Hilton Honors Rewards Program: Maximizing the Value of Honors Points

Hilton Honors Rewards Program: Maximizing the Value of Honors Points

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As one of the largest hotel brands in the world, Hilton has a robust rewards 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 6,000 properties, Hilton likely has a hotel property that fits your needs and budget. Whether you are a frequent traveler, or 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.

What is the Hilton Honors program?

The Hilton Honors program is a loyalty program designed to give rewards points to those who stay at Hilton properties. The program incentivizes customers to stay at its properties. In the age of travelers having plentiful options, Hilton Honors helps attract loyal customers by offering an enhanced hotel experience and special benefits in exchange for their loyalty.

With a large portfolio like Hilton ranging from budget to ultra luxury, there is ample opportunity to earn free hotel nights through the Hilton Honors program. When you earn Hilton Honors points, you can redeem them at any of the properties listed below.

Hilton hotel brands

BrandType of property# of locations
Hilton Grand VacationsTimeshare55
Tru by HiltonBudget116
Motto by HiltonBoutique/minimalistJust launched
Hampton Inn and SuitesExtended stay2,544
Tempo by HiltonBoutiqueJust launched
Home2 Suites by HiltonExtended stay/budget384
DoubleTree by HiltonMid-tier587
Tapestry Collection by HiltonUpscale31
Hilton Garden InnUpscale862
Homewood Suites by HiltonExtended stay505
Canopy by HiltonBoutique13
Hilton Hotels & ResortsVaries584
Curio CollectionBoutique91
Embassy Suites HotelsExtended stay257
Signia HiltonUpscaleJust launched
Conrad Hotels and ResortsLuxury39
LXR Hotels and ResortsLuxury3
Waldorf Astoria Hotels and ResortsLuxury32

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 valuation is a rough estimation of many credit card rewards experts as Hilton doesn’t reveal the true “value” of the points.

As you collect Hilton Honors points, it is important to earn points with the direct intention of using them. Hoarding points, for example, 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

Pros and cons of the Hilton Honors rewards program

Among the large hotel rewards program, Hilton Honors stands out for its wide variety of options to earn and spend Hilton Honors points. With over 6,000 properties, Hilton offers endless options to travel for less. Hilton Honors is also one of the easier programs to earn elite status, giving travelers quick access to valuable hotel perks, such as upgrades and late checkout.

A major downside of the program is that it operates on dynamic pricing. This means that prices for award nights fluctuate based on demand. Other programs, like Marriott Bonvoy, use an award chart to price their award nights. This matters because you may find a hotel room you like, and the price may change before you book the room. Also, 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.

Here are a few numbers to summarize the Hilton Hotels group and the Hilton Honors rewards program.

Hilton by the numbers
Number of propertiesMore than 6,000
Hilton points needed for a free night5,000
Number of redemption options5
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+/night
  • Elite status is easy to earn, making it less valuable

Earning Hilton Honors points

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

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. The earning rates below are based on the entry Hilton Honors member level.

10 points/$15 points/$1
  • Hilton Grand Vacations
  • Tru by Hilton
  • Motto by Hilton
  • Hampton Inn and Suites
  • Tempo by Hilton
  • Home2 Suites by Hilton
  • DoubleTree by Hilton
  • Tapestry Collection by Hilton
  • Hilton Garden Inn
  • Homewood Suites by Hilton
  • Canopy by HIlton
  • Hilton Hotels & Resorts
  • Curio Collection
  • Embassy Suites Hotels
  • Signia Hilton
  • Conrad Hotels and Resorts
  • LXR Hotels and Resorts
  • Waldorf Astoria Hotels and Resorts
  • Tru by Hilton
  • Home2 by Hilton

When you have elite status, you will increase your points earnings as follows:

  • 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 credit cards

In the past, Hilton partnered with Citibank to host its co-branded credit cards. That partnership ended, and, in November 2017, Hilton and American Express released a new portfolio of cards. From Hilton hotel stays to restaurants, supermarkets and gas stations, these cards offer generous points on all your purchases.

Credit cardSign-up bonusEarning rateAnnual fee
Hilton Honors American Express CardEarn 80,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Card after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership.Earn 7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged directly with a hotel or resort 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® Card125,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card after you use your new Card to make $2,000 in eligible purchases within 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 American Express Aspire CardN/A14X Hilton Honors Bonus Points per $1 of eligible purchases on your Card directly with a participating Hilton hotel or resort$450
The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on the 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 Express60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel and 5X Membership Rewards® points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.$550

While The Platinum Card® from American Express is not a co-branded Hilton credit card, it provides cardholders complimentary Hilton Honors Gold Elite status, 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 great option to pair this card with a Hilton co-branded card.

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

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

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

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

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

Hilton promotions

Hilton regularly offers Hilton Honors members promotions on its rooms to earn additional points. To sign up for promotions, visit a promotion link and sign into your Hilton Honors account. From there, you will be eligible to earn additional Hilton Honors points.

