From airport hotels to luxury stays: My top 5 Hilton redemptions
While Hilton may not be my hotel chain of choice, I still earn a lot of Hilton points every year. In fact, I've found it's hard not to earn them. Whether it's earning on Lyft rides, work travel or buying points at a steep discount, I accumulate at least 100,000 of them every year.
I redeem Hilton Honors points frequently for personal travel. Generally, I use my Hilton points for relatively boring stays, but they always net a good value and let me have a new experience on the road. So in this article, I'll walk you through my top five favorite Hilton redemptions I've made over the years. While these may not be the most aspirational redemptions, they've presented great values and made otherwise impossible trips possible.
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Five nights at the Hilton Garden Inn Hong Kong Mongkok
In early 2019, I traveled to Hong Kong and spent five nights at the Hilton Garden Inn Hong Kong, Mongkok. While the Hilton Garden Inn brand isn't the most luxurious — or exciting — of the Hilton brands, its Hong Kong outpost is seriously a sight to behold.
Upon check-in, I was offered a welcome drink and was told that I had received an upgrade to a larger room with a city view. Diamond status gave me free breakfast, which turned out to be one of my favorite hotel breakfasts. It was buffet-style and filled with Western and Hong Kong-inspired treats — which, yes, included Dim Sum. Every morning. It was incredible.
The rooms were nice too. The hotel was recently renovated and felt more like a flagship property than your standard Hilton Garden Inn. Plus, the location is smack-dab in the middle of Mongkok, one of the most exciting parts of Hong Kong's Kowloon district. It's surrounded by markets, restaurants and just about everything else you'd need.
I'd gladly stay at the property again someday in the future if the points price is right. When I stayed in 2019, it was only 100,000 points for five nights with the fifth-night free benefit. You can book the property for as low as 27,000 points per night on many dates in early 2022.
Related: Your points and miles guide to Hong Kong
Booking a friend at the Hampton Inn, Boston Airport
One of the beauties of the points and miles world is being able to help friends and family when they're in a travel bind. A friend of mine needed to travel from Providence to Copenhagen in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic to go home for a few months. He took the train from Providence to Boston (BOS) airport, only to have an uninformed KLM agent tell him — a Danish dual-citizen — that he couldn't travel through Amsterdam.
By the time he finally got the correct information, it was too late for him to board the flight. He had to wait until the next day to fly. He mentioned he wanted to stay near Boston, so I surprised him with a nearby Hilton stay.
The Hampton Inn at Boston Logan airport is nothing special, but the 23,000 points I spent on the stay made his life easier and took some of the stress out of international travel in the early days of the pandemic. This also shows me the power of using points for other people who may not be into the travel rewards world like we are.
Related: The pandemic will impact my travel strategy for a long time — and that’s a good thing
A weekend in Providence at the Hilton Garden Inn
Speaking of my friend in Providence, I used Hilton points to visit him for a weekend last October. I ended up spending the weekend at the Hilton Garden Inn Providence so that I wouldn’t burden him in a one-bedroom apartment. This hotel was excellent, too — it was clean, rooms were spacious, and I even had an EV charger for my car in the parking lot.
This weekend was nothing short of incredible too. Another mutual friend from New York accompanied me on the drive up, so the three of us ate amazing food, went on a 30 mile bike ride and saw live music for the first time in months. It was truly a highlight of 2020 — all made possible by Hilton points.
I paid 25,000 points per night, which was well worth it to hang out with two close friends. Plus, charging my car in the parking lot saved me time on the drive back since I could skip stopping at a charger. Again, while it's not the most interesting hotel, it was points well spent.
Related: 10 things no one tells you about Rhode Island
A trip around the U.K. with my cousin
In the summer of 2019, my cousin and I traveled to Liverpool, Manchester and London. I booked our hotels in Liverpool and Manchester with points, which turned out to be a pretty solid deal. We stayed at a Hampton Inn in Liverpool and both a Hampton Inn and DoubleTree in Manchester. All three hotels were well under 25,000 points per night at the time of booking.
The hotels included:
- Hampton by Hilton Liverpool City Centre
- Hampton By Hilton Manchester Northern Quarter
- DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Manchester - Piccadilly
We had a pretty epic trip too. We met new friends, found new restaurants and bars and learned more about the U.K. in the process. We saved nearly $800 on hotel stays using roughly 125,000 points too, which I think is an excellent deal given TPG's Hilton Honors valuation is just 0.6 cents per point.
Related: From Prague to Manchester: My favorite European Hilton hotels for under 40,000 points per night
One night at the Rome Cavalieri
Here's an aspirational one for the list. I met my parents and sister in Rome in 2016 but arrived a day early. I had a Hilton free night certificate to burn, so I used it to cover my night. I'd heard good things about the Rome Cavalieri, a Waldorf Astoria hotel, and it more than lived up to the hype. It's a huge property located on a hill above Rome. It has a Michelin star-rated restaurant, multiple pools and an incredible on-site bar stocked with amazing wines.
I was welcomed with a glass of red wine and given an incredible room. It was complete with a stereo, remote-controlled LED lighting and a huge bathroom. This was my first luxury hotel redemption, too, so my 20-year-old self was absolutely blown away by the fact that one credit card perk could yield nearly $600 in value.
You can book a one-night stay at the property for as little as 80,000 points per night this summer. Remember, Italy recently reopened to American tourists on COVID-tested flights.
Related: TPG readers’ favorite points hotels that don’t feel like points hotels
How to earn Hilton Honors points
Hilton points are some of the easiest hotel points to earn. The fastest way to earn them, however, is by opening a Hilton cobranded credit card. The hotel group offers many different cards with varying fees and benefits, like annual free night certificates and complimentary elite status.
These cards are currently the following welcome offers — here's a look:
- Hilton Honors American Express Card: Earn 70,000 Hilton Honors bonus points and a Free Night Reward after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the card in the first three months of card membership.
- Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card: Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors bonus points and a Free Night Reward after you spend $2,000 in purchases on the card within the first three months of card membership.
- Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card: Earn 150,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after you spend $4,000 in purchases on the card within your first three months of card membership.
- The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card: Earn 150,000 Hilton Honors bonus points and a Free Night Reward after you spend $4,000 in purchases on the Hilton Honors Business card within the first three months of card membership.
The information for the Hilton Aspire Amex card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Consider the bonus, annual fee and included benefits when finding the right card for your wallet. Frequent Hilton guests may opt for a Hilton Aspire card for the included Diamond status, while less frequent guests may choose the standard Hilton Honors American Express Card since there's no annual fee (see rates & fees).
Related: The best hotel credit cards for 2021
Here, I showed you my favorite Hilton Honors redemptions of all time. These redemptions helped me have experiences that wouldn't have otherwise been possible without points, like visiting friends or vacations abroad. They're not the highest redemption values per se, but the experiences they powered will stick with me forever.
For rates and fees of the Amex Hilton Honors card, click here.
Feature photo by Andrew Mayovskyy / Shutterstock.com