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Hilton HHonors Rewards Program: Maximizing the Value of HHonors Points

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any credit card issuer.

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'll 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 NeededValue (cents)

1

5,0001.83

2

10,0001.17

3

20,0000.59

4

30,0000.53

5

30,000-40,0000.46

6

30,000-50,0000.42

7

30,000-60,0000.46

8

40,000-70,0000.40

9

50,000-80,0000.43

10

70,000-95,0000.43

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 NeededValue (cents)

$250

120,0000.2

$500

240,0000.2

$1,000

480,0000.2

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.

AirlineMilesHHonor PointsAirlineMilesHHonor Points

Aeroflot

1,50010,000Hawaiian Airlines1,50010,000

Aeromexico

6,50025,000Iceland Air1,00010,000

Air Baltic

1,00010,000JAL Japan Airlines1,00010,000

Air Berlin

1,00010,000Jet Airways1,00010,000

Air Canada

1,00010,000JetBlue1,00010,000

Air China

1,00010,000Kingfisher Airlines1,00010,000

Air France

1,00010,000LAN6,50025,000

Air New Zealand

2010,000Malaysia Airlines1,00010,000

Alaska Airlines

1,00010,000Miles and More1,00010,000

American Airlines

1,50010,000Multiplus1,50010,000

Amtrak

1,50010,000Philippine Air1,00010,000

ANA

1,00010,000Qantas1,50010,000

Asia Miles

1,00010,000Qatar Airways1,00010,000

Avianca

1,00010,000Saudi Arabian Airlines1,00010,000

British Airways

1,00010,000Singapore Airlines1,00010,000

China Southern

1,00010,000South African Airlines1,50010,000

Czech Airlines

1,00010,000Thai Airways1,00010,000

Delta

1,00010,000United1,00010,000

Etihad

1,00010,000Virgin America1,00010,000

Frontier Airlines

1,50010,000Virgin Atlantic1,50010,000

Gulf Air

1,50010,000Virgin Australia1,50010,000

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 Honors points should consider applying to one of the four credit cards co-branded with the hotel chain. 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.

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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

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.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from 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). ValuePenguin does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

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.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).