Buy Hilton Points With An 80% Bonus

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Through August 31, 2015, Hilton HHonors is offering an 80% bonus on purchased points.

The cost to purchase points with HHonors is ordinarily one cent per point (including tax), so through this promotion you can purchase Hilton points for ~0.56 cents each.

Hilton-Bonus

You can purchase a maximum of 80,000 HHonors points before any bonuses per account per calendar year, meaning the highest number of points you can pick up through this promotion is 144,000 at a cost of $800.

Hilton-Bonus-1

I value Hilton HHonors points at ~0.4 cents each, though there are certainly instances where you can get more value out of Hilton points than that.

To put that price into context, here are Hilton’s award categories (as you can see there’s quite a bit of variance in each category — HHonors is the closest to being a revenue based hotel program):

HHonors-Categories

A Category 1 property is 5,000 points per night, and Hilton offers elite members a fifth night free, bringing down the average cost to 4,000 points per night. At ~0.56 cents per point, that’s like paying ~$22 per night:

Hilton-Rate-3

Meanwhile Category 2 properties go for 10,000 points per night, so with a fifth night free that’s an average cost of 8,000 points per night. At 0.5 cents per point, that’s like paying ~$45 per night:

Hilton-Rate-1

Hilton-Rate-2

As you can see, in all cases these represent huge savings over the paid rates. In many cases the numbers work out quite favorably as well for higher end hotels.

This is one of the better promotions we’ve seen for the purchase of Hilton points, though not the best. For example, in June we saw a 100% bonus on the purchase of Hilton points.

Here are the full terms of the promotion:

Points purchased do not count towards elite tier qualification Points.com and Hilton HHonors reserve the right to terminate bonus promotions at any time. All purchases must be made through the Purchase page on HHonors.com. The 80% bonus is available for purchases made between August 24, 2015 at 12:01am ET and August 31, 2015, at 11:59pm ET. All purchases are non-refundable. Offer is subject to change. Offer cannot be combined with any other offer. Points will be posted to the recipients Hilton HHonors account within 24 hours of the completed transaction. Buy transactions are final and non-refundable. All Hilton HHonors program terms and conditions apply. Hilton HHonorsTM membership, earning of Points and MilesTM and redemption of Points are subject to HHonors Terms and Conditions.

* Email address is required and will only be used for transaction and marketing communications related to this purchase. Price includes all applicable fees. GST/HST will be charged to Canadian residents. Members may receive a maximum of 80,000 purchased points per calendar year. Purchased points are not refundable and are applicable towards all HHonors awards. Points purchased using this option will post within 24 hours. Email address is required and will only be used for transaction and marketing communications related to this purchase. Purchased points do not count towards HHonors status upgrades. All standard HHonors program rules and conditions apply.

As you can see, purchased points should post within 24 hours, and purchases are processed by points.com, meaning they don’t qualify as hotel spend for the purposes of your credit card. Therefore you’ll want to use a credit card which maximizes your return on everyday spend for the purchase.

Bottom line 

In general I’m not for speculatively buying points when they’re being sold for more than I value them. That being said, that’s the beauty of non-revenue based points currencies — the way in which people value them varies wildly. I know people that value Hilton points at 0.3 cents each, and I know people that value them at 1.0 cent each.

While a 100% bonus on purchased points is better than an 80% bonus, this is still a rate at which it could make sense to buy points if you have a short term use in mind.

Do you plan on buying Hilton HHonors points for ~0.56 cents each?

(Tip of the hat to View from the Wing)

Comments

  1. “In general I’m not for speculatively buying points when they’re being sold for more than I value them. That being said, that’s the beauty of non-revenue based points currencies — the way in which people value them varies wildly. I know people that value Hilton points at 0.3 cents each, and I know people that value them at 1.0 cent each.”

    Having addressed this issue ad nauseam in various blogs, the main problem is that the neither bloggers nor their readers have a clue what they are talking about, especially when they attempt to compare the value of points across loyalty programs.

    Remember: @ 0.4 cent each, HHonors points are worth 0.4 * 6 = 2.4 cents in terms of starpoints.

    When you finally do get that there will be less confusion 😉

  2. I’ve already bought the masximum of 80k allowed for this calendar year during the 100% promo in June…

  3. DCS,

    I am confused. If one is buying HHonors points from Hilton where does your factor of six come from?

  4. @Confused — You’re not the only one. That was just a reminder for those who are tempted to conclude that the value of 0.4 cent for each Hilton point means that is worth much less than starpoints, which are valued at 2.2 cents each. To compare those two values is like comparing apples and oranges because the point systems use different scales. The factor of 6 is required to convert from one scale to the other.

