Stretch your points: The best Hilton properties in the US for 20k points or less

Nov 12, 2019

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You can book some amazing stays with hotel points, but these stays will often quickly deplete your points balance. In the “Stretch Your Points” mini-series, I’m looking at how you can use hotel points for the maximum number of award nights. Sure, some low-category properties aren’t a good choice for a stay — but there are some gems, both in the U.S. and abroad.

I’ve presented my favorite low-tier Marriott properties, domestic Hyatt properties and international Hyatt properties where you can really stretch your points. Today, our attention turns toward domestic Hilton properties. Specifically, I’ll consider how many nights you can squeeze out of the current welcome bonuses on various cobranded Hilton credit cards, including the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card. I’ll also share examples of properties in the U.S. where you can stay for as little as 10,000 points per night.

In This Post

How to earn Hilton Points

If you’re just starting out with Hilton Honors, there are a few ways you can obtain points. One option is to transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to Hilton. (Sometimes there are even transfer bonuses.) Another option is to purchase points during a sale. A final option is to sign up one of the cobranded Hilton credit cards and meet the minimum spending requirements to earn the welcome bonus. Here are the current welcome bonuses:

  • Hilton Honors Card from American Express (75,000-point bonus, $0 annual fee) (See rates and fees) Terms apply.
  • Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card (125,000-point bonus, $95 annual fee) (See rates and fees) Terms apply.
  • The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card (125,000-point bonus, $95 annual fee) (See rates and fees) Terms apply.
  • Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express (150,000-point bonus, $450 annual fee) (See rates and fees) Terms apply

Related: The best ways to earn Hilton Honors points

How many nights can I get from the bonuses?

Standard room award nights start at 5,000 points per night and can reach up to 95,000 points per night. That said, I didn’t find any properties in the U.S. for less than 10,000 points per night.

Hilton doesn’t have award charts, but you can use the Hilton Points Explorer tool to see minimum and maximum point values required for a one-night stay in a standard room. My point values are obtained using recent values instead of current values — so you may see a different award night cost when you click through to a particular property.

For this piece, I consider the properties that were bookable for 20,000 points per night or less. TPG’s most recent valuation pegs the value of Hilton points at 0.6 cents each, so 20,000 points are worth about $120, 15,000 points are worth about $90, 10,000 points are worth about $60 and 5,000 points are worth about $30.

Since Hilton offers every fifth night free on award stays of five nights or longer to Silver, Gold and Diamond elites, you can stretch your points even further. You only need four stays, 10 nights or 25,000 base points per year to earn Silver status, but Hilton elite status also comes as a benefit of various cobranded Hilton credit cards as well as The Platinum Card® from American Express.

Related: The 7 best starter travel credit cards

Here’s how many award nights you could get with the welcome bonus offered by these cards (not counting the points earned while you are meeting the spending requirements). I also assume that you’ll use your points for award stays in increments of five nights, so you can utilize the fifth-night-free benefit. And, for the Amex Platinum I assume you’ll transfer the Amex welcome bonus to Hilton points at the standard 1:2 ratio.

Card Welcome bonus Annual fee Status provided by card Maximum award nights from bonus at 5k properties Maximum award nights from bonus at 10k properties
Maximum award nights from bonus at 15k properties Maximum award nights from bonus at 20k properties
Hilton Honors Card from American Express 75,000 Hilton bonus points after you spend $1,000 in purchases within your first three months $0 Silver 18 8 6 3
Hilton Honors Surpass Card from American Express 125,000 bonus points after after you use your new Card to make $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. $95 Gold 31 15 10 7
Hilton Honors American Express Business Card 125,000 Hilton bonus points after you spend $3,000 in purchases within your first three months $95 Gold 31 15 10 7
Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express 150,000 Hilton bonus points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within your first three months $450 Diamond 37 18 12 8
The Platinum Card® from American Express 60,000 Membership Rewards bonus points after you spend $5,000 in purchases within your first three months $550 (see rates and fees) Gold 30 15 10 7

Those numbers of nights you can get from one welcome bonus are pretty exciting, but here comes a little dose of cold water. Within the U.S., most of the Hilton properties bookable for 20,000 points or less aren’t located in popular tourist destinations. As such, many of these properties are better suited for visiting friends and family or road trips than vacation destinations. Here are some properties that you might want to consider for an upcoming trip.

A few 10k properties

There are only 14 properties in the U.S. that list a maximum nightly rate of 10,000 Hilton points. Here are a few of the best-located properties.

