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Hilton Honors rewards program guide

The best ways to earn and use Hilton Honors points

Summary

Our Hilton Honors guide gives you the full rundown on earning and redeeming Hilton Honors points and helps you figure out which Hilton Honors card is best for you.

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Hilton Hotels is one of the world’s oldest hotel brands and – with more than 6,100 properties in more than 119 countries – one of the largest. Since the Hilton Hotel network includes some very nice properties in a lot of locations around the globe, joining the Hilton Honors program and accruing Hilton Honors points might be an item on your itinerary.

What is Hilton Honors?

Hilton Honors is the loyalty program of Hilton Worldwide – a multinational hotel company that encompasses a broad portfolio of hotels and resorts, ranging from midlevel brands such as Hampton Inn to luxurious Conrad and Waldorf Astoria hotels.

Hilton Honors gives you a large number of ways to earn points that you can redeem for free nights at Hilton Hotels. Thanks to Hilton’s massive hotel network, your travel options with the Hilton Honors program are immense. But the program’s points are inflated and won’t take you as far as many of its competitors.

There are other upsides to the Hilton Honors program, however, including its elite benefits. Read on to see if the Hilton Honors can take you where you want to go:

Hilton Honors program overview

Type of currencyHotel points
Average point value0.5 cent
Credit cardsHilton Honors, Hilton Honors Surpass, Hilton Honors Aspire*, Hilton Honors Business
Redemption optionsHotel nights, Points & Money, car rentals, cruise certificates, on-property rewards, Amazon merchandise, donations
Minimum required to redeem5,000 points for a rewards night
Do rewards expire?Yes – if your account is inactive for more than 15 months.
Blackout dates/travel restrictionsNone. If a standard room is available, you can book it.
Hotel brandsWaldorf Astoria, Conrad, Hilton, DoubleTree, Embassy Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton, Canopy, Curio, Tru, Homewood Suites, Home2Suites, Motto, Signia, Tempo, LXR
Hotel coverageExcellent. 6,100+ properties in 119+ countries.
Transfer options
  • Transfer points to other Hilton members in 1,000-point increments, up to 6 times and up to 100,000 points per year.
  • Transfer to more than 30 airline partners. Transfer ratio is poor. 10:1 for most partners.
Best for
  • Travelers who prefer staying with chain hotels and want a large hotel network
  • Mid-level travelers who want good hotel perks
  • Travelers who prefer flexibility in redeeming their hotel points
  • Travel hackers looking for a program with a lot of opportunities to earn bonus points
  • Hilton loyalists

How to earn Hilton Honors points

Have you ever browsed through Hilton’s listings of fabulous hotels in fantastical lands, only to discover that the luxury hotel room of your dreams costs more than $500 a night? Don’t despair. Those fancy suites aren’t just for royalty! Award stays are the way to go.

It may feel daunting or straight-up impossible to earn enough points to stay at an overwater villa in the Maldives, for example, which averages over $1,000 a night, or to visit the $500-per-night Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah, located in the United Arab Emirates about an hour north of Dubai. However, the Hilton Honors loyalty program offers a large number of options for rapidly amassing enough points to cover a night or two at a luxury resort.

This guide offers you nine of the best ways to earn Hilton Honors points – and quickly. Take a look at our list to see which options best suit your lifestyle.

1. Earn an introductory bonus

The Hilton family of credit cards all include generous introductory bonuses designed to encourage new cardholders to hit a certain amount of spend within a designated time frame. Depending on the redemption you choose, these points can be enough to cover a weeklong vacation, making introductory bonuses one of the fastest ways to earn your next luxury stay.

Hilton introductory bonuses

Introductory bonusEstimated value
Hilton Honors American Express Card80,000 points if you spend $1,000 in first 3 months (Terms apply)$400
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card130,000 points if you spend $2,000 in first 3 months (Terms apply)$650
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card150,000 points if you spend $4,000 in first 3 months (Terms apply)$750
Hilton Honors American Express Business Card130,000 points if you spend $3,000 in first 3 months (Terms apply)$650

If you’re not sure which credit card is best for your needs, check out our guide explaining the benefits and perks of each Hilton Honors credit card.

