The Smart Way to Use Citi ThankYou Points at Hilton
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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!
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 PrestigeCurrently, Hilton is Citi’s only hotel partner. But remember, Hilton hotels includes Canopy, Conrad, Curio, DoubleTree, Embassy Suites, Hampton Inn, Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Hilton Grand Vacations, Home2Suites, Homewood 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.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.
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)!
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.
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).
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)!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).
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.
And Citi Prestige cardholders would pay 12,658 Citi ThankYou points. Over 5,000 points more!
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 expensive. Otherwise 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:[table id=221 responsive=scroll responsive_breakpoint=phone /]
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.[table id=222 responsive=scroll responsive_breakpoint=phone /]
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.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.
There are 2 ways to use your Citi ThankYou points to stay at Hilton.
- Transfer points to Hilton for an award stay
- Pay for your room with Citi ThankYou points through the Citi ThankYou Travel Center
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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