Update: The bonuses mentioned below are no longer available. See Best Hotel Points Sign-up Bonuses for the most current offers.
I’ve always preferred to read about how people are spending their miles and points vs. how they are earning them. After all, earning points is pretty straight-forward with credit card bonuses and ongoing spending. But redeeming points, well, there’s a ton of options, even within one program!
I’m a Hyatt girl at heart. My family enjoyed a year of Hyatt Diamond Status with free suite upgrades and lounge access. Even this year, as an Explorist, I’m taking advantage of at least three Hyatt lounges.
But even without those freebie perks, I’m still a big fan of Hyatt hotels. I’ve found them to be consistent and reliable.
In the past, I’ve transferred Chase Ultimate Rewards to Hyatt for reasonable redemptions. However, I’m planning to use a big chunk of Chase Ultimate Rewards to book a condo in Hawaii through Chase’s travel portal. That will deplete most if not all of our potential Hyatt points.
I decided to look into Hilton, since the two Amex cards have temporarily increased sign-up bonuses of 100k and 80k. (See this post for more information, and please consider applying through our site if you decide one of these cards is right for your family. Thank you!)
Hilton has a very large footprint, and I was surprised at how many of its hotels will fit five people in one room. I also discovered that Hilton hotels are good options in the few places we are considering for family vacations next year.
So yes, I drank the Hilton kool-aid. My husband applied for and was approved for the Amex Hilton Surpass, which comes with 100k bonus points. I plan to also apply for the card, and my husband may also apply for the no-fee version with 80k bonus points as well. We could have almost 300,000 points in a few months!
Leana has already shared with readers her wish list of possible hotels for her Hilton redemptions. Check out the destinations and hotels my family is considering with our soon-to-be-acquired Hilton points stash!
Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas
It’s crazy that my family lives 4 ½ hours away from Hot Springs National Park and we still haven’t been there! A few of my friends have visited Hot Springs, and they say it’s lovely.
In addition to hiking trails, Hot Springs National Park also has a row of historic bathhouses, including the famous Fordyce Bathhouse with a bowling alley. If you hike to the top of Hot Springs Mountain Tower, you might see steam rising from the hot springs through the tree tops.
The town of Hot Springs also has a few fun things for families, including an alligator farm, an aquarium and a small amusement park. Nearby Lake Hamilton also has a beach, water sports and even a Duck Boat tour.
Regular rooms at the Embassy Suites Hot Springs fit up to six people with two double beds and a sofa bed. The hotel has free breakfast and free evening snacks and beverages, and it even has its own spa. I see rooms available for 37,000 Hilton Honors points (~$200 cash) per night over the summer.
After using a serious amount of points (and probably cash) for our Spring Break trip to Hawaii next year, Hot Springs might make a perfect choice for a summer vacation.
Chocolate, drool! I remember going here as a kid, and I’d love to bring my family here.
Hilton has several hotels in the vicinity that would work for my family of five:
Orlando and Daytona Beach, Florida
Florida—my family can’t get enough. The state full of awesome beaches and of course Disney! We would go there any day of the week and twice on Sunday.
My boys are itching go to Universal Orlando, mainly for the Harry Potter stuff. Hilton has several hotels in its portfolio near Universal that fit five in a room.
And all three kids are begging to go back to Daytona Beach! Hilton has several oceanfront properties in the area.
If none of those trips materialize for my family, we still have tons of hotel choices in Dallas and all over Texas where we could use the points over a weekend. Between the greater DFW area and en route to our relatives in South Texas, there are some great possibilities.
This Hilton Garden Inn South Padre Island is calling to me as well. It’s a far drive from my city, but the beach is probably the best in the state of Texas.
Oh, the possibilities!
Are Hilton Points Right for You?
If you’re new to the miles and points travel hobby, I urge you to first determine if Hilton points are a good fit for your family. What are your travel goals? Where do you want to vacation?
I recommend searching on Hilton.com for hotel possibilities in your desired travel area. Hilton has 14 hotel brands under its umbrella, so if you just Google Hilton plus a city, you might miss out on hotel options within the Hilton portfolio
If you haven’t applied for a new credit card in years, please read Leana’s post about a good two-year strategy for newbies. Chase credit cards should be a priority for most people, depending on your goals and plans.
However, if accumulating these low-hanging-fruit Hilton points is a good fit for you, remember to pay off your credit card bills each month. Miles and points hobby should not cause you to go into debt.
Do any of the destinations above sound appealing to you? If you are going to accumulate Hilton points, where will you use them?
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Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.