Top Hilton Honors cards

No annual fee

Hilton Honors card

Hilton Honors American Express Card

Premium benefits

Hilton Honors Surpass

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

Business travel

Hilton Honors Business card

The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

7x points on Hilton hotel stays

5x points on U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations

3x points on other eligible purchases

80,000 points if you spend $1,000 in first 3 months

12x points on Hilton hotel stays

6x points on U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations

3x points on other eligible purchases

130,000 bonus points if you spend $2,000 in first 3 months

12x points on Hilton hotel stays

6x points on select business and travel purchases

3x points on other eligible purchases

130,000 bonus points if you spend $3,000 in first 3 months

2. Earn bonus points on credit card spending

Each dollar you spend on a Hilton Honors credit card will earn you points toward a future stay. The Hilton Honors credit cards also offer additional points for purchases in bonus categories, such as Hilton hotel bookings, restaurant spend and more. By charging your monthly expenses to your Hilton credit card, you’ll earn free hotel stays in no time flat.

CardPoints for Hilton purchasesPoints for U.S. restaurants, flights booked through airlines or AmexTravel.com or rental carsPoints for other eligible purchases
Hilton Honors7x5x 3x
Hilton Honors Surpass12x6x 3x
Hilton Honors Aspire14x7x 3x
Hilton Honors Business12x6x (as well as on U.S. gas stations, U.S. wireless providers and U.S. shipping fees) 3x

3. Earn points on Hilton Hotel stays

As a Hilton Honors loyalty program member, you earn 10 points for every dollar spent on most hotel stays in the Hilton hotel portfolio. You’ll also earn points on incidental spending at all Hilton brands. These points are awarded in addition to the points you earn with a Hilton Honors branded credit card. It adds up quickly.

For instance, if you booked a hotel stay through Hilton, and used a Hilton Honors credit card to pay for the stay, you would earn anywhere between 17 points per dollar with the Hilton Honors American Express credit card to 24 points per dollar with the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire card.

Do note that a handful of Hilton hotels are excluded from the 10 points per dollar earnings rate: Stays at Home2Suites and Tru properties earn 5 points per dollar spent, and Hampton by Hilton hotels in China are excluded from earning Hilton Honors points.

4. Earn dining rewards

One of the fastest ways to “double-dip” on earning Hilton Honors hotel points is by participating in the Hilton Honors Dining program.  The program is free and you don’t even have to be a credit card holder to participate. Once you link a debit card or credit card to a Hilton Honors Dining account, you will earn bonus Hilton Honors points whenever you make a purchase using that card at a participating bar, club or restaurant.

See related: How to make the most of an airline dining program

Depending on your status in the dining program, you can earn up to eight Hilton Honors points per dollar of restaurant spend. These points are earned in addition to any other rewards you may be collecting from your Hilton Honors credit card, and can quickly boost your progress toward an epic hotel stay.

5. Rent a car with one of Hilton’s car rental partners

Hilton also has a number of partnerships with car rental companies, offering you one more way to work toward your next vacation on your current trip. Book a car rental from the following rental companies and present your Hilton Honors number at the time of reservation to earn Hilton Honors points:

PartnerEarning rate
AlamoEarn 500 Hilton Honors Bonus Points on every qualifying rental and 500 bonus points for every rental day, up to 5,000 bonus points.
EnterpriseEarn 500 Hilton Honors Bonus Points on every qualifying rental and 500 bonus points for every rental day, up to 5,000 bonus points.
NationalEarn 500 Hilton Honors Bonus Points on every qualifying rental and 500 bonus points for every rental day, up to 5,000 bonus points. Plus, save up to 25% on your rental.

