The Smart Way to Use Citi ThankYou Points at Hilton

Disclosure: We get a commission for links on the blog. You don’t have to use our links, but we’re very grateful when you do. American Express, Barclaycard, Chase, and US Bank are Million Mile Secrets advertising partners. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or endorsed by our partners. Here’s our Advertiser Disclosure.

Update:   Beginning July 23, 2017, Citi ThankYou points with the Citi Prestige card will be worth 1.25 cents each toward flights.

For many folks, Hilton is the most familiar name of the Big Travel transfer partners with the Citi Prestige and Citi ThankYou Premier cards.

There are 2 relatively easy ways to use your Citi ThankYou points to stay at Hilton.  I’ll explain which method costs fewer points!

The Smart Way To Use Citi ThankYou Points At Hilton

Thinking About Transferring Citi ThankYou Points to Hilton for an Award Stay? Check the Citi Travel Center FIRST – You Could Get a Better Deal!

I’ll show you when it’s better to book your Hilton stay through the Citi ThankYou Travel Center.   And when it’s better to transfer those points to Hilton.

Which Is the Better Way to Use Citi ThankYou Points at Hilton?

Link:   Citi ThankYou Premier

Link:   How to Get 1.25 Cents per Point Towards Cruises, Hotels, and Car Rentals With the Citi ThankYou Premier

Link:   Citi Prestige

Link:   My Review of the Citi Prestige

Currently, Hilton is Citi’s only hotel partner.  But remember, Hilton hotels includes Canopy, Conrad, Curio, DoubleTree, Embassy SuitesHampton InnHiltonHilton Garden Inn, Hilton Grand Vacations, Home2SuitesHomewood Suites, and Waldorf Astoria brand hotels

Method #1 to Use Citi ThankYou Points at Hilton: Award Nights

You can transfer Citi ThankYou points to Hilton hotels at a 2:3 ratio if you have the Citi Prestige, Citi ThankYou Premier, or Citi Chairman (no longer available) card.  So 1,000 Citi ThankYou points get you 1,500 Hilton points.  Sometimes there are transfer bonuses.

Method #2 to Use Citi ThankYou Points at Hilton: Discounted Paid Stays

But if you have the Citi ThankYou Premier card, you can book a paid room using Citi ThankYou points at a rate of 1.25 cents per point.  With the Citi Prestige, the rate is 1 cent per point.

The Smart Way To Use Citi ThankYou Points At Hilton

Paid Hilton Stays With Citi ThankYou Points Could Be a Better Deal in Some Cases – Plus You Won’t Need to Worry About Blackout Dates or Available Award Nights

Depending on the hotel, you’ll sometimes pay fewer Citi ThankYou points booking your room directly through the Citi ThankYou Travel Center, instead of transferring them to Hilton for an award stay!

Note:   The cost of a paid room through the Citi ThankYou Travel Center is NOT always the same as booking through Hilton directly.

That said, if you’ll still pay fewer points booking a paid room with Citi ThankYou points versus transferring points to Hilton for an award stay, booking through the Citi ThankYou Travel Center is still a better deal – even if the Hilton paid prices are cheaper.

I’ll give you a general rule of thumb.  But 1st let’s look at a few examples.

1.   Orlando – Homewood Suites by Hilton Lake Buena Vista

The Homewood Suites by Hilton Lake Buena Vista is a Hilton category 5 hotel.  An award night in March 2016 costs 40,000 Hilton points.

So you’d have to transfer 27,000 Citi ThankYou points at a 2:3 ratio to Hilton for an award night at this hotel (27,000 Citi ThankYou points X 1.5 = 40,500 Hilton points).  Note you must transfer in 1,000 point increments.

The Smart Way To Use Citi ThankYou Points At Hilton

You’d Have to Transfer 27,000 Citi ThankYou Points to Hilton for an Award Night at the Homewood Suites Lake Buena Vista

However, if you have the Citi ThankYou Premier, you can book the same room for just 16,749 Citi ThankYou points (at 1.25 cents per point).  That includes taxes and fees.

You’d save over 10,000 Citi ThankYou points (worth ~$125 in travel)!

