Is Hilton Honors the Right Hotel Programme For You?
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Is Hilton Honors the Right Hotel Programme For You?

Is Hilton Honors the Right Hotel Programme For You?

Hilton Honors is the loyalty programme for the hotel chain whose most recognised brands are: Hilton, Waldorf Astoria, Conrad, DoubleTree and Hampton Inn. Approximately 7,600 hotels in 126+ countries participate in Hilton Honors. As one of the largest hotel chains, you can usually find a Hilton Honors property wherever you are travelling.

This article has been fully updated for 2024 with all the latest changes and tips. 

Hilton properties around the world

How Do I Earn Hilton Honors Points?

Hotel Stays

Hilton Honors members earn 10 base points per US dollar spent at nearly all Hilton brands.

The exceptions are Home2 Suites by hilton™ and Tru by hilton™ hotels, which you rarely see in Eruope. In these cases, you will earn 10 base points per US dollar spent).

You earn points on your pre-tax room rate. You can also earn points when booking multiple rooms, up to a maximum of 4 rooms. 

When paying for your room in a currency other than US dollars, Hilton will strip out any taxes included in the rate and convert the remainder to US dollars (at a rate usually to Hilton’s advantage).

You must book directly with Hilton Honors to earn points. Reservations made via online travel agencies (such as hotels.com, booking.com, etc.) will not entitle you to points.

When making a reservation using a combination of points and cash, you will earn the standard 10 base points on the cash portion.

You can no longer earn both miles and points for the same hotel stay, except during specific promotions.

 

The Small Luxury Hotels Partnership with Hilton

A photo of a Man Sitting on a swing with some coconut trees and a great view

Recently, Small Luxury Hotels (SLH) ended its partnership with Hyatt and started collaborating with Hilton. Hilton Honors members can now earn and redeem points through Hilton with SLH Hotels.

This only applies to participating SLH hotels, but it’s pretty handy for hotels in the UK and Europe. Some of the hotels available now include:

  • Teranka in Formentera, Spain
  • Nobu Hotel Marbella in Marbella, Spain
  • Flemings Mayfair, UK

There are now 15 SLH hotels participating as of July 2024 with more to follow. Hilton Honors members can now get complimentary late checkout  (subject to availability) and free WIFI. Gold and Diamond members now get a complimentary breakfast for up to two guests and space-available room upgrades. 

 

Earning Points During Your Stay

You can earn Hilton points on other eligible room charges, including telephone calls and room service. So make sure you charge everything to your room during your stay.

 

Hilton Honors Dining

Conrad Maldives

You can also earn extra points with Hilton Honors Dining. You will need to sign up for dining rewards on your Hilton Honors account and link a card.  You will also earn points on taxes and tips. You will receive points based on your membership level:

  • Basic – 2 points per $1 spent
  • Select Members – 5 points per $1 spent
  • VIP members – 8 points per $1 spent

 

Earning Points During Promotions

Hilton Honors typically runs chain-wide promotions year-round, the most common of which is double base points. (i.e. an additional 10 points per US dollar). Hilton Honors is increasingly promoting its co-branded credit cards with additional bonuses. 

Another easy way to earn Hilton points is to sign up for Guest Opinion Rewards. Completing your first survey will earn you 1,250 points. 

 

Earning Hilton Points with UK Credit Cards

Hilton Honors is an American Express Membership Rewards partner (in the UK) with a mediocre conversion rate of 1 2. You can earn 1 American Express Membership reward point with every £1 spent with these cards. If you double your Membership Rewards points, that’s how many Hilton Honors points you could convert to. 

You can earn points with the following cards:

  • American Express Platinum Card – 40,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend £6000 in the first 90 days. £600 annual fee. Instant Hilton Honors Gold Status. 
  • American Express Preferred Rewards Gold – Get 25,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend £3,000 within 90 days + up to 12,000 bonus points each year. Free for the first year and £195 from year 2. 
  • American Express Rewards – A free option.  Earn 10,000 membership rewards points when you spend £2000 in the first 90 days. 

 

Sharing Points

You can pool your Hilton Honors points with anybody. There is no need to share an address, family ties, etc.

 

Elite Status Bonuses

You can earn bonus points on top of your stay as an elite status member:

  • Silver – 20% bonus 
  • Gold – 80% bonus
  • Diamond – 100% bonus

If you have Gold or Diamond Status, you can earn bonuses with some brands with MyWay benefits. For example, a Diamond member could earn 1,000 bonus points per stay at brands like DoubleTree and Conrad. 

 

Converting Airline Miles into Hilton Honors points

The main programme for this is Virgin Atlantic, where you can convert 10,000 Virgin points to 15,000 Hilton Honors Points. You can also transfer Hawaiian Miles at the same rate.

 

Buying Hilton Honors Points

If you need points for immediate redemption, it may be worth buying the remaining points. 

You must be logged into your Hilton Honors account to make a purchase.

