How Does ValuePenguin Get Paid?

Hilton Honors Rewards Program: How to Maximize Your Points

Hilton Honors Rewards Program: How to Maximize Your Points

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more. Citi is an advertising partner.

Hilton Honors elite status offers sublime perks for consumers who regularly stay at Hilton properties, including free nights and complimentary room upgrades.

As one of the largest hotel brands in the world, Hilton has a robust customer loyalty program to keep travelers coming back for more. Hilton Honors gives loyal customers a way to redeem points earned for free hotel stays across its 18 brands around the world. With over 6,800 properties, Hilton likely has a hotel property that fits your needs and budget.

Hilton Honors quick facts
Number of propertiesMore than 6,800
Hilton points needed for a free night5,000
Number of redemption options6
Point value0.5 cents per point ($0.005)
Pros
  • Plenty of properties to choose from
  • Ability to redeem fifth night free
  • Points are transferable to airline programs
  • Large portfolio of cards to earn rewards with
Cons
  • Points have low value
  • Hilton properties are based on dynamic pricing
  • Exclusive properties cost over 100,000-plus per night
  • Elite status is easy to earn, making it less valuable

Is Hilton Honors worth it?

Whether you’re a frequent traveler or you only travel a few times per year, the Hilton Honors program is worth utilizing to earn points for a free hotel stay in the future.

The points you earn can be used at a lengthy list of properties, and your points won’t expire unless your account is inactive for 24 consecutive months.

While many pundits of hotel rewards programs state that consumers need a ton of points to stay at hotels for free, there are still many options available for those who only earn small amounts of Hilton Honors points. With affordable options for many travelers, the Hilton Honors program is a great option for all types of travelers.

How much are Hilton points worth?

Hotel points can be enjoyable to collect, but they typically aren't worth much.

Hilton Honors points are generally valued at 0.5 cents per point. This brings the value of 10,000 Hilton Honors points to roughly $50.

This is a rough estimation based on our valuations, as Hilton doesn't reveal the true "value" of its points.

You'll want to collect Hilton Honors points with the intention of using them right away. Hoarding your points and saving them for future use is a bad strategy, as rewards programs regularly devalue their points to protect their bottom line. So if your hotel stay earns you around half a cent per point, using Hilton points may be worth it.

How do you know if using Hilton points is worth it?

Hilton points are generally valued around 0.5 cents per point — if a hotel stay is worth around 0.5 cents per point, then it's likely worth it to use them. To calculate the value of Hilton points, use this simple equation:

Cash price (including taxes and fees) / Number of points needed for hotel stay = Points value for that specific reservation

{"backgroundColor":"ice","content":"\u003C\/p\u003E\n\n\u003Ch3\u003EHow do you know if using Hilton points is worth it?\u003C\/h3\u003E\n\n\u003Cp\u003EHilton points are generally valued around 0.5 cents per point \u2014 if a hotel stay is worth around 0.5 cents per point, then it's likely worth it to use them. To calculate the value of Hilton points, use this simple equation:\u003C\/p\u003E\n\n\u003Cp\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"ShortcodeAlign--root ShortcodeAlign--center\"\u003E\n \u003Cdiv class=\"ShortcodeAlign--container\"\u003E \n \u003Cdiv class=\"ShortcodePullquote--root\"\u003E\n \u003Cp class=\"ShortcodePullquote--text ShortcodePullquote--black\"\u003E\n Cash price (including taxes and fees) \/ Number of points needed for hotel stay = Points value for that specific reservation\n \u003C\/p\u003E\n\u003C\/div\u003E\n \u003C\/div\u003E\n\u003C\/div\u003E\n\u003C\/p\u003E\n\n\u003Cp\u003E","padding":"double"}

Pros and cons of the Hilton Honors rewards program

Among the large hotel rewards programs, Hilton Honors stands out for its wide variety of options to earn and spend Hilton Honors points.