6. Sign up for Priority Pass

Priority Pass is a network of over 1,300 airport lounges in over 120 countries. Founded in 1992, the company claims to offer the world’s largest airport lounge network in the world. Some lounges are privately owned, while others are part of airlines or airline alliances.

Hilton is sweetening the deal for Hilton Honors members. When you sign up for Priority Pass, you will earn a one-time bonus of up to 10,000 points:

  • 4,000 Hilton Honors Points with your Priority Pass Standard Membership.
  • 6,500 Hilton Honors Points with your Priority Pass Standard Plus Membership.
  • 10,000 Hilton Honors Points with your Priority Pass Prestige Membership.

It’s important to note that since the Priority Pass membership is tied to payment, the bonus is not available to existing Priority Pass memberships or to members who receive Priority Pass membership through premium credit cards such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

7. Transfer points from Hilton’s travel partners

Certain travel partners offer the ability to transfer miles or points from their rewards programs to Hilton Honors. While the conversion ratio isn’t the greatest is most cases, it’s a good opportunity to consolidate the rewards you’ve been collecting across various accounts into a program you’ll actually be able to use on a consistent basis. The table below shows some of the airline and train partners whose loyalty programs sync up with Hilton Honors, as well as the conversion rates at which miles or points transfer:

ProgramConversion ratio (miles to points)
Amtrak5,000:10,000
Hawaiian Airlines10,000:15,000 or 20,000:30,000
Virgin Atlantic10,000:15,000

8. Ride with Lyft

Thanks to a partnership between Hilton Honors and Lyft, members can earn 3 points per dollar spent on qualifying Lyft rides. (Note: Shared rides only earn 2 points per dollar.) To take advantage of this perk, you’ll need to link your Lyft and Hilton Honors accounts by following this link.

Points are automatically added to your Hilton Honors balance after every ride you take, making it easy to rack up rewards with the rideshare service.

9. Buy Hilton Honors points

The final item on this list is the good old fashioned points buying technique. This option should generally be considered a last resort, since Hilton sells Hilton Honors points for 1 cent each. We value Hilton points at 0.5 cent apiece – half of what it typically costs to purchase them –  so there’s not a lot of value to purchasing them outright unless there’s a redemption you want that requires just a few more points. In this case, if you can’t transfer points from other partners, buying points is a fantastic option. Remember to use your Hilton Honors co-branded credit card for additional earnings on the points purchase.

Best ways to use Hilton Honors points

Once you’ve earned all the points you can handle, it’s time for the fun part. The Hilton loyalty program gives you a variety of options for redeeming Hilton Honors program, by far your best option is redeeming points for Hilton hotel nights. There are a couple of other options – Points & Money rewards and Redemption Experiences – that can offer a good value, and there are a few ways to stretch your points.

In the guide below, we summarize all your redemption options and the best ways to spend Hilton Honors points.

Hilton Honors redemption options

Redemption optionPoint value (cents)
Average standard room reward0.5
Average premium room reward0.3
Points & Money0.5
Car rentals0.2
Cruise certificate0.2
On-property rewards0.2
Redemption ExperiencesVaries
Amazon merchandise0.2
Donations (PointWorthy.com)0.25

Using Hilton Honors points for standard room nights

For the most part, if you want to get the most out of your Hilton points, you’re better off redeeming them for standard room nights. As you can see from our redemption chart above, the value of a standard room night hovers around 0.5 cent per point. However, since Hilton doesn’t use a fixed redemption chart, the value of your points can vary drastically, depending on the level of the hotel that you book, time of year, location and how far in advance you book.

You can use Hilton’s Points Explorer tool to get an estimate of how much your reward night will cost in points and compare it to the cash price to estimate point value.

