Why You Can Never Find Free Hilton Hotel Award Nights Online & How To Fix It!

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Why You Can Never Find Free Hilton Hotel Award Nights Online & How To Fix It!

Million Mile SecretsWhy You Can Never Find Free Hilton Hotel Award Nights Online & How To Fix It!Million Mile Secrets Team

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I love how easy it is to earn Hilton points!  Sure, it costs 50,000 Hilton points for a top category 7 free Hilton night, but it is so easy to earn Hilton points.  You can earn hundreds of thousands of Hilton points just by credit card sign-up bonuses.

Even better – anyone can get Hilton Gold status and get free breakfast and internet just by having the Citi Hilton Reserve card (along with 2 free weekend nights and other perks).  This comes in very handy and saves you time and money when using those Hilton points for Big Travel with Small Money at Hilton hotels.

But I often get comments or email from readers that they tried searching for free nights at a Hilton online, but they could not find ANY free nights.

Here’s The Trick!

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.

Why?

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).

An Example – Logged into Emily’s Hilton Account

For example, Emily has 4,052 Hilton points in her account.  This is much less than the 50,000 Hilton points needed for 1 free night in London.

She logged into her Hilton account and tried searching for 2 nights in London from October 9 to October 11, 2012.

But, as expected, she didn’t find any free hotel nights!

Step 1 – Log into Hilton.com

Emily logged into her Hilton account at Hilton.com

Step 2 – Search for Awards

She then searched for 2 nights in London from October 9 to October 11, 2012.

She clicked the box which said “Use Hilton Points” and then clicked the blue “Find It” button.

HIlton Honors Awards
Click “Use Hilton Points”

Step 3 – Search Results (No Availability Found when logged-in)

Despite searching for free hotel nights, Emily was shown results for paid nights.

HIlton Honors Awards 2
Only Paid Availability Appears

She then clicked the “Book a Room” link and received a message which said: “There are no HHonors Reward Certificate rooms available for 09 Oct 2012 – 11 Oct 2012 at The Trafalgar London.

HIlton Honors Awards 3
No Free Nights Available

She clicked on each of the 27 London Hilton hotels and got the same message – that there were no award nights available!

But don’t worry – all you have to do is search for free Hilton nights when you are logged out of your account if you don’t have enough points for the length of your stay.

The Fix – DON’t LOG INTO YOUR Hilton Account!

Let’s see what happens when we search for the same dates as above, but without signing into Emily’s Hilton account.

Step 1 – Do NOT Log Into Hilton.com

Go to Hilton.com, but do NOT log into your account!  If you are already logged-in, click on “sign-out

Step 2 – Search for Awards

Search for 2 nights in London from October 9 to October 11, 2012 (the same dates in the above example).

Don’t forget to click the box which says “Use Hilton Points

Then click the blue “Find It” button!

HIlton Honors Awards
Click “Use Hilton Points”

Step 3 – Search Results (Lots of Availability Found!)

You will see free night availability for all the 27 Hilton hotels in London!

HIlton Honors Awards 4
Free Nights Now Appear for Same Dates!

If you click “Book a Room” you will see the different room types.  Look out for standard room redemption for 50,000 points (Category 7 redemption example).

HIlton Honors Awards 5
Standard Redemptions Are Usually Better Value

The premium room rewards are often not worth the extra points charged.  If you want to actually book the room, you would need to earn the points required and then log-into your Hilton account to book the room.

Bottom Line:  The Hilton website is quirky.  You usually have to be signed out of your Hilton hotel account so see free night availability if you don’t have enough points for the length of your stay.

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Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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My experience with Hilton Honors has been good and bad. One thing I’ve learned is that it pays to complain. Hilton seems to be spot-on with trying to make up for rude treatment – or no treatment – to their Honors guests. I’ve had many thousands of points restored because of a valid complaint they investigated.

Alright, well, I called again, and I guess persistence pays off. They booked it for 80,000 points (which is the “starting” quote that shows up when you’re searching by city and have to click on a hotel on the right).

I’m having the worst time redeeming free weekend night certificates.

First try was Sydney, Australia. No consecutive day availability as far as the eye could see.

Second try now is Huntington Beach, California. For some reason, they can’t book me a standard room because they can’t tell how many disHHonor points that is. The reason is that Hilton isn’t in the business of quoting standard room disHHonor prices for the top $$$ hotels. She and I could see how much an “Ocean View” room is online (107,640), but for some curious reason, can’t see how much a standard “Resort View” room is. Oops! Sorry, that means we can’t book it! Fake frowney face!

It’s absolutely ridiculous. Their excluded properties list is much longer than is shown. They might as well not have an exclusion list and just not quote points for standard rooms, and get away with it that way. That way they can lie and say: “Valid at every Hilton property! Absolutely no exclusions!” (Then again, perhaps having a fake short exclusion list helps dupe people into thinking that they won’t get hassled for booking expensive rooms.)

As soon as I blow the remaining weekend night certificates, and before the next annual fee comes due, I’m closing the credit card. It’s not worth it. I’m having a much better experience with Marriott.

The real issue is: if you’re Emily with only 4000 or so points and a standard room reward would be 50,000 points/night, logged in or not, you don’t have enough points. What’s the use in logging out only to find that you are sadly lacking in enough points for a free night. Once someone builds up a sufficient cushion of points, this should be a moot point.

can you book from a discount site (for example hotwire) and still receive the points for staying at a Hilton Hotel? (new address)

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