Advertisements
Middle Age Miles

When Does My Free Night Certificate on My New Amex Hilton Aspire Card Arrive, and How Can I Use It?

Use your Amex Hilton Aspire card Free Weekend Night Certificate at the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego
The famous Hotel del Coronado in San Diego is a great place to use a Hilton Free Weekend Night Certificate! [featured image courtesy sandiego.org]

The Amex Hilton Aspire is one of the very best cards available today. One of its key benefits is a Hilton Free Weekend Night Certificate, good at any Hilton-family property worldwide on a Friday/Saturday/Sunday night when a room is available at a standard award redemption rate. (Full terms and conditions of the Hilton Free Weekend Night Certificates are available here.)

Cardholders receive a Free Weekend Night Certificate after approval for the Aspire card, and annually after each year’s renewal. Many people who sign up for the Aspire card are anxious to receive this valuable certificate, so we wanted to provide data points on when to expect the certificate to arrive.

We have two data points – one from an upgrade a few months ago, and another from a new card sign-up and approval where our reader just received his Free Weekend Night Certificate this morning:

  • Middle Age Miles data point
    • Upgraded from Ascend card with bonus offer
    • Upgrade Date: 7/2/2018
    • Received Free Weekend Night Certificate: 9/3/2018
    • Number of Days: 63
  • Friend-of-Middle-Age-Miles JV13 data point
    • New sign-up & approval for Aspire card
    • Approval Date: 12/20/2018
    • Received Free Weekend Night Certificate: 2/21/2019
    • Number of Days: 63

As you can see, our data points are perfectly consistent – expect the Free Weekend Night Certificate to arrive a little more than 2 months after you are approved for the Aspire card or upgrade to it.

Note that the email you receive from Amex notifying you of the Free Weekend Night Certificate says that the certificate may take 8-14 weeks to arrive. However, in our experience, the Certificate was available almost immediately.

Certificates are valid for exactly 1 year from the date they are issued.

How Do I Redeem My Hilton Free Weekend Night Certificates?

Redeeming requires a call to the Hilton reservations center, but otherwise it’s pretty simple. Use the Hilton website to find any weekend night where a Standard Room Reward is available. Then, call in to Hilton at 1-800-4HONORS (1-800-466-6677), tell them the date and property for your stay, and provide the agent with your Certificate number.

Are There Other Ways to Get Hilton Free Weekend Night Certificates?

Yes. The 3 main other ways to get Hilton Free Weekend Night Certificates are:

  • Spend $15,000 in a calendar year on the Amex Hilton Ascend card (referral link);
  • Spend $60,000 in a calendar year on your Aspire card; or
  • Have your spouse or significant other also sign up for the Aspire card (referral link).

Having multiple certificates can be a very good way to get a full weekend’s worth of stays for free!

Where Are Some Places I Might Use My Hilton Free Weekend Night Certificate?

We wanted to give you some ideas to start brainstorming and daydreaming about where you might want to use your Hilton Free Weekend Night Certificate. There are many great places worldwide, but for this article we thought we’d focus on a few places in the US where the Certificate might help you make a fun weekend getaway:

1. Hotel del Coronado, Curio Collection – San Diego

The iconic Hotel del Coronado is beautifully situated on a beach on Coronado Island in San Diego. It became part of Hilton’s Curio Collection – and thus accessible with Hilton points and free night certificates – a couple of years ago.

We’ve visited the Del Coronado but never actually stayed there. It’s definitely on our short list of possible weekend getaways, and using a Free Weekend Night Certificate there can be a great deal.

Here’s an example of a night where a Free Weekend Night Certificate could be redeemed when the paid rate would be $555, on Saturday, March 9:

[For all of these examples, we searched for AAA and AARP rates, so we’d be comparing against the standard discounted rates that many people would be able to readily access. As you can see in this example, the Hilton Honors discount resulted in a lower rate than AAA or AARP.]

2. Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills

The new Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills has now been open for a little over a year and a half, and it’s perhaps the crown jewel of the Hilton collection in the US. Middle Age Miles did a date weekend at the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills using a Free Weekend Night Certificate, and we had a blast.

Rollin’ like a celebrity at the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills Rooftop Bar

Here’s a night with Certificate availability at the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills, on Saturday, April 6:

A paid rate would be almost $800 (and well over $800 including tax!) – and this is a run-of-the-mill price at the WA Beverly Hills – but you can stay for free with your Hilton Free Weekend Night Certificate!

3. Hilton Nashville Downtown

Downtown Nashville is white-hot right now, with hotel rooms in heavy demand and prices skyrocketing. The biggest action is on Broadway, and you can’t find a nice hotel in a better location than the Hilton Nashville Downtown.

Middle Age Miles recently had a very fun weekend in Nashville with our friends from Edventure, and we used two Hilton Free Weekend Night Certificates to stay at the all-suites Hilton Nashville Downtown. We stayed for free on Friday and Saturday nights, when paid rates would have been $400-500.

Hilton Nashville Downtown – overhead view of most of the lobby area

Here’s an example of a night where a Free Weekend Night Certificate could be redeemed when the paid rate would be $699, on Saturday, June 8:

4. Hilton Times Square – New York

The Hilton Times Square in New York isn’t always expensive, but it can get that way, especially during the holiday season. How about using a Free Weekend Night Certificate on Thanksgiving weekend, when a paid rate would be $449?