Hilton Honors Dining

Hilton Honors Dining is a free program where you can earn Hilton points when you connect your rewards account to any credit card that you use for dining. When you sign up, you will 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 $1Requirements
2
  • Sign up for program
  • Opt out of email notifications
5
  • Dine less than 10 times or less per year
  • 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, as 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

American Express is the only bank that allows its points to be transferred to Hilton Honors. You can transfer American Express Membership Rewards to Hilton points at a 1:2 ratio.

The following American Express credit cards earn Membership Rewards points:

Unfortunately, this is another option we don’t recommend. American Express Membership Rewards are worth an estimated 2 cents per point, while Hilton Honors are worth 0.5 cents per point. Even though you double your points when you transfer them to Hilton Honors, you cut the value of your Membership Rewards in half due to the low value of Hilton Honors points. Here are a few examples of large points transfers from Amex to Hilton, and the significant decrease in value:

Membership Rewards (and estimated value)Hilton Honors (and estimated value)
50,000 ($1,000)100,000 ($500)
100,000 ($2,000)200,000 ($1,000)
250,000 ($5,000)500,000 ($2,500)

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 are 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 is best to pay cash. You will notice there is not 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.

Hilton Points vs Cash Chart

For example, let’s look at a hotel reservation for a Home2 Suites by Hilton property in Las Vegas. The room costs $158 after taxes and fees, or 30,000 Hilton Honors points. This equates to just over 0.5 cents per point, an average valuation for an award room booking. In this case, it is worth using points.

Sample hotel booking with cash
Sample hotel booking with points

Hilton 5th 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 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 sign up for a Hilton Honors credit card that awards complimentary status to cardholders.

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:

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 status

Hilton Honors elite status is a great way to enhance your hotel stay experience. Benefits like free hotel room upgrades, spa 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 levelsRequirements to earn
Hilton Honors memberJoin the program
Hilton Honors Silver Elite10 nights, 4 stays or 25,000 Base Points
Hilton Honors Gold Elite40 nights, 20 stays or 75,000 Base Points
Hilton Honors Diamond Elite60 nights, 30 stays or 120,000 Base Points

Once you earn Hilton status, you will 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

  • No resort fees on stays when you pay with points
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Digital check-in

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
  • Free continental breakfast
  • Room upgrades as available

Hilton Honors Diamond Elite

  • Gold benefits plus …
  • 100% points earning bonus on stays
  • Executive lounge access
  • Premium Wi-Fi
  • Elite status gifting
  • Room upgrades as available
  • Status extension
  • 48-hour room guarantee

Fast tracks to Hilton elite status

If you don’t travel enough to earn Hilton elite status, there are other ways to earn status:

Open a Hilton credit card

Several hotel credit cards offer complimentary loyalty program status by simply signing up for the card. Hilton has four credit cards that offer elite benefits, ranging from Silver Elite to Diamond Elite status.

CardHilton Honors elite statusAnnual fee
Hilton Honors American Express Card
  • Complimentary Silver Elite status
  • Earn Gold Elite status after spending $20,000 in a calendar year on the card
$0
Apply Now
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Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
  • Complimentary Gold Elite status
  • Earn Diamond Elite status after spending $40,000 in a calendar year on the card
$95Read Review
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
  • Complimentary Diamond Elite status
$450Read Review
The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card
  • Complimentary Gold Elite status
  • Earn Diamond Elite status after spending $40,000 in a calendar year on the card
$95Read Review

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

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

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

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

Hilton status match

Hilton has a long-running promotion where it will match your status level in a competing program. Status matching is a great way to sample other hotel brands to see if your hotel loyalty is more valuable elsewhere.

If you enroll in the Hilton status match program, you will automatically be given Hilton Honors Gold Elite status. If you stay 10 nights within the 90-day period, you will be granted the status until the designated date. If you stay 18 nights within the same time period, you will be upgraded to Diamond Elite status.

You can submit your current hotel status documentation here, and Hilton will reach out to you with further details.

Is Hilton Honors worth it?

Regardless of how often you travel, the Hilton Honors program is worth enrolling in. The points you earned can be used at a seemingly endless list of properties, and your points will stay active for an entire year.

While many pundits of hotel rewards programs state that consumers need a ton of points to stay at hotels for free, there are many options for those who 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.

Destination (within 30 miles)# of hotels
Los Angeles49
Chicago27
Las Vegas21
Seattle25
New York City56
Miami38
Dallas100+
Denver43
Charlotte61
Atlanta65

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

Brett Holzhauer

Brett Holzhauer is ValuePenguin’s travel rewards expert, focusing on credit card rewards maximization, consumer travel trends, and personal finance news. He has earned and burned over 5 million points and miles throughout his travels, saving him roughly $75,000 in travel expenses.

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.

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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).