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The Hilton free night certificate is a fantastic benefit that can easily offset the annual fee of your Hilton credit card. Other hotel cards offer an annual free night to cardholders, but the Hilton Free Weekend Night stands out for its versatility and high value. In fact, we think it’s one of the best perks in all of points and milesdom. Let’s find out why.
- Hilton Free Night – Quick Highlights
- What is a Hilton Weekend Night Reward?
- How to Earn Hilton Free Night Certificates
- How to Use a Weekend Free Night Reward
- Finding Eligible Nights
- Cancellation and Expiration
- Tips For Maximizing Free Weekend Night Certificates
- Hilton Free Night FAQ
- Can I transfer my free night certificates into another persons name?
- Can free night certificates be combined via Hilton's Points Pooling feature?
- Can free night certificates from more than one Hilton account be used on a single booking?
- Can I combine Hilton points with free night certificates, and still receive the 5th night free?
- Final Thoughts
Hilton Free Night – Quick Highlights
- No cap on categories or points cost.
- Certificates issued in 2021 are good through December 2022 and can be used all days of the week rather than just weekends.
- Stays with the certificate count towards elite status.
- Hilton's 5th-night free perk can be used with the free weekend night certificate.
- You can use more than one award on a multiple-night reservation.
- Nearly all properties are available to book with the free night certificate.
What is a Hilton Weekend Night Reward?
The Hilton weekend night certificate is pretty much exactly what the name says it is–a certificate for a free weekend night. But, it's not just any ol' free night.
First of all, this free night can be used to book a stay at nearly any hotel in the Hilton portfolio. There is a small list of exclusions, but these mostly consist of all-inclusive resorts, residences, and Hilton Grand Vacations properties. That still leaves you with thousands of options.
The second reason why the Hilton free weekend night certificate is worth so much more than your average award is that there is no cap on the number of points the free night can be used for. This means that if the property has a standard award night available, you can use your certificate for it. In fact, Hilton has award nights that now go all the way up to 150,000 points, but you can still use your weekend night!
The award certificate can only be used for weekend nights, which is defined by Hilton as Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, but this is hardly a restriction. Accommodation is almost always more expensive on weekends than during the week, with the exception of popular holidays. Being able to redeem a free night on the weekend is great. Additionally, all free weekend night certificates issued in 2021 can be used any day of the week, rather than just the weekend.
Several years ago, I visited Paris with my kids. We used our Hilton free night certificate to stay at the Waldorf Astoria Versailles-Trianon Palace. The hotel would have run us several hundreds of dollars, but we were able to redeem a few free weekend nights and saved a bundle of money. Can you tell how excited my kids were to eat at the Michelin-starred restaurant inside?
How to Earn Hilton Free Night Certificates
Earning the Hilton weekend night certificate can be done through opening and spending on one of three American Express Hilton Honors co-brand credit cards.
- Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card – Earn a free Weekend Night Reward when you open your account and every year after renewal. Cardholders can also earn an additional Weekend Night Reward by spending $60,000 in eligible purchases within a calendar year.
- Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card – Earn a free Weekend Night Reward after spending $15,000 within the first year and each calendar year thereafter.
- The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card – Earn a free Weekend Night Reward after spending $15,000 within the first year and each calendar year thereafter. Cardholders can also earn an additional Weekend Night Reward by spending $60,000 in eligible purchases within a calendar year.
How to Use a Weekend Free Night Reward
After meeting the specific requirements, free night certificates will arrive in your email in 8-14 weeks, so keep your eyes open for it. The email will come with your unique reward ID and you'll need to have that ID on hand in order to book..
To make a reservation with your free night, you'll need to call Hilton at 1-800-HHONORS. If for some reason you can't find your email, call the number and Hilton will be able to search for and find your certificate.
Finding Eligible Nights
Before calling Hilton to book your free night, check to see if the room you want to book has a “standard room award” available on your desired dates. You’ll also want to check that the hotel isn’t one of these excluded Hilton properties.
Each hotel sets their own terms for what qualifies as a standard room, but they make it easy enough to find eligible accommodations. In the photo below, you can see that there are two types of bookings available for this specific property (the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi)–Premium Room Rewards and Standard Room Rewards. Only the Standard Room Reward is eligible for the Hilton free weekend night certificate.
The night we want is for Saturday, so it meets the requirement of being a weekend. Selecting the 120,000 Standard Room Reward will take you to the hotel's available rooms. The Waldorf Astoria shows a King Reef Villa with Pool room available to book.
To summarize, we can book a night at the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi because it is:
- Not on the list of excluded properties
- Shows standard award night availability
- Available on a Saturday (weekend)
This room's cash cost is over $2,000 for this specific night. Being able to use a free night certificate here is an absolute steal.
Cancellation and Expiration
If you need to cancel the reservation you made with a certificate, you'll need to first check the hotel's cancellation policy. The Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi, for example, allows you to cancel with no penalty up to one week in advance.
Certificates expire 1 year after the date they are issued, although because of Covid-19, Hilton has extended the expiration of certificates issued in 2021 until December of 2022. You cannot book a date outside of the certificate's validity, even if you confirm your booking before the certificate expires.
Tips For Maximizing Free Weekend Night Certificates
If you are a high spender, have more than one American Express Hilton card, or both, there's a good chance you may have several Hilton free weekend night certificates at once. Hilton allows you to use more than one certificate per reservation. So if you can find the availability, you can stack up to 3 nights—Friday, Saturday, and Sunday—completely free using 3 certificates.
To take it another step, Hilton offers a fifth-night-free perk if you hold any level of elite status. Officially, the fifth-night free doesn't apply to reward certificate stays. But in practice, this benefit seems to apply to bookings of five or more nights that are paid with a mix of points and free night certificates.
Another way to maximize your certificate is by trying to stick with higher tier properties where you can get the most bang for your (points) buck. You could use your free night at a Hampton Inn that only costs $90 a night, or you could use it at one of Hilton's top properties and save thousands of dollars instead. Need some inspiration? Check out our list of Hilton's best properties you can book with points.
Hilton Free Night FAQ
Can I transfer my free night certificates into another persons name?
No, Hilton will not allow you to transfer ownership of free night certificates. You can, however, redeem them for another person—even if you won't be joining them for the stay.
Can free night certificates be combined via Hilton's Points Pooling feature?
No, the points pooling feature applies strictly to Hilton Honors points; you cannot pool Hilton free weekend night certificates.
Can free night certificates from more than one Hilton account be used on a single booking?
Yes, you can combine free night certificates from different accounts into a single booking, but the person redeeming each free night certificate needs to be the person whose account the free night certificate is issued under. For instance, if you and your wife both have free night certificates, you can combine them into a single reservation.
- Call the Hilton Honors Reservation free-call number (1-800-445-8667).
- You confirm your account and certificate credentials and apply them to the first night.
- Your wife jumps on the phone and confirms her account and certificate information, and applies her certificate to the other night.
Can I combine Hilton points with free night certificates, and still receive the 5th night free?
Officially, the 5th-night free benefit is not valid for:
“…Points & Money Rewards, Premium Room Rewards, Room Upgrade Rewards, reward certificate stays or to any stays booked outside of Hilton channels…”
In practice, stays that contain a mix of points and free night certificates are eligible for a 5th night free. However, this is not always a great deal.
Hilton's free weekend night certificate really is one of the best values around. The ability to book at nearly any property in the Hilton portfolio, despite point cost or category, means that properties like the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi, which costs 150,000 Hilton points a night or several thousands of dollars, is actually within reach for the average points-and-miles enthusiast.
Where have you used your free weekend night reward certificate?
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