This example is for Friday, November 29:

Conclusion

As you’ve seen, it takes a little over 2 months to receive your Hilton Free Weekend Night Certificate after you are approved for the Amex Hilton Aspire card or upgrade into it. And you can use the Certificate to get some great value at some very fun locations where you might not ever pay the going rate.

Now, did we cherry pick our examples a bit? Yes we did. But that’s exactly the point – the Hilton Free Weekend Night Certificate can be used at any Hilton property as long as a Standard Room Reward is available. Hilton hotels certainly aren’t perfect about making standard rooms available, but frankly, they’re pretty good about it. It’s not hard to get $250-300 in value out of the Free Weekend Night Certificates, and as you can see, it’s possible to get a lot more than that! This is exactly the type of thing we talk about in our mission statement at Middle Age Miles – we want to help you live your travel dreams.

Do you have other data points on Free Weekend Night Certificates? Where are your favorite redemptions – either ones you’ve actually done, or ones you’re still dreaming of? Please share with us and other Middle Age Miles readers in the Comments!


At Middle Age Miles, we love to bring you travel, credit card and points-and-miles information that you can use to help make your travel dreams come true. To see all of our tips and insights, please Like and follow us on social media at:

Please share and re-tweet our posts and tell all of your friends about Middle Age Miles! Thank you!

Advertisements

6 thoughts on “When Does My Free Night Certificate on My New Amex Hilton Aspire Card Arrive, and How Can I Use It?

  1. HS

    Well, applying them is “pretty simple” as long as you have enough Hilton points in your account to cover the parallel cost in points. I know that this sounds illogical and convoluted, but it’s pretty well documented: Hilton Honors internal free-night-crediting-system is jury-rigged, so that it requires (and initially shows) the requisite number of points leaving your account. This can catch you off-guard: You have the conversation, you hang-up, you log-in, you look at your account, and you go, “Dang, I swear I told them to use the free night certificate, not points.” This does clean itself up — they don’t really take your points, and they do credit your reservation to your certificate.

    The problem — at least it used to be a problem (maybe they fixed it; maybe all of this that I am writing is yesterday’s news) — is that they can’t confirm certificate use unless you have the required number of points for the fallacious assumption that you were actually booking on points. Now, wise Hilton Honors CSRs know how to do some magic to make this go away (I assume that they phantom-grant-you some points), but not all of them are wise or magicians.

    Bottom line:

    — Yeah, if you have plenty of points, easy-peasy. Just don’t look too hard at your reservation for a while!

    — If you don’t have a lot of points, be prepared to explain the issue to the CSR

    1. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

      Hi HS – Thanks so much for the insight and your always-thoughtful and easy-to-read commentary. I have to say, I have not experienced the issue you described. Maybe I’ve just been lucky, or maybe the Hilton system has been improved. For purposes of sizing up the data points, my first Free Weekend Night Certificate reservation was made in January 2018, so pretty recent.

      I had indeed read of issues like you describe, but I had dismissed them as remnants of the past or outliers. Maybe I shouldn’t have been so quick to do so? Have you experienced this issue or known others to have it during 2018-19?

      I certainly want to present things accurately to everyone reading! Thanks again. ~Craig

  2. HS

    Hmmm… Well, I can’t say that I know anymore about the real “gotcha!” — the one where the CSR can’t book because of insufficient points.

    But I did just book three (!) of these (thank you, Citi to Amex Ascend transition!) for a long weekend, and just now went back to look on the Hilton Honors web site. Yes, clear as a bell, it lists the three certificate numbers. So everything is cool there. However, when I look down a little further, I see:

    Points: xxx,000
    Total for stay: xxx,000 points

    Now, they did not take xxx,000 points from my account. But, fortunately, I did have xxx,000 points in the account at the time of booking. Otherwise, I’m guessing that unless I happened to have hit an in-the-know CSR, I would have had that “can’t book the cert” merry-go-round.

    In sum: Evidence remains suggestive of a problem. This said, I can hardly claim to be definitive on this point. Anyhow, it is not a fatal problem. They can work around it. Just something people might want to know has occurred in the past, in case what (I agree) should be a simple procedure starts to go south.

    1. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

      Very interesting. I appreciate the follow-up. Thinking back to our firsthand experience, I suspect that I have had sufficient points in my account at the time of each Certificate booking. Thus, I could very easily have been blissfully unaware of potential issues. This is all very good to know, and I appreciate you taking the time to share the info. ~Craig

      1. Justin B

        HS and Craig, I believe they have fixed this issue. When I booked a stay a couple weeks ago, the rep put me on hold to “borrow” the points needed for the Free Night Certificate award, even though it was supposed to be “free.” A couple minutes later, she came back and said that the points required are no longer necessary to have in your account because they have “updated’ their systems.

        1. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

          Hi Justin B – Thanks so much for sharing the great data point from your recent experience. Hopefully this potentially problematic issue no longer exists. I hope you continue to enjoy Middle Age Miles! ~Craig

Leave a Reply

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

%d bloggers like this: