One of the best deals when redeeming points for an award stay is the 5th night free promo you'll score with certain chains. It's a generous offer, no doubt, letting you add on an extra night for free when you redeem points for four consecutive nights at a single hotel. Hilton HHonors, Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest are the three largest programs to offer this option, and though certain conditions apply, limiting the redemption opportunities slightly (with Hilton and SPG in particular), it's still a great deal if you can make it work with your schedule.
Across the board, 5th night free is only available with award stays, so don't expect any discounts when you're making a paid booking.
Hilton's 5th night free program is the most restrictive, as only elite guests are able to take advantage. The discount is available for all Silver, Gold and Diamond elite members, and must be booked via HiltonHonors.com, the Hilton Honors App, or the Hilton Reservations & Customer Care team.
Silver, Gold and Diamond Elite Members will get every 5th night free when booking a Standard Room Reward Stay of 5 nights or more using all Points (up to four free nights on a stay of 20 consecutive nights). This is reflected in the Point price by applying a per-night discount that corresponds to one free night for every five nights.
In cases where the number of Points required per night varies, the Point value of the free night is determined by the average cost of Points per night.
This is calculated by dividing the total Point cost of all nights by the number of nights in the stay.
Marriott's program is more flexible as you do not need to be an elite member to earn the 5th night free reward. Like with Hilton HHonors, you're still only eligible with standard rooms, and if you want to redeem points for an upgraded room type, you will need an upgrade award for each night of the stay, including the 5th night.
The free night benefit also applies to Ritz-Carlton hotel stays when redeeming Marriott Rewards points for five or more consecutive nights.
Starwood's Preferred Guest program is also very flexible when it comes to the 5th night free benefit, letting any member take advantage regardless of status level. Unlike Hilton and Marriott, however, only higher-end hotels are eligible, so Category 1 and 2 properties will be billed for the fifth night. The program is available with hotels in Category 3, which run 7,000 points per night, through Category 7, which requires up to 35,000 points per night, so you'll be saving a decent number of points on any eligible redemption. The best part is, there are no blackout dates for any of the SPG properties.