Pros

The Hilton Honors program is free and easy to join, and with over 6,800 properties, offers endless options to travel for less. Hilton Honors is also one of the easier programs to earn elite status for, giving travelers quick access to valuable hotel perks, such as upgrades, free nights and late checkout.

Cons

A major downside of the Hilton Honors program is that it operates on dynamic pricing. This means that prices for award nights will fluctuate based on demand. Other programs, like World of Hyatt, use an award chart to price their award nights. This matters because you may find a hotel room you like, but the price may change before you book the room. In addition, prices for similar properties can vary widely, depending on time and location. Because of this, it is best to earn more points than you need.

Earning Hilton Honors points

The Hilton Honors program is one of the simplest programs to get started with because of the many opportunities for earning Hilton points. Here are some of the more popular ways to earn points:

Hilton cards

Hilton has partnered with American Express to provide some of the most-regarded hotel credit cards on the market. From Hilton hotel stays to restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations, these cards offer generous points on all your purchases.

Credit card
Welcome offer
Earning rate
Annual fee
Hilton Honors American Express Card
See Rates & Fees. Terms Apply. On American Express' Secure Website
Earn 100,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership. Plus, you can earn up to $100 in Statement Credits on eligible purchases made on the Card at any of the Hilton family hotels in the first 12 months of Membership.Earn 7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged directly with hotels and resorts within the Hilton portfolio, 5X Hilton Honors Bonus Points at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations AND 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.$0
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
Generic art
Not available on ValuePenguin
Earn up to $130 in Statement Credits on eligible purchases made on the Card at any of the Hilton family hotels in the first 12 months of Card Membership.† Plus, earn Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $2,000 in purchases on the Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership.Earn 12X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton Portfolio. Earn 6X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations. Earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.$95
Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express
Generic art
Not available on ValuePenguin
Earn 150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership.Earn 14X per $1 of eligible purchases on your card directly with a participating Hilton hotel or resort, 7X for eligible purchases: on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com; on car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies; & at U.S. restaurants, and 3X for other purchases on your card$450
The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card
Generic art
Not available on ValuePenguin
Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 in purchases on the Hilton Honors Business Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership.12X at hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio, 6X on Select Business & Travel Purchases, 3X Everywhere Else. Terms & Limitations Apply.$95
The Platinum Card® from American Express
See Rates & Fees. Terms Apply. On American Express' Secure Website
Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and 5X Membership Rewards® points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel. Terms apply.$695

While The Platinum Card® from American Express isn’t a co-branded Hilton card, it provides cardholders complimentary Hilton Honors Gold Elite status (enrollment required), along with the option to transfer Membership Rewards points to Hilton Honors. If you travel consistently and stay in Hilton properties, it may be a good option to pair this card with a co-branded Hilton card.

Hilton hotel stays

When you book a hotel directly through Hilton, you earn Hilton Honors points based on the price of the room, less taxes and fees.

Regular Hilton Honors members will earn 10 points per $1 at all properties, excluding stays at Tru & Home2 properties, which earn 5 points per $1.

When you have elite status, however, your points earning potential will increase:

  • Silver Elite: 20% bonus earnings (12 base points per $1)
  • Gold Elite: 80% bonus earnings (18 base points per $1)
  • Diamond Elite: 100% bonus earnings (20 base points per $1)

Hilton Honors dining

Hilton Honors Dining is a free program where you can earn Hilton points by connecting your rewards account to any credit card that you use for dining. When you sign up, you’ll be asked to link a credit card. You can link any credit card you would like, especially a Hilton credit card that rewards you for restaurant purchases.

When you use a card listed in your Hilton Honors Dining profile, you will earn Hilton points for dining, in addition to any applicable credit card rewards. This is known as "double dipping" — earning points from two different programs with one purchase.

