CNN Underscored reviews financial products such as credit cards and bank accounts based on their overall value, but does not review all financial companies or all available financial offers. We may receive compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as CreditCards.com, and this compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.
One of the best ways to save money — and points — on future travel is with free night reward certificates. Many hotel loyalty programs offer them, but when it comes to saving you the most amount of money, Hilton comes out on top.
That’s because with Hilton Honors free night reward certificates, there’s no cap on how much the room can cost. As long as a standard room is available to be booked with points, the certificate can be applied (with very few exceptions). Many other hotel programs only allow you to use certificates at properties costing up to a certain number of points, but not Hilton. With standard rooms costing up to 95,000 Hilton Honors points per night, these free night reward certificates can offer huge savings.
Hilton Honors free night reward certificates are earned through Hilton’s credit cards. As part of the card’s annual benefits, you’ll receive a free night reward certificate with the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card every year.
All information about the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has been collected independently by CNN Underscored. The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is not currently available through CNN Underscored.
To receive maximum value from these free night rewards, the best strategy is to use them at a high-end hotel. Since there’s no dollar or point value restriction, this means you’ll want to use these certificates when the nightly rate costs around 95,000 points or when the paid rate is incredibly high. But, at the end of the day, free is free, so the best use is also somewhere that will allow you to enjoy yourself on that much-needed vacation — for free.
How to earn Hilton free night reward certificates
As an ongoing benefit, many Hilton credit cards give you the opportunity to earn an additional certificate annually by hitting a certain amount of credit card spend.
With the welcome bonus offer on the Hilton Honors American Express Card, you’ll earn 100,000 bonus Hilton Honors points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first three months after opening the account plus up to $100 in statement credits on eligible purchases made on the card at Hilton hotels in the first 12 months of card membership. There is no annual fee on this card (see rates and fees), which makes it a solid option if you’re looking to get benefits at Hilton hotels without having to pay for the card each year.
With the welcome bonus offer on the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card, you’ll earn 130,000 bonus Hilton Honors points when you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first three months after opening the account. Plus, you can earn up to $130 in statement credits on eligible purchases made on the card at any of the Hilton family hotels in the first 12 months of card membership. Additionally, as an annual benefit, you have the opportunity to receive a weekend night reward certificate after spending $15,000 on your card in a calendar year.
With the welcome bonus offer on the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card, you’ll earn 130,000 bonus Hilton Honors points when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months after opening the account. Plus, you can earn up to $130 in statement credits on eligible purchases made on the card at any of the Hilton family hotels in the first 12 months of card membership (offer expires July 6, 2022). This card then allows you to earn up to two additional weekend night reward certificates annually — one after you spend $15,000 in a calendar year, plus another certificate after you spend an additional $45,000 in the same calendar year.
There’s also the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, and while this card doesn’t offer a free night reward certificate as part of its welcome bonus offer, one of its benefits is that you’ll receive a weekend night reward certificate on an annual basis. Plus, if you spend $60,000 on the card within a calendar year, you’ll receive another weekend night reward.
And since all cards are treated as separate products, if approved, you could potentially earn multiple free night reward certificates after meeting the spend requirements.
How to redeem Hilton free night reward certificates
Traditionally, the free night reward certificates have been limited to just weekend stays — which includes Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. However, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, Hilton has extended how they can be used. All certificates issued through Dec. 31, 2022, can be redeemed any day of the week. This means that the certificates earned through the current welcome bonus offers have no day of the week restriction.
All certificates issued in 2022 expire 12 months from when they are deposited into your account and are typically posted between eight and 12 weeks from when they’re earned. One thing to note is that this expiration date is a “stay by” date, not a “book by” date, meaning your hotel stay has to be completed by the certificate’s expiration.
To redeem your certificate, you’ll have to call Hilton at 1-800-444-6677. Unfortunately, reward certificates — unlike points — cannot be booked online.
Best Hilton properties to redeem free night reward certificates
Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort — Maui, Hawaii
One of the nicest and most luxurious properties in Hawaii is the Grand Wailea. Sitting on 40 acres, it’s the second-largest hotel in Maui, with access to beautiful Wailea Beach. The hotel features nine pools spread over six levels and connected by a whitewater river rapid. Adults and kids can venture to the multi-size waterslides, rope swing, whitewater rapids slide, waterfalls, caves, multiple jacuzzis and a swim-up bar. You’ll also find the world’s first water elevator, although it’s currently closed due to the pandemic.
