Where I Redeemed My Hilton Free Weekend Nights Certificates

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Previously:

I have finally decided where to redeem my two free nights that I got from opening a Citi® Hilton HHonors™  Reserve Card. I am going to use them for a weekend stay at the Rome Cavalieri Waldorf Astoria in June.

As much as I would have loved to used my two free weekend nights for a stay in Asia or the South Pacific, the amount of travel it takes to get to those locations was a huge deterrent to that plan. Europe seemed like a much more feasible destination. Thank you to all the readers who commented with their reviews, suggestions, and opinions on where I should stay!

The Property

The Rome Cavalieri Waldorf Astoria is a Category 9 hotel, and the King Deluxe room that I am staying at (for free) is going for $557/night the weekend that I am staying there, or 80,000 HHonors points. I could never have afforded spending $1,100+ on a hotel for the weekend, so the free weekend nights have put an otherwise unattainable luxury within my reach.

Why did I pick the Rome Cavalieri Waldorf Astoria? What was the booking process?

Rome is a city I’ve always wanted to visit. And the views from the Rome Cavalieri look incredible. I like that it’s set a bit away from the city, since I’ve heard Rome can be quite hectic, and I’m sure I’ll want a break in the middle of a two-week European trip. And just look at the base room:

Booking

Booking the nights could not have been easier. This reservation must be made by phone by calling Hilton at 1-800-HHONORS. When you call, make sure that you have the following close by to make the reservation go smoothly:

  • Both Reward Certificate ID numbers
  • The hotel and dates that you want 
  • Your HHonors number
  • The phone number attached to the account
  • A credit card to hold the reservation

I had originally wanted to redeem my certificates at the London Hilton on Park Lane. I gave the agent my preferred dates, and she searched for standard room availability. Unfortunately, she was unable to find any two consecutive weekend (Friday, Saturday, or Sunday) nights in June. I asked her to check for June availability at the Rome Cavalieri, and she quickly found standard room availability for my top choice dates.

The agent was unable to redeem my certificates directly. She told me that, even though I was using certificates, she would have to call the Hilton Help Desk to book the reservation since I didn’t have enough points for the reservation in my account. She put me on hold for about five minutes while she spoke directly with the Help Desk. I was relieved that she spoke to the Help Desk, rather than transferring me to them and making me repeat all of my information.

After a few minutes, the agent came back on the line and told me that she also needed a credit card number in order to hold the reservation. Once I gave her the number, she had a confirmation emailed to me and we were done.

One of the best things about these certificates is that you can cancel your reservation at any point and book a new one. The agent informed me that I could cancel my reservation at the Rome Cavalieri as late as 4:00PM local hotel time on the day of check in. Considering that I do not yet have a flight to Italy in June, this is a wonderful feature! If my travel plans change, I can change where I use the certificates.

I’m excited to experience such an incredible hotel on my trip to Rome. I didn’t have $1,100+ lying around, which is the retail price of my room.

Nor did I have 160,000 HHonors points.

With the recent devaluation in the Hilton program and top-tier hotels costing up to 95,000 points per night, the only reasonably way to get into the nicest Hilton properties is the Hilton Reserve. Of course, this isn’t the only card with a sign up bonus that can get you into some of the world’s nicest hotels. See The Three Best Credit Cards for Luxury Hotel Nights.

All in all, I am extremely pleased with my experience with Hilton HHonors and the Hilton Reserve card. I would never be able to afford a luxury hotel like this on my own, so I am certainly looking forward to my experience in Rome next year!

Citi® Hilton HHonors™  Reserve Card

Application Link: Citi® Hilton HHonors™  Reserve Card

[Scott: Luxury hotels are one thing miles and points can open up, but they aren’t for everyone. Here are the Top Credit Cards to Get the Most Free Hotel Nights. Here is a post about alternative lodging like hostels, CouchSurfing, and airbnb to let you travel more for cheaper. Happy travels!]