Hampton Inn Miami, Oklahoma

(Photo courtesy of Booking.com.)

The Hampton Inn Miami, Oklahoma is located on Route 66 near historic Ribbon Road (an original section of scenic Route 66). The hotel has a heated indoor pool, fitness center, coin laundry and the room rate includes daily hot breakfast. For 10,000 points per night, you can book a room with two queen beds or one king bed. Cash prices usually range from $83 to $124 per night before taxes and fees.

Hampton Inn Deming, New Mexico

(Photo courtesy of Booking.com)
(Photo courtesy of Booking.com.)

The Hampton Inn Deming, New Mexico is located just off I-10. There are two local wineries within five miles of the hotel and Deming hosts the Great American Duck Race during the third weekend of August each year. The hotel has a heated pool, fitness center, coin laundry and the room rate includes hot breakfast daily. For 10,000 points per night, you can book a room with two queen beds or one king bed. Cash prices usually range from $103 to $130 per night before taxes and fees.

Hilton Garden Inn Tulsa South, Oklahoma

(Photo courtesy of Booking.com)
(Photo courtesy of Booking.com.)

The Hilton Garden Inn Tulsa South is located in southeast Tulsa. The hotel has an outdoor swimming pool, whirlpool, coin laundry and a fitness center. For 10,000 points per night, you can book a room with one king bed or two queen beds. Prices usually range from $74 to $130 per night before taxes and fees.

Related: Maximizing redemptions with Hilton Honors

Hotels for outdoor trips

Low-category properties near recreational attractions may have high cash rates during the summers, weekends and holidays, but often award nights are still available. This is the case for the properties below, which all offered good award night availability.

Hampton Inn Alamogordo, New Mexico

(Photo courtesy of Booking.com)
(Photo courtesy of Booking.com.)

The Hampton Inn Alamogordo is located 15 miles from the White Sands National Monument visitor center. The hotel has an indoor pool whirlpool, fitness center, coin laundry and free hot breakfast. For 20,000 points per night, you can book a room with two queen beds or one king bed. Prices usually range from $113 to $177 per night before taxes and fees.

Hampton Inn Lagrange near Callaway Gardens, Georgia

(Photo courtesy of Booking.com)

The Hampton Inn Lagrange near Callaway Gardens is in southwest Georgia near Callaway Gardens, a large wilderness resort. The hotel has a fitness center, pool, coin laundry, overnight boat charging stations and free hot breakfast. For 20,000 points per night, you can book a room with one king bed or two queen beds. Prices usually range from $91 to $121 per night before taxes and fees.

Hampton Inn & Suites Los Alamos White Rock, New Mexico

(Photo courtesy of Booking.com)

The Hampton Inn & Suites Los Alamos is close to the Los Alamos National Laboratory as well as the Bandelier National Monument. The hotel has a fitness center, coin laundry and offers free hot breakfast. For 20,000 points per night, you can book a room with two queen beds or one king bed. Prices usually range from $101 to $161 per night before taxes and fees.

Hampton Inn Santa Rosa, New Mexico

The Hampton Inn Santa Rosa is on Route 66 near the Blue Hole, which is a spring-fed lake popular with scuba divers. The hotel has an indoor swimming pool, whirlpool spa, game room, fitness center, coin laundry and offers free hot breakfast. For 20,000 points per night, you can book a room with two queen beds, two double beds or one king bed. Prices usually range from $118 to $155 per night before taxes and fees.

Related: 7 great ways to use 150,000 Hilton Honors points

Hotels for city trips

You can’t stay centrally located in most popular tourist destinations with 20,000 Hilton points or less per night. But, you can sometimes find properties in the outskirts of popular cities, or in the heart of less popular cities that won’t break the bank. Here are a few examples.

Hampton Inn Atlanta/Stone Mountain, Georgia

(Photo courtesy of Booking.com)

The Hampton Inn Atlanta/Stone Mountain is, as you might guess, near Stone Mountain just east of Atlanta. The hotel has a seasonal outdoor pool, fitness room, coin laundry and includes daily hot breakfast. For 20,000 points per night, you can book a room with one king bed, a room with two queen beds or a room with one king bed and a sleeper bed. Prices usually range from $91 to $185 per night before taxes and fees.

