Get a Free Hilton Category 1 Hotel Night or 5000 Points Back on an Award Stay

With the 5000 point Visa bonus stackable with triple points on stays booked through the app it’s a pretty lucrative time to stay with Hilton.

Now here’s something interesting, a fantastic deal via Inside Flyer: the 5000 point Visa bonus works on reward stays as long as you charge something to the room. Hilton confirms this,

Correct – eligible reward stays count for the Visa Bonus provided the incidentals or other charges are paid for using a Visa card

Here’s how you get the free category 1 hotel night:

This is huge, as it basically means that you can have a 1 night stay at a Category 1 Hilton for free (apart from buying a drink/snack), so long as you book through the app, charge something to the room and pay the bill with any Visa card (debit is fine). Category 1 Hilton hotels require 5,000 Points, and you’ll get 5,000 back!

Before you get too excited though, there’s a very important detail I need to make clear. Hilton HHonors has a slightly odd and rather annoying rule, which stipulates that things you buy at its Hampton, Home2 Suites and Homewood Suites brands DO NOT count as eligible for earning Points, and therefore are unlikely to trigger the 5,000 Bonus.

A 5000 point rebate also means a 50% discount on a category 2 hotel redemption (which costs 10,000 points). And of course you can now buy those points at 50% off.

Here’s the Hilton award chart:

As it stands, Hilton offers the most value at low category redemption levels. This makes a redemption at those levels even better.

Rewards Category 1 Hilton Salalah Resort in Oman

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. “charge something to the room” this would work with cash+points as well, I assume. Also will this bonus work on multiple stays or only once? What’s the promo end date? Thanks.

  2. I texted Hilton on Facebook, I got an opposite answer from yours .

    Thanks Kelly – would it make any difference if I have some incidental charge to the folio ? For example meals or spa ?
    Hilton HHonors
    16/11/2016 11:00
    Hilton HHonors
    Leonard- This would not make a difference in making this eligible for the promotion. The promotion is only eligible for a fully paid stay. Thanks-Kelly

  3. Having trouble keeping the Hilton points promos straight. There’s 3X points booking through the App, 2X points plus Delta miles plus 250 Delta MQM for electing Delta as the travel partner in the “double dip”, and 5000 points for using a Visa card. Given that status on Delta is essentially worthless for anything other than a “feel good” (except during irrops), the MQM’s aren’t much of a draw, but it shows the lengths Hilton marketing is going to.

  4. While this deal sounds good, it doesn’t seem very practical for the vast majority of readers. I can only find ONE Hilton Category 1 hotel in the continental USA. So if you just happen to live near Columbus GA, about two hours south of Atlanta, you may find this very useful for a stay out near the airport.

    For the rest of us who are surrounded by category 5 hotels and who don’t live in Shenzen, Juarez or Novgorod it’s not quite as useful.

  5. This is well-known to anyone who knows Hilton: for the purpose of earning points on promos, HHonors makes no difference between award and paid stays if the promo points dependent on simply staying at Hilton properties. There are many such promos, e.g., stay 2 nights and earn 5000 points. I have said this repeatedly…

  6. @Retired Lawyer — That’s a Good Thing because it means that the program is active, vibrant and rewarding. In the bloggers’ favorite lingo: lucrative 😉

  7. @Retired Lawyer sez: “Having trouble keeping the Hilton points promos straight.”

    Hmmm…Figuring out how many HH points one earns, including from promos, is so predictable one can even formulate it. Stay with me.

    Let B = the number of base points earned on a folio, which is simply eligible spend $ * 10 (less taxes).

    As a HH Diamond I automatically get:
    — 0.5B as Diamond bonus.
    — 0.5B for “double dipping” [= 0.0, if your “double dipping” is set to earn miles rather than points.
    — 1000 points for Diamond MyWay
    — 500 points for reserving and booking with the AMEX Surpass (or any co-brand AMEX)
    — 1.2B for paying the folio with the AMEX Surpass (12HH/$)

    Total haul per stay (excluding promos for NOW) for me is ALWAYS: (B + 0.5B + 0.5B + 1.2B) + 1000 + 500)

    = B* (1 + 0.5 + 0.5 + 1.2) + 1500 = 3.2B +1500.

