Where Should I Redeem My Free Hilton Nights?

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Earlier this month, I received my two Free Weekend Night certificates from Hilton after spending $2,500 in four months on my Citi Hilton Reserve card.

Hilton has some incredible properties around the world that cost as much for a night as my rent costs for a month, so I want to use my two free nights for truly aspirational stays I could otherwise never afford. And I want you to help me pick a property, since I’m sure MileValue readers have stayed at all these properties.

Hilton Bora Bora Nui, I could stay here…

I decided that I only wanted to redeem my certificates outside of the US at either a Category 9 or Category 10 hotel–why settle for less, especially when it’s free? I want to take a nice trip next summer, so I am looking at redeeming the certificates for a consecutive Friday night and Saturday night stay in June. I came up with five finalists.

What are my options? Where should I stay?

Each of my two certificates is valid for one free weekend night (Friday, Saturday, or Sunday) at most category 1-10 Hilton hotels. The list of all Hilton hotels is here, and the very short list of hotels that are excluded from redemption with these certificates can be found here.

Note: When pricing these hotel rooms, I used the Easy Cancellation price. The free weekend night certificates allow you to cancel your reservation and refund your certificate, so the Easy Cancellation price is the closest equivalent.

Conrad Koh Samui Resort & Spa, Thailand (Category 10)

I have heard incredible things about the Conrad Koh Samui Resort and Spa in Thailand, and I was encouraged to check it out by commenters on my previous post. The resort offers trips to surrounding islands, diving excursions, and some pretty breathtaking views.

The standard room at the Conrad Koh Samui is the One Bedroom King Ocean View Pool Villa, and it sounds exactly like the type of place I would want to spend the weekend relaxing. Here is the room description, from the hotel’s website.

The price to book this room for June 13 and June 14 is $693/night, or a total of $1,386 for the weekend.

 

Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort & Spa (Category 10)

I have always wanted to travel to the South Pacific, and a free stay at the Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort and Spa would definitely encourage me to check that destination off of my list. Days here are passed snorkeling, sailing, and soaking up the sun on those white sand beaches. Seriously, have you ever seen such beautiful water?

Unfortunately, the certificates will not get you into one of the signature overwater villas that you see in 90% of pictures of Bora Bora.

However there’s no reason you can’t use the certificates then contact the hotel directly about paying to upgrade to an overwater villa. Have any readers tried this? Sounds like it is worth a shot!

The room that the certificates are good for is the King Guest Room.

For a June 13-15 stay, this room costs $583/night, putting the two night stay at $1,066 plus tax.

 

Conrad Tokyo (Category 10)

For those who want a little more hustle and bustle than is offered on a tropical island, the Conrad Tokyo seems like a great place to see a little slice of Japan. The hotel looks luxurious, with views of both the city and the water.

The hotel’s restaurant.

The certificates get you into a King Room with a city view.

This room is priced at $407/night, or $814 for the weekend plus tax, in the middle of June.

 

Waldorf Astoria Rome Cavalieri (Category 9)

A number of people in this FlyerTalk forum said that they loved their stays at the Waldorf Astoria Rome Cavalieri, so I thought it would be worth checking out.

In addition to standard amenities, the Rome Cavalieri houses its own art collection and offers gladiator training (!) and tours of the private Vatican gardens, access to which is normally highly restricted.

The King Deluxe room is priced at $551/night when checking in on June 13th and checking out on June 15th. A weekend stay would cost $1,102 plus tax.

 

London Hilton on Park Lane (Category 9)

The London Hilton on Park Lane hotel is located in the Mayfair neighborhood of London, close to Hyde Park and a number of upscale restaurants and shops. I have never visited London, and I think that this hotel would be a great place to stay and see all of the famous landmarks (and perhaps a Royal baby sighting?).

In June, the King Hilton Deluxe room is priced at $548 a night, for a weekend value of $1,096 plus tax.

Other Considerations

I’m not going to take a two-day international trip, so my pick needs to fit within a larger trip that won’t include every night in such luxury.

London and Rome would be very easy to get to with miles, and either could be part of a larger two week trip to Europe. Similarly Tokyo is very easy to get to with miles.

Koh Samui would be a little tougher. There are flights on Thai and China Southern that could be part of an award, or I could buy a cheap ticket on Bangkok Airways. Either way Koh Samui is very manageable as a two-day stay on a longer trip to Southeast Asia.

Bora Bora would be the hardest to get to for a weekend. There are no award flights to Bora Bora. (I could use miles to Tahiti and pay cash for the flights to Bora Bora.) And French Polynesia is not very easy to combine with other places as part of a larger trip. This one may be a pipe dream for me.

Recap

You can find a PDF list of all Hilton properties here, and those hotels that are excluded from redemption with the to free weekend nights certificates can be found here.

