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, Capital One, 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: One or more card offers in this post are no longer available. Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers
Until May 31, 2017, the Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express and the Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express have increased sign-up bonuses. So you might be looking for ideas about how to use Hilton points.
To spark your imagination, I made a list of Hilton hotels in 7 often-overlooked (but fantastic!) European cities where you can stay for free with the sign-up bonuses from these cards.
Let’s take a look at my list of Hilton hotels in 7 underrated European cities.
Underrated European Cities to Visit With Hilton Points
Through May 31, 2017, you’ll earn 80,000 Hilton points after you make $2,000 in purchases within 3 months of opening the AMEX Hilton Honors card. And you’ll earn 100,000 Hilton points after you make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of opening the AMEX Hilton Honors Surpass card.
Whether you get the 100,000 or 80,000 point version of the American Express Hilton cards, you’ll have enough points to stay for free at the European hotels on this list.
Hilton hotels include Conrad, Canopy, Curio, DoubleTree, Embassy Suites, Hampton Inn, Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Hilton Grand Vacations, Home2Suites, Homewood Suites, Tru, and Waldorf Astoria brand hotels.
With ~4,600 hotels world-wide, Hilton is one of the largest hotel chains, with lots of European locations. So wherever you want to go, there’s probably a Hilton hotel there.
Just remember, Hilton no longer has an award chart, so you’ll have to look at individual hotels to see the number of points you’ll need per night.
I haven’t personally stayed at all of these hotels, but hopefully this list will inspire you!
1. Hilton Garden Inn Krakow
Warsaw is a top destination in Poland, but Krakow is worth exploring too. And the good news is, you can use your Hilton points for a free stay at hotels like the Hilton Garden Inn Krakow!
It gets great reviews on TripAdvisor, and at 30,000 Hilton points per night, the sign-up bonus from either AMEX Hilton card is enough for at least 2 free nights.
While in Krakow, Million Mile Secrets team member Scott loved its Historic Old Town for the terrific restaurants, where he tried traditional Polish dishes like goose leg with plums, veal pierogis, and zurek, a soup made of soured rye flour and meat.
The zurek soup wasn’t his thing, but he did like the Soplica Malinowa, a raspberry vodka type of drink!
He also made the short trip from Krakow to the amazing Wieliczka Salt Mine.
According to Scott, the salt museum was “mind-blowing.” There’s a gorgeous ballroom with chandeliers made of salt! And you’ll learn how this “white gold” made Poland prosperous.
From Krakow, you can also get to the German Nazi Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. Scott describes it as sad and revolting, but important, because in some ways, it inspires hope that people will learn from past atrocities.
You could also consider a trip to the romantic town of Zakopane, a ~2 hour drive from Krakow. Scott describes this quaint town surrounded by snow-topped mountains as a must-see!
2. Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik
Emily visited Croatia a few years ago, and if you’re considering a trip this beautiful country, you can use your Hilton points to save money!
The city of Dubrovnik, Croatia, in particular, is most famous for its Old Town area with stone walls overlooking the Adriatic Sea. You might recognize it as King’s Landing from Game of Thrones!
You could also take a boat trip to the Island of Lokrum, to enjoy lots of nature trails and escape the busy city.
The Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik would be a great option if you’re looking to splurge for a night (or 2!). It costs 70,000 Hilton points per night, but the cash price is normally ~$450+. So you’d save lots of money using your Hilton points here!
3. Hilton Brussels City
The Hilton Brussels City would be an economical choice if you want to spend a couple of days exploring the vibrant city of Brussels, Belgium.
For only 16,000 Hilton points per night, the limited-time sign-up bonus on either of the AMEX Hilton cards is enough for at least 5 free nights here.
In Brussels, you can visit iconic sites like the Grand Palace, where every 2 years they cover the central square in flowers! Or visit the city’s numerous churches and museums, like the St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedrals, or the popular Musical Instruments Museum.
Million Mile Secrets team member Scott visited Brussels and was delightfully surprised by the beauty of Old Town Brussels and the quirkiness of the famous Atomium sculpture. And highly recommends the delicious razor clams at La Mer du Nord, a street-side open air restaurant.
Plus, he liked that it was easy to get around town by bus and tram. And easy to take the train to Paris and Amsterdam.
4. Hilton Budapest City
Headed to Budapest? You could use 32,000 Hilton points for a free night at the Hilton Budapest City.
This stunning city has gained popularity over the years, but isn’t as well-traveled as spots like Paris or Rome. Lots of folks consider it one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, because of its architecture, rich history, and location on the Danube River.
Million Mile Secrets team member Scott visited Budapest ~3 years ago and felt the vibe was lively and authentic. He took a free educational walking tour, and visited the Jewish Museum and Great Synagogue, where he saw the Tree of Life.
He also recommends the Royal Palace.
Most folks make the trip to dip in the city’s famous thermal baths. For Scott, the way the baths worked was more interesting than for actual enjoyment. But you should decide for yourself! 😉
5. DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Lisbon – Fontana Park
Lisbon, Portugal, is another underrated European city worth a visit. It’s still rough around the edges, but you can enjoy the city’s pastel-colored buildings and nearby beaches!
And you can use Hilton points to stay at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Lisbon – Fontana Park, and save you cash for other adventures!
The hotel gets good reviews on TripAdvisor and costs 30,000 Hilton points per night. So regardless of which AMEX Hilton card you apply for, you’ll have enough points for at least 2 free nights here after earning the sign-up bonus.
Plus, it’s only a ~30 minute train to Sintra, where you can visit incredible castles.
If you’re looking for incredibly fresh seafood, Million Mile Secrets team member Scott recommends Cervejaria Ramiro. He went there based on review by Anthony Bourdain, and says he will always remember that meal!
6. Hilton Helsinki Strand
On the Gulf of Finland overlooking the Baltic Sea you’ll find Helsinki, the country’s capital.
One of the most popular attractions there is the Fortress of Suomenlinna, a UNESCO World Heritage site that’s an old military structure.
And no trip to Finland would be complete without a traditional Finnish sauna experience at a spot like the Kotiharjun Sauna!
Although Team member Scott says it’s the Fazer chocolate bars that make the trip complete. 🙂
If you want to use Hilton points for a trip here, consider the Hilton Helsinki Strand. For 36,000 Hilton points per night, you’ll save at least ~$270 on a one night stay.
Team member Scott also says to NOT miss a day trip by ferry to explore Tallinn, Estonia!
7. Athenee Palace Hilton Bucharest
Another off-the-beaten-track European city that’s worth visiting is Bucharest, Romania. Once nicknamed “Little Paris,” the city is filled with beautiful architecture, museums, parks, and nightlife.
And if you’re looking to use Hilton points here, consider the Athenee Palace Hilton Bucharest, that costs 32,000 Hilton points per night.
Located in the city center, this hotel is less than a 10 minute walk to the metro station, so you’ll have easy access to the city’s attractions. And it’s a ~15 minute drive to sites like the Museum of the Romanian Peasant and Palace of Parliament.
You’ll earn 80,000 Hilton points after opening the AMEX Hilton Honors card or 100,000 Hilton points for opening an AMEX Hilton Honors Surpass card, when you apply by May 31, 2017, and meet the cards’ minimum spending requirements.
And you can use the Hilton points you earn to visit a number of often-overlooked European cities, like Brussels, Belgium, Krakow, Poland, Bucharest, Romania, and more!
Which underrated European cities would you add to the list? Let me know in the comments!