The Smart Way To Use Citi ThankYou Points At Hilton

Save Over 10,000 Citi ThankYou Points When You Book the Same Room Through the Citi ThankYou Travel Center

If you only have the Citi Prestige, you’ll still do better booking this room through the Citi ThankYou Travel Center.  At 1 cent per point, you’ll pay 20,937 Citi ThankYou points for your stay.

So you’ll still save ~6,000 Citi ThankYou points (worth $60 in travel)!

Note:  Because the Prestige card allows you to book any airline at 1.33 cents per point, your points can go much farther on airfare than by booking hotels this way.

The Smart Way To Use Citi ThankYou Points At Hilton

Citi Prestige Cardholders Don’t Get as Good a Deal Using ThankYou Points This Way, but It’s Still Better Than Transferring Points to Hilton

With either card, it’s a significant savings in this case to book your room directly with Citi ThankYou points instead of transferring them to Hilton.

And remember, there are no blackout dates.  Plus, you’ll earn Hilton points if you add your Hilton account number to your reservation.  Because it’s a paid stay, not an award night!

2.   London, UK – Hilton London Syon Park

A Hilton category 7 hotel, the Hilton London Syon Park costs 60,000 Hilton points per night in May 2016.

You’d have to transfer 40,000 Citi ThankYou points to Hilton to get the points required for an award room (40,000 Citi ThankYou points X 1.5 = 60,000 Hilton points).

The Smart Way To Use Citi ThankYou Points At Hilton

It Costs 60,000 Hilton Points (or 40,000 Citi ThankYou Points Transferred to Hilton) for an Award Night at the Hilton London Syon Park in May 2016

Folks with the Citi ThankYou Premier can book the same room for 25,276 Citi ThankYou points at 1.25 cents per point.  That’s a savings of almost 15,000 Citi ThankYou points (worth ~$188 in travel)!

The Smart Way To Use Citi ThankYou Points At Hilton

Save Almost 15,000 Citi ThankYou Points (Worth ~$188 in Travel) If You Have the Citi ThankYou Premier

Citi Prestige cardholders also get a better (though not quite as good) deal.  They’ll pay 31,595 Citi ThankYou points for the same room – still a savings of over 8,000 Citi ThankYou points!

Remember, if you have both the Citi Prestige and Citi ThankYou Premier, you can book hotels at the better 1.25 cents per point rate.

3.   Chicago – Hampton Inn & Suites Chicago / Hoffman Estates

Not all hotels are a better deal if you book them with Citi ThankYou points directly.  For example, the Hampton Inn & Suites Chicago / Hoffman Estates is a Hilton category 2 hotel, and costs 10,000 Hilton points per night.

You’d have to transfer 7,000 Citi ThankYou points to Hilton for an award stay at this hotel (7,000 Citi ThankYou points X 1.5 = 10,500 Hilton points).

The Smart Way To Use Citi ThankYou Points At Hilton

You May Be Better Off Booking Lower Category Hilton Hotels With Hilton Points, Instead of Booking With Citi ThankYou Points Directly

You’ll pay more Citi ThankYou points when you book this hotel through the Citi ThankYou Travel Center.  Citi ThankYou Premier cardholders will pay 10,126 Citi ThankYou points.  That’s over 3,000 points more.

The Smart Way To Use Citi ThankYou Points At Hilton

NOT a Good Deal! You’re Better Off Transferring Citi ThankYou Points to Hilton in This Case!

And Citi Prestige cardholders would pay 12,658 Citi ThankYou points.  Over 5,000 points more!

The Smart Way To Use Citi ThankYou Points At Hilton

Citi Prestige Cardholders Get a Worse Deal!

Do the math to be sure, but in general, you’ll get a better deal transferring Citi ThankYou points to Hilton only when you book their category 1 and 2 hotels.  Or if the paid rate for a room is very expensiveOtherwise you can use fewer Citi ThankYou points buying the room directly through the Citi Travel portal.

Here’s the rule of thumb if you have the Citi ThankYou Premier card.  Your Citi ThankYou points are worth 1.25 cents each when used toward paid Hilton stays through the Citi ThankYou Travel Center.

