In the interest of full disclosure, I earn a referral bonus for anyone that’s approved through some of the below links. These are the best publicly available offers that I have found for each card. Please check out my advertiser policy for further details about my partners, including American Express and Citi, and thanks for your support!
Last year I picked up the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card (affiliate link), which offers two free weekend night certificates after spending $2,500 on the card within four months. I actually picked up the card before the massive Hilton devaluation was announced, though the value of those free weekend nights has gone up even more as a relative matter. Previously Hilton’s most expensive properties were 50,000 points per night, while now there are some properties that are 95,000 points per night, given that Hilton introduced categories 8-10.
The interesting thing is that they never updated the text on the application page, as it still reads in part as follows (bolding mine):
Weekend night certificate (s) is (are) earned after purchase requirements have been met with the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card. A weekend night certificate is valid for one (1) weekend night standard accommodation at category 1-7 hotels and select Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, subject to availability and excluding All-Inclusive or Hilton Grand Vacation properties.
So while Citi hasn’t updated the landing page of the application, it has been confirmed time and time again by Hilton that these certificates are valid at all 10 categories of properties.
Just earlier today I made a booking at the Conrad Hong Kong for an upcoming weekend stay. Hong Kong is a really expensive market for hotels, though very few properties are actually a good value on points. The Conrad, for example, was available for either 80,000 HHonors points per night or $3,500HKD plus a 10% service charge, which roughly totals $495USD per night.
There’s no way I’m going to spend that type of cash, and at the same time I don’t really want to spend 80,000 HHonors points per night, so I instead redeemed the two weekend nights I got from the Citi Hilton Reserve Card. I called up the Hilton Diamond line and the agent was able to book my nights within minutes. Interestingly the confirmation actually showed a points total, along with the certificate numbers for the free night certificates I was redeeming.
I have one other observation, which shouldn’t really surprise people but I think is worth mentioning. I’ve found that Hilton award availability has gotten much better since the devaluation. This isn’t due to any shenanigans, but rather right before the devaluation just about every last “standard” room night was booked at the top Conrads, like the ones in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Koh Samui, the Maldives, etc. As people have started to cancel, more award nights have opened up, and there aren’t many people booking them due to the higher rates.
So yes, it’s possible to redeem the free night certificates for category 8-10 properties, yes it’s an easy process, and availability is very good as well.