    Unconfused?

  5. @ Ian — You could do that, though it’s not an especially compelling value, given the transfer ratio.

  6. @DCS – I still don’t understand how Starpoints and a factor of 6 applies when you are contemplating buying HHonors points from Hilton.

    Once you have HHonors points in hand, how do you, on average, value each one? 0.4 cents? 1 cent? 2.2 cents? 2.4 cents?

  7. @Confused — Once more: “That was just a REMINDER for those who are tempted to conclude that the value of 0.4 cent for each Hilton point means that [it] is worth much less than starpoints, which are valued at 2.2 cents each.”‘

    If you do not get it then you have not been reading this blog long enough, or you have not followed many of the discussions on the RELATIVE “value” of loyalty points closely enough…

  8. @DCS – “That was just a REMINDER for those who are tempted to conclude that the value of 0.4 cent for each Hilton point means that [it] is worth much less than starpoints, which are valued at 2.2 cents each.”

    If a Hilton point is worth 0.4 cents and a Starpoint is worth 2.2 cents then a Hilton point IS worth less than a Starpoint. If you are assigning different cash values to each, then please clarify.

    Using Lucky’s valuation of 0.4 cents, if I bought the 144,000 Hilton points for $800, I should be able redeem them for about $576 worth of stays at Hilton properties. Using the valuation of 1 cent that he mentions, it would be $1,440. Are you claiming that I could realistically redeem them for $3,456 (144,000 * $0.024) worth of stays at Hilton properties? If not, then I could use a clearer explanation why one Hilton point is worth more than one Starpoint.

  9. @Confused, you’re not really confused. DCS makes the rounds claiming Hilton points are more valuable than any other hotel points, and declares victory despite many logical gaps and big misunderstandings of what “value” is vs. “price”. Mainly he does this by citing that Hilton points are easier to acquire per dollar of hotel spend, so you can get so many more of them… Despite that being canceled out by much higher points per night prices for redemptions.

    Bottom line is, points have different value to different people because you have to factor in opportunity costs and preferences. Maybe I don’t like Hiltons or Conrads, or they aren’t where I need them. Maybe the benefits of elite status don’t appeal to me at Hilton but do somewhere else; this makes acquiring Hilton points more costly to me over somewhere else since I’m giving up a stay/spend somewhere else.

  10. @Confused — This is simple stuff that trips everyone.

    Restaurant X sells a hamburger for $1. It accepts both the SPG AMEX and HH AMEX Surpass. We both go there and purchase that hamburger, you with the SPG AMEX, I with HH AMEX Surpass. When AMEX transfer your starpoints, you will have exactly 1. When they transfer my HH points, I will have 6. A point is not a point if different programs award different number of them for the VERY SAME TRANSACTIOB. Starpoints and HHonors points cannot be compared without using a “points currency conversion factor”, which is about 6.

    What is the colder temperature between 32 degrees Fahrenheit and 0 degree Celsius? One number is bigger than the other…

    G’day!

  11. @DCS – What does using either Amex credit card at a restaurant have to do with buying Hilton points from Hilton? It appears you are conflating the value of a program’s individual loyalty points with the value of the loyalty program itself.

    When one is talking about redeeming points that one already has, it doesn’t matter how much it cost to obtain them; what matters is how much value you can exchange them for. Obviously, the cost of obtaining more points affects future acquisition decisions.

    So I will restate my previous question. If I have 144,000 Hilton points, what dollar amount of stays at Hilton properties could I realistically expect to redeem them for?

  12. @Confused – ” What does using either Amex credit card at a restaurant have to do with buying Hilton points from Hilton?”

    It has absolutely nothing to do with buying points from Hilton. DCS treats his views as if they were the most obvious thing in the world, and treats everyone who doesn’t share those views as simpletons.

  13. @Confused — You are definitely confused and beyond help. For once and (horror!), I agree with Brain L. This has nothing to do with purchasing HHonors points all. Your thinking is clearly too one-dimensional to get what it’s about, so let it go…

    I am now sitting in a King deluxe room at the very old and “dated” Sheraton Brussels Airport hotel waiting to catch my BRU flight for FIH in about 6 hours (it is 4:50 am here now). The place hotel nice but seems more like a Hyatt Place in atmosphere, with the restaurant/bar and their hamburgers being the most popular feature. Well, it was not all bad. It cost me just 5K starpoints and US$75 as C+P reward stay, and I was upgraded to the exec floor, with access to the exec lounge, which is rather small, also “dated” and nondescript…

    What does that have to do with purchasing HHonors points? Absolutely nothing other than it is an example of multi-dimensional thinking and bifurcations that can go in these forums 😉

    G’day!

