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The standard room at the Waldorf Astoria Maldives is a King Reef Villa with pool, which looks similar to this. It’s what you’ll get when booking with points.
The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card offers an elevated welcome bonus of up to 180,000 points after meeting spending requirements.
It offers one of the most valuable travel perks: A Weekend Night Reward after spending $15,000 in a calendar year.
I’m using rewards from this card for a luxury stay worth nearly $8,000 in the Maldives.
Read Insider’s guide to the best hotel credit cards.
The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card is quietly one of the most valuable travel credit cards on the market.
It’s currently got the largest welcome bonus it’s ever had (by a lot): The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card. Insider estimates that Hilton points are worth 0.5 cents each, on average. That makes this bonus worth around $900 in Hilton hotel stays.
But the card also comes with one of the absolute best deals in travel. After spending $15,000 on the card in a calendar year, you’ll receive one Weekend Night Reward valid for almost any Hilton property on Earth (with a few exceptions). Hilton hotels cost up to 150,000 points per night — so this certificate is conceivably worth $750+, depending on the hotel you book with it.
The Hilton Weekend Night Reward is usually only valid for Friday, Saturday, or Sunday night redemptions. However, any certificates earned in 2021 and 2022 can be used any day of the week.
Read more: Amex Hilton Business credit card review
If you know how to maximize Hilton points, it’s possible to get 4x the average value of your points. Here’s my plan to fund a Maldives vacation with The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card alone.
We’re focused here on the rewards and perks that come with each card. These cards won’t be worth it if you’re paying interest or late fees. When using a credit card, it’s important to pay your balance in full each month, make payments on time, and only spend what you can afford to pay.
How to turn the Amex Hilton Business Card into thousands of dollars in travel
By opening a card with a The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card annual fee The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card – Rates and Fees, I’ll receive nearly $8,000 in travel.
I plan to book a stay at the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi. At the time of writing, I’m seeing three- and four-night blocks of award availability sprinkled throughout 2022. That’s perfect for how I plan to use the rewards I receive from my The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card. Here are some of its features:
The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card12 points per dollar spent at Hilton hotels6 points per dollar spent with U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchases directly from U.S. service providers, U.S purchases for shipping, U.S. restaurants, flights booked directly with airlines or Amex Travel, and select car rentals.3 points per dollar on all other eligible purchasesFree weekend night certificate after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases in a calendar yearA second free weekend night award if you spend a total of $60,000 or more in a calendar yearHilton Gold elite statusUpgrade to Diamond status after you spend $40,000 on eligible purchases in a calendar yearPriority Pass Select airport lounge membership** with 10 free visits per year
This trip still won’t be cheap — restaurant prices are outrageous, and round-trip transfer to the island by yacht costs $650 per person. But there are two big ways this card will save me during this trip.
The Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi is one of the most sought-after destinations in the world of free travel. And because of that, it’s quite difficult to find availability. Your best bet is waiting until a few weeks before your trip to find available award nights.
1. Room rate
Here’s the price of an award night at the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi. You’ll pay between 120,000 and 150,000 points per night for this hotel. That’s a lot of points — an almost inexcusable amount. But the standard room here is a 3,000-square-foot overwater villa with a massive infinity pool. It sells for more than $2,000 per night.
The Waldorf Astoria Maldives has the most expensive award prices in the Hilton portfolio.
You can unlock $7,500+ in value at the Waldorf Astoria Maldives after spending $20,000 in a calendar year on the The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card. Here’s why:
Spending a total of $10,000 unlocks the card’s full 180,000-point bonus. Free nights cost 120,000 points.Spending an additional $5,000 ($15,000 total) unlocks the card’s Weekend Night Reward which you can use for a free night at this resort.Spending an additional $5,000 ($20,000 total) earns you the remaining points you need for two full award nights. The card earns a minimum of 3 points per dollar, so spending $20,000 will net you at least 60,000 points. Add those points to the 180,000-point bonus, and you’ve got 240,000 points.
Here’s the cash price of a three-night stay in March, which is also available to book for free after achieving the above bullet points. After taxes, the average nightly rate rises to a startling $2,525 — totaling $7,576 for a three-night stay.
Rooms frequently cost $2,500+ per night, after taxes.
Putting $20,000 of spending on a credit card in a calendar year isn’t a cakewalk for many of us — but for a $7,500 hotel stay, it’s worth the effort. That’s like getting a 37.5% return on all your spending!
Instead of spending $20,000 on the The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card, you could instead apply for more than one Hilton credit card and earn each bonus. For example, you could open:
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card: Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card. Also receive one Weekend Night Certificate automatically each year.Hilton Honors American Express Card: Hilton Honors American Express CardHilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card: Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
Each of the Hilton cards are considered different products, so you can have more than one — but Amex only lets you earn the bonus once, per card, per lifetime, so keep this in mind if you’ve already had any Hilton card.
2. Elite status perks
The The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card also comes with automatic Hilton Gold elite status. That means you’ll get free breakfast at the Waldorf Astoria Maldives. It’s a full buffet with made-to-order entrees — and free champagne. The breakfast normally costs $65 per person, so Gold status will save a couple $390 over a three-day period.
Hilton has replaced the free breakfast benefit at US Hilton locations with a food and beverage credit, but at international properties, you’ll still receive the traditional complimentary breakfast.
How to extend your Hilton vacation
The above is my plan to achieve a three-day vacation from a single credit card. However, there are easier ways to do it (and stay for longer) if you’re willing to open more travel credit cards.
Hilton credit cards
For example, there are three alternate Hilton credit cards, all of which currently offer bonuses of 130,000+ points after meeting tiered spending requirements. If you and a travel buddy each open one or two cards, you could find yourself with 600,000+ Hilton points with little difficulty. Hilton gives you the option to pool your points with up to 11 other people when redeeming.
Amex Membership Rewards points
Hilton is a transfer partner of Amex Membership Rewards. You’ll receive 2 Hilton points for every 1 Amex point you transfer. If you’re anxious to scoop up extra Hilton points, consider opening one of the following American Express cards:
American Express® Gold Card — American Express® Gold CardAmerican Express® Business Gold Card — American Express® Business Gold CardThe Platinum Card® from American Express — The Platinum Card® from American Express The Business Platinum Card® from American Express — The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
The ability to earn effectively 240,000 Hilton points from a single welcome bonus is phenomenal.
In the past, we’ve seen Membership Rewards transfer bonuses to Hilton up to 30%. If you’re thinking about transferring Amex points to Hilton, it may be worth procrastinating until a solid transfer bonus arises.
5th night free
For those with Hilton elite status (which you’ll automatically receive just by holding an Amex Hilton credit card), you’ll always receive one free night when reserving five or more consecutive standard award nights.
For example, if you reserve five Standard Room Awards at the Waldorf Astoria Maldives for 120,000 points per night, you’ll pay just 480,000 points instead of 600,000 points. That lowers your award price per night to 96,000 points. The only problem is that it’s exceptionally difficult to find five consecutive nights at the standard rate at the Waldorf Astoria Maldives. The best I can find at the time of writing is four consecutive nights.
From just one credit card with a The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card annual fee, I’ll get the following during my trip to the Waldorf Astoria Maldives:
$7,575 on room rate$390 on breakfast
That’s nearly $8,000 in value.
Travel credit cards like the The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card can be extremely powerful if you know the best way to use the miles and points they accrue.
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