Hilton Honors is the loyalty program of the Hilton Hotels chain worldwide — with more than 6,200 properties over 118 countries. The portfolio also encompasses 18 hotel brands such as Conrad, Waldorf Astoria and DoubleTree by Hilton.
Members enrolled in the program can earn and redeem Hilton Honors points, which are quite versatile. Frequent guests also have the opportunity to notch up Hilton Honors elite status, which unlocks valuable perks.
Being a registered member also means you get lower rates on most stays, so it makes sense to sign-up if you are going to book with a Hilton property directly.
How do I join Hilton Honors?
Joining Hilton Honors is free and easy. If you’re not already a member, then follow these steps:
- Head to the ‘Join Hilton Honors’ page and enter the required details.
- Tick the box to confirm you’re not a robot.
- Click ‘Join Hilton Honors’ and your enrolment is complete.
- Log in to your account while booking with hotels directly to take advantage of lower rates, and to earn points after your stay.
What Hilton hotel brands are there?
The Hilton group currently boast 18 different hotel brands within its portfolio, as below:
You can earn and redeem Hilton Honors points on stays at Waldorf Astoria, LXR, Conrad, Canopy, Signia, Hilton, Curio Collection, DoubleTree, Tapestry Collection, Embassy Suites, Tempo, Motto, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton, Tru, Homewood Suites, Home2 Suites and Hilton Grand Vacations properties.
What are the Hilton Honors elite status levels?
Hilton Honors have four status tiers, which are:
Hilton Honors Member
Requirement: just enrolment in the program
- Complimentary Internet
- Late check-out (where available)
- Express check-out
- 10 points per US$1 spent at most properties
Hilton Honors Silver
Requirement: 4 stays, 10 nights, 25,000 Base Points, or complimentary with the American Express Explorer Card.
In addition to Member benefits, you’ll get:
- Fifth-night-free benefit for Standard Room Reward stays of five nights or more
- Two complimentary bottles of water per stay
- 12 points per US$1 spent at most properties
Hilton Honors Gold
This is the one to aim for. In addition to Silver benefits:
- Complimentary room upgrade (where available) at Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Waldorf Astoria, Conrad, Tapestry, Curio, DoubleTree and Canopy properties
- 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
- 18 points per US$1 spent at most properties
Hilton Honors Diamond
Requirement: 30 stays, 60 nights, 120,000 Base Points, or complimentary with Velocity Platinum status.
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, regardless of room type
- 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 rather than getting it complimentary
- 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
- 20 points per US$1 spent at most properties
How can I get complimentary Hilton Honors status?
As briefly mentioned before, there are primarily two pathways to get complimentary Hilton Honors Silver, Gold or Diamond status.
Hilton Honors status through American Express cards
Your Hilton Honors status is generally valid for the length of time you keep the appropriate Amex card. For American Express Explorer cardmembers, visit this enrolment page to activate your Hilton Honors Silver.
Hilton Honors status through Velocity Frequent Flyer
If you are a Velocity Gold member, you can choose between a one-off upgrade to Gold status with either Hilton Honors or IHG Rewards. Velocity Platinum members have the choice of Hilton Honors Diamond or IHG Rewards Platinum Elite.
Hilton Honors is arguably the better choice in both scenarios, as you have a wider range of benefits. Here are the steps to action this:
- Log-in into your Velocity Frequent Flyer account
- Click on My Benefits (if the link above doesn’t take you there already)
- Scroll down to Complimentary Partner membership – Accommodation
- Select Hilton Honors or IHG Rewards as your program of choice.
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).
Hilton Honors Status Challenge
Hilton Honors offers a long-running status challenge, where elite members of other hotel loyalty programs have the opportunity to take a shortcut to Hilton Honors Gold or Diamond status. More information on this challenge is available on the Hilton Honors website.
How do I earn Hilton Honors points?
Earning points on stays
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.
Unique program features include the ability to pool points with up to 10 other members, and transfer points between different accounts. Each member is limited to sending 500,000 points and receiving up to 2,000,000 points via either method in a calendar year.
Points promotions from Hilton 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 Hilton 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.
Transferring points from other partners
American Express Membership Rewards points transfer to the Hilton Honors program at a 2:1 ratio and takes around three business days. For example, 20,000 Membership Rewards points would equal 10,000 Hilton Honors points.
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 Membership Rewards points to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club at the same 2:1 ratio. You may need to wait up to 5 business days for this to complete.
- Phone Virgin Atlantic Flying Club to transfer 2 Flying Club miles to 3 Hilton Honors points, with a minimum of 10,000 point increments. You may need to wait up to 30 days for this to complete.
If you used this hack with 20,000 Membership Rewards points, you would earn 10,000 Virgin Atlantic miles, which would then convert to 15,000 Hilton Honors points — equivalent to a 50% bonus.
How do I redeem Hilton Honors points?
Hilton Honors 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, which can be a great saving.
Bear in mind that points bookings also come with booking flexibility and free refunds, so make sure you factor that in your price comparison, especially during the uncertain times surrounding COVID-19.
You can also transfer your Hilton Honors points to many airline frequent flyer programs. However, with each batch of 10,000 Honors points fetching between 1,000 to 2,000 airline points/miles, this generally offers very poor value.
What effect will COVID-19 have on Hilton Honors?
Hilton Honors is making changes to its loyalty program to support members. Reservations made before 12 March 2020 can be changed or cancelled for free up to 24 hours prior to arrival, but only up to 31 August 2020.
Bookings made between 12 March and 31 August 2020 can be changed or cancelled for free, up to 24 hours before arrival. Both these policies include ‘Advance Purchase’ rates which are usually not refundable.
Extensions of Hilton Honors status
All members whose 2019 status was scheduled to be downgraded on March 31, 2020 — whether it’s Diamond, Gold or Silver — will automatically receive an extension through March 31, 2021.
All members with Silver, Gold or Diamond status in 2020 will now have this extended until 31 March 2022. This means you could potentially have 24 months locked-in at your current level.
Similar extensions apply to Rollover Nights to help earn new elite status in the 2021 membership year. Finally, all points with an expiry in 2020 have been paused for now.
How do I contact Hilton Honors?
From Australia, call 1300 445 866 to speak to Hilton. From overseas, its toll-free number is +800 4445 8667. Alternatively, scroll to the bottom of the Hilton page and look for a blue button that says ‘Call Me’. After entering your phone number, you will receive a call shortly.
If using a phone isn’t convenient, try live chat instead. Scroll to the bottom of the Hilton page and look for a purple circle chat icon on the right-hand side. Attempt to solve your query with the automated bot and click ‘Still need help’ if you want to be transferred to an agent.
Hilton Honors is generally regarded as having one of the best hotel loyalty programs worldwide. Its inclusions for Gold and Diamond members are particularly simple and generous. 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.
Points can be transferred from other partners like American Express Membership Rewards, plus you can buy points and transfer or pool them to other people to book your next trip sooner.
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.
Frequently asked questions
Hilton Honors members have access to a special member rate that is usually slightly lower than the base rate.
Login to your account and see your digital membership card through this link.
Hilton Honors standard room awards tend to range between 5,000 to 95,000 points a night. With dynamic pricing, there is no set rate and pricing is determined on many factors such as holiday periods.
All images courtesy Hilton and associated brands.