These are the best Hilton hotels for a local getaway
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Editor’s note: As the travel industry reopens following COVID-19 shutdowns, TPG suggests that you talk to your doctor, follow health officials’ guidance and research local travel restrictions before booking that next trip. We will be here to help you prepare, whether it is next month or next year.
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As stay-at-home orders around the world begin to lift, now is the perfect time to take stock of your point balances and start planning for future trips once this crisis has passed. In addition to travel brands announcing further rigor to their cleaning and sanitation standards — such as Hilton’s CleanStay program — many hotels and airlines have extended status, delayed point expiration and are offering other generous incentives for travelers to take advantage of this summer.
For example, Hilton Honors just announced an extension to its rollover nights benefit, allowing all nights from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2020 to roll over to next year to help all members maintain or upgrade their elite status.
Since experts and analysts in the aviation industry are warning that it could take years for air travel to ramp back up to its pre-pandemic levels, for many people, the next trip they take may be a shorter road trip to a destination nearby.
Today, we’re going to take a look at some of the best Hilton hotels in the U.S. that you can visit within a couple of hours’ drive of large, U.S. cities. While the points listed below are the maximums needed at a respective hotel per night, Hilton Honors reward stays can start as low as 5,000 points per night.
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Earning Hilton Honors points
Even though travel is still quite restricted, you can still work on earning points toward your next trip. If you’re looking to boost your Hilton Honors account balance while not able to visit Hilton-branded properties, a great way to do so is by applying for and spending on a new credit card.
In addition to richer welcome bonus offers when you apply for one of the cards card directly on Hilton.com, Hilton Honors American Express card members can rack up points even faster when they use their card on eligible purchases like Hilton hotel stays, gas and groceries. With cooking and baking favorite stay-at-home activities, this can be an easy way to earn even more bonus points, especially since there’s no cap on how much you can earn.
And don’t forget, Hilton Honors bonus points are now considered Base Points through the end of the year to help you upgrade your elite status.
READ MORE: Choosing the best Hilton credit card for you
Remember too that you can pool Hilton Honors points for free with up to 9 other members, a strategy that can put you even closer to any of the below award stays. It’s also worth noting that Hilton Honors doesn’t charge those pesky resort fees when you use your points for a hotel stay. We’ve seen many luxury resorts and even big-city locations tacking on fees of $50 (or more) per night, so this is a great opportunity to save even more on your Hilton award stays — one that isn’t offered by all programs.
Looking for a solo getaway or change of “work-from-home” scenery instead? Hilton Honors members also have the option to choose nearly any combination of Hilton Honors points and money — from all points to all cash and everything in between — when booking a room.
So once you’ve racked up those Hilton points, what are some of the top spots to escape the big city? Here are some possible options.
NOTE: While the points listed below are the maximum amounts needed at a respective hotel per night, Hilton Honors reward stays can start as low as 5,000 points per night.
Max points needed: 60,000 per night
People travel from all over the country to visit the Florida Keys, but if you live in Miami or Fort Lauderdale, Key Largo is within two hours — depending on traffic. There you’ll find Baker’s Cay, a beachfront resort and a member of Hilton’s Curio Collection, a fast-growing brand of one-of-a-kind, boutique hotels that are encouraged to lean into their local environments instead of following more consistent brand standards.
Each of the property’s 200 rooms and suites offer a private balcony, so you can soak up that ocean breeze any time of day. You can also cool off in the waterfall pool, take a dip in the ocean, unwind in the Greenhouse Salon and Spa, or dine up in the trees at Calusa, where you can enjoy Caribbean-Creole cuisine with panoramic views. Don’t want to leave the dog at home? No worries: The resort is pet-friendly and even has a “Cay-9” Director of Pet Relations — a Husky named Maya.