Hilton’s fifth night free benefit

Hilton free fifth night benefit is a great way to stretch your points even further. Hilton offers a free fifth night on any rewards stay of five nights or longer, which means if you book your rewards in five-night increments, you can tack an additional night onto each stay. Note, to be eligible for the benefit, you must qualify for Silver elite status with Hilton by either opening a Hilton credit card or accumulating at least four stays or 10 nights in a year.

Hilton Points & Money rewards

Hilton allows you to use points and cash to book rewards nights at some properties. Though the locations are unfortunately limited, this is a great option for booking higher-end hotels when you don’t have enough points to cover the entire stay. Plus, you can find some great values for your points – around 0.5 cent on average and possibly higher, depending on the hotel and time of year. Not only can you shave money off the cost of the room, but you can reduce taxes and resort fees when you use this option.

Using Hilton Honors points for experiences

You can use your Hilton Honors points to bid for experiences – such as tickets to concerts and sporting events. The value of this option is difficult to peg, since it varies greatly by each event and depends on the final bid. However, it is possible to find some great values in the list – especially if you come across an experience that no one else has bid on.

Hilton premium room rewards

In addition to standard room nights, Hilton allows you to use Honors points to book premium rooms. It’s not a great use of Honors points – a premium room award is worth only 0.3 cent on average – but it’s at least an option if you want to use your points for a stay at a hotel where standard rooms aren’t available.

Using Hilton Honors points for car rentals

You can use points to book car rentals with Hilton’s three car rental partners – Alamo, Enterprise and National. In general, this is a poor use of points, netting only 0.2 cent per point – half the value of a standard room night.

Using Hilton Honors points for cruises

You can redeem points for cruise certificates through CruisesOnly.com. This is also a poor value for your points, worth only 0.2 cent per point on average.

Hilton on-property rewards

Hilton also allows you to use points for “on-property” amenities, such as golf tee times, all-inclusive packages and hotel currency. The value for on-property rewards tends to be low (we estimate around 0.2 cent per point).

Using Hilton Honors points on Amazon

Hilton recently partnered with Amazon to allow you to redeem Hilton points for Amazon merchandise. You can use points for almost any Amazon purchase, and Amazon certainly makes it convenient for you – once you link your Hilton account to your Amazon account, you can apply your points at checkout. However, it’s a terrible use of your points, worth only 0.2 cent per point on average.

Donating Hilton Honors points

You can donate your Hilton Honors points to charity through PointWorthy.com, but – since points are only 0.25 cent per point on average with this option – we think you’re better off holding on to your points and making a cash donation.

Transferring Hilton Honors points to a travel partner

Hilton has a list of more than 30 travel partners that you can transfer points to. As you can see from our sample list below, transferring Hilton points is a terrible value – points transfer to most of its partners in 1,000-point increments at a 10:1 ratio. (You can view Hilton’s full list of travel partners here.)

Hilton Honors airline partner transfer ratios

Transfer partnerTransfer ratio
Aeroplan10,000:1,000
Air France-KLM10,000:1,000
Alaska Airlines10,000:1,000
American Airlines10,000:1,500
British Airways10,000:1,000
Delta Airlines10,000:1,000
Frontier Airlines10,000:1,500
Hawaiian Airlines10,000:1,500
United Airlines10,000:1,000
Virgin Atlantic Airways10,000:1,500

In sum, it’s pretty easy to see where the best value in the Hilton rewards program lies, both when earning and redeeming points. If you aren’t redeeming your points for standard room nights or Points & Money rewards, you’re probably not getting a good value. And, if you want to stretch your points, you’re best off searching in the lower redemption tiers and using your fifth night free benefit (if you qualify for it) to tack on extra nights to your rewards stays.

Besides that, finding good values for your points mostly comes down to flexibility and patience – since the points required for a specific location fluctuates over time, it’s good to check well in advance, and have a variety of options – including times and locations – for using your points.

Other things to know about Hilton Honors

Want to learn more about maximizing points with Hilton Honors? Check out our other guides below.

*Information about the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire card has been collected independently by CreditCards.com. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

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