Stays at the hotels that I looked at varied in price from $814 to $1,386 for two nights during the weekend of June 13-15. But I can get the nights for free from opening one credit card.

Where should I book my stay? Did I overlook any can’t-miss properties?

Application Link: Citi Hilton Reserve

 


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.

The comments section below is not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all questions are answered.

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57 COMMENTS

  1. I’d skip the Bora Bora and London properties. Conrad Samui is great! Going to Cavalieri in Sept… The Conrad Samui seems to be the most unique of the 5 and you KNOW you will get a great room/suite/bungalow.

  2. I just got back from my honeymoon in Moorea and Bora Bora a week ago. The Hilton Bora Bora Nui was the most beautiful place I have ever visited. This one is truly an aspirational trip and you can’t go for only a couple days (I did 9). You definitely need to upgrade because the overwater villas are incredible! You still have plenty of time to earn more points/nights either for Hilton or Intercontinental Thalasso.

    The Thai resort would probably be my second choice but I’m biased since I’m still amazed at how beautiful bora bora was.

  3. Having been to both Koh Samui and Bora Bora it really comes down to what you’re looking for.

    KS is more up to date, and you get great value for your money – the views from the infinity pool are amazing. That being said, it’s tough to get off property, Koh Samui itself is a well oiled tourist trap, and the beach is just so-so.

    BB’s property is a little on the stingy side, but is amazingly gorgeous. There is likely no beach location on earth more beautiful. In order to get an upgrade to an OWB you’ll need to pay 11,000 XPF (standard) or 22,000 (deluxe), however.

    As a shameless plug here’s my reviews of both:
    http://theselfishyears.com/2013/07/17/5-nights-at-the-insanely-beautiful-hilton-bora-bora/
    http://theselfishyears.com/2013/03/20/beyond-the-infinity-pools-of-the-conrad-koh-samui/

      • No worries! As others have pointed out though, it might not be worth it for only 2 nights. Ditto for Koh Samui – they’re both such a pain to get to. If you’re into yoga, however, you could follow up KS with a trip to the Sanctuary at Koh phangan.

        For Bora Bora you’d be in a remote + expensive location – if you could get 4 nights on the other hand, it would totally be worth the hassle.

  4. Skip Bora Bora, skip Koi Samui, possibly skip Cavalieri. Use it at Park Lane. I’ve been to all four. A trip to Bora Bora is a hassle to organize esp if the motivator is 2 free nights. Koi Samui is okay but too much concrete for me (I remember when the island was funky with no hotels and little electricity). Thailand has tons of cheap good hotels so you’re wasting the 2 certificates in Thailand.. Park Lane is central, an easy stop or weekend trip, has a good lounge, and since you’ll let the mgr know about your special occasion… I’ve been to Cavalieri pre- and post- WA. Both good stays plus I like the location. (Who says you’ve got to stay in the city when you visit Rome? What’s wrong with viewing it from the lounge or room balcony with a free drink in your hand?) We used my husbands certificates @ Cavalieri and paid 125 euro for Rome view and lounge access. You can’t stay at the Cavalieri and not have lounge access or Rome views- it makes no sense. And don’t hope for a Diamond upgrade – it’s not going to happen. So make it easy – fly to LON for the weekend or add it to Europe trip, stay at Park Lane, use their lounge, get cheap tickets to a West End play, eat some cool ethnic meals at night, and be a tourist.

  5. Skip Bora Bora. Been to St. Regis. Not worth the travel time for two nights. We stayed at the Cavalieri and the Park Lane last September. Both great properties. Cavalieri was fantastic and the restaurant on the roof is to die for. Make reservations for dinner way in advance. Pricey but well worth it. Park Lane property is nice but Cavalieri is nicer

  6. The remote tropical island with nothing to do doesn’t really appeal to me, so I only looked at the city properties. We’ll be in Rome soon, so I considered the Cavalieri, but dismissed it because it’s so far from the city center. Nothing wrong with the view, I’m sure, but I’m not going for the view, I’m going to see the sites in Rome, which is best done without a commute from the suburbs eating up a chunk of my day.

    Most likely going to use my certs at the Conrad Tokyo next spring. From what I hear, I will be disappointed with every other hotel the rest of our trip. 🙂

  7. I stayed at the Trafalgar in London on an AXON award. Perfect location, but don’t expect much from London hotels. They are all pretty small. The breakfast was pretty good at our hotel though.. free buffet and one a ala carte item. What about Hilton Moorea? Moorea is a lot more affordable and easier to get to than Bora Boring

  8. Of the hotels mentioned – Conrad Tokyo is great !
    Going to Cavalieri in Oct , will also try the Hilton Molino Stucky Venice and Hilton Sorrento Palace

  9. Cart before the horse.

    Only in this crazy hobby would we think about where to go because of the free rooms. Most normal travellers pick the place first!

