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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – Hilton Honors Surpass Card from American Express
The Hilton Honors Surpass Card from American Express is currently offering an increased sign-up bonus of up to 125,000 points. It requires spending $3,000 on the card in the first three months of account opening to earn 100,000 points, and spending another $1,000 within the first six months to earn an additional 25,000 points.
It’s the largest sign-up bonus we’ve ever seen for this card, and it’s led me to look into finding some of the best Hilton properties that offer significant value on award nights. Today, I’ll share six of the best properties you may easily overlook when it comes to getting big value from a huge sign-up bonus. If you’re looking for more conventional ways to use Hilton Honors points, see this post on the top Hilton hotels for redemptions and my post on 4 ways to use Hilton points for real value.
When deciding what constitutes value for point redemptions, there are several definitions to contemplate. You can look for straight cent-per-point redemption value and try to find the largest. TPG values Hilton points at 0.6 cents apiece, so you should try and at least get that valuation.
Instead of taking a purist route to value based only on cents per point, I think it’s important to also factor in redemptions that cost a low amount of points per night (rare for Hilton) giving you the opportunity to stay multiple nights for free at locations that offer opportunities to sight-see, enjoy nature or have cultural experiences.
Considering both 0.6 cents per point as a base redemption value and the above listed factors, here are six properties that give outstanding value when you’re looking to redeem some, or all, of your 125,000 points:
1. DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Queenstown
Points per night: 28,000-30,000
This property is set on Lake Wakatipu outside of Queenstown in New Zealand, and guests can use all the facilities of the Hilton Queenstown Resort & Spa next door, including free breakfast for Gold and Diamond Honors members. During the winter you’ll be staying at the closest hotel to The Remarkables Ski Field. There’s a complimentary shuttle to the Queenstown city center, and the property even has a 10-seat executive theater that shows two movies per day.
2. Hilton Garden Inn Krakow
Points per night: 17,000-24,000
Krakow, and Poland in its entirety, is a location I continue to hear great things about from friends and readers who have visited. The Hilton Garden Inn Krakow is located in the city center on the Vistula River within walking distance of the Kazimierz Jewish Quarter and the historic Old City. The Royal Wawel Castle is across the river. Thanks to my Diamond status and Marriott’s 5th Night Free perk — which is available to Honors members with Silver status or higher — I was able to reserve five nights at the property for a total of 80,000 points.
3. DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Kuala Lumpur
Points per night: 10,000
Kuala Lumpur is one of my favorite cities. There’s a vast mix of ethnicities in very tight quarters and from the outsider’s perspective, everyone seems to make it work mostly conflict-free. The DoubleTree is right in the middle of city, with an easy Metro station leading back to all the main tourist and cultural attractions. At only 10,000 points per night, it’s well worth saving your cash to take in all the cultural experiences and museums you can. The property has five restaurants and bars and an outdoor saltwater pool, and it’s connected to the Ampang Park Light Rail Transit Station.
4. Hilton Salalah Resort
Points per night: 5,000
This resort in Southern Oman on the Arabian Sea makes for an exotic, family-friendly escape. There’s an on-property kids club, babysitting services and a beachfront pool with a waterslide. For an astounding 5,000 points per night, you can book King Deluxe Rooms with Partial Sea Views that have nightly rates of ~$150 before taxes. Getting five nights at a beachfront resort for 20,000 points with elite status is hardly something to overlook. You can book Qatar Airways from Doha (DOH) to Salalah International Airport (SLL) for 4,500 Avios and $36, making round-trip flights to the Middle Eastern hub and three nights at the resort cost a total of 19,000 American Express Membership Rewards transferred to British Airways (1:1) and Hilton (1:1.5).
5. Hampton Inn & Suites Mexico City – Centro Histórico
Points per night: 20,000
I’m not aware of any other Hampton Inns built in an 1800s-era historical building with a stained-glass atrium. The property does have cheap cash rates, but many weeks I checked had rates up to $200 and the price for a standard award night remained 20,000 points, giving you 1 cent per point in value. The property is located within walking distance to the Zócalo and Centro Histórico of Mexico City. Walk two blocks to Plaza de la Constitución, site of many festivities within the city. I haven’t visited Mexico City, but this very unique Hampton Inn is almost enough to push me over the edge for a trip.
6. Hilton Alexandria Green Plaza
Points per night: 5,000
It isn’t often you can get over 1 cent per point with Hilton, but this property is offering over 3.5 cents per point in redemption value for several dates this fall. It’s located in one of Egypt’s largest open-air malls and just outside of the Alexandria City Center, and two different readers have told me they would go back to the city just for the hotel. The political climate in Egypt has been rocky, and some travelers may be understandably hesitant to visit, but I have heard only glowing reports from recent visitors, including TPG himself.
Don’t forget that Hilton Honors elite members with Silver status or higher can further decrease the cost of the above award nights when redeeming for five consecutive nights and getting the fifth night free. The six listed properties each cost a very small amount of Hilton points compared many of the Hilton award search results you’ve completed. While you may hear some colleagues or friends speak ill of Hilton points, with the above properties and the ability to earn 125,000 points from the Hilton Honors Surpass card from American Express, you can quickly have a lot of free hotel nights and fantastic travel experiences in your future.
Featured image courtesy of DoubleTree by Hilton Queenstown.