The Smart Way to Use Citi ThankYou Points at Hilton

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The Smart Way to Use Citi ThankYou Points at Hilton

Million Mile SecretsThe Smart Way to Use Citi ThankYou Points at HiltonMillion Mile Secrets Team

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

Update: One or more card offers in this post are no longer available. Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers.

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

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!

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Dont forget you also pay all the fees (resort fees too!) on bookings when you pay directly with your Citi card. So those fees may be more than what you would save by going this route.

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

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.

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.

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

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