  14. Ha! BRU flight — there is no such carrier! Try SN flight out of BRU 😉

    SN = Brussels Airlines, the vestige of what used to be called SABENA, so they kept the IATA calling code of SN, a member of Star Alliance.

  15. @DCS – I don’t think anyone is beyond help. Please expand my one-dimensional thinking by returning to the original topic. If I have 144,000 Hilton points, what dollar amount of stays at Hilton properties could I realistically expect to redeem them for? Thank you.

  16. @Confused — To keep repeating the same thing and hoping for a different outcome is called, generously, OCD… 🙂

    Gotta go!

  17. @DCS – I think you are projecting. Can you at least help me understand why you are unable or unwilling to answer what appears to me to be a simple and straight forward question? Or at least explain why it is not a simple and straight forward question?

  18. @Confused — I have. Several different ways. Here’s one more way.

    If you need 1,000,000 starpoints you will need to spend $1,000,000 on the SPG AMEX and you’d be broke!

    If I need 1,000,000 HH points I will need to spend “just” $166,667 — way less than my annual salary and maybe yours too — on the HH AMEX Surpass and I would survive. But if I spend $1,000,000 on the AMEX Surpass, as you would need to spend on SPG AMEX to accumulate 1M starpoints, I would get 6,000,000 HH points.

    The points are on different scales and cannot be compared without taking into account the earn side of the mile/point equation.

    It still has got nothing with purchasing HH points at an 80% discount, because it is part of a long-running “debate” or discussion on this site, which you seem not to grasp.

    If wish to compare points across programs, then use either the “Spend Per Free Night” metric or use the relative earn rates as the “points currency conversion factor” because either takes into account both the earn and spend sides of the mile/point equation.

    Estimating $ amounts that a points currency can be redeemed for is fine. Just do not try to carry that across programs because the number of points that are awarded for the same size transaction or same spend is different among programs, and the award charts are different too.

    If you still do not get it, then answer my question: “Which is the colder temperature between 32 degrees Fahrenheit and 0 degree Celsius?” Please do not come back and just say the same thing again without addressing that question, which holds the answer! Then search this site for the correct answer and the relevance to points currencies and the difference scales they are expressed on 😉

  19. “You are definitely confused and beyond help.”

    And once again, DCS resorts to insulting people who don’t agree with him.

  20. @DCS – 32 degrees Fahrenheit and 0 degree Celsius are both 273 kelvin. Neither are currencies or commodities. It is a faulty analogy. I could in turn ask which requires more energy, heating 1 gram of water one degree Celsius or 1 gram of water 1 degree Fahrenheit, but that would be just as silly, meaningless and disingenuous as your question. But I have answered your question.

    There are two components to a loyalty program’s point system. The cost of acquiring points and the value of acquired points when you redeem them. When evaluating a loyalty program one needs to assess both of those components, and others, to determine the value of the program to oneself. That is pretty obvious and I am not aware of anyone here who disputes it.

    However, once points are acquired they are a sunk cost and the cost of acquisition does not affect their redemption value. When you redeem 144,000 Hilton points for a stay at a Hilton property, you are receiving some value. That value is the same no matter how much it cost to acquire those points. It doesn’t matter if you paid Hilton $800, or if using an Amex Surpass card, you spent $48,000 at a bookstore or $24,000 at restaurants, or if the tooth fairy left them for you in exchange for a wisdom tooth.

    You are conflating the redemption value of a program’s individual points with the overall value of the program. Based on your evasiveness I suspect you understand this but are unwilling to publicly acknowledge it.

    Now that we have clarified that the redemption value of a program’s individual points does not solely define the value of said program, we can return to the original post and your comment that started this. Lucky says he values Hilton points for redemption at 0.4 cents and that he knows that others value them between 0.3 and 1 cent for redemption. Your initial comment indicates that you disagree with these redemption values but then you go off on your Starpoints tangent. Can you clarify if and how you disagree with those redemption values, regardless of how you value this or any other loyalty program overall? Note that when Lucky says that he values a Hilton point at 0.4 cents, he is not comparing a Hilton point to a Starpoint, he is only comparing the Hilton point to a cash redemption value. I am still interested to know much dollar value you think I could get if I redeemed 144,000 points for stays at Hilton properties.

