I was so excited about the Citi Hilton Reserve that I had the wife apply for one. Best thing I ever did. For those of you who live in a shed, the Hilton Reserve offers two free nights in ‘any’ Hilton property (there are a few exceptions, but these tend to be related to all suite properties or something… )anyway, never mind that. Two free nights, in the advent of Hilton devaluations makes this card worth 190,000 HHonors points!
The top award price for Hilton’s Category 10 properties is 95,000 per night, and you aren’t going to go for anything less than that, are you?
Well… as luck would have it, we actually ended up in the Conrad Chicago for our 2 free nights, and it was quite a mediocre stay. The problem is that you don’t actually get 190,000 Hhonors points – if you did this would be an amazing card, and probably in one of the many top 10 lists out there. The difference is that points are extendable, and divisible, though even when they are it seems that many expire worthless each year.
I think the Hilton Reserve card is a piece of marketing genius – it sells on the aspirational trip – because the value driven immediately think towards the highest possible redemption (hey, try actually going to the Conrad Maldives for just 2 nights..) but in reality, the certificates can’t be extended, and procrastination sets in.
Where can you go for a weekend, and what can you get from it? I studied this in some depth when looking for the best hilton properties for your buck, and the closest I came to great value was The Bentley in Miami. Not a bad hotel, don’t get me wrong, but when I got this card it was something far more exotic in mind.
So, why do I think it is the best card ever:
- It sells the dream
- The certs cannot be extended (there is some talk about booking and cancelling and squeaking out 6 months more, YMMV)
- Because it is certs, not points, you can’t spend a buck and extend the longevity of your options (in case you missed the above point)
- The redemption options are limited to weekends, whereas regular points are not.
- And I hear more stories about people struggling to use these free nights than any other award out there.
This could be the best card ever, for Citi and Hilton. What do you think?
PS I will only accept stories that start with ‘Oh I stayed in the Conrad Koh Samui and had great value from this’ if you actually got out of the hotel and ate street food once.