How Long Does it Take to Get the 2 Free Night Certificates From The Hilton Reserve Card?

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Update:  Citi NO longer lets you apply for 2 Citi Hilton Reserve cards at the same time.

Readers ask how long it takes to get the 2 free weekend night (weekend = Friday, Saturday & Sunday) certificates after completing the $2,500 minimum spending within 4 months on the Citi Hilton Reserve.  You get 2 free Hilton weekend night certificates and gold elite status (free internet and breakfast) with the Citi Hilton Reserve card.

The terms say to allow 6 to 8 weeks after completing the minimum spending to receive the certificate, but I received the free weekend night certificates via email in about 3 weeks!

1.   Applied for 2 Citi Hilton Reserve cards in separate browsers as part of my November 2012 applications on November 21, 2012.  Citi usually lets you apply for 2 personal cards every 65 days except the American Airlines which usually require waiting 18+ months from when you were last approved to get the bonus again.

Hilton Reserve Credit Card 3

Twice the Fun!

2.   Received the cards in about 7 days in the mail.  The gold packaging was a bit wasteful and I almost didn’t find the card among all that paper!

Hilton Reserve Credit Card 3

My Type of Mail!

3.   Completed the minimum spending of $2,500 on 1 card on December 10, 2012.  I went to CVS and Walgreens and bought $500 Vanilla Reloads.

I then loaded the Vanilla Reloads on my American Express Bluebird account and used Bluebird to pay rent and student loans which I couldn’t otherwise pay with a credit card.  You can even use it to pay your credit card bills!

I not only earned 3 Hilton points per $1 spent for buying the Vanilla Reload cards, but I was also able to complete my minimum spending requirement easily!

The statement in which I completed the minimum spending requirement closed on December 27, 2012.

4.  Received the 2 free night certificates on January 3, 2013.  The certificates were sent in 2 separate emails to the email address in my Hilton hotel profile. I like separate certificates for each free weekend night because it gives you more flexibility when your plans change.

The certificates have to be used within 1 year from when they were issued so I have until January 3, 2014 to use the free weekend night certificates.

How to Redeem Hilton Reward Certificates

You have to call 1-800-HHONORS and ask the agent to book the room for you.  The free weekend night is valid on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights and can’t be used at All-Inclusive or Hilton Grand Vacation hotels.

A standard room is the entry level room in a particular category.  For example, a standard room for a category 7 Hilton will cost 50,000 points.

I recommend checking for standard availability yourself online before calling the representative to book your free weekend night.

See this post for step-by-step directions on how to check for a standard room using Hilton points.

Always start your search for free Hilton award nights when you are logged out of your Hilton account if you do not have enough points for the length of your stay.

If you search for free Hilton nights when you are logged into your Hilton account, but you don’t have enough points for the stay, you will often see a message which says that there are no free nights available (even when they really are free nights available).

Hilton Reward Certificate

Click on the image below to open a new window to see what the certificate looks like and to read the terms and conditions.

Hilton Reserve Credit Card

Free Weekend Night Certificate

Most Unusual Term on the Rewards Certificate

The last term (#18) says:

Recipients of Reward Certificate may be required to sign a release of liability and a statement permitting the use of their name and/or photo for promotional purposes without additional compensation.

I wonder if the lawyers were covering all bases when they drafted this term or if someone will be asked to permit the use of their name and photo for Hilton promotional purposes!

Bottom Line

The terms say that it could take up to 8 weeks to get the free weekend night certificate with the Citi Hilton Reserve, but I received my free weekend night within 3 weeks!

I’m looking forward to using my free weekend nights at an expensive Category 7 Hilton hotel!

Update:  Citi NO longer lets you apply for 2 Citi Hilton Reserve cards at the same time.

PS:  I will be in all day meetings so won’t be able to check in until the evening.

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55 responses to “How Long Does it Take to Get the 2 Free Night Certificates From The Hilton Reserve Card?

  1. Husband also applied 11/21, received card & met spend requirement ,and paid it the day is showed up online 12/11. Closing date of statement 12/26 – tried to change closing date to 12/14 but rep said not possible. Received e-certificates 1/3. Booked Cavalieri on 1/4. Only issue is that Citi generated new HH acct for husband. I need to straighten it out as we’re diamond (mutual account) and want reservation to reflect that.

  2. 2 questions

    1. can you tie the 2 hilton cards to 1 Hilton HHonors account?

    2. Does the 2 browser trick work for all personal citi cards? as in can you get 2 of the same personal citi card for each of their cc products?

  3. @Acker – Cavalieri is a great hotel. Also I wish Citi would just give you points the reward Cert is a hassle just give 60-70k pts and be done with it. Why make all the hoops to jump thru?

  4. Dear MMS, I have the same question as dannyh: do you put the same HH acct# on both Citi applications? Thanks!

  5. you should have rec’d 6X per dollar at CVS.

