The Best Hotels in San Diego for Hilton Honors Members

Fabulous and free with Hilton in the US' finest city.
An aerial view of the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego.

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Throwing together a quick city break can be a tough thing to rationalize, especially if you’re hoping to visit one of the country’s pricier cities. With travel costs rising, dropping hundreds, if not thousands of dollars for a few days of fun might seem like overkill.

But if, like us, you’re a savvy points and miles maestro, you’ll know there are plenty of ways to keep costs down, even in a city like the ever-sunny San Diego.

Hotel loyalty programs, like their airline counterparts, allow us to earn points for our stays and other spending, and then redeem them for free stays. One of the best programs out there is Hilton Honors, and its impressive collection of properties includes some of the best hotels in San Diego.

To show you how easy it is to stay for free, we’ve compiled a list of the best hotels in San Diego for Hilton Honors members.

The best hotels in San Diego for keeping point spending low

DoubleTree by Hilton – Hotel Circle

The pool area of the Double Tree hotel in San Diego at night
Photo: Tripadvisor

Location: Hotel Circle, San Diego 
Price: $124/33,000 points+
Vibe: Basic, budget, but brilliant location
The rundown: We’ll start our list with the best hotels in San Diego for flat-out redemptions. Remember, these are the cheapest points offers in the city, so you’re not going to find ultra-luxury here. But combined with Hilton’s amazing fifth-night free, it’s possible to grab nearly a week of the Californian sun for free.

The DoubleTree in Hotel Circle places guests in the heart of the action, close to the waterfront and Little Italy, and provides the basic necessities done to a high standard. This isn’t a hotel to write home about, but if you’re there to maximize your time in San Diego, you’ll barely be in there anyway. While rates fluctuate, it’s possible to string together a few dates at 33,000 points a night.

Plus, it’s a DoubleTree, so you’ll get your hands on those damn cookies. There’s something illegal in those.

Hilton Garden Old Town

The entrance to the Hiton Garden Inn San Diego Old Town
Photo: Tripadvisor

Location: San Diego, CA
Price: $161/43,000
Vibe: Classy take on an old favorite
The rundown: As someone who’s stayed in upwards of 40 different Garden Inns, this one in Old Town San Diego is a classy affair in comparison. Garden Inns are trusty basic brand hotels, but the management and developers here have lent a finer style and touch of flair to the decor.

With average rates at around 43,000 points a night, you could trigger a fifth night free with Hilton’s premium co-branded card and enjoy an extended stay in San Diego for nothing. It’s walking distance to Old Town and some of the city’s top attractions, and there’s even a shuttle nearby to get you to the airport and back. 

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points

plus a Free Night Reward after you spend $3,000 in purchases on the card in your first six months of card membership

Annual Fee: $150  |  Terms Apply  |  Rates & Fees

The best hotels in San Diego for good value and location

The Monsaraz San Diego, Tapestry Collection by Hilton

the outside communal area of the Monsaraz hotel in San Diego
Photo: Tripadvisor

Location: Point Loma, San Diego
Price: $170/45,000+
Vibe: Indie throwback with a modern twist
The rundown: The Monsaraz is one of Hilton’s exciting Tapestry properties, a group of independent hotels now operating under the Hilton banner. They’re a way for Hilton to inject some personality into its name in a way its mass-market products can’t, and the Monsaraz succeeds.

The new hotel owns a ‘70s-esque vibe but avoids the gaudiness we so often associate with the era. It’s perfectly placed a block from the marina in the Point Loma neighborhood, gifting a pleasant place to chill out and explore at the end of the day. With rates starting at 45,000 and averaging around 50,000, you’re getting some solid value for your points. A weekend is comfortably possible even with the lower-end Hilton card.

Hilton San Diego Gaslamp Quarter

The outside facade of the Hilton San Diego Gaslamp district
Photo: Tripadvisor

Location: San Diego, CA
Price: $210/ 65,000+ 
Vibe: Style and substance
The rundown: Hilton’s flagship brand gets a lot of stick these days for being a little outdated. That’s not the case with its San Diego Gaslamp Quarter property. Its entire interior drips with class, and its sense of comfort and timelessness hasn’t been lost in recent updates to the hotel.

It’s another top-class location, right amongst the Gaslight Quarter with easy access to some unbelievable restaurants and all the must-do attractions. If you’re a business traveler, you’re within striking distance of the convention center. Rates are naturally going up here, but depending on the weekend, 65,000 points could be a welcomed alternative to some tough cash prices. 

The best hotels in San Diego for using a reward night

Hotel de Coronado

A classic red sports park drives by the lobby of the Hotel de Coronado
Photo: Tripadvisor

Location: Coronado, San Diego

Price: $400/95,000 points+

Vibe: Historic in high demand

The rundown: Rates at the Hotel de Coronado can be eye-watering, which is not surprising because it’s one of the best hotels in San Diego and the country. The iconic Victorian-styled resort is highly sought-after in every respect and is a destination in itself.

Off-season prices start at around $400 but regularly break the $1,000 mark in high season. Hilton’s fluctuating points system can also see rates soar into the 400,000s, although 95,000 is definitely possible. For a night here, we’d recommend using the free reward night you’ll earn with Hilton’s top-tier co-branded card. It’s a good place to squeeze maximum value from it.

The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

150,000 Bonus Points

after you spend $6,000 on purchases in the first six months of account opening

Annual Fee: $450  |  Terms Apply  |  Rates & Fees

*All information about The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has been collected independently by The Daily Navigator team. The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is no longer available through

The Shore House

Photo: Tripadvisor

Location: The Del, San Diego
Price: $800/ 240,000 points
Vibe: All-out luxury
The rundown: The Shore House is another incredible option for a slightly more modern take. Located near the Coronado, The Shore House isn’t quite as famous, but may actually be better. There’s no question it’s one of the best hotels in San Diego, and its sky-high $800 per night rates testify to that.

It’s another hotel that we’d recommend using a free stay for, as it maximizes the value of the perk. Typical award rates hover in the 240,000 range, an astronomical figure that even a credit card intro bonus couldn’t earn you. With a free reward night and the Diamond status that comes with the Aspire card, you could find yourself upgraded, too, making the stay extra special.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone. This post contains references to products from one or more of our partners and we may receive compensation when you click on links to those products.

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