You will earn Hilton Honors points in the Hilton Honors Dining program depending on your status level:

Points earned per $1
Requirements
2
  • Sign up for program
  • Opt out of email notifications
5
  • Opt in to email notifications
8
  • Dine more than 11 times or less per year
  • Opt in to email notifications

Buy Hilton Honors points

You can buy Hilton points directly from Hilton if you need additional points for a reservation. We don't recommend this option, however, since purchasing points can exceed their estimated value.

Purchasing Hilton points is suited for people who need to top off their points balance for a stay, not for purchasing in large quantities. From time to time, Hilton offers discounts on purchasing points that may net a decent value.

If you buy Hilton points, be sure to calculate the value you receive prior to purchasing; you can do this by using the formula mentioned above.

Transfer Hilton Honors points to a friend/family member

You can transfer your Hilton Honors points to a friend or family member if you're planning on booking a trip together. There are no fees involved with transferring your points.

How to redeem Hilton Honors points

Once you earn Hilton Honors points, the exciting part is spending them. Hilton points are simple to redeem, but it can be tricky to navigate Hilton's dynamic pricing.

Free nights

The best option for using Hilton Honors points is redeeming them for free hotel nights. Whether you’re looking for a budget property or a luxurious getaway, your points can save you a great amount of money.

But it's best to monitor the value of your points before you book a room. The chart below offers a rough guideline on when to use Hilton points and when it’s best to pay cash. You’ll notice there isn’t a fixed dollar amount on the left-hand side: The general idea is the higher the cost of the room, the better it is to use points — especially if the value for the points is high.

hiltonpointsvalue_meully

For example, let's look at a hotel reservation for a Hilton Grand Vacations property in Las Vegas. The room costs $238 after taxes and fees, or 75,000 Hilton Honors points. This equates to $0.003 cents per point, a below average valuation for an award room booking. In this case, it will NOT be worth using points.

Vegas hotel in dollars
Vegas hotel in points

You can book free nights at any of Hilton's 18 brands:

  • Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts
  • LXR Hotels & Resorts
  • Conrad Hotels & Resorts
  • Canopy by Hilton
  • Signia by Hilton
  • Hilton Hotels & Resorts
  • Curio Collection by Hilton
  • DoubleTree by Hilton
  • Tapestry Collection by Hilton
  • Embassy Suites by Hilton
  • Tempo by Hilton
  • Motto by Hilton
  • Hilton Garden Inn
  • Hampton by Hilton
  • Tru by Hilton
  • Homewood Suites by Hilton
  • Home2Suites by Hilton
  • Hilton Grand Vacations

Hilton Fifth night free

Hilton's fifth night free benefit gets you an extra night on your reservation when you pay for four consecutive nights with Hilton Honors points. This boosts your point value by 20%, and gives you one extra night to rest your head at a Hilton property.

You’ll need to have Silver status or above with Hilton Honors to qualify for this option. To earn Hilton status, you must meet one of the thresholds below or have a Hilton Honors credit card that awards complimentary status to cardholders.

Transfer your points to another rewards program

You can use your Hilton Honors points to book flights on a number of partnering airlines, and earn further points by flying with those airlines and transferring your miles to Hilton. Note that to do this, you must have your desired travel partner linked to your Hilton Honors account and all transactions must be done online.

Here are all of Hilton's participating airline partners:

  • Aeroflot Russian Airlines
  • Aeromexico
  • Aeroplan
  • Air AsiaBIG
  • Alaska Airlines
  • ANA (All Nippon Airways)
  • Asia Miles (Cathay Pacific)
  • Asiana Airlines
  • AviancaTaca Airlines (Lifemiles)
  • British Airways AVOIS Points
  • China Eastern Airlines
  • Delta Airlines
  • Emirates / Skywards
  • Ethiopian Airlines
  • Etihad Airways
  • Eurowings
  • EVA Air
  • Finnair
  • Flying Blue (Air France / KLM)
  • Frontier Airways
  • Garuda Indonesia
  • Haninan Airlines
  • Hawaiian
  • JAL (Japan Airlines)
  • Jet Airways
  • LAN (LANPASS)
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Philippine Airlines
  • Qantas Airways
  • Qatar Airways
  • Saudi Arabian Airlines
  • Singapore Airlines
  • South African Airways
  • Turkish Airlines
  • United Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic Airways
  • Virgin Australia

