Hilton Honors points are a useful major points currency to consider if you have an affinity for the Hilton Hotels chain.
In this guide, I cover key hotel locations, status benefits, transferring points between programs, and how to get the best value from earning and redeeming Honors points.
Hilton Hotel locations
Hilton has a massive global reach of hotels with its 14 hotel brands. It has 15 properties in Australia.
A full list of properties is available from the Hilton website.
Hilton Honors elite status
Honors offers four status tiers in the following order (from lowest to highest): Member, 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.
Hilton Honors Member
Requirement: just enrolment in the program
- Complimentary Internet
- Late check-out (where available)
- Express check-out
Hilton Honors Silver
Requirement: 4 stays, 10 nights or 25,000 Base Points
In addition to Member benefits:
- Fifth night free for Standard Room Reward stays of five nights or more
- Two complimentary bottles of water per stay
- 20% point bonus
Hilton Honors Gold
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 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 points
- 80% points bonus
Hilton Honors Diamond
Requirement: 30 stays, 60 nights or 120,000 Base Points
In addition to Gold benefits:
- Guaranteed room availability when bookings are made at least 48 hours prior to arrival
- 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 Hilton Honors 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 Card Member.
If you are a Velocity Gold member, you can choose between Gold status with either Honors or IHG Rewards. I recommend the former as IHG Gold doesn’t really offer many benefits.
You can do this by:
- Logging into your Velocity Frequent Flyer account
- Clicking on My Velocity
- Scrolling down to My Benefits
- Selecting Hilton Honors or IHG Rewards under Complimentary Hotel Membership
Note that whichever you choose, you will only get for one year. 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, I 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. Then you have to qualify within the hotel loyalty program to retain that status level.
Honors status matching
Honors usually offers status matching from other hotel loyalty programs to try to attract your business. Check out the status match offer here.
Earning Hilton Honors points
You’ll earn 10 Hilton Honors Base Points for every eligible US dollar spent on your room including room service. If you’re an elite status member, you’ll get a 20-100% bonus, depending on your status tier.
Buying Hilton Honors points
Points promotions from Honors can represent good value for topping up points balances for specific redemptions. However, 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
The regular price set by Hilton is 1 US cent per point. It’s best to wait for a 100% bonus, which halves that price.
Hilton Honors transfer partners
American Express Membership Rewards points transfer to the Hilton Honors program at a 2:1 ratio and takes around three business days. However, if you have more 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.
Redeeming Hilton Honors points
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
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.
When it comes to redeeming, you’ll get the best value from redemptions at mid-tier properties 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 the American Express Platinum Charge or working your way to Velocity Gold status.
And, as always, keep an eye on your inbox and the Point Hacks website for current offers and bonus points promotions from Hilton Honors and other loyalty programs.
All images courtesy Hilton, Virgin Atlantic and associated brands.