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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 night reward stands out for its versatility and high value. In fact, we think it’s one of the best credit card perks available. Let’s find out why.
- Hilton Free Night – Quick Highlights
- What is a Hilton Free Night Reward?
- How to Earn Hilton Free Night Certificates
- How to Use a Free Night Reward
- Finding Eligible Nights
- Cancellation and Expiration
- Tips For Maximizing Free Night Certificates
- Final Thoughts
- Hilton Free Night FAQ
- Can I transfer my free night certificates into another person's 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?
Hilton Free Night – Quick Highlights
- No cap on categories or points cost.
- Certificates can be used on any day of the week.
- Stays with the certificate count toward elite status.
- Hilton's fifth-night free perk can be used with the free 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 Free Night Reward?
The Hilton free night certificate is pretty much exactly what the name says it is: a certificate for a free night stay. But, it's not just any old 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 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 reward 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 still can use your free night at these properties!
The certificate used to be only valid for weekend nights, but in October 2022, Hilton changed its policy to permit using free night rewards any day of the week.
Thus, you can use these rewards at places like the Waldorf Astoria Versailles-Trianon Palace. The hotel typically charges several hundred dollars per night, but redeeming a free reward night reward can save you a bundle of money.
How to Earn Hilton Free Night Certificates
You can earn Hilton free night certificates on three American Express Hilton Honors co-branded credit cards:
- Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card: Earn a Free Night Reward when you open your account and every year after renewal. Cardholders also can earn an additional Free Night Reward by spending $60,000 in eligible purchases within a calendar year.
- Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card: Earn a Free 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 Night Reward after spending $15,000 within the first year and each calendar year thereafter. Cardholders also can earn an additional Free Night Reward by spending $60,000 in eligible purchases within a calendar year.
How to Use a Free Night Reward
After meeting the specific requirements, your free night reward will arrive in your email in 8–14 weeks and will include your unique reward ID, so keep your eyes open for it. You also can see your available free night rewards and their expiration dates on the Hilton Honors website and in the mobile app — found in your account dashboard.
Free night certificates are automatically tracked along with your Hilton Honors point balance in AwardWallet, as well. You can add a Hilton account to your AwardWallet dashboard here.
Unfortunately, you cannot book a reservation online with your free night reward. To make a reservation with your free night, you'll need to call Hilton at 1-800-446-6677. The Hilton Honors representative will be able to see any available reward certificates in your account, but it's also helpful to have your unique reward ID handy just in case.
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 Reward” 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 its 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 Reward. Only the Standard Room Reward is eligible for the Hilton free night certificate.
Selecting the 150,000-point Standard Room Reward will take you to the hotel's available rooms. The Waldorf Astoria shows a King Reef Villa with Pool 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.
- Showing standard reward night availability.
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 14 days in advance.
Certificates expire one year after the date they are issued. Note that you must stay by this date — not just make a reservation.
Tips For Maximizing Free 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 night certificates at once. Hilton allows you to use more than one certificate per reservation. So if you can find the availability, you can book several nights completely free using your certificates.
To take it another step, Hilton offers a fifth-night-free perk if you hold any level of elite status (which you will simply by having a Hilton credit card). Officially, the fifth-night-free benefit 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 bysticking 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 luxury properties you can book with points.
Hilton's free 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 Hilton free night reward certificate?
Hilton Free Night FAQ
Can I transfer my free night certificates into another person's name?
No, Hilton will not allow you to transfer ownership of free night certificates. You can, however, redeem them for another person's stay — 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 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 only the person named on the account can redeem the award when calling Hilton. For instance, if you and your spouse both have free night certificates, you can combine them into a single reservation by calling together.
Can I combine Hilton points with free night certificates and still receive the 5th night free?
Officially, the fifth-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 fifth night free. However, this is not always a great deal.
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