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Advertiser Disclosure

Advertiser Disclosure: Some of the card offers that appear on this website are from companies which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). The site does not review or include all companies or all available products.

Disclaimer: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone. For a full list of our advertisers, see our disclosure page.

Opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed here are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed or endorsed by the issuer. We may be compensated through the issuer’s Affiliate Program. For a full list of our advertisers see our disclosure page.

Hilton HHonors Rewards Program: Maximizing the Value of HHonors Points

Contents

HHonors by Hilton gives loyal customers a way to redeem free hotel stays across its brands around the world. Additionally, you may also exchange HHonors points for frequent flyer miles, or book cruises among other things. Our analysis shows that the average point value for a free hotel stay is 0.59 cents per point. We'lll also explain how the points can be worth over 1 cent per point, or dip as low as 0.2 cents per point depending on a variety of factors.

Overview of Program 

Free hotel stays by far garner the highest value on a per point basis, which makes sense considering Hilton is a hotel brand. Below we talk about each redemption individually and discuss how we calculate the values for each. 

Redemption Value (cents)
Free Hotel Stays 0.59
Cruise Purchases 0.20
Frequent Flyer Miles Transfer 0.11

Free Hotel Stays 

The best redemption is using points for free nights at a Hilton property, and even then, not all properties are created equal. Hilton hotels are divided into 10 categories. Category 1 hotels require only 5,000 points for a free night while category 10 hotels require up to 95,000 points. Booking five nights with points also makes the fifth night free, a savings worth between $30 and $570 depending on category of hotel. Below we list the point values for each category by taking the price of a room and dividing it by the number of points needed to book the room for the night. 

Category  # Number of Points Needed Value (cents)
1 5,000 1.83
2 10,000 1.17
3 20,000 0.59
4 30,000 0.53
5 30,000-40,000 0.46
6 30,000-50,000 0.42
7 30,000-60,000 0.46
8 40,000-70,000 0.40
9 50,000-80,000 0.43
10 70,000-95,000 0.43

Overall, the value across the different categories is fairly consistent with the exception of categories 1 and 2. However, these top tier categories are much less available than higher category hotels. Combined, there are 480 category 1 and 2 hotels in the portfolio, while there are 2,842 category 4 and 5 hotels. The mid-range categories (4, 5 and 6) have the highest number of properties in the world, and represent your overall best value as they consistently come close to our average of 0.59 cents a point.

To surpass that average, you will most likely need to take advantage of the point ranges Hilton utilizes. For example, a diligent search could unearth a category 7 hotel, with category 7 pricing, being offered for 30,000 points. The average price of a category 7 is $246; this makes the value of this redemption 0.8 cents per point, 44% higher than the average for category 7 hotels and 30% higher than the total average. 

We also found that it doesn't matter when and where you book your hotel. They tend to have consistent point values, hovering between 0.40 and 0.54 cents per point. The value of points in other hotel programs generally varies widely between weekend vs weekday, and international vs. domestic redemptions. With Hilton, however, there is only a 0.10 cent difference between them both. The difference in value between booking three months and six months in advanceis even smaller with only a 0.02 cent difference.

When and Where Value (cents)
Weekday 0.54
Weekend 0.43
Domestic Booking 0.52
International Booking 0.42
3 Months from Stay 0.48
6 Months from Stay 0.50

Bottom line, since prices will vary and categories have a range of points, values will flucuate. You should always divide the number of points required by the price of the room and make sure the value you get is above 0.59 cents per point, our average. Anything above is a great value, while anything below should be avoided if you're looking to maximize value.

Where are Hilton Properties Located? 

Hilton, and all of its ten brands, can be found throughout the world, with the highest density of properties in the U.S and Canada. Hilton services most major European cities, and major cities in North Asia. However, compared to other hotel chains, Hilton has fewer properties in Africa, South America and the South Pacific.

hilton

There are over 4,600 Hilton locations around the world across its ten brands. Below you can see how many properties of each brand exist. 

Brand # of Properties
Hampton Inn 1,894
Hilton Hotel and Resorts 1,222
Hilton Garden Inn 568
DoubleTree 340
Homewood Suites 324
Embassy Suites 221
Conrad  24
Waldorf Astoria  21
Home2 12
Hilton Grand Vacations Club  4

CruisesOnly Certificates 

The second most valuable redemption option is to use HHonor points toward CruisesOnly certificates. CruisesOnly is one of the world's largest cruise agencies and has partnerships with every major cruise line. 

As with hotel redemptions, the point values are consistent, but nonetheless still much lower than the value you would get with booking a free hotel night. Unless you have a lot of extra HHonor points, and are really hoping to go on a cruise, we would recommend avoiding this option. 

