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Hilton has increased the category of 21 hotels and decreased the category of 33 hotels for bookings effective October 12, 2016. There are also a number of new Hiltons, mostly in the United States, that were built between last June and this October– check out the list here.

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These are the hotels getting cheaper. They’re almost all in Turkey except for a few in Miami Beach. Two of the hotels in Turkey are decreasing from Category 5 to Category 1, which represents a discount of 25,000 to 35,000 points a night.

screen-shot-2016-10-27-at-7-25-18-pmscreen-shot-2016-10-27-at-7-25-38-pm These are the hotels getting more expensive, which are almost all in the US. The Doubletree in Beijing was on our list of top Category 2 hotels 🙁

screen-shot-2016-10-27-at-7-31-35-pmscreen-shot-2016-10-27-at-7-31-59-pmI especially hate to see increases from Category 1 to Category 2 and Category 2 to Category 3, which are each a doubling of the number of points needed.

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However I appreciate that less than 0.5% of Hilton hotels are going up in price tomorrow, and even more are going down in price.

Getting Value from Hilton

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There are only two ways to get value from Hilton hotels.

Strategy 1: Top Tier

Go for the top end. The Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card comes with two free weekend nights worldwide at top tier Hiltons after spending $2,500 in four months.

Some of these Category 9 and 10 hotels (see map of their locations) cost over $3,000 for a weekend!

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Conrad Maldives Rangali Island

The Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card also comes with Gold Status.

Strategy 2: Most Free Nights

You can get the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card, which currently offers 75,000 bonus points after $2,000 in spending and has no annual fee.

You can also get the Hilton HHonors Surpass Credit Card from American Express, which offers 100,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 in the first three months.

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Hilton Salalah Resort in Oman, a Category 1 Hilton

Then you can use those points (you’ll collectively earn at least 188,000 for meeting both minimum spending requirements) for stays at low category hotels. I particularly recommend Category 1 and 2 hotels.

Category 1 hotels cost 5,000 points, and elite Hilton members get the 5th night free on awards. The Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card grants Silver status and the the Hilton HHonors Surpass Credit Card from American Express grants gold status, so cardholders all get the 5th night free on awards. That means you can book 46 free nights at Category 1 hotels or 21 free nights at Category 2 hotels with the sign up bonuses from both cards.

Bottom Line

Less than 0.5% of the 4,600+ Hilton properties changed category in the middle of this month. Category changes don’t affect people who use the Hilton Reserve card to get top tier hotel nights, but it somewhat hurts people who use the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card and Hilton HHonors Surpass Credit Card from American Express to book Category 1 and 2 hotels.

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