Thanks to lifecycle effects I haven’t taken as many sprawling international vacations as I did when my life was governed by the academic calendar, which has had the ancillary effect of nudging me towards somewhat more luxurious travel plans. To give a trivial illustration, 250,000 annual Ultimate Rewards points earned through office supply spend on a Chase Ink Plus are worth 16 nights at 15,000-point World of Hyatt properties but only 8 nights at 30,000-point World of Hyatt properties, so the decision of whether to stay at a 15,000-point property or a 30,000-point property is in part governed by how many nights I need to book each year.
That has made me more curious about top-tier properties in each chain, like the Grand Wailea in Maui where we stayed earlier this month. Since I earn a lot of Hilton Honors points (and they can be purchased for less than 0.5 cents each through a cash back portal during Hilton’s frequent promotions), I wanted to take a look at all the top-tier Hilton properties where the Hilton Honors Aspire American Express card’s $250 resort credit can be redeemed.
In principle, these would be the properties where you can get the most value (in points) from American Express free weekend night certificates, the elite 5th-night-free benefit on award stays, and the Aspire credit card resort statement credit. I couldn’t find an existing list anywhere online, so I decided to assemble it myself for my and your future reference.
95,000-point Hilton Honors properties eligible for $250 Aspire resort credit
Note that due to Hilton variable award pricing, these are properties where the maximum, standard room award rate is 95,000 points. The actual rate for the dates you want may vary, sometimes substantially, below the maximum rate. After each property, I’ve indicated a sample redemption value for a 5-night, 380,000-point reservation 6 months from now.
Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, $3,467.42 (0.96 cents per point)
Curio Collection by Hilton
Hotel del Coronado, Curio Collection by Hilton, $2,342.41 (0.62 cents per point)
Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach, $1,903.73 (0.5 cents per point)
Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, $4,249.29 (1.12 cents per point)
Conrad Koh Samui, $3,404.35 (0.9 cents per point)
Hilton Odawara Resort & Spa, $1,967.32 (0.52 cents per point)
Hilton Seychelles Northolme Resort & Spa, $3,111.88 (0.82 cents per point)
A clarifying exercise
I arrived at this list by applying two filters to the entire list of Hilton properties: eliminate properties that don’t have a maximum redemption rate of 95,000 points per night, and eliminate properties that don’t qualify for the Aspire resort credit. However, while this is a good way of determining the properties where you can take advantage of Hilton program rules to save the most points, it says nothing about where you can use Hilton Honors to save the most money. Indeed, since I looked at 5-night stays 6 months in the future (July, 2019), I didn’t even look at the highest-dollar-value redemptions at these properties, most of which I assume would fall over spring break, Thanksgiving, Christmas, or other peak-travel holidays.
Moreover, while there are only 15 total properties in the Hilton Honors system that charge a maximum of 95,000 points per night (according to Loyalty Lobby’s March, 2018, update) there are 65 properties that charge 80,000 points per night and 145 that charge a maximum of 70,000 points per night. In other words, there are ample areas to fish for high-value redemptions outside the 95,000-point pond.
I am a big fan of Hilton Honors, but since I use my miles and points to book the trips I want to go on, I was a bit disappointed by my findings. I had a great time at the Grand Wailea, and would happily return there, but don’t have any special interest in visiting the Maldives, Seychelles, or Koh Samui, let alone Coronado, California, or Fort Lauderdale, Florida, so the Hilton Odawara is the only property on this list I could conceivably plan on visiting in the foreseeable future.
Compare that to the list of top-tier World of Hyatt properties: New York, Paris, Milan, Zurich, Sydney, and Tokyo are all cities I’d be happy to splurge for a stay on with points (New York’s Park Hyatt was a bust, but Zurich’s was lovely).
That doesn’t mean you can’t get good value during your first year of Aspire cardmembership stacking free-weekend-night and 5th-night-free awards with the card’s $250 resort credit. But it does mean that you may want to hunt for the highest dollar-value savings outside the highest point-cost properties.