I originally wrote a series of posts about the cheapest Hilton hotels in Spring 2018. Since then, I updated it twice — the first time in September 2018, and the second time in April 2019. I had no idea that I’d have to update it again so soon, but things don’t stay the same in the world of dynamic pricing rewards.
Some Hilton redemption rates have jumped 300% and 400% in the course of just 1 year. In the coming days, I’m going to update all my Hilton posts. This post is listing hotels in the Americas and Europe.
Hilton has stealthily raised redemption levels on most of its Category 1-2 hotels. Sometimes you still have decent values despite the rate hike, but these sweet spots are mostly gone. We can lament the hotel programs’ insatiable appetite for squeezing every cent out of their members, but it’s not like it happened yesterday. Hilton has been unstoppable after it killed its rewards chart. At least airline programs (most of them) have some common sense and have kept the base redemption levels (25,000 miles domestically) unchanged for decades. It’s important to them to show customers that getting value for their miles is realistic. And it is! Let’s just face it — most people are perfectly content with coach.
What Hilton does is completely off the charts. You can’t even call it dynamic prices. JetBlue is dynamic prices. Southwest is dynamic prices. Hilton Honors redemption rates (with extremely few exceptions) “fluctuate” only one way — UP! Hilton really, truly leads the charge.
Here is how “dynamic” corporate doubletalk sounds
View from the Wing reached out to Hilton asking them for clarification. Here are some quotes from Hilton’s response that make even a cynical fellow like me shake my head in disbelief from that simple-minded yet outrageous hypocrisy.
The bolding is mine.
A few days ago we made a slight shift [UP, UP, AND ONLY UP] in the program and as we previously shared, while we won’t be sending updates for each and every shift, we are fully committed to delivering the best value to our members.
Wow, a “slight shift” and “the best value” in one paragraph. Thank you for telling me. I’ll try to keep that in mind next time when you raise your redemption rates by 100%-300%.
As Points can flex [UP, UP, AND ONLY UP] depending on the hotel and date, visit https://pointsexplorer.hiltonhonors.com/ to search desired hotels, destinations and preferred dates to book your next stay at over 5,000 Hilton hotels.
Wow, in the Hilton Honors world, points can flex YOU.
In my previous post, I enlightened bored you with some suggestions on how to use the $250 Hilton Resort annual credit from the Amex Hilton Aspire card. My point was that if you are not allergic to traveling to places other than prime destinations, you can find some great values despite the $450 annual fee.
To reiterate something that I’ve said before, Hilton Honors is a severely devalued program, but that’s true about most hotel programs, nowadays. The important things to understand are these:
- What are Hilton Honors points worth today?
- And how do you derive good values from the program that’s gotten so bad it’s even kind of funny?
That’s not easy.
I’m going to keep documenting Hilton Honors’ shameful business practices, so you can see all devaluations (pardon me, “flexes”) since 2018.
It’s my strong opinion that the best values from the Hilton Honors program are either in the cheapest or the most expensive properties. Please keep in mind:
- When you see RED it means updates and changes (mostly for the worse).
- I didn’t bother when there is 2,000-3,000 points difference.
- I’m looking for hotels in more or less interesting locations (not just cheap ones).
- Although there are exceptions, most of the bargain-priced hotels are not in central areas and can be located in business parks or remote places.
- In some cases, you can build your whole trip around them (e.g. Russia, Poland, Malaysia).
- UPDATE 6.19: I used to value Hilton points at around 0.5 cents, but after this devaluation, I’m downgrading them to $0.04. Make sure that the cash price including tax is not cheaper than redeeming points, otherwise I recommend paying cash.
- When you consider lodging, don’t obsess about one hotel chain. look into other hotels or even vacation rentals — loyal members come last!
Since Hilton point-redemption prices are fluid, don’t yell at me if your own findings are different.
