When planning our trip to South Africa, I looked at several different kinds of hotel points to use for free hotel nights. I was able to find a Double Tree by Hilton located north of the downtown area, that was affordably priced at 20,000 points per night. However, Hilton offers their Silver Level members and above a promotion for staying 4 nights, and getting the 5th night free. So when using this offer, we actually were able to stay 5 night for 80,000 points at this wonderful hotel.
Earlier in the year, I had been able to take advantage of a hotel “status match” by Hilton. Basically, Hilton stated that if you had a higher status at another brand of hotel (Hyatt, IHG, Starwood, Marriott, etc.) they would match that status within their own hotel chain. I sent them proof of my platinum status with IHG for having an IHG branded credit card by Chase, and Hilton gave me 1 year of membership to their Diamond level status. Usually, this tier is reserved for members who stay 30 times in a calendar year, or 60 nights. Diamond members are able to get many benefits, including free breakfast for themselves and a guest. So using this status really came in handy during our 5 days stay.
So we really enjoyed the Double Tree by Hilton in Cape Town. The staff were very friendly and professional, and we were able to catch one of the several free shuttle buses to the Waterfront area each day we stayed. Also, staff members offered us complimentary cookies, and fresh amenities daily if needed. The buffet breakfast was also wonderful, and it usually filled us up each day. The only downside was that we were never able to use the gym because the door was locked both days we tried to enter. So we simply settled for using the smaller gym located on the second or third floor.
Spending the points here made sense to me since the value was very good for the amount of points I used. In many other countries, spending 20,000 points would not allow you to stay at such a nice place. And we averaged only spending 16,000 points per night.
Now that I have talked about Hilton Honors points, and how useful they were for our stay in Cape Town, I would like to talk about the different ways to earn Hilton Honors points. No surprise, I was able to get many of them through credit card sign up bonuses. A few years earlier, I signed up for Hawaiian Airlines credit cards by Bank of America. I was able to earn 35,000 miles after spending $1000 in purchases, and spending $75 for the annual fee. Hawaiian Air actually allows members to trade miles for points through their website, and the rate of exchange for Hilton Points was 1 Mile = 1.5 Honors Points (in increments of 5,000 miles).
Another way was by signing up for the Hilton Honors card through Citibank and American Express. There are regular promotions for the card to have sign up bonuses between 20,000 and 100,000 points, after spending $1000-$3000 in 3 months, and possibly needing to pay an annual fee. It will be best to search for the best offer available before signing up. Having the Hilton credit card also earns you points for all the spending that you will do with the card too.
To summarize, Hilton Honors points can be used at various location throughout the world, and some hotels like the Double Tree in Cape Town, allow you to maximize your value. Definitely look where you would like to travel before collecting Hilton points, since there are many Hilton Hotels around that charge upwards of 50,000+ points per night! And while it can be nice to have a luxury hotel stay, there may be other Hotel brands available that give you more value for your points.