Through October 21, 2016, Hilton HHonors is offering up to a 100% bonus on purchased points. This bonus kicks in as long as you purchase at least 20,000 points in one transaction. If you purchase between 10,000 and 19,000 points, you “only” get an 80% bonus.
The cost to purchase points with Hilton is ordinarily one cent per point (including tax), so with the 100% bonus you’re basically able to pick up HHonors points for 0.5 cents each. While we’ve seen some 100% bonuses in the past, I’ve never seen a bigger bonus than that before.
You can purchase a maximum of 80,000 HHonors points before any bonuses per account per calendar year, meaning you can max out the promotion by buying a total of 160,000 points (including the bonus) for $800.
I value Hilton HHonors points at ~0.4 cents each, though there are certainly instances where you can get a lot 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):
For example, 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 $50 per night, while a paid rate would be $100+.
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 0.5 cents per point, that’s like paying $475 for a night there.
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:
Or you could pay a total of 380,000 points, which at a valuation of half a cent each, would cost you $1,900 for the five night stay, or $380 per night.
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 Card, Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express, or Citi® Double Cash Card.
If you want to earn Hilton HHonors points without outright buying them, keep in mind that the no annual fee Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card is offering a limited time increased sign-up bonus of 75,000 HHonors points upon completing minimum spend. If it’s free nights at Hilton’s top hotels that you’re after, consider the Citi® Hilton HHonors Reserve Card, which offers two free weekend nights at any Hilton family hotel upon completing minimum spend, including properties like the Conrad Koh Samui.
In general I’m not for speculatively buying points when they’re being sold at around the same cost as I value them. That being said, that’s the beauty of non-revenue based points currencies — the way in which people value them vary wildly. I know people who value Hilton points at 0.3 cents each, and I know people who value them at 1.0 cent each.
With a specific use in mind, buying Hilton points with a 100% bonus could represent a very good deal.