I used a Google map for finding cheap Hilton properties (it’s outdated, incomplete, and needs to be verified with Hilton, but it gives you a general idea). Since TIF updated his Hilton map, use that one instead.
The cheapest Hilton Honors redemptions
Merida in the Yucatán Peninsula is not as well-known as Cancun and Riviera Maya, but it’s a safe, lovely city with great colonial architecture, festivals, museums, and Mayan ruins; and beaches and cenotes (swimming holes) are just a short ride away. Merida is definitely on my list, and I expect to like it better than Cancun. That and a couple of 5,000-point hotels don’t hurt, either. The cash rate for either property is usually around $70-$80 before taxes.
- Hampton Inn by Hilton Merida 5K per night
- Hilton Garden Inn Merida 5K per night -> UPDATED 9.18: 10K
Guadalajara is a very interesting city too, with a beautiful historic center, totally worth visiting, from what I’ve heard.
- Hampton Inn by Hilton Guadalajara/Expo 10K per night
- Hilton Guadalajara 16K to 30K -> UPDATED 4.19: 22K to 30K
Seems to be a well-reviewed hotel, probably worth 16,000 a night if you can find the lower-priced dates that work for you.
Do you know Mexico well? Hilton has a lot of cheap (5K-10K) hotels in Mexico. You can easily build your own itinerary around Hilton hotels.
The thing about Panama City is that hotels are relatively cheap. I’ve stayed in Panama City at 5-star hotels for only about $100 on at least a couple of occasions. However, for 10K points a night, each of these two hotels can fit the bill, especially with free breakfast.
- Hilton Garden Inn Panama 10K per night
- Hampton by Hilton Panama 10K per night
Bogotá and Medellin
I’m planning a trip to Colombia, and researching my options. This Bogota Hampton looks pretty nice, but Usaquén is far away from the central district of Candelaria where most of the touristy activities are. On the other hand, I hear the cabs and Uber are dirt-cheap there. As to the Medellin Hampton, it’s located in El Poblado — the most exclusive neighborhood in the city.
- Hampton by Hilton Bogotá – Usaquén 10K per night
- Hampton by Hilton Medellin 16K to 20K per night
I’ve heard some great things about Belo Horizonte during my travels to Brazil, but one thing that stood out for me is the Inhotim Contemporary Art and Botanical Garden. It’s about a 1-hour ride from Belo Horizonte, but I was told it’s a truly unique place that needs to be visited. No beaches in Belo, but there are beaches in nearby Vila Velha.
- Hilton Garden Inn Belo Horizonte 5K per night -> UPDATED 6.19: 10K
Newcastle: any city that dates back to the Romans, has ruins near a metro station, and has a Hilton hotel for 10,000 points a night is worth a visit, IMHO. That, and Grey Street is (reportedly) one of the most beautiful streets in the world.
- Hampton by Hilton Newcastle 10K per night -> UPDATED 9.30.18: 18K to 20K
There are many low-cost Hilton hotels in Poland, and you can build a whole country trip around them. Kraków is probably the most beautiful city in Poland. A lot of people like it better than the capital, Warsaw, although since you most probably arrive in Warsaw, you might want to spend 2-3 days there anyway.
- DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel & Conference Centre Warsaw: 16K to 30K per night -> UPDATED 4.19: 23K to 50K -> UPDATED 6.19: 14K to 30K
- Hampton by Hilton Warsaw City Centre: 14K to 20K per night
- Krakow Hampton Inn 10K per night
Gdansk on the Baltic sea is a great city to visit, and it has a few decent beaches too, if you travel in the summer. There is a regular Hilton in Gdansk for 25,000 points, but this Hampton has an added benefit of being located between Gdansk and the seaside resort of Sopot.
Hampton by Hilton Gdansk Oliwa 11K to 20K per night -> UPDATED 6.19: 17K to 20K
Speaking of beaches, Swinoujscie is another historic Baltic Sea city and a seaside resort in the Northwest of Poland.