A common promotion is to buy 5000+ points and get a 100% bonus. You can buy up to 240,000 Hilton points in a calendar year; the minimum number of points you can buy is 1000.

Here are the current rates with the promotion:

 buying Hilton points

 

How Can I Spend Hilton Honors Points?

Points can be redeemed for hotel stays, travel benefits, and shopping rewards.

Free Hotel Nights

Hilton Honors no longer publishes an award chart or assigns individual hotels to a particular category. Instead, award prices (for free hotel nights) are established dynamically, using the underlying cash rate as a guide for the number of points required.

However, the number of points charged per night for the basic rate is capped. The cap varies by hotel but ranges from 5,000 points per night to 150,000. These caps can (and do) change with no advance notice. Once availability at the base rate is sold out it will show a premium room rate which is the dynamic rate. This website – click here – allows you to investigate the typical pricing ranges of each Hilton Honors property. (although the lower pricing range does appear overly optimistic for several hotels – i.e. if available, some of the meager rates might only be found on one or two nights during the year)

You do NOT have to pay any taxes or resort fees when using points for a free hotel night. (unlike some other hotel chains)

If you have insufficient points for a full award night(s), you can also book rooms using a combination of points and cash. (However, in this scenario, you WILL have to pay taxes and resort fees, and you will not receive the “fifth night free” benefits I will describe in the elite status section)

Hilton hhonors changes, hilton honors

Unlike other hotel chains, you can book any room in the hotel using points. These are called “Premium Room” rewards but typically provide much poorer value than the “standard room” rewards mentioned above.

Remember that Silver and higher elite members can take advantage of the 5th free night promotion on award stays of 5 nights or more. This gives a 20% discount on points needed for redemption. 

 

Converting Hilton Points to Airline Miles

You can convert Hilton Honors points into Avios or Flying Blue miles. The conversion rate is usually 10,000 points –> 1,000 or 1,500 miles. This is generally considered to be a very poor use of Honors points.

 

Hilton Honors Experiences

Hilton Honors operates a scheme called Hilton Honors Experiences – click here for details – where you can spend your Hilton Honors points on concerts, restaurants, sporting events, cultural activities, etc.

 

Do Hilton Honors Points Expire?

Points expire after 12 months of account inactivity. 

Although you can pay to restore expired points, your best bet in a pinch is to purchase 1,000 points from Hilton Honors and remain active. Tools such as Award Wallet allow you to track expiry dates.

 

How Do I Earn Elite Status?

Hilton Honors has three levels of elite status – Diamond, Gold and Silver. Only Diamond and Gold provide meaningful benefits.

Through Stays / Nights

Elite status qualification runs on a calendar year basis – 1 January until 31 December.

Hilton reward tiers

 

Hilton Honors offers “rollover nights”. For night-based qualification ONLY, any excess nights will roll over to the subsequent calendar year. For example, if you stay 19 nights during 2024, you will qualify for Silver status but start 2025 with 9 elite nights rolled over.

 

Short Cuts 

British Airways Executive Club provides complimentary Hilton Honors Diamond status to its Gold Guest List members. (5,000 Tier Points)

The £600-per-year Platinum card from American Express gives you Honors Gold status.

Thanks to the US “MVP Fast Track” programme, you can receive Gold status by staying 4 times within 90 days. Details here.

The Bright Side…  time your fast track appropriately and you can receive nearly two years of Gold status. (the rest of the current year, all of the next year, and the first three months of the following year!

Hilton Honors operates a published status match programme. Within 90 days, you must stay 8 nights for Gold or 14 nights for Diamond. Reward nights do count for status match purposes. Details here.

The Bright Side… Some people, myself included have signed up for  IHG Ambassador for the express purpose of using IHG’s Platinum status to status match to Hilton Honors!

 

The 30-Second Lowdown

Hilton Honors offers plentiful, high-standard hotels that many travellers love. It also has some hotels in desperate need of refurbishment, particularly in the UK and Ireland.

A chain offering 7,600+ hotels means finding a Hilton Honors hotel during your travels is easy.  However, the lack of a lucrative cashback option means you simply get what you (or your employer) paid for.

Hilton Honors has the best mid-tier (i.e. Gold) elite status benefits among the major hotel chains. It is also relatively easy to find a shortcut to elite status.

The flipside of that situation is that “when everybody is elite, then nobody is.” It is nearly impossible to receive a noticeable room upgrade in North America and somewhat difficult in the UK / Europe. There is relatively little additional benefit from becoming a Diamond member (instead of Gold).

The various shortcuts to Hilton status mean that Hilton Honors is an excellent choice for those who want elite treatment for a few top-end hotel stays per year without the hassle of staying 40+ nights per calendar year. It’s been a long time since I stayed 60 nights at Hilton, but that hasn’t stopped me from receiving suite upgrades at certain Conrad hotels!

Moving to “dynamic pricing” means hoarding Honors points. Most decent hotels cost at least 50,000 points per night, with the truly aspirational properties costing 80,000-120,000 as a starting point.

 

 

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