Hilton Honors points are a useful major points currency to consider if you have an affinity for the Hilton Hotels chain.
In this guide, we cover key hotel locations, status benefits, transferring points between programs, and how to get the best value from earning and redeeming Honors points.
Current offer: transfer your Amex points to Hilton Honors with a 50% bonus
American Express Membership Rewards points are some of the most flexible out there and transfer 1:1 to Hilton Honors.
With this offer, you will get a 50% bonus on transfers during the month of September. Note that the terms and conditions state that the bonus points can take up to eight weeks to post but I sincerely doubt it would take that long.
Until 6pm AEST on 5 September, however, transfers of Amex points to its frequent flyer partners are undergoing maintenance, so you may have to wait until after this period to transfer.
The terms and conditions of the offer state:
Minimum transfer is 1,000 Membership Rewards points. The transfer of points will take up to 3 business days to transfer into your Hilton Honors account. Redeem for this offer from 12:00am AEST on 1 September 2018 to 11:59pm AEST on 30 September 2018, to receive 50% Hilton Honors Bonus Points. Please allow up to eight weeks for the additional Hilton Honors Bonus Points to be awarded.
Is this a good deal?
You will get much more value from your American Express points by transferring them to an airline frequent flyer partner rather than Honors. With this bonus, you will only be getting about 0.75c value from each Amex point, which is about half of the target we have for that currency (1.5-1.9c per-point value depending on if you have Gateway or Ascent points).
However, if this bonus does tip the scales in favour for those needing to top their Honors account up for a specific redemption, then by all means make use of it. Note, however, that in the Transfer points section there is a hack to get an 11-50% bonus on transfers from Amex to Honors year-round.
Hilton has a massive global reach of hotels with its ten hotel brands, including 23 in Australasia.
A full list of properties is available from the Hilton website.
Honors offers four status tiers in the following order (from lowest to highest): Blue, Silver, Gold and Diamond.
You can find more information about the status tiers and benefits on the Honors website.
It’s worth it to join the program just to get free internet and late-check out (where available).
Then, if you hold Silver or above, you’ll get the fifth night free on award redemptions of five or more nights, which comes in handy for longer stays.
If you have Gold, you’ll start getting into free upgrades and breakfasts, with Diamond members enjoying Executive Lounge access.
Requirement: just enrolment in the program
- Complimentary Internet
- Late check-out (where available)
- Express check-out
Requirement: 4 stays or 10 nights
In addition to Blue benefits:
- Fifth night free for Standard Room Reward stays of five nights or more
- Complimentary access to fitness centres
- Two complimentary bottles of water per stay
- 20% points bonus
This is the one to aim for—it’s where the tangible benefits start to be seen.
Requirement: 20 stays, 40 nights or 75,000 Honors Base Points (or see automatic status with credit card and frequent flyer programs below)
In addition to Silver benefits:
- Complimentary room upgrade (where available) at Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Waldorf Astoria, Conrad, Tapestry, Curio, DoubleTree and Canopy properties, including Executive Floor Lounge Access if upgraded to a room that usually has access to the Lounge
- Complimentary breakfast for two at Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Waldorf Astoria, Conrad, Tapestry, Curio, DoubleTree and Garden Inn properties, OR bonus Hilton points
- 80% points bonus
Requirement: 30 stays, 60 nights or 120,000 Honors Base Points
In addition to Gold benefits:
- Diamond status extension for eligible members
- Guaranteed room availability when bookings are made at least 48 hours prior to arrival
- Premium high-speed internet access at some hotels
- Executive Floor Lounge Access at Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Conrad, Tapestry, Curio and DoubleTree properties
- Complimentary breakfast for two at Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Waldorf Astoria, Conrad, Tapestry, Curio, DoubleTree and Garden Inn properties, AND bonus Hilton points
- Ability to gift Gold or Platinum elite status to anyone, providing you have earned your status through stays
- If you have had Diamond status for at least three years and have either earned 500,000 points or stayed a total of 250 nights, you can extend your status for one year for any reason
- 100% points bonus
Get Gold status with these credit cards and frequent flyer programs
American Express Platinum Charge
You’ll automatically get Honors Gold status if you are an American Express Platinum Charge cardholder.