 


Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

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31 COMMENTS

  1. Scott, for lodging I’ve always thought of you as a hostels/Priceline/cool local place kind of guy who wasn’t dazzled by the sticker prices of these over the top properties. How much time are you really going to spend in your hotel room in an amazing city like Rome? You’ve spent $95 on an annual fee for this card, plus the opportunity cost associated with spending $2,500 on this card instead of on a card where spending brings more valuable rewards than HHonors points. You seem to be slipping over to the other side 🙂

    • I didn’t book the hotel. I put a note at the bottom about hostels that you may have missed. $95 annual fee plus about $12.50 in opportunity cost sounds like a fantastic deal for two nights at this property to me though, so I think Rookie Alli got a great deal! I hope she invites me to this stay.

  2. If you want a memorable dining experience during your stay make a reservation at La Pergala, the restaurant on the roof of the Cavalieri. It is pricey but well worth it. If you do choose to dine there make your reservation at least 4 months out. They do get booked.

  3. @DaveS – You make some excellent points. However, as I see it, there are additional issues. Scott notes the relative remote location. I’m unfamiliar with this property. While it may be luxe (not my usual preference btw) and quite nice, I prefer to stay in small and more centrally located hotels. A clean and comfortable place in a good location is critical for me. The other issue here is that this will only be a 2 night hotel stay. A good visit to Rome requires much more time, and that would necessitate the hassle and time waste of checking in to a different hotel during the visit to Rome when you could be exploring the city.

  4. Last month we stayed in Hilton Garden Inn Rome Claridge. Maybe it was not such a fancy place, though, we liked free breakfast and quite a walking distance to the city centre. We read before that Cavalieri is rather far with no bus or tramway service available so you may end up paying for taxi rides 🙂

    • To me, it’s not a big deal because I never take trips shorter than one week, so I will always have a weekend where I need a place to sleep. But of course Hyatt’s rule is better.

  5. I am using my 2 nights for the Maui- Grand Wailea- Waldorf Astoria for the end of next May. When I called to redeem them the first rep I talked to took 5 minutes just looking for the hotel on his computer and then he told me that I would have to pay in advance and then I would be reimbursed upon my stay. Needless to say I politely declined booking and hung up and called back whereupon I talked to a rep who agreed with me that I didn’t need to pay in advance.

  6. You pick Rome to stay basically outside the city? Weird pick given that Rome has soooo many things to see that you really need to be centrally located to visit as many as possible. In terms of staying “outside of town” in a European city, I could understand it for a city like Barcelona if you were staying at a nice beach resort, but I don’t get this and hope you reconsider if you’ve never been to Rome.

  7. Scott – I could not agree more with Ron’s comments. I just returned from Rome and stayed at the Westin Excelsior on points. Nice hotel, but I was not thrilled with the location. I would agree you are much better off staying at a less luxurious hotel walking distance to everything ( I personally prefer near the bottom of the Spanish Steps) and using your free nights at a resort where you will spend more time in the hotel enjoying it, like Hawaii.

  8. And Ron’s and Ornit’s points are the ones I really intended to make in my initial comment. I have no problem with people redeeming award nights in luxurious places when and where it’s logical to do so. But I would have difficulty comprehending someone who goes to Rome primarily to stay in a very nice hotel. In a place like Rome with so many fascinating things to see and do, a hotel is a place to sleep, to keep one’s belongings, and to rest a bit from time to time. And that works best when the hotel is right near the sights and action. Rome is not a good place to spend a lot of time reveling in the amenities of a $550 room.

    • You are reading a lot into the post that isn’t there. Who is going to Rome primarily for a hotel? The post was mum on the duration of the Rome stay, maybe part of the time will be in the heart of the city where you recommend. Happy travels.

  9. Since this was written by Rookie Alli I wanted to add my 2-cents (hopefully, between the two of you, you’ve already considered these points). Having the Reserve does get you Gold status and thus allows for space available upgrades. However, you still are behind Diamonds (which I’m assuming Rookie Alli is, since she is a Rookie). And you are traveling during a peak period in Rome. Thus, there may be a lot of competition for the “good” rooms. And here I am defining “good” as having a view of Rome (which I assume you want since it was remarked on in the article). I would posit this question….would you be willing to use your 2 Free Night certs for a room that faces away from Rome and thus depriving you of the great view? I also really hope you are spending some time in a different, more centrally located hotel. My SO and I spent 6 nights in Rome (+1 in Fiumicino) in May and ideally we’d have spent 2 more.