    Why don’t you step back and think about the places you most want to see?

  10. Is the “Conrad Koh Samui Residences” the same as the “Conrad Koh Samui resort & spa”? I see it on the exclusions list…?

  11. I second bluecat. Stop obsessing about the most expensive stay and focus on what fits in your travel plans nicely.

  12. London Park Lane is a nice hotel and all (pretty cool elevators) but not all that special and definitely not the best in London. I’d use mine elsewhere.

    My problem with the Rome property is that it is very far from the rest of the city, so it will be a pain/expensive to go see anything. Plus, it isn’t around many food places.

  13. The Fess Parker Doubletree in Santa Barbara is about $450 a night in summer and easy to get to.

    I think my GF and I will do a wine tasting weekend there.

  14. I like the idea of Koh Samui because there’s so much else to do (cheaply) in Thailand. 2 free nights in Bora Bora = a bill for the other nights + the local air transport … not worth it for a 2 night stay if that’s why you’re going.

  15. Here are all the Category 10 Hilton properties:

    Doubletree Guest Suites Times Square-New York City
    Grand Wailea
    Conrad Koh Samui
    Conrad Maldives Rangali Island
    Conrad Tokyo
    Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort & Spa
    Hilton Labriz Resort & Spa
    Hilton Maldives/Iru Fushi Resort & Spa
    Hilton Odawara Resort & Spa
    Hilton Seychelles Northolme Resort & Spa

    And Category 9:

    Boca Beach Club, The Waldorf Astoria Collection
    Boca Raton Resort, The Waldorf Astoria Collection
    Casa Marina Resort, The Waldorf Astoria Collection
    Conrad New York
    Doubletree Guest Suites Santa Monica
    Doubletree Ocean Point Resort & Spa – Miami Beach North
    Edgewater Beach Hotel
    Hampton Inn & Suites Outer Banks/ Corolla
    Hampton Inn Manhattan-Times Square North
    Hilton Bentley Miami/South Beach
    Hilton Garden Inn New York/West 35th Street
    Hilton Garden Inn Saratoga Springs
    Hilton Garden Inn Times Square
    Hilton Longboat Key Beachfront Resort
    Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort and Spa
    Hilton New York
    Hilton Pensacola Beach Gulf Front
    Hilton Sao Paulo Morumbi
    Hilton Suites Ocean City Oceanfront
    Hilton Times Square
    Hilton Waterfront Beach Resort
    Hilton Whistler Resort & Spa
    Homewood Suites by Hilton Mont-Tremblant Resort
    La Quinta Resort & Club
    Millenium Hilton
    Naples Grande Beach Resort, The Waldorf Astoria Collection
    The Boulders Resort, The Waldorf Astoria Collection
    The Reach Resort, The Waldorf Astoria Collection
    The Saratoga Hilton
    Waldorf Astoria Chicago
    Waldorf Astoria Orlando
    Waldorf Astoria Park City
    Conrad Istanbul
    Courthouse Doubletree by Hilton London-Regent Street
    Hilton Paris La Defense
    London Hilton on Park Lane hotel
    London Syon Park, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel
    Rome Cavalieri
    The Bentley, London
    The Waldorf Hilton, London
    Trianon Palace Versailles, Waldorf Astoria Collection
    Conrad Hong Kong
    Hilton Auckland
    Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort and Spa
    Hilton Tokyo Bay
    Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund

    I’m sure there are many valuable choices in there. 😉

  16. OK, if it were me, I’d do:

    Fly into KL, Malaysia and do two nights at the Hyatt, then fly to Koh Samui and do 2 nights at the Hilton, then fly to Bangkok and do 2 nights at the Radisson Blu Bangkok.

    Open Jaw flight from SEA>KUL, BKK> SEA: 80K United miles RT. 160k for 2 (double for business)
    paid flights KUL>USM>BKK : ?
    2 nights Grand Hyatt KL: 30k Hyatt Points (or 15K + $200). It’s a Cat4 so anniversary night works here too!
    2 nights Conrad KS: Free
    2 nights Radisson Blu Bangkok: 38K CC points

    Maybe even get an overnight layover in Tokyo, HK, Seoul, or Taipei.

  17. I’m fairly new to points and although I think we have amounted a bit, I don’t know where to go now. Hubby and have 88K British Airways and then 50K separately. We have 98K Hilton honors and live in South Florida. We also have 42K in Spirit airlines. Any suggestions on where to take a vacation? Instead of Category 9 and 10 s we would like a nice hotel in nice location but doesn’t have to be completely fancy rather bang for our buck. =)

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