See why Hilton Honors points don’t hold muster against many other loyalty program points.
You may have spied the latest introductory offer on a Hilton Honors card, and perhaps your gut is telling you that such a large number seems a little too good to be true. In fact, you’re on to something. Hilton Honors points are inflated, so the numbers aren’t quite what they seem.
Top Hilton Honors cards
No annual fee
|7x points on eligible purchases charged directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton portfolio|
5x points on U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations
3x points on other purchases
Limited time offer: 100,000 points if you spend $1,000 on eligible purchases within the first 3 months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 in statement credits on eligible purchases made on the card at any of the Hilton family of hotels in the first 12 months of card membership. Offers expire 8/25/2021.
|12x points on eligible purchases charged directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton portfolio|
6x points on U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations
3x points on other purchases
Limited time offer: 130,000 bonus points if you spend $2,000 on eligible purchases within the first 3 months of card membership. Offer expires 8/25/2021.
|12x points on eligible purchases at hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio|
6x points on select business and travel purchases
3x points on other purchases
Limited time offer: 130,000 bonus points if you spend $3,000 on eligible purchases in the first 3 months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 in statement credits on eligible purchases made on the card at any of the Hilton family of hotels in the first 12 months of card membership. Offers expire 8/25/2021.
See related: Which Hilton Honors card is best for you?
Hilton Honors points value
Hilton Honors points are one of the lowest-valued currencies in the universe of rewards programs. By our estimates, Hilton points are worth around 0.5 cents per point – about half the value of the average rewards program point. And though hotel loyalty programs tend to have inflated points (Marriott points, for example, are worth only 0.8 cents each), Hilton is beat out even by most of its industry competitors.
Why is the value of Hilton Honors points so low?
When we look at the points required for a standard room over a variety of locations and dates and then divide the room rate by the number of required points, the value comes out to 0.5 cents on average. This value applies to standard rooms at most levels (in fact, rooms in the midranges – between 30,000 and 80,000 points per night – tend to be worth even less):
Hilton standard room rewards
|Minimum points required||Average point value (cents)|
How to value your Hilton Honors points
We’ve told you how we value Hilton Honors points, but the value of your rewards really is subjective, depending on your goals for your points and how you ultimately end up using them.
When trying to figure out how much Hilton Honors points are worth to you, you should keep the following questions in mind:
- How do you want to redeem your points? Do you intend to use them for standard room nights, Points & Money awards or another type of redemption, like an Amazon purchase? (Note that we don’t actually recommend spending your points on Amazon merchandise – the value is very low.)
- What level of hotel do you prefer? Do you want to redeem your points for a couple of nights at a luxury resort, or do you intend to stretch them out on a weeklong stay at a lower-tier hotel?
- Where do you want to travel? The value of Hilton points can vary by country and city (and, unfortunately, more popular destinations tend to return a lower point value).
- When do you want to travel? In general, you can get better point values by booking rooms for the offseason and being more flexible with your travel dates.
- How far in advance do you tend to book? Keep in mind that Hilton Honors doesn’t use a fixed rewards chart, so the required points for a hotel can vary over time. Rooms are likely to be more expensive as you get closer to your travel date (and points for hotels on the lower end tend to fluctuate more than higher-end hotels).
- How far away is your travel date? If your intended travel date is far off, the value of your points could change by then. Hilton Honors, like many hotel loyalty programs, makes frequent updates to its program that can alter the overall value of rewards or, at least, the number of points required for your intended destination.
On top of all this, you also need to consider the flexibility of Hilton Honors points – whether you have to worry about blackout dates, points expiring, limited inventory of award nights, few redemption options, etc. – because points aren’t worth anything if the program makes it too hard to redeem them. The good news is, Hilton Honors points are fairly flexible (more on that below).
How to calculate the value of Hilton Honors points
There are varying philosophies on how to value rewards program currencies, but the basic calculation is pretty simple and boils down to the following steps:
- Pick your desired redemption option.
- If it’s a free night award: Look at the number of points required for your desired date and location.
- Then, figure out the cash price you would pay for the same room on that date (use a travel search engine like Priceline or Expedia). You should include fees and taxes, since those aren’t usually charged on award stays, and divide by the number of points required.
The basic formula is:
Point Value = Reward Value (in dollars) / Number of Points
The value you come up with will be a rough estimate. A plethora of factors can affect the value of a Hilton rewards night, such as the opportunity cost of the points you could have earned had you paid for the room with cash or a rewards credit card, the lowest possible price you could get by paying for the room in cash on your intended date (which could vary by the minute and depends on how diligent you are about checking rates), the opportunity cost of having to forgo other savings and promotions, the lowest possible price you could get by staying at another hotel in your desired destination city, and so on.
However, for a basic comparison of point values across hotel rewards programs, you probably don’t need to make things so complicated.
How flexible are Hilton points?
On the plus side, despite the low value of Hilton points, the hotel chain offers a fair amount of flexibility in redeeming your rewards. Here are the pros and cons of using Hilton Honors points:
Pros of Hilton Honors points:
- Hilton points generally don’t expire if you earn or spend points or use a Hilton credit card on a regular basis. (Otherwise, they expire in 15 months.) In addition, Hilton has paused points expiration until December 31, 2021, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
- The Hilton hotel network is huge: It consists of more than 6,300 properties in 118 countries and 18 brands at many price levels, giving you a lot of travel options.
- Rewards, generally, are not restricted– if a standard or premium room is available, you can book it with points (that said, you pay for this flexibility with lower-value points). And if you don’t have enough rewards to cover your stay, you can pay the difference in cash.
Cons of Hilton Honors points:
- Though points are transferable – Hilton currently has more than 40 airline and rail partners – the transfer rate is so low, it’s not worth it.
- You have a few other redemption options besides hotel nights and Points & Money awards, but their value is terrible.
- There’s no option to redeem points for cash back in case you want to use your Hilton Honors rewards to put money back in your pocket.
- There’s no fixed rewards chart. Instead, each Hilton property has a range of points, and how many you need can fluctuate between the high and low end of that range at any moment. This means rewards rooms are likely to be more expensive when they’re in high demand.
Are Hilton Honors points worth it?
Despite the inflated points value, collecting Hilton Honors rewards can be a worthwhile endeavor if you are a fan of Hilton hotels and stay there frequently, or if you manage to score a large introductory bonus with a Hilton credit card.
Hilton Honors cards can frequently feature supersized welcome offers, sometimes topping 100,000 points or more (after the required spend is met). If you are flexible with your travel dates, look for hotels in the lower point ranges and combine your points with Hilton’s free fifth-night benefit, you can turn those rewards into at least a seven-night stay.
For instance, the Hampton Inn near Universal Orlando currently offers rooms for 15,000 points on some dates. With the free fifth-night benefit, you could redeem your 100,000-point bonus for a weeklong visit to Universal Studios.