Should You Buy Hilton Points With An 80% Bonus?

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For four days only (through July 18, 2016), Hilton HHonors is offering an 80% bonus on purchased points.

Hilton-Buy-Points-Bonus

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.

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-Points-Bonus

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

To give some examples of potential value, the DoubleTree Beijing is a Category 2 property, meaning a free night redemption costs 10,000 points per night. If you’re buying points that translates to $56 per night, while a paid rate would be $100+.

Doubletree-Beijing

Even on the other end of the spectrum there’s value to be had. For example, the Conrad Maldives is $1,000+ per night in peak season, while a redemption costs 95,000 points per night. At a rate of 0.56 cents per point, that’s like paying ~$530 for a night there.

Conrad-Maldives

To take it a step further, if you have elite status and stay five nights on points then the fifth night is free, lowering the average nightly cost to 76,000 points. Furthermore, the above cash rates don’t include the 10% service charge and 12% tax, which don’t apply if you’re redeeming points.

To do a direct comparison, if you booked the cheapest advance purchase rate for five nights, here’s the cost:

Conrad-Rate

Or you could pay a total of 380,000 points, which at 0.56 cents each would cost you ~$2,125 for the five night stay, or ~$425 per night.

Given that Hilton jacked up the rate of premium redemptions a few years back I never really considered the value of buying Hilton points for these types of redemptions. But there’s value to be had, in my opinion.

Underwater-Restaurant
Conrad Maldives underwater restaurant

Hilton points purchases are processed by points.com, meaning they don’t count as a hotel purchase for the purposes of credit card spend. Therefore you’ll want to purchase these points with a credit card that maximizes your return on everyday spend, like the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit CardStarwood Preferred Guest® Business Card from American Express, or Citi® Double Cash Card.

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.

With a particular use in mind this could represent a very good deal, though do keep in mind we’ve seen slightly bigger bonuses in the past.

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


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Comments

  1. Lucky,

    Unless you have a second home at Conrad Maldives, who in his right mind would value them at a cent?

    I think it is perfectly okay to say that it is impossible to put a firm value on points but an an *expert* you don’t have to hedge your bets so much to say that it can range anywhere from .3 to one cent.

  2. The last 100% bonus I picked up the max points allowable. I had a 3 night booked in Nashville for cash at around $1180 with taxes. The value of the points I paid at that given time got me in at a value of $800 flat. I rebooked with points.

  3. @ R — Oh, I don’t think it’s worth anything close to that, but anytime I suggest that they’re worth very little, DCS comes along to tell me how valuable they are. So I say that to hedge my bets. 😉

  4. Have you been to the Doubletree in Beijing? I wouldn’t recommend it, even at the best points and cash rate. Or free.

  5. China, Maldives, or if you have a $400 a night reservation in Nashville 🙁 Otherwise, just say NO.

    Compared this to 2 of the places I usually stay. At the Hampton in Berlin, it comes out to @$25 a night more than AAA paid. At Hilton Paris La Defense, it’s somewhere around $100 a night more. Plus with the paid nights you get points for the stay. 😉

  6. I have an upcoming stay at the Conrad Maldives but I am short HH points. Is it better to buy these points or transfer my Amex MR points to my HH account?

  7. Still hopelessly confused, @ Lucky sez: ” @ R — Oh, I don’t think it’s worth anything close to that, but anytime I suggest that they’re worth very little, DCS comes along to tell me how valuable they are. So I say that to hedge my bets.

  8. Still hopelessly confused, @ Lucky sez: ” @ R — Oh, I don’t think it’s worth anything close to that, but anytime I suggest that they’re worth very little, DCS comes along to tell me how valuable they are. So I say that to hedge my bets”

    That is because you still remain clueless about the “value” of points.

    One has to take into account BOTH the earn and spend (redemption) sides of the equation in order to determine what points are really worth.

    Some people value starpoints at 2.4 cents each and HHonors points at 0.4 cent each. However, I almost invariably earn 6 times more HH points a pop than I do starpoints, so that IN TERMS of starpoints, HH points are worth (0.4 cent * 6 = 2.4 cents) — i.e., no material difference between starpoints and HH points with the appropriate “conversion factor.”

    HGP points are valued at ~1.4 cents each. I earn 3 times more HH points a pop than I do HGP points, so that iterms of HGP points HH points are worth ~1.2 cents — i.e. no material difference.

    The highest category Hyatt hotels go for 30K HGP points. The highest category Hilton hotels go for 95K points — a 3:1 ratio, which is about the same as the earn rate ratio for the two currencies, meaning that Hyatt and Hilton awards cost almost exactly the same. In fact, Marriott awards also cost about the same as Hilton’s and Hyatt’s. The most expensive awards, by far, are SPG’s and that’s because it is [was, R.I.P] the program with the worst “spend per free night’ metric (Marriott, Hyatt and Hilton have about the same “spend per free night”, which is about 6-10 times less than SPG’s).

    I cannot help it if you to do not get that points must be earned before they are redeemed, so that the “value” of points must take into account the ease/difficulty for earning them. The “value” of points currencies that are thrown around by travel bloggers are REDEMPTION values only, which cannot be compared across programs because loyalty points are not created equal. They must first be converted to same unit of measure (e.g., spend per free night) before they can be compared.

    G’day.

  9. The first time I posted the above it got truncated at the “emoticon” in the text that I’d quoted. Please delete that first post if you wish…

  10. BTW, at the end of last year, I stayed at Conrad Koh Samui for 5 nights and got a redemption value of 1.3 cents/HH point, which was equivalent to getting about 7 cents/starpoint!!! 😉

  11. Please don’t tell people about Rangali Island. I have been travelling there since it was a Hilton long before they totally rebuilt everything. I am planning another stay in the new year. But am waiting for a few more points to accrue.

    so please – SSSHH

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