Hampton by Hilton Swinoujscie 15K -> UPDATED 9.30.18: 11K to 15K -> UPDATED 6.19: 20K
Oswiecim was a small sleepy town, and it would’ve probably remained small and sleepy if the Nazis didn’t rename it into Auschwitz and built a death camp next to it. The Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum is 7 minutes away from Hampton by Hilton Oswiecim. The hotel is in the process of joining the Hilton brand and takes reservations starting August 6.
Hampton by Hilton Oswiecim mostly 12K per night -> UPDATED 9.18: 13K to 20K
The following cities are not very touristy from what I understand, but travel guides indicate that each has enough attractions to keep you busy for a couple of days.
- DoubleTree Lodz: 14K to 20K per night
- Hampton Lublin: 12K to 16 K per night
- Hilton Garden Inn Rzeszow 5K per night -> UPDATED 9.18: 10K
None of these are in major cities, but all of these cities appear to be touristy enough, and besides, they are in the region of Transylvania, famous for… its historic medieval cities and natural beauty of the surrounding areas. And Sighisoara old town is a UNESCO heritage site.
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Sighisoara – Cavale 5K per night -> UPDATED 9.18: 10K
Hilton Sibiu 10K per night -> UPDATED 9.18: 20K -> UPDATED 6.19: 30K
Hampton by Hilton Cluj-Napoca 10K per night -> UPDATED 9.18: 18K to 20K
Lasi, on the border with Moldova, is the biggest city in Romania, yet it’s a university city with Bohemian atmosphere, churches, monasteries, and palaces, and the nightlife is great, too.
Hampton by Hilton Iasi 5K per night -> UPDATED 9.18: 10K -> UPDATED 9.18: 20K
Hilton also has 4 hotels in Bucharest ranging from 20K to 36K points a night, but it seems to me that cash rates are low enough, so not a good redemption.
Prague it isn’t, but Bratislava has churches, castles, ruins, and a cobbled-street, pedestrian-owned old town with plenty of cafes and bars to refuel. And it’s located on the Danube River, which offers options for sightseeing and leisurely cruises. If that’s not enough, Bratislava is a one-hour train ride from the center of Vienna and about 2.5 hours from Budapest. Don’t know how anyone can go wrong.
- DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Bratislava 10K per night -> UPDATED 6.19: 20K
A 25-minute ride to central Vienna on a free hotel shuttle. ’Nuff said.
- Hilton Garden Inn Vienna South 10K per night -> UPDATED 6.19: 20K
Jerry Seinfeld put Minsk on the map in a fictional movie/musical Rochelle, Rochelle back in the 90s. Remember?
Well, now that U.S. citizens can have a visa-free stay for up to 5 days in the last European dictatorship, you can see for yourself what Minsk is all about. It is, actually, quite a nice city; not big or very touristy, but it’s green, very pleasant, and exceptionally clean. I probably wouldn’t fly all the way to Europe to visit Minsk, but if you are exploring Russia, Ukraine, Eastern Europe, and/or the Baltic states, you might enjoy a short Minsk stay as well (go in the summer).
- Hampton by Hilton Minsk City Centre 10K per night -> UPDATED 9.18: 17K to 20K
Russia is easy to explore for 2 reasons. First, S7 Airlines, a oneworld member, will take you from almost anywhere to almost anywhere in Russia for 10,000 AA miles in economy and 17,500 miles in business (don’t expect flat beds, though). Seriously, considering the vast distances in Russia, it’s hard to find a better bargain. And for shorter flights, use British Avios starting at 4,500 Avios.
And second, Hilton has a lot of low-cost hotels in Russia. I’m going to cover 4 cities, but you must consider hitting more if you have some serious go-time on your hands.