  10. My wife and I spent 4 nights in the Cavalieri this past June at the start of a month-long Italy trip (170k points, pre-devaluation). We did not score an upgrade for the stay (I’m only HH Gold), and thus our room was on the backside of the hotel with a view of a large antenna tower instead of the city. The room was still very nice, though, and a great air-conditioned place to recover from jet lag (and food poisoning from the plane, unfortunately). The isolated location was a bit problematic for sightseeing; the hotel does run a shuttle down into the city, but you’ll probably burn 30 minutes each way between waiting at the shuttle stop and crawling through traffic (assuming the shuttle wasn’t full when you tried to get on). We ended up taking taxis to and from the hotel for about 15 euro each way. As for food, the buffet breakfast (free for Golds) was awesome, the most extensive morning offering of any place we stayed in Italy. Plan to eat elsewhere for lunch and dinner (or bring lots of $$), though, as a 250ml Coke from the minibar is 10 euros, and a plate of fries from room service is 20 euros. All in all, the Cavalieri gave us a nice taste of luxury to start our trip, but by the end of our stay we were happy to move on to more central (and reasonable) accomodations in the other cities we visited.

  11. I stayed here a few months back. Awesome stay with awesome breakfast for Hilton Gold. But I stayed there 6 nights. I would stay there 2-3 nights and then go in the city. It really is too far away.

  12. I stayed at the Cavalieri for 4 nights last week as a diamond member on points redeemed before the devaluation. The hotel was full so I didn’t get upgraded to a room with a view, but we got access to the spa which was a fantastic place to end a long day of sightseeing (open until 10). We generally took the shuttle into the city and stayed all day, but it was a bit of a hassle having to arrive early to make sure we got a seat. We took a cab a few times.

    I picked it mainly because I was going to Italy and trying to burn the points. I’d stay there again, but I probably would prefer to be walking distance from everything.

  13. We checked out the Cavalieri when we were in Rome last June looking for a pool for the kids one afternoon. Grounds are cool in a 60s fabulous kind of way! I remember reading there were some fairly large surcharges for guests there, like wifi and I think use of the pool, so might be worth investigating. All the Rome hotels with pools offer day passes to non guests, which was a perfect way to cool off on a particularly hot day. We stayed in Rome for a week and absolutely loved it – planning a return next summer. Enjoy!

  14. My wife and I just returned today from a 2.5 week trip through Europe and stayed at the Waldorf for 4 nights. I’m a gold member and did receive an upgrade to a Rome view on the 5th floor. The views are stunning! While many people have been saying you should stay in the city, we enjoyed being to get away from the hustle of Rome. We also found that 2-3 days would be quite enough to hit all the big sights.

    Here was my experience at the Waldorf:
    I had very high expectations for the hotel given that it is a Waldorf but was disappointed on all fronts, except for the upgrade. The service was the worst I had ever encountered from the moment I first landed. We decided to take the shuttle from Barberini to the hotel which runs every hour. The driver ignored us as I stood by the bus for 5-10 minutes waiting for him to open the trunck to store our luggage. After the 20 minute ride to the hotel, I went right up to the counter and due to a belligerent Diamond member complaining about not having access to the Imperial Lounge, checkin took 45 minutes! The gentleman checking us in insisted he be the one to help us while dealing with the other guy.

    After that the service continued to go down hill and the charges kept adding up. If you plan to go to the pool, as a gold member you have access to all facilities but if you would like to lounge by the pool after a swim…. That will be an additional €18 per person!

    Needless to say, we were glad when checkout day came and went to Venice ending our trip on a high note!

  15. We used our certificates at Conrad Hong Kong and with Hilton gold status ( from having this Hilton credit card) we were entitled to space available upgrade and free breakfast.
    I had called hotel ahead to make sure they put us on upgrade list and to our surprise, we were upgraded to a corner oceanview suite with the living room facing the water and bedoom facing the hillside. Separate powder room and found out later this suite cost over $1000.00
    There was box of chocolate and fruit plate waiting in the living room for us and a welcome note from the manager
    Suite benefit is lounge benefit but due to lounge being remodelled, we had afternoon tea in their lobby lounge ( $40 per person) and breakfast in their regular restaurant ( another $40 per person) Not too bad for a free weekend nite!!!!
    I am now spoiled…..

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