Certificate Amount Points Needed Value (cents)
$250 120,000 0.2
$500 240,000 0.2
$1,000 480,000 0.2

Transferring for Frequent Flyer Miles 

HHonor Points can be transferred to airlines for frequent flyer miles. Hilton is particularly great at this as it gives its members the option to transfer to 44 airlines. These include all major alliances and even non-affiliated airlines such as Etihad, Alaskan, JetBlue and Hawaiian. However, the transfer of HHonor points to miles ultimately devalues them, making another option to be wary of. Below are all of the airlines that can be transferred to with HHonor points. 

Airline Miles HHonor Points Airline Miles HHonor Points
Aeroflot  1,500 10,000 Hawaiian Airlines 1,500 10,000
Aeromexico  6,500 25,000 Iceland Air  1,000 10,000
Air Baltic  1,000 10,000 JAL Japan Airlines  1,000 10,000
Air Berlin  1,000 10,000 Jet Airways 1,000 10,000
Air Canada 1,000 10,000 JetBlue  1,000 10,000
Air China 1,000 10,000 Kingfisher Airlines  1,000 10,000
Air France  1,000 10,000 LAN 6,500 25,000
Air New Zealand  20 10,000 Malaysia Airlines 1,000 10,000
Alaska Airlines 1,000 10,000 Miles and More  1,000 10,000
American Airlines 1,500 10,000 Multiplus  1,500 10,000
Amtrak 1,500 10,000 Philippine Air  1,000 10,000
ANA 1,000 10,000 Qantas 1,500 10,000
Asia Miles 1,000 10,000 Qatar Airways  1,000 10,000
Avianca  1,000 10,000 Saudi Arabian Airlines  1,000 10,000
British Airways  1,000 10,000 Singapore Airlines  1,000 10,000
China Southern 1,000 10,000 South African Airlines  1,500 10,000
Czech Airlines 1,000 10,000 Thai Airways  1,000 10,000
Delta  1,000 10,000 United 1,000 10,000
Etihad  1,000 10,000 Virgin America 1,000 10,000
Frontier Airlines 1,500 10,000 Virgin Atlantic  1,500 10,000
Gulf Air 1,500 10,000 Virgin Australia  1,500 10,000

At 1.2 cents per mile, airline miles are generally valued higher than hotel points. This may tempt some Hilton customers to transfer their HHonor points to miles, but doing so devalues your points to a fifth of what they would be worth when booking for a hotel. Let's say you transfer 10,000 points for 1,000 miles. At 0.6 cents per point, 10,000 HHonor Points are still worth $60, while at the 1.2 cents per mile average, 1,000 miles is $12. Why spend $60 worth of points for only $12 worth of miles when you can use the points for a free hotel stay? This redemption should only be done if you are very close to obtaining a free flight with an airline, and do not need the HHonor points to book a room. 

Hilton Credit Cards 

Individuals who wish to earn extra Hilton HHonors points should consider applying to one of the four credit cards co-branded with the hotel chain. Whenever you pay for a stay at a Hilton property, you already earn 10 base points for every $1 spent. When using these cards, you can earn anywhere between 3 and 12 additional points – even on everyday purchases, such as gas and groceries. All of the Hilton HHonors credit cards can also provide cardholders with upgrades to elite status, depending on how much they spend on the cards in a given year. Use the tool below to see which of the Hilton credit cards provide the best value based on how much you spend. For a more comprehensive look at the differences between these cards, including a look at how they can earn free weekend nights, see our guide to the best Hilton HHonors credit cards.

Assumptions Based On Monthly Spend of: $1,430 Edit
General:
U.S. Gas Stations:
U.S. Supermarkets:
Airlines:
Hotel:
U.S. Restaurants:
Office:
Utilities:
Computing:
Card Annual Fee 2-yr Net Rewards Rate

The Net Rewards Rate is equal to the Rewards Value over two years divided by the total spending. The total spending is equal to the values entered into the tool and multiplied by 24 months. See the rewards Value note to see details on how it is calculated.

The estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone. They are not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. All estimates are based on the spend assumptions entered above (which you can edit).

Bonus Value

The bonus field shows our estimate for the value of the card’s welcome bonus. If the bonus is point or mile based, we multiply the total bonus points/miles by our estimate for their value to arrive at a dollar equivalent. We display $0 if there is no bonus or if the user doesn’t qualify for the bonus based on the current spending entered into the tool. All estimates are based on the spend assumptions entered above (which you can edit).

The estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone. They are not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

2-yr Rewards Value

The Rewards value is calculated by adding together the rewards earned from charging purchases to the card over two years and any welcome bonuses (if applicable). They are then multiplied by our estimated point/mile value, with any annual fees (if applicable) subtracted. All values are based on our own estimates for the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using a card and on the spend assumptions entered above (which you can edit).

The estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone. They are not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express
No Annual Fee 3.20%
$400
Earn 80,000 Hilton Honors™ after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months. Offer ends 05/31/2017
$1,097
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Terms and Limitations Apply

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Point Value Rewards Value
Spending Rewards 139,440 x $0.005 = $697
Bonuses
80,000 x $0.005 = $400
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 1,097

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee No Annual Fee
APR 15.99% - 19.99% Variable

Card Details

  • Earn 80,000 Hilton Honors™ after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months. Offer ends 05/31/2017.
  • 7 HHonors Bonus Points for every $1 spent with a participating hotel or resort
  • 5 HHonors Bonus Points for every $1 spent spent at US restaurants, supermarkets, and gas stations
  • 3 HHonors Bonus Points for every $1 spent otherwise
  • Redeem Hilton HHonors points towards free hotel nights without blackout days
  • Complimentary Silver status with credit card
  • Account upgraded to HHonors Gold status after spending more than $20,000 on the Card during the year (benefits: 25% bonus on HHonors Base Points, room upgrades when available, and free high-speed Internet and health club access)
  • +500 HHonors Bonus Points when booking Hilton hotel reservations online with HH credit card
  • 10% discount and +500 HHonors points when booking private car and driver at EmpireCLS Worldwide with this card
  • Access to Global Assistance hotline, roadside assistance, travel accident protection, and car rental loss and damage protection
  • Exclusive access to ticket presales and American Express cardmember-only events in your city
  • Extended warranty and protection for purchases made on the card
Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card
$95 2.40%
$500
Earn 2 weekend nights after spending $2,500 in the first four months
$825
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 102,960 x $0.005 = $515
Bonuses
0 x $0.005 = $500
Less Annual Fees -$190
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 825

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $95
APR 15.99%

Card Details

  • Earn 2 weekend nights after spending $2,500 in the first four months
  • 10 HHonors Bonus Points for every $1 spent with a participating hotel or resort
  • 5 HHonors Bonus points for every $1 spent on airfare or car rentals
  • 3 points for every $1 spent otherwise
  • Get Hilton Honors Gold Status as a cardmember
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No caps and expiration on points if you use your card at least once a year
  • Earn an anniversary bonus for one weekend night at select hotels
  • No points cap
Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card
No Annual Fee 1.77%
$200
Earn 40,000 HHonors Bonus Points after spending $1,000 within the first 4 months
$607
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 81,360 x $0.005 = $407
Bonuses
40,000 x $0.005 = $200
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 607

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee No Annual Fee
APR 15.99% 19.99% Variable

Card Details

  • Earn 40,000 HHonors Bonus Points after spending $1,000 within the first 4 months
  • 6 HHonors Bonus Points for every $1 spent on hotel stays within Hilton Portfolio
  • 3 HHonors Bonus points for every $1 spent at supermarkets, drugstores & gas stations
  • 2 points for every $1 spent otherwise
  • HHonors silver status with fast-track to HHonors Gold status after 4 stays within your first 90 days of cardmembership
  • Receive HHonors Silver Status for free

Final Thoughts 

Always a Good Redemption 

Booking a free night at a hotel above our average of 0.59 cents per point is always a good redemption. A search into available hotels, and perhaps flexibility with booking dates should make it easy to find a hotel that far surpasses that amount. 

Sometimes a Good Redemption 

If your dates are non-negotiable, or the area you are booking in does not have many hotels available, then you may need to settle for a value of less than 0.59 cents per point. If this is the case, choosing this redemption is still better than needing to pay in full for the room. We wouldn't recommend going below 0.4 cents per point however as that is the lower bound of all averages we calculated.

Bad Redemption Options 

As we say above, using points toward cruises and airline miles, or booking a hotel for less than 0.4 cents per point is not the best use of your HHonor points. These options severely undervalue your points, up to 5x in the case of miles transfers. The purpose of points is to save money, and allocating your points to these options could mean losing a lot of potential value. 

Comments and Questions

* See the online credit card application for details about terms and conditions. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. However all credit card information is presented without warranty. When you click on the "Apply Now" button, you can review the credit card terms and conditions on the issuer's website.

Info about the following cards: American Express® Gold Card, Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express, Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card, Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express, Hilton Honors Surpass® Credit Card, American Express® Blue Sky, American Express® Green Card, The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express, The Plenti® Credit Card from Amex, Blue from American Express®, Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Mercedes-Benz, Bluebird, Centurion® Card from American Express, Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, and Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card from American Express has been collected independently by ValuePenguin. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program. 

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Advertiser Disclosure: Some of the offers that appear on this website are from companies which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). The site does not review or include all companies or all available products. For more information please see our Advertiser Disclosure.