Those traveling sans kids will also appreciate the 4,850-square-foot adults-only Hibiscus Pool. For the more adventurous, there’s also a scuba diving training pool. And of course, a trip to Hawaii wouldn’t be complete without surfing, which you’re able to mimic in the hotel’s rotating barrel pipe.
While the hotel typically charges 95,000 points per night, you can instead use your free night reward certificate to stay in a 640-square-foot room with a private lanai, oversized shower and views of Mt. Haleakala. But with lots of pent-up demand for vacationing in Hawaii, standard rooms are hard to come by right now. To be able to use a certificate at this property, you’ll want to be flexible with your travel dates or book 11 months in advance.
Waldorf Astoria Park City — Park City, Utah
Park City is one of the easiest ski trip destinations. At just 30 miles from Salt Lake City Airport, you can be off the plane and on the slopes in no time. And with no shortage of hotel options, it’s an easy place to stay for free using hotel loyalty programs — despite paid rates costing a pretty penny during ski season.
One of the most luxurious options is the Waldorf Astoria Park City. The property is located on the Canyons Village side of the resort with a gondola to get you to the base of the mountain. The ski valet will store your skis and boots overnight, and you’ll love the heated outdoor pool and hot tubs after a long day of skiing.
The hotel offers a shuttle to Main Street (located just five minutes away), Park City Base area and Deer Valley resort. Aside from getting to and from the airport, you likely won’t need to get into a car again.
If you’re looking to stay during peak ski season, the property can easily cost more than $1,000 per night for a standard room. Alternatively, the property requires 90,000 points per night. But, instead of draining your points, you can use your free night reward certificate for a free night’s stay.
Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills — Beverly Hills, California
Located right in Beverly Hills and less than a 15-minute walk to famous Rodeo Drive, there’s nothing not to love about the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills — especially when your free night reward certificate will land you an oversized room with floor-to-ceiling windows and a private balcony. Since this property typically costs 95,000 points per night, it’s a great use of your certificate.
Each room also features an Italian marble bathroom with a separate shower and bathtub and Bluetooth speakers. You’ll actually find that the entire room is set up with state-of-the-art technology where, with the touch of a button, you can control the lights, drapes and entertainment.
There are also plenty of on-site dining options, including a rooftop restaurant with views of Beverly Hills and Hollywood. Here, you’ll find a menu set by renowned chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. There’s also a 5,000-square-foot spa, a heated rooftop pool, a 24-hour fitness center and an on-site salon.
If you’d prefer to stay along the coast during a visit to Los Angeles, another option is the Oceana Santa Monica, LXR Hotels & Resorts. At 95,000 points per night, you’ll get a great value at this property — with the beach right across the street.
Hotel del Coronado, Curio Collection by Hilton — Coronado, California
One of the most iconic resorts in California is the Hotel del Coronado. Located right on the beach in Coronado — across the bay from downtown San Diego — you’ll find yourself staying in a historic Victorian property with lots of charm. With plenty of availability throughout the year, booking a standard room with your certificate is quite easy and will save you 95,000 points per night — or cash, if you were to go that route.
With a true resort setting, you can spend your day at the beach or the pool, or embark on one of the many activities offered by the hotel. There’s a fire pit to roast marshmallows in the evening, surf and stand-up paddleboard lessons, spin classes on the beach, beach yoga, paddleboard yoga and tennis courts.
And starting in spring 2022, the transformed kids club will reopen as an ocean-themed program. Kids will be able to experience a living classroom and an interactive tide pool.
Conrad New York Midtown — New York, New York
Many New York City hotels can be small and cramped, but a stay at the Conrad New York Midtown will make you feel like a king or queen. Located on a relatively quiet street in between Sixth Avenue and Seventh Avenue, you’re only a five-minute walk to Central Park, seven minutes from Times Square and 10 minutes from Rockefeller Center. And, with many subway stations nearby, the hotel is a very central location to explore the entire city.
With your free night reward certificate, you can avoid paying 95,000 points per night. And best of all, there’s typically a lot of availability, so you’ll be able to visit New York City during a time that works best for you.