If you are a Velocity Gold member, you can choose between Gold status with either Honors or IHG Rewards. We recommend the former as IHG Gold doesn’t really offer many benefits.
Note that whichever you choose, you will only get for one year, and then you have to qualify within the hotel loyalty program to retain that status level (even though you may continue to hold Velocity status).
If you are a Velocity Platinum member, you can choose between Diamond status with Honors, or Platinum with IHG Rewards. Again, we recommend the former as IHG Platinum doesn’t really offer many benefits, in particular breakfast or Executive Lounge access.
Again, you will only get Diamond for one year, and then you have to qualify within the hotel loyalty program to retain that status level.
Honors status matching
Honors usually offer status matching from other hotel loyalty programs to try to attract your business. Here is the current status match promotion, which will run for all of 2018.
You’ll earn 10 Hilton Honors Base Points for every eligible US dollar spent on your room including room service with a bonus of depending on your status tier (listed under Elite status above).
Points promotions from Honors can represent good value for topping up points balances for specific redemptions, but these offers aren’t usually great for using speculatively.
You can purchase a maximum of 80,000 Honors points before bonuses each calendar year.
If you’re a new member, there is a waiting period for buying points of either:
- 30 days after enrolment if your account reflects activity (a hotel stay or earning of points through a Honors partner); or
- 90 days with no account activity
Whilst American Express Membership Rewards points of both the Ascent and Gateway varieties transfer to the Hilton Honors program at a 1:1 ratio, we value Amex points much higher than Honors points, meaning that this redemption option would be best suited only to topping your Honors account up for a specific redemption.
If you have time to wait for the points to transfer and are after more points, then there is the following hack: transfer Amex points to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club at 1:1 ratio for Ascent/4:3 for Gateway > wait up to five business days for transfer to complete > phone Virgin Atlantic Flying Club to transfer Flying Club miles to Hilton Honors at a 2:3 ratio (minimum 10,000 miles and 10,000-mile increments thereafter) > wait up to 30 days for transfer to complete.
To compare, if you did a direct transfer of 10,000 Amex points, you would get 10,000 Honors points. If you used this hack, you would earn 10,000/7,500 Virgin Atlantic miles (Ascent/Gateway), which would then convert to 15,000/11,250 Honors points, giving you a year-round 50%/11% bonus.
With Honors switching up its redemption model in 2017, the best redemptions now lie at:
- mid-tier properties like the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel at Universal Orlando, Agra and Queenstown
- luxury properties like Conrad Maldives, Tokyo and Hong Kong; Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts; and Hilton Hotels & Resorts
- properties located in touristy cities at touristy times, like the Hilton Barcelona and Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik
Hilton Queenstown Resort & Spa
Remember, if you’re a Silver member or above, you’ll get your fifth award night free on stays of five nights or more.
Bear in mind that points bookings come with booking flexibility and free refunds, so make sure you factor that in your price comparison.
You can also transfer your Honors points to airline frequent flyer programs, however, at a rate of 10,000 Honors points = 1,000-2,000 airline points (depending on the program), this generally offers very poor value.
You can find the full list of Honors offers here.
If you haven’t already, start by joining the program for free here.
The best value to be had from this program come April 2018 will be saving up your Honors points for stays.
When it comes to redeeming, you’ll get the best value from redemptions at low category hotels as well as quite expensive ones, plus remember you will get your fifth night free if you are booking a longer stay and are an elite member.
To get Gold status, have a look at getting one of the three credit cards mentioned above.
And, as always, keep an eye on your inbox and the Point Hacks website for current offers and bonus points promotions from Honors and other loyalty programs.
All images courtesy of Hilton and associated brands.