My Hilton Free Weekend Night Certificate arrived less than 3 days after I completed the $15,000 calendar-year spend requirement on an Amex Hilton Honors Ascend card. In addition, we learned two other important things about the certificates – no resort fees, and you might be able to use a certificate past its expiration date.
How Fast Does a Free Weekend Night Certificate Arrive?
The Amex Hilton Honors Ascend card comes with a benefit of a Hilton Free Weekend Night Certificate after spend of $15,000 on the card during a calendar year. (Other Amex Hilton co-branded cards also have a similar Free Weekend Night Certificate benefit based on spend in a calendar year – the Aspire card earns a certificate after $60,000 in spend, and the Business card earns a certificate after $15,000 in spend.)
These certificates can be quite valuable. Although they may only be used on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights and expire one year after they are issued, these certificates may be used at almost any hotel in the Hilton portfolio worldwide (including Hilton’s high-end brands such as Waldorf Astoria, Conrad and Curio), with only a few exceptions, so long as a standard room is available.
Philly and I have used these certificates for some valuable stays within the past few months:
- We had a very fun date night at the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills, which regularly has base-level room rates of more than $700 (and on our night, it would have cost more than $800 all-in on a paid rate)
- We used 2 free night certificates at the Hilton Nashville Downtown on our “Adventures with Edventure in Nashville” weekend, when the best paid rates were almost $500 for one night and more than $600 for the other
- We recently used another free night certificate for an upcoming stay at the Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas, for a night when paid rates at the Waldorf or any of the higher-end casino hotels in Vegas were more than $400
The official Amex terms and conditions say that the Hilton Free Weekend Night Certificate will be delivered within 8-12 weeks of hitting the purchase requirement. However, for the certificate we just earned, the certificate was delivered in less than 3 days!
Our specific dates were:
- Monday 5/20/2019 – Made the purchase that hit the $15k 2019 calendar-year threshold
- Thursday 5/23/2019, (1:07 am) – Received an email from Hilton Honors: “Your Reward for a weekend night has arrived” (see this article’s featured image)
Note that there was no requirement for a statement close between the time the spend threshold was met and the time the certificate issued. Also, note that when we published an article last year on this same subject, we reported that the certificate was delivered in 10 days, compared to 3 days this year.
Our confirmation email from Hilton Honors included our certificate number and instructions for redemption. In short, the instructions are: Find a room at any hotel in the Hilton portfolio with standard award availability on a weekend night, call 1-800-HHONORS (1-800-446-6677), and provide your certificate number and preferred date to book the room.
We recently did this again to book our upcoming stay at the Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas (WA Vegas). The process was quick and easy. The entire call took less than 5 minutes, and we received our confirmation email within a few minutes after ending our call with the Hilton phone agent.
Two Other Important Data Points About Hilton Free Weekend Night Certificates
When I called to redeem our certificate for the WA Vegas, I was fortunate to get an experienced and helpful agent on the line. I took the opportunity to ask her some questions for additional data points related to the Hilton Free Weekend Night certificates:
Data Point 1 – No resort fees when you use a Free Weekend Night certificate
Like virtually every hotel in Las Vegas, the WA Vegas charges a resort fee. And it’s a hefty one – $45 per night, plus tax (total $51.02). The agent confirmed that we won’t be charged the resort fee when we use our Free Weekend Night Certificate at the WA Vegas.
The agent said that Hilton never charges resort fees when you use a Free Weekend Night Certificate. (And, she also said that Hilton never charges resort fees when you book award stays using Hilton Honors points, either.)
Data Point 2 – You might be able to book a room past the expiration date of a certificate, if you call in before the certificate expires
On our certificate redemption at the WA Vegas, the night of our stay would be just a few days before the certificate expired. I took this opportunity to ask the Hilton agent a hypothetical question – if I had been trying to book a date after the certificate expiration date, perhaps a month later, and I asked nicely, would they be willing to extend the certificate so I could use it?
(I’ve seen conflicting data points on this in the past. I’ve seen some reports saying that the expiration date is hard-and-fast and the stay must occur before the expiration date or else the certificate is lost. Yet I’d seen at least one report of someone being able to book with a certificate past its expiration date by calling in to Hilton before the certificate expired.)
Her answer to my hypothetical was Yes, they would have extended my certificate if I was asking to redeem the certificate a month after the expiration date. Beyond that, she was hesitant to give specifics. It seems to be a matter of discretion. The agent specifically referenced that if I had some “good reason” that I couldn’t use it by the expiration date, that would help. She also suggested that elite status would help. My takeaway was that they were willing to be flexible, but they certainly weren’t going to reveal any specific rules.
But the important data point here is – Hilton may be willing to extend the expiration date on a Free Weekend Night Certificate, if you call in before the certificate expires with a specific room booking request.
What’s your experience with Hilton Free Weekend Night Certificates? Most importantly, have you tried to use a certificate past its expiration date? How did that turn out? Please share with us and other Middle Age Miles readers in the Comments!
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