Further Reading: Your ultimate guide to Hilton hotel brands
Max points needed: 80,000 per night
Almost equidistant between Boston and New York, the Madison Beach Hotel offers a relaxing getaway along the Long Island Sound. The hotel’s cozy guest rooms showcase incredible water views, and every one is equipped with a private, furnished balcony. Guests can enjoy the property’s four food and beverage options, including classic New England dining with a contemporary twist at The Wharf or al-fresco dining and a raw bar at The Porch. There’s plenty to do in the nearby area as well, including touring a local winery or visiting historic New England villages. Like Baker’s Cay, the property is also pet-friendly.
Max points needed: 60,000 per night
Nestled on the coast about 90 minutes south of San Francisco is Monterey Bay, home to the scenic “17-mile drive” and one of the world’s most prominent car shows. The Embassy Suites by Hilton Monterrey Bay Seaside offers a comfortable and affordable way to visit Monterrey, putting you just a short, two-block walk from the beach. As is the norm at Embassy Suites properties, guests staying in any of the hotel’s 225 spacious suites enjoy complimentary, made-to-order breakfast each day, among other amenities. To top it all off, the hotel is even pet-friendly, so you can bring your furry companion along on the family vacation — for a $125 fee.
Max points needed: 80,000 per night
Nestled in the southwest corner of Utah, just over two-and-a-half hours away from Las Vegas, the Cliffrose Springdale is an ideal place to rest and recharge after a long day exploring any of the multiple national parks in this beautiful area. Cliffrose is just a 5-minute walk to the entrance of Zion National Park, with modern, cozy guest rooms, outdoor fire pits and a heated pool waiting for you after a day of exploring.
If you’d prefer to visit Canyonlands National Park on the eastern edge of the state (where parts of Westworld were filmed!), you can look into the Hoodoo Moab, also a member of the Curio Collection.
Max points needed: 80,000 per night
The Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort has one of the better locations in this ritzy California beach town, including (as the name would suggest) direct beach access. Downtown Santa Barbara and all of its wine trails and art galleries are just 10 minutes away, and the hotel concierge can help you arrange activities like golfing, kayaking and a cruise along the coast. The hotel features a self-service wine tasting facility (which frankly sounds like a dream come true), and all guest rooms feature balconies or patios to let you soak up the ocean breeze.
Max points needed: 30,000 per night
If you’re looking for history on a budget, look no farther than The President Abraham Lincoln Springfield, a DoubleTree by Hilton hotel. The property is located in downtown Springfield, Illinois, just a few blocks from the Abraham Lincoln presidential museum and the Illinois state capitol. This 310 room property is great for business and leisure travelers alike, with all guests enjoying access to an indoor pool, airport shuttle, and (of course) the signature DoubleTree cookie on arrival.
It’s just over three hours from both Chicago and Indianapolis, while St. Louis residents can get there in just 90 minutes.
Max points needed: 40,000 per night
Whether you come to tour colonial Williamsburg, visit Busch Gardens or see friends and family at any of the nearby Navy and Air Force bases, there’s a lot to do and see in Williamsburg. The Embassy Suites by Hilton Williamsburg is just one of the many Hilton properties you can choose from, with award rates of 40,000 points per night or less, it offers the right mix of comfort and affordability — and is less than three hours from both the Washington, D.C. and Raleigh, N.C. areas. The property boasts 161 spacious guest rooms and suites, and all guests enjoy complimentary breakfast each day, among other amenities.
Max points needed: 50,000 per night
Myrtle Beach is generally dominated by timeshares and beach-front rentals, but if you’re looking to make a one-off trip without a multi-year commitment, you may prefer to stay in the Hilton. Each of the guest rooms at this property offer private balconies, and while the hotel has a prime location on the beach, it also provides easy access to the many activities in Myrtle Beach, including multiple waterparks and over 100 golf courses. It’s also easily accessible from Charlotte (~3 hours and 20 minutes) or the Raleigh-Durham area (~2 hours and 50 minutes).
While it’s easy to focus on far-flung tropical beaches and highly sought-after resorts when planning a vacation, many of the top spots in this country are just a short drive away from major cities. As people slowly return to traveling over the coming months, you might want to consider making your next Hilton getaway a little bit closer to home.
Featured photo courtesy of Hilton Honors
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,600
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.