The Reach Key West, Curio Collection by Hilton — Key West, Florida
If you’re looking for a Caribbean vacation feel without leaving the United States, Key West could be a great option. But with tourists flocking to Florida right now, hotels are incredibly pricey, making your Hilton free night reward certificate even more valuable. The Reach Key West — one of Hilton’s higher-end properties — is typically 90,000 points per night and is located on the only private natural sand beach in Key West.
Just a few blocks away from Duval Street, you’ll have access to many bars and restaurants, and The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum is less than a 15-minute walk away. At the hotel, you can enjoy many water sports, such as sailing, scuba diving and snorkeling.
There’s also a shuttle that’ll take you to the sister property next door — the Casa Marina Key West, A Waldorf Astoria Resort — where you can enjoy additional pools and restaurants. Since it’s also a Hilton hotel, you could opt to use your free night reward certificate at this property instead.
Conrad Punta de Mita — Punta de Mita, Mexico
The Conrad Punta de Mita is located along a 2-mile beach in Riviera Nayarit and is only 20 miles away from Puerto Vallarta Airport. At 95,000 Hilton Honors points per night, it’s the perfect place to use your free night reward certificate.
The hotel features an adults-only pool as well as a kid’s pool with waterslides and a splash zone. There are plenty of loungers and umbrellas on the beach, or you can rent your own cabana at the pool for pure relaxation.
If you’re looking for daytime activities, there’s plenty to keep you occupied both on land and in the water. From kayaks and stand-up paddleboards to shuffleboard and pickleball courts, kids and adults alike will never get bored at the property. And, of course, there are many off-property excursions as well.
Standard rooms are very roomy at this property, ranging between 646 square feet and 705 square feet — depending on if you select a room with one king or two queen beds — plus a furnished patio. The bathrooms are also top-notch, with marble finishings and a walk-in shower.
Zemi Beach House, LXR Hotels & Resorts — Anguilla
Although getting to Anguilla can be slightly more challenging compared to some of the other Caribbean Islands, it’s well worth it to stay at the Zemi Beach House. This luxury hotel costs 95,000 points per night and has plenty of availability. Due to the high prices for both a paid and points reservation, using a free night reward certificate is a great idea.
All standard rooms include a private balcony with views of either the pool or garden. The bathrooms also include a walk-in glass shower and a deep soaking tub.
The hotel is located right on Anguilla’s coastline, featuring crystal blue waters and many water sports. You’ll also have access to multiple swimming pools, five restaurants and bars and a juice bar. There’s also a complimentary kids club for those between 4 and 12 years old and weekly movie nights.
Best of all — even when using a free reward night certificate — all guests receive complimentary breakfast.
Conrad London St. James — London, England
With the world starting to open up again, a visit to Europe might be in your future. With London being such a popular destination with pricey hotels, it could be the perfect place to use your free night reward certificate — especially during peak summer dates when room rates are typically 80,000 points per night.
The Conrad London St. James is located in London’s Westminster neighborhood, only a 10-minute walk from Buckingham Palace. A visit to this hotel will also put you in close proximity to the Thames River, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Churchill War Rooms and even the London Eye.
The hotel also features a world-class art collection, themed afternoon tea, local craft ales and a contemporary British cuisine restaurant.
Conrad Bora Bora Nui — Bora Bora, French Polynesia
If you’re looking for something more exotic, you’ll love your stay at the Conrad Bora Bora Nui. Your free night reward certificate can score you a 1,000-square-foot suite with a separate lounge area and a large private terrace, which typically goes for 89,000 Hilton Honors points per night. You can even bring the family, as the room fits up to three adults or two adults and two kids.
To add to the unique experience, the Conrad offers many Polynesian activities throughout the day and evening. There are also many water sports, land activities, a golf simulator and a complimentary kids club.
One downside is that finding standard award availability is extremely hard to come by. This property opens up its award calendar exactly 12 months in advance, and your best chances of snagging a room are by booking the day the room is released for the following year.
If you aren’t able to find availability but you’re still yearning for that once-in-a-lifetime experience in French Polynesia, you can also look into the Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa. Alternatively, the Maldives also offers some top-notch — and expensive — Hilton properties, such as the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi and Conrad Maldives Rangali Island.
Learn more about the Hilton Honors American Express Card with no annual fee.
Learn more about the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass card.
Learn more about the Hilton Honors American Express Business card.
Learn more about the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire card.
Looking for a travel credit card? Find out which cards CNN Underscored chose as our best travel credit cards available right now.