  6. “Applied for 2 Citi Hilton Reserve cards in separate browsers as part of my November 2012 churn on November 21, 2012. Citi usually lets you apply for 2 personal cards every 65 days except the American Airlines which usually require waiting 18+ months from when you were last approved to get the bonus again.”

    Just to clarify… does this mean that you can get Citi Hilton cards, meet the minimum spend, cancel them, and then successfully reapply 65 days later?

  7. Hi D, do you have problems/issues with Bluebird? I have read that people’s accounts got frozen and customer service is bad. I am thinking of opening the account but with the negative comments, I am not so sure if I should. . .

  8. I applied for 2 Citi Hilton Cards which gives 50000 points each and used the same HH number. Also, for Citi Reserve I met spending and my statement closed on 12/14, I did not get my certs. I called into Citi who transferred me to Hilton.

    Hilton rep was able to see my certs and I booked Hilton Milano Stucky in Venice.

  9. I thought it was dangerous to do this sort of thing with Citi, lest they consider it a cash advance. I know it gets labeled as simply a purchase by CVS, but three $500 charges at the same time from the only place you can buy VR makes it pretty clear what is being “purchased”.

  10. Hey Darius, what hotels do you and Emily plan on redeeming your free nights for?

  11. How did you apply for 2 of the same card.. they are both the same version (visa) ? I thought one has to be a visa and other Amex, or mastercard) ?

  12. Do you have to BOOK the award by Jan 3rd, 2014 or do you have to STAY by Jan 3rd, 2014?

  13. How many hard pulls did you have when you applied? How many pulls are reasonable per year to continue to get approvals? 10? More/less? The hardpulls are the only limiting factor for me – otherwise I might have to continue to use my Amex Hilton for 6x at drugstores/grocery.

  14. I did the two browser trick for CITI AA accounts and got instant approval two weeks ago. Received both cards and made purchases at CVS. Just received letter from Citi telling me I was denied due to multiple applications. LOL; question for future Citi Hiton cards in 3-4 months—if I do not get instant approval what do I use as a reason for the multiple two browser apps when I call reconsideration number?

  15. @Rob: Citi reps I talked to did not bother about my 2 apps. I got an email and also phone calls asking to verify information. I took call for first application and called back for second card(based on email and reference no).

  16. my favorite was when I used the two browser trick back in October to apply for Citi AA Visa and Citi AA Amex… then the most interesting thing happened…

    I received one visa and TWO amex cards. All 150k miles posted as well. I love when computer glitches work in my favor!

  17. Anyone know if you can use it at the Grand Wailea(maui?)

  18. I think you can use it at any Hilton Property. I didnt see any exclusion in the info.

  19. I could be wrong or they could add properties to exclude but I didnt any named. Added note: I dont own the card so I havent seen all the fine print.

  20. Any idea which Waldorf Astoria hotels are excluded? Specifically are the ones in Hawaii excluded.

  21. Hawaiian properties are included. But finding availability seems to be the biggest issue. I haven’t found a single day using the online site that where there was an award day available on their Maui property.

    • @dannyh @Jen – It usually works for most personal Citi cards and you can put the same Hilton account number in more than 1 credit card application. I put the same Hilton number in both applications.

      @vu – The Citi Hilton Reserve offers 3x points for base spending.

      @Brent – Yes, but your miles may vary. I’d wait 3 to 4 months between applications.

      @Happy Feet
      – As always, do what is comfortable for you. I’ve not had any issues, but I’ve read about folks who did have issues with Bluebird.

      @Robert Hanson – I’m sure there are many other combinations of items which can ring up that total!

      @Savannah – We’re still deciding, but looking at the Maldives, Hawaii, Italy or Thailand.

      @aviz – They are both Visa cards and you can get both of them at the same time.

      @Ken – I believe you have to stay before the certificate expires.

      @Ron – I haven’t checked my report to see how many hard pulls. I’ve had 16 hard inquiries on my report at one point. With Citi, it helps to write a reconsideration letter instead of calling in.

      @Rob Black – I say that I want to keep my business and personal expenses separate.

      @Mofessor – Very nice!

      @Bitachu @Paul – The Waldorf in Hawaii is not excluded, but finding availability could be tough.

  22. I received the Hilton Reserve card in late September, completed the spend requirement in November, and received the weekend certificates in December.

    I was able to book two weekend nights at the WA Park City–at over $600 per night face value!!! For some reason that is not entirely clear to me, the phone rep was not able to initially make the reservation, and it took a manager override to book the room. On the Hilton website, it shows the reservation as a standard rewards reservation at 120,000 points per night. I will say that it was difficult to find availability in the middle of ski season.

    240,000 point sign-up bonus…not bad!

  23. Thanks for this. How about the Hyatt and Fairmont cards? How long for those free nights to post? They also say quite a few weeks. Do you or any of your readers know?