- Hampton by Hilton Moscow Strogino 10K per night, 1 hour to Red Square -> UPDATED 9.18: 15K to 28K
- Hilton Garden Inn Moscow Krasnoselskaya 14-20K per night, 30 minutes to Red Square -> UPDATED 9.18: 15K to 26K -> UPDATED 6.19: 17K to 30K
- DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Moscow – Marina from 21K per night, mostly 25-30K, 50 minutes to Red Square -> UPDATED 9.18 20K to 48K -> UPDATED 6.19: 19K to 55K
- Hilton Moscow Leningradskaya – from 19K per night, but can go up to 60K, 20 minutes to Red Square (UPDATED 9.30.18: 24K to 49K) -> UPDATED 6.19: 26K to 43K
Garden Inn Krasnoselskaya is the 2nd closest hotel to the center of Moscow; I would consider staying there if you can’t find a room at Leningradskaya.
- Hampton by Hilton Saint Petersburg ExpoForum 16K-20K per night
- Hilton Saint Petersburg ExpoForum: 16K-40K per night -> UPDATED 6.19: 32K to 50K
I’ve been asked time and again which is more interesting, Moscow or Saint Petersburg. I always say neither, because I don’t know how to answer that question. Imagine 2 world-class cities that couldn’t be more different from one another — how do you really answer that?
Unfortunately, the only cheap Hilton hotels that claim to be located in Peter (as Russians call it) are really outside the city limits. And honestly, I wouldn’t recommend staying there at all, if they didn’t provide a free shuttle to the center of the city (Mayakovskaya metro station). The journey takes about 25 minutes without traffic.
Still, you’d be much better off using Club Carlson points at Park Inn Pribaltiyskaya or Park Inn Pulkovskaya at 15,000 points each. They are closer to the center, and Club Carlson’s points are worth even less than Hilton’s, anyway.
In any case, whether you’re staying at Hilton or not, don’t fly all the way down to Russia and skip St. Petersburg. It’s only a 1.5-hour flight or 5-hour train ride from Moscow.
Kazan, the capital of the Russian republic of Tatarstan, is over 1,000 years old, and it’s big and historic. If you have time to explore Russia, don’t miss this jewel. You might want to consider a longer stay, perhaps about 5 days or so.
- DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Kazan City Center 10K per night -> UPDATED 9.18: 14K to 17K -> UPDATED 6.19: 17K to 30K
Hilton has so many low-priced hotels in Russia that you might want to check if there are some other places you’d like to visit. Here is a list of 5K-10K properties to give you an idea.
- Hampton by Hilton Samara: 10K
- Hampton by Hilton Ufa: 5K
- Hilton Garden Inn Ufa Riverside: 10K
- Hilton Garden Inn Ulyanovsk: 10K
- Hilton Garden Inn Volgograd: 8–10K
UPDATED 6.19: Judge for yourself!
- Mexico, Panama City and Colombia remain the same.
- Belo Horizonte has increased by 5,000 points (100%).
- With the cash rates around 75-125 Euro, DoubleTree Bratislava is a very good value at 10,000 points — expect it to fall next (Ditto for Hilton Garden Inn Vienna South). I wrote that in September 2018. And they have. Each hotel has increased by 10,000 points (100%)
- DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel & Conference Centre Warsaw decreased by ~40%
- Hampton by Hilton Gdansk Oliwa: the cheapest award has increased by 6,000 points ~55%
- Hampton by Hilton Swinoujscie has increased by ~30-80%
- Hilton Sibiu has increased by 10,000 points (50% or 300% since Spring of 2018)
- Hampton by Hilton Iasi has increased by 10,000 points (100% or 400% since Spring 2018)
- Some Moscow hotels have increased slightly
- Merida by d_hatch
- Bogota by Pichiko
- Newcastle by: Tony Hisgett
- Swinoujscie by: Specjal b CC BY 2.5
- Sighisoara by: Andrei-Daniel Nicolae
- Moscow by: kishjar?
- Saint Petersburg by: Ninara