Category Archives: Credit Cards

Hilton Free Night Certificate for $8,000 Spend: Is It Worth It for You?

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Hilton and American Express have launched an offer for a free night certificate for spending $8,000 on your co-branded credit card. While not everyone gets this offer, many people have. If you carry the Hilton Aspire or Surpass card from AmEx you might’ve been or will be one of them.

I rarely cover targeted offers because:

  • a limited number of people can take advantage of them.

  • lots of other bloggers write about targeted offers and I don’t feel like doing the same thing just for the sake of marking my territory if I have nothing new to add.

However, when I personally receive a good targeted offer, it changes everything. Primarily because I almost never receive anything good, but also because it gets me to drop whatever I’m doing and make me think. Considering that I’m usually busy with either meeting a spending requirement or working on my own ongoing minuscule MS, my decision-making process isn’t always straightforward.

So when I saw this offer on my Hilton Surpass card, that made me scratch my head. Here is why.

Hilton Surpass cardholders already can get a free night certificate after spending $15,000 on the card in a calendar year

WALDORF ASTORIA MALDIVES ITHAAFUSHI — I’m not very interested in this kind of vacation, but I can see why so many are!

Today is November 24, and if you asked me how much I’ve already spent on my Hilton Surpass card toward that $15,000 goal, my answer would be zero.

That’s right, I’m not interested in earning one free Hilton night.

A free night is a waste of spend, IMHO. What are you going to do with one free night?

Two nights, however, is another story. Two free nights is a weekend. An adventure. Two free nights make a difference. If I can spend $15,000 for two free nights, that works fine for me.

This is just how I feel on an emotional level. One free night is nothing, but two free nights are a game-changer. I could also add these two nights to a 5-night award stay (with a free fifth night) and get a whole free week at one of the best Hilton resorts.

Or think about it this way. After you spend $8,000 to get one free Hilton night, it sucks to leave another free Hilton night on the table, so it’s a good motivation to spend another $7,000.

Of course, this is mostly about the Hilton Surpass card. For Hilton Aspire cardholders the annual free night certificate is a part of the benefits package.

But there must be other options, right?

The view from my room at Conrad Singapore. Well, it was cloudy plus I’m a lousy photographer, too.

Well, since you’ve asked…

Most of us have other avenues of maximizing spend in general categories.

  • You can earn 2% cash back from cards like Citi Double Cash. An even better idea is transferring this cash back to your Citi ThankYou points account.

  • You can also earn 2.5% cash back from the Alliant Visa Signature card (but you also must open a checking account, and there are some conditions).

  • Or you can earn 3% cash back from Discover Miles in the first year, but you’ll have to wait for a year until your regular 1.5% cash back is doubled.

  • Finally you can earn 3% cash back from the Santander Ultimate Cash Back card, but only on the first $20,000 of spend in the first year, and only if you live in an eligible state (Northeast).

In other words, spending $8,000 can earn you from $160 to $240 depending on your spending mode.

However, with a Hilton card, it’s not just a free night certificate. You’re still earning Hilton points. Using your Surpass or Aspire card will get you at least 3 points per $1 or 24,000 points for $8,000. While I don’t value Hilton points at more than 0.4 cents per point, that means your net advantage of using a cashback card goes down to $100 with a 2% cashback card to $180 with a 3% card.

Still, is one free Hilton night worth that much?

In my opinion, no!

But two or more free nights just might 🙂

As you can see, this view from Conrad Tokyo is much better

That’s because, once again, two or more free nights mean an opportunity to go out of town, while one night is meh.

To be honest, I totally missed that I’d already had one free night that carried over from my Hilton Aspire card I closed in 2020 until I saw it in my Hilton Honors account. If Hilton didn’t start showing it in my account recently, I would totally forget about it.

And here I’m blubbering about leaving things on the table! Pathetic! 🙁

Anyhow.

Here is my plan

My “upgraded” mountain-view room at Conrad Hong Kong

Hitting the promo $8,000 spend by the February 28 deadline, then spending another $7,000 during 2022. Spending leisurely to avoid over-exerting myself (remember the name of this blog).

And then, maybe I’ll finally manage to convince my wife to step on a plane again? Who knows!

If so, the sky is the limit, literally.

I probably wouldn’t spend my 3 free nights in a city hotel. But I see us staying at any of these places:

Hilton Bentley Miami South Beach

Hilton Bentley Miami South Beach — Fourth Floor: Jakuzzi and Gym

Or I might just go ahead and add these nights to stay at my beloved Conrad Koh Samui again. Or spread the bookings between Tokyo and Kyoto. Decisions, decisions. 🙂

Conrad Koh Samui — loved this place!

To recap

Many Hilton cardholders have received offers of a free Hotel Certificate after spending $8,000 on their Hilton co-branded credit cards. I believe it’s worth the effort since you can get this night in addition to another free night certificate you get for “free” with the Aspire card or after spending $15,000 total with the Surpass card. Plus you’ll get at least 24,000 Hilton points, which are also worth something.

What do you think? Worth it? Not worth it? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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