekend night certificates are valid for 12 months from when they’re issued. However, in light of current circumstances, all certificates issued between January 1 and December 31, 2021, will be valid through December 31, 2022.

That potentially gives you a bit of extra validity, in addition to the lack of restrictions on what days of the week you can redeem complimentary night awards.

At which hotels can Hilton weekend night certificates be redeemed?

The free night certificates are valid at virtually any property where standard award redemptions are available, at properties costing up to 150,000 points per night. Specifically, Hilton weekend night certificates are valid at all properties except a few dozen, most of which are all-inclusive properties or Hilton Grand Vacation properties.

Most of the properties you’d want to redeem at are eligible for this certificate.

Redeem your certificate at the Conrad London

How do you redeem weekend night certificates?

You’ll be emailed the weekend night certificate after eligible activity. That email will have a code, and then you’ll have to phone up Hilton at 1-800-446-6677 to book. It’s fine if you don’t have the code when calling — the phone agents should be able to look it up based on your Hilton Honors account number.

It sure would be nice if it were possible to make these bookings online rather than by phone. Free night certificates with virtually all other hotel groups can be booked online (this includes IHG Rewards Club, Marriott Bonvoy, and World of Hyatt). Then again, I generally find this benefit to be so generous that I’m not going to complain.

Do you receive elite benefits when redeeming free night awards?

If you have elite status with Hilton (like Hilton Honors Gold or Hilton Honors Diamond status), then yep, all perks also apply when redeeming points or free night certificates. This could include benefits like room upgrades, complimentary breakfast, late check-out, etc.

But I don’t want to go to a great hotel for just one night?!

What’s the value of a single free night certificate for a redemption at a remote, aspirational property? Most people aren’t going to go to Bora Bora, the Maldives, etc., for one night… and they shouldn’t. There are two ways to approach this.

Redeem your certificate at the Waldorf Astoria Maldives

One way is to use the free night certificate as part of a longer stay. In other words, if you’re booking a stay of a few nights at one of these properties (either using cash, points, or a combination of the two), you can add on an extra night to the stay using this certificate.

Keep in mind that you can also earn multiple of these certificates, so you can potentially use them for back-to-back nights at the same hotel, which could make a for a great getaway.

Alternatively, there are lots of good city hotels where you can redeem this certificate. This is an area where Hilton keeps getting better, as the Waldorf Astoria and Conrad portfolios keep growing.

From the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills, to the Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam, to the Conrad London, there are so many great city hotels to choose from. Those are just a few examples. The point is, there are lots of fantastic city hotels where you can redeem a free night award that are closer to home (or closer to major cities).

Redeem your certificate at the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills

Bottom line

American Express and Hilton have a great portfolio of credit cards, and the free night rewards are among my favorite perks offered:

  • The Hilton Aspire Card offers one every year just for having the card, which for many will more than justify the annual fee, in and of itself
  • For the Hilton Surpass Card and Hilton Business Card, I think it can be worth spending $15,000 on the cards each year to earn an anniversary free night certificate

To those who have earned Hilton free night awards, what has your experience been?

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