So you can use this chart if you have the Citi ThankYou Premier:

Hilton Points Required for an Award NightCiti ThankYou Points Required for an Award Night (Transfer at 2:3 Ratio, in 1,000 Point Increments)Value of Citi ThankYou Points at 1.25 Cents per PointRule of Thumb
5,0004,000$50If Paid Stay Costs More Than $50 per Night, Transfer to Hilton
10,0007,000~$88If Paid Stay Costs More Than ~$88 per Night, Transfer to Hilton
20,00014,000$175If Paid Stay Costs More Than $175 per Night, Transfer to Hilton
30,00020,000$250If Paid Stay Costs More Than $250 per Night, Transfer to Hilton
40,00027,000~$388If Paid Stay Costs More Than ~$388 per Night, Transfer to Hilton
50,00034,000$425If Paid Stay Costs More Than $425 per Night, Transfer to Hilton
60,00040,000$500If Paid Stay Costs More Than $500 per Night, Transfer to Hilton
70,00047,000~$588If Paid Stay Costs More Than ~$588 per Night, Transfer to Hilton
80,00054,000$675If Paid Stay Costs More Than $675 per Night, Transfer to Hilton
95,00064,000$800If Paid Stay Costs More Than $800 per Night, Transfer to Hilton

Use this next chart if you only have the Citi Prestige card, because your Citi ThankYou points are worth 1 cent each toward hotel stays.  If you have both the Citi ThankYou Premier and Citi Prestige, use the Citi ThankYou Premier table above instead.

Hilton Points Required for an Award NightCiti ThankYou Points Required for an Award Night (Transfer at 2:3 Ratio, in 1,000 Point Increments)Value of Citi ThankYou Points at 1 Cents per PointRule of Thumb
5,0004,000$40If Paid Stay Costs More Than $40 per Night, Transfer to Hilton
10,0007,000$70If Paid Stay Costs More Than $70 per Night, Transfer to Hilton
20,00014,000$140If Paid Stay Costs More Than $140 per Night, Transfer to Hilton
30,00020,000$200If Paid Stay Costs More Than $200 per Night, Transfer to Hilton
40,00027,000$270If Paid Stay Costs More Than $270 per Night, Transfer to Hilton
50,00034,000$340If Paid Stay Costs More Than $340 per Night, Transfer to Hilton
60,00040,000$400If Paid Stay Costs More Than $400 per Night, Transfer to Hilton
70,00047,000$470If Paid Stay Costs More Than $470 per Night, Transfer to Hilton
80,00054,000$540If Paid Stay Costs More Than $540 per Night, Transfer to Hilton
95,00064,000$640If Paid Stay Costs More Than $640 per Night, Transfer to Hilton

So you’ll have to compare to see which is the better deal for you!

Keep in mind, you will NOT earn Hilton points for award stays!  But you will when you book a paid room through the Citi ThankYou Travel Center using your Citi ThankYou points.

That said, using Citi ThankYou points for Hilton stays (either by transferring them to Hilton or booking through the Citi ThankYou Travel Center) isn’t generally the best use of Citi ThankYou points!

Better Ways to Use Citi ThankYou Points

You can often get better value from your Citi ThankYou points when you transfer them to airline partners, like Singapore Airlines.

For example, you could transfer 34,000 Citi ThankYou points to Singapore Airlines for a round-trip coach ticket between New York and Frankfurt, worth $900 or more.  That’s a value of ~2.6 cents per point ($900 cost of flight / 34,000 points).

And you could get an even better deal if you redeem your Singapore Airlines miles for expensive First or Business Class award seats.

The Smart Way To Use Citi ThankYou Points At Hilton

Transferring Citi ThankYou Points to Airline Partners Is Often a Better Deal

Some folks like to transfer Citi ThankYou points to Singapore Airlines to book award flights to Hawaii on United Airlines You’ll pay fewer miles than if you used United Airlines miles.

If you have the Citi Prestige, you can also use Citi ThankYou points to book paid airfare on American Airlines (and codeshare partners such as Japan Airlines) at a rate of 1.6 cents per point through July 23, 2017.  Or 1.33 cents per point on other airlines through July 23, 2017.

Plus, there are so many other ways to earn Hilton points!

That said, transferring Citi ThankYou points to Hilton could also make sense if you’re close to having the number of Hilton points needed for an award stay.

Bottom Line

There are 2 ways to use your Citi ThankYou points to stay at Hilton.

With the exception of Hilton’s category 1 and 2 hotels, or very expensive rooms, you’ll usually pay fewer Citi ThankYou points using the 2nd method.