Alternative redemptions for Hilton points

If you earn Hilton Honors points but don't have any need for the hotel points, you can redeem them for other options:

  • Hilton experiences
  • Lyft rides
  • Shopping
  • Rental cars

It's important to know that these redemptions will net you a low value on your Hilton Honors points. If you earn Hilton Honors points through credit card purchases but don't intend on redeeming points for hotel rooms, it may be best to switch to a different travel rewards credit card.

Hilton Honors elite status

Hilton Honors elite status is a great way to enhance your hotel stay experience. Benefits like free hotel room upgrades, food and beverage credits and welcome amenities are just a few of the potential benefits you may receive with Hilton Honors elite status.

Status is typically earned through staying a specific amount of nights at Hilton properties. This method is applicable for those who travel constantly for work or leisure.

Hilton status levels

Status levels
Requirements to earn
Hilton Honors memberJoin the program
Hilton Honors Silver Elite7 nights, 3 stays or 17,500 Base Points
Hilton Honors Gold Elite28 nights, 14 stays or 52,500 Base Points
Hilton Honors Diamond Elite42 nights, 21 stays or 84,000 Base Points

Once you earn Hilton status, you’ll have it until the end of the following calendar year.

Benefits of Hilton Honors elite status

Here are the different status levels of the Hilton Honors program, along with what each level earns you.

Hilton Honors Member

  • Guaranteed Hilton Honors Discount rate
  • Points toward free nights, travel partners and more
  • No resort fees on reward stays
  • Digital Check-in and Check-out
  • Choose Your Room
  • Digital Key
  • Free WiFi
  • Access to Exclusive Hilton Honors Experiences

Hilton Honors Silver Elite

  • Member benefits plus …
  • 20% points earning bonus on stays
  • Fifth night free when you pay for four nights with points
  • Free bottled water
  • Elite rollover nights

Hilton Honors Gold Elite

  • Silver benefits plus …
  • 80% points earning bonus on stays
  • Daily Food & Beverage Credit (U.S. hotels only) or Continental Breakfast (non-U.S. hotels)
  • Room upgrades as available
  • Milestone Bonuses

Hilton Honors Diamond Elite

  • Gold benefits plus …
  • 100% Points earning Bonus on stays
  • Space-available room upgrades
  • Executive lounge access
  • Diamond status extension
  • Premium WiFi
  • 48-hour room guarantee
  • Elite status gifting

Frequently asked questions

What are the statuses for Hilton Honors?

There are four status levels in the Hilton Honors program. They are Member, Silver, Gold and Diamond.

What is the highest Hilton Honors status?

The highest Hilton Honors status is Diamond. Diamond status will afford you benefits including room upgrades, 100% points earning bonus on stays, elite status gifting and more.

How do I maintain my Hilton Honors status?

You can maintain your Hilton Honors status by either staying a certain amount of nights, stays or qualifying base points within a calendar year. Alternatively, you can also sign up for a credit card that offers Hilton elite status as a perk.

What is Hilton Honors Gold status?

Hilton Honors Gold status is a high tier of the Hilton Honors rewards program that offers its members perks like 80% points earning bonus on stays, a daily food and beverage credit (U.S. hotels only) or continental breakfast (non-U.S. hotels), space-available room upgrades and more. To get Gold status, you'll need 28 nights, 14 stays or 52,500 Base Points.

For rates and fees of Hilton Honors American Express Card, please click here

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here

The information related to Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express and The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card has been independently collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

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).