    B = 10HH/$

    Total Haul = 32HH/$ + 1500

    i.e., I earn a MINIMUM 32HH per every eligible $ I spend on a stay, which is huge.

    Now, let’s say there is a 3x promo like the one now running to 12/31, then we’ll just stick a ‘2B’ into the equation

    Total haul = B * (1 + 0.5 + 0.5 * 2 * 1.2) + 1500 = 5.2B + 1500 = 52HH/$ + 1500.

    From Oct 1 to the end of the year I have been earning and will continue to earn HH points per stay at a brisk rate of

    52HH/$ + 1500

    If I spend just $100 on a stay, I will earn 6,700 HH points, i.e., more than enough for an award stay at category one HH hotel.

    [I also earn (12 * taxes) because I pay with the AMEX Surpass which awards points on taxes)].

    Now let’s put it all together and demonstrate it with a concrete example: my prior stay at Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort for which the following points have posted in my account:

    Total number of points posted: 57,232
    (Remember that number because is what we must calculate using the equation I derived)

    — Base Points: 12058
    — 2016 HH3 DOUBLE POINTS OFFER: 12058
    — 2016 HH3 MOBILE APP OFFER: 12058
    — 50% BONUS ON BASE POINTS: 6029
    — DIAMOND VIP BONUS – 50% 2016: 6029

    We must make adjustments based on the points that have actually posted.
    Looking above, we must TAKE OUT ‘1.2B’ because the points from the AMEX Surpass have not yet posted, then we must ADD 7500 because it looks like I got extra points from an AMEX Platinum promo (item 4), which is actually the similar the 5000 points Visa promo in this post. I also got points from the 3X promo, which will contribute ‘2B’

    Total Haul with the adjustments above will be

    B * (1 + 0.5 + 0.5 + 2) + 1500 + 7500 = 4B + 9000.
    = 40HH/$ + 9000

    B = 12058
    The eligible spend for this stay was: B/10 = 12058/10 = $1,205.80

    We can use either B or the total spend. The result will be the same.

    Using B:
    Total = 4B + 9000 = 4 * 12058 + 9000 = 57,232

    Using total spend:
    Total = 40HH/$ * $1,205.8 + 9000HH = 57,232

    Both yield EXACTLY same number as the number that posted.

    Still to post: 12/$ + taxes AMEX Surpass points = 12 * (1,205.8 + taxes) = 14,470 + 12*taxes.

    Total for stay will end up being:
    57,232 + 14,470 + 12 * taxes = 71,702 + 12* taxes.

    A huge haul, of which about 60% of the points that have posted derived from promos.

    Like the calculations above, HHonors is a predictable, consistent and mature hotel loyalty program, which is also highly rewarding as the result of the calculation shows: 60% of 57,232 from promos…that’s huge.

    Bottom line:
    HHonors members’ total haul per stay at Hilton properties is as predictable as a sunrise.
    Anyone can easily modify the above to match their earning style.

    I hope there is no longer any “confusion” about earning HH points, even in the face of a dizzying number of promos, which is a Good Thing

  8. @ken — 5 nights in a full suite booked outright because it was heavily discounted. The total eligible spend is given in my prior comment.

  9. @DCS – Ok, I went back and re-read your mini-novel and came up with $1,206. That’s a pretty good return in points.

  10. @Ken — You bet. In fact, that’s not all the points that I got from that FLL stay. A day after the points I listed above posted, this also posted:

    AMEX 5,000 PTS ON US OFFER – Hilton Ft Lauderdale Beach Resort: 5000

    It looks there were two stackable AMEX promos at the time (the Biz Platinum and the co-brand): 7500 + 5000 = 12,500, meaning that together they got me more points than the total base points from the spend. Adding the extra 5000 AMEX points, I will get

    76,702 + 12* taxes — enough for a free stay at a cat 9 or 10 hotel depending on season, or several nights at lower cat hotels.

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