And you’ll earn Hilton points booking through the Citi ThankYou Travel Center.  (Award nights do not earn points.)

That said, I prefer using Citi ThankYou points with partners such as Singapore Airlines instead of Hilton.  Because the points are worth more that way.  And because there are so many other ways to earn Hilton points.

But as always, use your points for the type of travel that’s important to YOU!

* If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 25,000+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day!) or in an RSS reader …because then you’ll never miss another update!

Editorial Disclaimer: Neither the responses below nor the editorial content on this page are provided or commissioned by the bank advertisers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertisers. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank advertisers. It is not the bank advertisers’ responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

17 responses to “The Smart Way to Use Citi ThankYou Points at Hilton

  1. Does my Hilton Diamond elite benefits still take effect upon check in if booked via ThankYou points?

  2. Excellent article. Very helpful for all with Citi Premier and/or Citi Prestige cards. Thanks!

  3. You didn’t figure in fourth night free with Prestige card. Sometimes this could effect the whole deal

  4. Very odd that the the $450 Presitge gets worse hotel redemption rate than Premiere. It seems like it should be reverse or at least equal.

    If you have Prestige and pay with points can u still get 4th night free?

  5. Can you explain if and how the Prestige 4th night free works in tandem with the HHonors 5th night free?

  6. @Flynn – They should. Citi will give you a Hilton confirmation number for your booking. And you can attach your Hilton loyalty number to make sure to get your elite benefits.

    @James – Thank you so much! 🙂

    @Tom – That’s definitely something to consider for a longer stay!

    @Brian – No, unfortunately. The 4th night free feature is only for paid stays. Not for stays where you redeem points.

    @A.J. – Those wouldn’t combine because you get the 4th night free on paid stays with Citi Prestige. It doesn’t apply for award stays with Hilton points.

  7. Great Post! I’ve been looking for a hotel near LAX, so I thought I’d test out what you describe. Here’s what I found:
    Hilton Garden Inn El Segundo – direct from hotel website is $198.10

    Using points:
    25527 – Expedia, using Thank You points (which is now tied to my Expedia account)
    40000/27000 – Hilton Points/Thank You points transferred to Hilton
    20030 – Thank You Points directly on Thankyou.com (which prices the room out at $250.38)
    22498 – Chase Ultimate Rewards

    None of these seem great – I have the Citi Premier and Prestige, and if Thankyou.com was basing the 1.25cents/point off of the price I pay directly on Hilton’s website ($198.10), it would be worth it. But because they are pricing it almost $50 more, I lose the benefit of the 1.25cents redemption.

    Or am I missing something?

  8. Oops – actually Chase is pricing it out at 19120, but there are no rooms available 🙁

  9. @Tessa – Thanks for testing this out! Using Citi ThankYou points for Hilton stays isn’t for everyone. But in your example, if you’re committed to using Citi ThankYou points for a stay (instead of paying cash) – it’s better to book through the Citi ThankYou Travel Center. As always, it’s best to shop around!

  10. I just booked an Embassy Suites and got a Thank you confirmation. Will I get another one from Hilton? How do I attached my HH number to the reservation? Do I need to show a citi prestige at check in or can I use the CitiHH card?

  11. Just FYI I have the Premier and obtained it with a view to using Thank You points for hotel stays, as that is my greatest need currently. I was surprised to find that even refundable hotel rates, and this included several Hilton properties at which I looked as well as other hotels, all included language saying that cancellations received within 3 days of arrival would result in a one night penalty.

  12. Great breakdown. We plan on using our Hilton points in London this summer, now we just have to narrow down which property to stay at. There are so many there!

  13. Has anyone actually received HHonors points for stays booked via the Citi Travel Center? I have read that you do not earn points when you don’t book direct.

  14. How do you add your HHonors number to an reservation booked using TY points?

  15. To answer my own question (sort of). No points/elite credits on a recent stay booking with TYPs, as it is considered a 3rd party booking.

  16. Same as Kenny – I was told that you cannot add a Hilton Honors number to a TYP booking because it’s considered third party and not eligible for points/elite benefits. You should update your information.

  17. I got diamond benefits but no points. You will 100% not get points for stays booked with TY points.