  24. Thanks MMS! So that is the case even if there is the minimum spending requirement for card?

  25. You mention that you met the $2500 spend requirement all in one day with VR. Have you had any problems putting so much spend on your cards so quickly at drugstores? Have you had any credit card companies flag your account and call you on it? I know there are nay-sayers out there trying to scare people away from using reloads, but I just don’t know how careful I need to be. I’ve been trying to spread out my $500+ spending at drugstores between 2-3 billing cycles with other purchases in between, but it would sure be easier to just do it all at once as you did with this card. Are there certain cards/issuers with which I should be more careful with VR spending? For example, I have the Hilton Amex and would love to spend $2000/month at drugstores, but I don’t want to face the dreaded Amex Financial Review. Now that we’ve been doing this for several months, what are your experiences with buying reload cards? I would love to see a post about how fast/how much spending is reasonable. But because that may bring down the wrath of the blogosphere upon your head again (and maybe even give us another wonderful youtube video!), maybe an answer here would suffice.

    • @Tracy – That was just my experience, but it is always best to assume the certificates will post a few days after the minimum spending is completed.

      @Rachel – It really depends on your profile and income. The 1st time I used the Citi and AMEX cards at CVS, there was a fraud alert and I had to text back that it was a legitimate purchase. I do ~$5K a months spread across 2 or 3 cards since October and things have been fine. But that’s not to say that it will always be fine. Our CVS also limits us to $1K at a time. $2K a month should be fine, but as always, your miles may vary.

  26. Hi Daraius,

    just want to confirm that: you put same HHonors # for both cards and did receive two cert. for each card under same HHonors # (I assume those cert. are associated with HHonors #?).

    Another question is they are ‘weekend night certificates’, could I use them on weekdays?

    Thank you!

  27. Our Walgreens in Seattle will no longer accept the Chase Freedom credit card to purchase a Vanilla Reload Card so unfortunately, I can’t take advantage of the 5X ultimate miles for this quarter. Have other followers experienced this problem? The Vanilla Card at Walgreens can now be purchased with cash only. Does this imply that the Chase advantage for using Blue Bird is going away?

  28. Can the free night certificate be used at ‘Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort’ ?
    I am trying to figure out how to identify a grand vacation hotel, so that I know it will be excluded from using the certificate.


  29. If you use the free weekend certificates and you have gold status will they upgrade you?
    I understand you must book a standard room.

  30. I did the two Citi Hilton Reserve cards. I met the spending requirements within days of each other.

    I received two hotel stays (seperate emails) within 10 days of the statement close date of the first one. BUT, I haven’t received the hotel stays for the second card and it’s been three weeks since the statement close date.

    Did the second card take longer for you to get your reward? Not sure I want to call, but I’m getting a little anxious.

  31. I love how you respond to the comment section so regularly. Great blog!

    Question: When you say you can apply for citi cards every 65 days, does that mean if you already have this card you can reapply for it? Or do you have to close the first one, wait 65 days, and then do it again?

  32. Hi D,

    So have you received 2 certificates from the 2nd card? I have the same issue. First set of certificates came quickly after hitting the spending but the second set of 2 has never showed up.

  33. MMS,

    Have you contacted Citi or Hilton about your 2 set of two free night certificates? What is the result? thanks.

  34. Did you receive the certs. 3 weeks after spend or after statement close?

  35. Met the minimum spend on my two Reserve cards early in January. I got the first 2 certs within a couple of days. The other two never showed up so I inquired with Citi last month. They said I met the terms in January and to wait 6-8 weeks. It’s been 8 weeks, but still nothing. I have sent another message recently and am awaiting a response.

  36. @tjp

    Same here except that my second set is still within 8 weeks wait. Please keep us posted!

  37. Do the certificates have to be used on separate bookings or can they both be used on the same weekend? I notice the standard “can’t be used with any other offer” listed in the terms and conditions.

  38. Are you still able to apply for the Citi HHonors and Reserve card on the same day? Or do you have to do it on separate days?

  39. Any one has any update on the second set of two free night certificates?

    • @Li – It took ~15 days from when I sent Citi a secure message to get the 2nd free night certificates. I’d first call Citi and check that they didn’t open a second Hilton account for you (or just log on to the Hilton website and make sure that points from both cards posted to your Hilton account). If they opened a second account, call Citi to find out the account number and then call Hilton to merge the accounts.

  40. Did you pay your bill the day the statement posted? Mine closed 4/24 but I didn’t pay the bill until 5/1. I’m not sure if the bill needs to be paid in order for the nights to post Hoping my nights post soon; I need them for 2nd week of June.

  41. Hello – I have Citi Reserve Card…can I apply for another one without closing my existing card and still get the 2 free weekend nights? Thanks in advance!

  42. @Pedro – I believe you can no longer have two of the same cards with Citi.