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Back in November I took an upgrade offer that converted my Hilton American Express card (free version) to the top-tier Hilton Aspire American Express card for a bonus of 150,000 points. I wasn’t aware of the initial free night being part of the offer, but based on what I was reading, people reported receiving it.

As I upgraded back two months ago, I had nearly given up hope that the free night would post. But it did. I received an email from American Express yesterday with the certificate code and instructions to call Hilton. Because calling in to redeem something is so 2019.

Sarcasm aside, I’m excited to have a free night to burn. I have a few opportunities coming up where it will be useful. Let me know what you think of each, or if you have some other suggestion:

Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund

This is the most obvious choice for me. I’ll be taking a very quick solo trip to Shanghai in March, staying just three nights. The first night will be a very late arrival, so I’ve booked a hotel right at the airport. The other two nights are up for grabs. I’ve been looking at a couple Hyatt properties, but the Waldorf also jumped out at me since it is a beautiful historic hotel right on the water.

The value of using the certificate here for my dates is about $270. I also have top-tier status with Hilton due to holding the Aspire, which will let me enjoy the free breakfast perk.

Hilton Taipei Sinban

A couple months later I’ll be flying to Taiwan with one of my sons for a few days. I have one night booked at the Grand Hyatt using a Category 1-4 free night certificate, and I’m hoping to earn a second one before too long. Using the Hilton certificate for our third night could make a lot of sense. The Hilton Taipei Sinban isn’t as centrally located as other hotels, but it is still right on a major metro line.

The value of using the certificate here for our dates is about $180. Less than the Waldorf, but still decent.

LAX airport hotel

No, seriously. On the same trip, we’ll be flying back to LAX on Xiamen airlines, overnighting, and then flying back to Northern California the next morning. I’m not against burning certificates at airport hotels. This can often be a great use, especially if you only have one certificate like I do in this instance. I hate paying a lot of money (or points) for airport hotels where all I typically care about is getting a good night’s rest.

Except that I just realized this would be a Tuesday night. So using the certificate is out. LOL. Leaving the discussion, at least so you’ll know that this option is normally on the table.

Alexandra Barcelona Hotel, Curio Collection

A few days ago I booked my first business class mistake fare using Ultimate Rewards points. I haven’t heard any updates from Alitalia since I purchased it, and I’m taking no news as good news. My seats in the front of the plane are still showing as confirmed, and I hope things stay that way.

At some point I am going to have to start looking into hotels, if this trip does indeed pan out. The Alexandra Barcelona Hotel is an option, and one that makes sense given the brevity of the trip I would take. I would only plan to stay 1-2 nights before turning around and heading home on the outbound segment on my mistake fare. However, I’m also thinking of making a long weekend of it to visit Andorra. In any case, the value of using the certificate here is about $250 for either of my dates.

San Francisco or Napa

We could always just head to “the city” by car and use the certificate as part of a weekend getaway. Or in Napa, as there is an Embassy Suites that looks nice. Anything in either of these places would be a great use, as rates can climb into the stratosphere. I’ve taken the kids on a few long weekend getaways, and this could easily help make another of those happen. We would probably get $250-$350 in value based on weekend rates in either of these locations.


I’m leaning toward the Waldorf Shanghai, since it is the highest value for the certificate that I will likely get and it fits the itinerary nicely. But the others could work just as fine as well. I’m not one to go chasing a specific location with just one night to burn. Sure, it would be nice to “maximize” my weekend night at the Conrad Bora Bora or some other exotic property. But is it worth it when you have to shell out substantial cash or points just to get there?

Where do you think I should burn my free Hilton weekend night certificate?

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