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.
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.
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
American Express Membership Rewards points transfer to the Hilton Honors program at a 2:1 ratio. However, if you have time to wait for the points to transfer and are after more Hilton points, then there is a hack.
Transfer your Amex points to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club at the same 2:1 ratio > wait up to five business days for transfer to Flying Club 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 Hilton to complete.
To compare, if you did a simple transfer of 10,000 Amex points, you would get 5,000 Honors points. If you used this hack, you would earn 5,000 Virgin Atlantic miles, which would then convert to 7,500 Honors points. That’s equivalent to a 50% bonus.
Hilton Honors has not had an award chart since 2017—instead, it follows a dynamic pricing model, meaning the cost in terms of points fluctuates based on the date. In June 2019, it made some properties even more expensive.
The best redemptions tend to 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.