DoubleTree by Hilton Decatur Riverfront, Alabama

(Photo courtesy of Booking.com)

The DoubleTree by Hilton Decatur Riverfront is at the edge of Historic Downtown Decatur overlooking the Tennessee River and Steamboat Bill Memorial Bridge. The property is west of Huntsville, so the U.S. Space & Rocket Center is only 20 minutes away. The hotel has a bar, fitness center, coin laundry and an indoor/outdoor pool. For 20,000 points per night, you can book a room with one king bed and a sofa bed, two queen beds or two double beds — and river view rooms are even bookable for no surcharge. Prices usually range from $95 to $130 per night before taxes and fees.

Home2 Suites by Hilton Atlanta Norcross, Georgia

The Home2Suites by Hilton Atlanta Norcross, GA is located northeast of downtown Atlanta. The hotel has a combined fitness and laundry center, a free local shuttle, an outdoor saline pool and includes a hot breakfast daily. For 20,000 points per night, you can book a room with one king bed or two queen beds. Prices usually range from $74 to $171 per night before taxes and fees.

Hampton Inn Bowling Green, Ohio

(Photo courtesy of Booking.com)

The Hampton Inn Bowling Green is across from Bowling Green State University. The hotel has an indoor heated pool, fitness center, coin laundry, grand piano in the lobby and includes daily hot breakfast. Award nights generally cost 20,000 points per night currently. At this rate, you can reserve a room with two queen beds or one king bed. Prices usually range from $96 to $162 per night before taxes and fees.

Related: How to redeem points with the Hilton Honors program

Hotels near airports

Hotel prices around some airports can be sky-high, which is when using hotel points can be especially valuable. Here are a few hotels near airports that may also be attractive for a longer stay if you’re visiting any of these cities.

Hilton Kansas City-Airport, Missouri

(Photo courtesy of Booking.com)

The Hilton Kansas City-Airport is located about 15 minutes outside downtown Kansas City. The hotel has a free airport shuttle that will also take you anywhere within five miles of the hotel, including Zona Rosa. There’s also an indoor/outdoor pool, coin laundry and a fitness center. For 20,000 points per night, you can book a room with two double beds or one king bed. Prices usually range from $90 to $196 per night before taxes and fees.

Hampton Inn Dulles/Cascades, Virginia

(Photo courtesy of Booking.com)

The Hampton Inn Dulles/Cascades is on the outskirts of Washington, D.C., near Washington’s wine country and Dulles (IAD) airport. The hotel has a free shuttle to IAD, an indoor pool, fitness center, basketball area, coin laundry and includes daily hot breakfast. Award nights generally cost 20,000 points per night currently. At this rate, you can reserve a room with one king bed, two queen beds or one king bed and a sofa bed. Prices usually range from $98 to $190 per night before taxes and fees.

Hampton Inn Knoxville-Airport, Tennessee

(Photo courtesy of Booking.com)

The Hampton Inn Knoxville-Airport is between Knoxville and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The hotel has a free airport shuttle, an outdoor pool, fitness center and includes daily hot breakfast. Award nights generally cost 20,000 points per night currently. At this rate, you can reserve a room with one king bed or two double beds. Prices usually range from $88 to $135 per night before taxes and fees.

Hampton Inn Montgomery-South-Airport, Alabama

The Hampton Inn Montgomery-South-Airport is outside the downtown Montgomery area in quiet Hope Hull. The hotel has an airport shuttle, fitness room, pool, coin laundry and includes daily hot breakfast. For 20,000 points per night, you can book a room with one king bed or two queen beds. Prices usually range from $86 to $154 per night before taxes and fees.

Bottom line

Unfortunately, there aren’t any truly amazing low-category Hilton sweet spots in the U.S. However, this doesn’t mean that Hilton points aren’t useful if you want to stretch your points while traveling domestically. Using the properties in this piece — as well as some of the other Hilton properties costing 20,000 points per night or less that didn’t make the list — you could easily put together a nice road trip or visit to family and friends.

Personally, I’m excited about a couple of options on the list for upcoming trips — although I’ll be sure to check cash prices to make sure I’m getting solid value from my points. My favorites were:

  • DoubleTree by Hilton Decatur Riverfront due to its nice-looking riverfront location that isn’t too far from the U.S. Space and Rocket Center
  • Hampton Inn Alamogordo for a trip to White Sands National Monument
  • Hampton Inn Lagrange near Callaway Gardens for a winter weekend trip to see Callaway Gardens’ Fantasy in Lights

We’d love to hear if any of these properties have inspired you to stretch your Hilton points on a trip around the country.

Related: How to choose the best Hilton credit card for you

Featured photo courtesy of Booking.com.

For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors Amex, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors Surpass Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors Business Amex, click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors Aspire Amex, click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card, click here.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.