Hilton Weekend Certificate: Not Worth the 10k Spend

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You’ve received this reward certificate because you’ve met the purchase requirements with your Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve card. This reward is valid for one complimentary weekend night for a standard room at participating hotels worldwide, subject to availability.

For years I have held onto my Citi Hilton Reserve card because it comes with complimentary Gold status which is just as good as Diamond. I have always received 4PM checkout, suite upgrades, breakfast, and lounge access where available. I received Hilton Diamond this year as part of the status match giveaway so I’ll be able to evaluate whether my assertion is true.

Another reason I have the card is because it provides one weekend night at many Hilton hotels after spending 10k, something that was easy to do when the Bird was around. Given new changes in the world of MS, it makes more sense to cancel the card and apply again for the initial bonus of 2 free nights. This is especially true because the bonus certificates are restricted to weekends (Friday-Sunday) and because the certificate has an expiration date that cannot be extended. Historically, I have found myself desperately searching for places to burn the certificate before the date hits. I end up staying at a random hotel for one night then having to move because I do not have an additional certificate and because the points per night/daily rate are cost prohibitive. Examples include the Conrad Tokyo, Conrad Pezula, and the Waldorf Astoria Shanghai.

This year I am running into the same problem. The expiration date is coming and I don’t have a trip planned that coincides with a worthwhile redemption at a worthwhile location that also happens to fall on the weekend. The most plausible option/worst option would be to confine myself to the Royal Suite at the Waldorf Astoria NYC in the hopes that I am bathed thoroughly. By all accounts, this hotel’s best days are behind it. The other option is to speculatively book one night at an aspirational property and try to build a trip around it. That is even less appealing.

For these reasons, I’m not going to try to hit the 10k spend this year and it is possible that I may put the Reserve Card on the chopping block when the annual fee is due. If I keep my Amex Platinum card open, I will still have Hilton Gold making this card which carries an annual fee of $95 completely useless.

Conrad Tokyo, a great hotel
Conrad Tokyo, a great hotel

14 COMMENTS

  1. I don’t see your experiences as necessarily representative of other travelers. It seems not worth if *to you*, but it’s not like there are any secret terms and conditions you discovered. It just doesn’t fit your travel patterns

    • I’m not sure how I’m supposed to respond to this. It seems obvious that this is a personal blog where I share my personal experiences. I can’t contemplate how every other traveler would value their certificate. I can only say that I have not found it to be worthwhile as someone that has stayed at Hilton properties all over the world from Shanghai to Seychelles.

      And there’s no such thing as ‘secrets’ in T’s & C’s. Highlighting something in small print doesn’t equate to discovery.

      • I mean, I guess I see your point. I just saw the blog title, with its definitive “not worth the 10k spend” and was expecting more than “I just can’t seem to find a place to use them.”

        I mean…

        “The expiration date is coming and I don’t have a trip planned that
        coincides with a worthwhile redemption at a worthwhile location that
        also happens to fall on the weekend. ”

        I can feel how nitpicky I’m being, but it doesn’t seem that the night isn’t worth it. The only condition is it has to be Fri/Sat/Sun. Other than that, isn’t it just on you?

        • Yeah I said it hasn’t worked for me last year or this. That’s why I said it’s not worth it. Others agree, others respond with nonsense.

          The conclusion is the same. There’s a better use of my spend. If it works for you then excellent but a real example would be more helpful than general hypotheticals. I linked Conrad Pezula as a real experience to demonstrate my point.

        • I’ve found the anniversary night to be useful. There are some good mid-level uses like Hilton Stucky Molino in Venice where I’ve been able to combine the free night certificate with my other Hilton points. I could put my spend on SPG, CSP or CC but I typically come out ahead hitting the $10,000 threshold on the Reserve.

  2. I’m with you on this one. I have to remember to meet the spending requirements on a card I’d never used otherwise. And reward nights at the better properties are really expensive. I just downgraded to the no-fee version. Their retention offers sucked – 5000 points after $1500 in spend or 750 points per month for $750 spend over 16 months. None of these made much sense to me.

    • Those are terrible offers. I think I’ll reapply when the annual fee is due so I don’t have to wait the required time to get the bonus and then close the first card.

      • I was just going to make a comment on this.

        First of all, I too have the Reserve card and don’t see the need to hit the 10k. Also, the annual fee is coming and I don’t plan on paying the fee. However, I thought about your strategy of applying for a second card and then canceling the first card.

        My question was going to be: if I cancel the first card after applying for the second card but before getting the 2 free weekend nights, would the bonus of two free nights be honored or not. From what you’re saying, it seems like I will still get the two nights.

        • Well I believe the rule is 18 months after receiving the offer or 24 months after closing the card. So if you’ve had the card for 18 months and get another one then it should be honored. If you close the card, then the clock resets.

          I think that locking in the offer then closing the first account will not invalidate the bonus. By the terms, it seems that Citi is giving us no choice but to churn lest we have to wait 24 months.

  3. First of all, if you travel a lot you should be able to find a Hilton property over the next year worth redeeming at. I don’t think it needs to be Category 9 or 10 property to get value, even a 50K or 60K/night property is a worthwhile redemption. If you’re not planning to stay at a nice Hilton, then why are you bragging about being a Diamond? Essentially you’re saying you don’t plan to use the Diamond status so why are we hearing about it?

    Secondly, if you’re not putting you’re spending on this card then you’re finding more value elsewhere or putting all of your spend only towards sign-up bonuses. For hotel nights, what other card gives you a higher return on the first $10K of spend?

    • First of all, if you are a frequent TPOL reader then you would know that I’m going to Tahiti and using my Diamond + Hilton points (a better value than the certificate in this instance) to stay there. http://thepointsoflife.boardingarea.com/miracle-award-booking/

      Second, I wish my stays coincided with the expiration dates and locales that I am visiting. They do not and did not the last couple of years either.

      http://thepointsoflife.boardingarea.com/tpol-travel-2016/

      Third, “Bragging about being Diamond?” Come on man! Learn to use words appropriately. Everyone is diamond now in Hilton and Hyatt due to the hotel status match. Only a certified douche would ‘brag’ about his hotel status.

      Finally, as I said, I MS’d my way to the 10k because it was easy to do before. If I’m going to spend 10k it’s not going to be for one night at a Hilton which will leave me homeless on night two because Hilton points had a massive devaluation as you know.

      You don’t have to agree with what I write but at least understand the totality of the post before responding with comments that are argumentative and do not advance the subject.

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