  21. @Confused — Your comment is one of the best reasoned and clear explanations of what value means with respect to a loyalty program that I’ve seen. I suspect that DCS will come back at you with ad hominem attacks, or a nonsensical/fallacious analogy and conflate it by saying you obviously don’t understand how to compare things and apples are apples and oranges are oranges and you can’t compare them (even though you clearly can, it’s just not as easy!) 🙂

  22. @Confused — Greetings from the incredibly beautiful Kempinski Fleuve Congo Hotel in FIH! I can see Brazzaville clearly across the Congo River, making Kinshasa and Brazzaville the two capital cities that are the nearest to each other in the world!

    Anyway, to get back to your long thesis, much of it is correct but irrelevant because it has very little to do with my recurrent theme about how loyalty points or “value” should be compared.

    You cannot take the value of 0.4 cent/points estimated for HHonors points and compare it with the value of 2.2 cents/point estimated for starpoints and conclude the latter points are more “valuable” because, while both are loyalty points, they are measuring such points on totally different scales. So just because one is bigger than the other does not mean that the bigger one is the more “valuable”.

    That’s the relevance to whether 32 oF and 0 oC are different temperatures. While both measure temperature, which is what it is, they do so on different scales. You cannot say that 32F is hotter or 0C is colder based on the magnitude of the numbers alone, again, because because they measure temperature on different scales. In order to be able to determine which is the colder or hotter temperature between 32F and 0C one needs to calibrate the instruments to put them on the same scale, which would show 32F and 0C to be exactly the same temperature. Loyalty currencies, likewise, can be valued against each other only after putting them on the same scale, and the calibration or conversion factor that enables that is their relative earn rates.

    Your “analysis” is fine when confined to a single loyalty program. You simply cannot carry it across programs.

    Each starpoint may be worth 2.2 cents but Starwood awards are, by far, the highest-priced in the business precisely because starpoints are the toughest in the business to acquire, thus making the program one the least rewarding in terms of free stays. Do the math!

    I am flat out of ways to un-confused you, so I am letting you have the floor. Knock yourself out.

    G’day!

  23. @DCS — Ah. I think I see now the source of *your* confusion. NOBODY is saying that SPG points are more valuable than Hilton points on the basis of the value of a single SPG point being ~2.2cpp or Hilton points being ~0.4cpp (or however you value a single point).

    People are saying things like, this deal in the post above is not worth it because they believe the redemption value is only ~0.4cpp, but the cost to acquire (for this deal only) is ~0.56cpp.

    Others have also said things like, for their purposes, SPG properties are preferable for reasons such as the elite benefits, the footprint, the quality of properties, therefore SPG points have more value to them, or that the opportunity cost of acquiring SPG points make sense compared with other points. SPG points may also carry higher value due to the flexibility in transferring to airline miles if you wish.

    For you, it seems Hilton points are preferred because in your analysis, amassing large amounts via credit card spend and the bonuses for top tier elites for hotel spend makes sense for you. For many, it does not.

    I hope that helps with your understanding of why everyone is confused about your comments.

  24. BTW, just in case you are too lazy to do the math or do not know how, you might want to check out this blog that “gets it”:

    http://travelcodex.com/2014/03/much-cost-earn-free-night/

    The blogger’s premise is exactly the same as mine:
    “A mile is not a mile, and a point is not a point, if different programs award more or less of them for the same size transaction. As a result, one can’t easily compare the award charts of two different programs and say that one is “more expensive” than another. Perhaps the program that requires twice as many points for a free night also hands out four times as many to begin with.”

    The blogger then did the math and concluded”
    “…Hyatt, Hilton, and Marriott all have award charts that are similarly priced. The fact that Hilton may sometimes charge up to 95,000 points for an award night is compensated for [by] the fact that it can offer 15 points per dollar, while Hyatt offers only 5 points per dollar. Starwood, however, has some incredibly high-priced awards among its top tiers, while IHG Rewards and Club Carlson may offer significant value even after Club Carlson’s recent devaluation.”

    The above conclusion was also reached independently at the link below …. by me! [I am sure you’ll especially love my glossy charts]:

    https://milepoint.com/forums/threads/exploring-spg-point-values-by-hotel-category.114263/#post-2551672

    If you are still confused, then no one can help you…really 😉

  25. @V – For Victory! I have no beef with your take, which emphasizes the subjectivity of “value”; unfortunately, that’s not how most bloggers read it, which is why I made my very first comment, even though @Lucky had appropriately nuanced his view. The problem is taking the estimated “values” of loyalty points literally and using them to compare various programs…. Big Mistake.

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