Buy Hilton Points With A 100% Bonus

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.

hilton-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.

hilton-bonus-1

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):

HHonors-Categories

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+.

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 0.5 cents per point, that’s like paying $475 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 a valuation of half a cent each, would cost you $1,900 for the five night stay, or $380 per night.

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® 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.

Conrad-Koh-Samui
View from the Conrad Koh Samui

Bottom line 

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.


Non-Affiliate Product Disclaimer: The information for the AmEx Everyday Preferred has been collected independently by One Mile At A Time. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Comments

  1. Lucky, as my wife & I each earned 2 free night from the citi reserve cc, which hotels in US including Hawaii will you recommend? Can the free night be used/reserved also on wkday or has to be on wkd? Thx

  2. You know people who value Hilton HHonors at a penny each? Are they exclusively visiting war-torn Egypt?

  3. Oh, boy…here we go again…

    @stvr — @Lucky has no clue what it really means that a HH point is worth 0.4 cent on average, but he likely keeps cutting and pasting that line again and again when writing about HH because he believes that it says that HH points are worth less or worthless. In reality, however, if a redemption is worth 1 penny per HH point, it means that the same redemption would be worth about 3 pennies per HGP point or 6 pennies per starpoints. REALLY.

    That logic is why Marriott offering a 3:1 transfer rate of MR points to starpoints made the transfer EQUITABLE in either direction. That also means that a redemption that is worth 1 penny per MR point would be worth 3 pennies per STARPOINT. So, beware any suggestion that a redemption is worth less than another because its value in cents per one points currency is lower than the value of a redeption in cents per another points currency. That’s because while a CENT is a CENT, a POINT is NOT a POINT if, or since, different programs award DIFFERENT numbers of POINTS for the SAME number of CENTS spent.

    I got a redemption value of 1.3 cents/HH point from my 5-night award stay at the iconic Conrad Koh Samui last Christmas holiday [the cash rate at the time of $950/night * 5 nights for which I paid 380K HH points with the 5th night off]. Does that mean that a truly “aspirational” redemption like that, for which one would have paid $800-$1000/night in cash, was worth less than a redemption at an AVERAGE $150/night Starwood hotel that would be worth 2.4 cents/starpoint? Of course not, and anyone knows that would be an utterly silly suggestion.

    The punch line: That redemption at Conrad Koh Samui that got me a value of 1.3 cents per HH point would be worth about 7.8 cents per STARPOINT.

    G’day!

  4. I hear if you whisper “Hilton, Hilton, Hilton” three times into a mirror DCS will show up and explain why Hilton HHonors is the superior loyalty program…

    😉

    In all seriousness I prefer their program for my needs without getting quite so worked up about it:

    – easy mid-level status, but I don’t travel enough to get true top status

    – easy to get boatloads of points thanks to promos

    – fairly easy to get decent values, even if it means the Hampton Inn near where you want to be when it’s expensive, instead of that aspirational redemption in the Maldives bloggers tell you to shoot for (though there are some prizes out there for points and money). I find cash I didn’t spend on a hotel that is still in my pocket to be inspirational enough. 🙂

    In the end I figure a 15-20% on my spend is what I get, if I shoot for half a cent a point in cash or more when I spend HHonors. That is decent for someone who doesn’t stay enough in hotels to get top level status, I think. This tends to make me a non-buyer at these prices since cash is more flexible.

  5. @eponymous — Educating the masses and correcting misconceptions is hardly “being worked up about it.” Rather, I see it as a “public service”! Call me a “rebel with a cause”… 😉

    Having said that, I agree with much of the rest of your post… except that getting half a cent per HH point is much better than getting half cent per HGP or SPG (star) point.

    G’day!

  6. @ DCS:

    No, I usually shoot for getting more like 2 cents per HGP/SPG (SPG a bit more).

    Much harder to get HGP/SPG in quantity though, and their footprint doesn’t work for me or (though Marriott might be different, though I don’t like Megabonus nearly as much as “just double or treble my points on all stays, thankyouverymuch”). Both tend to really be for the heavy loyalists/tons of stays crowd from what I can tell, though I can occasionally work an angle on a promo. Only occasionally though. Hilton seems to be consistently better for me with HH Gold + their promo style.

    I have found that the lower-end hotels for SPG work best for me on the odd occasion when I have SPG to spend. (“Oh, there’s an Four Points in JUST the spot I want for 3,000 SPG on a weekend! 3,000 points to not spend $150 in cash? Done and dusted!”) I also don’t get to expense anything, so it’s all about “how does this look as a rebate for my out of pocket spend”?

    I have some odd IHG and Hyatt lying about that I’ll probably end up using in a similar fashion at some point.

  7. @eponymous — The rule of thumb that one should try to get at least a cash per point (cpp) value equal to about the average redemption value of a points currency is actually pretty good.

    If one gets 0.5 cpp at Hilton, 1.4 cpp at HGP or 2.4 cpp at HGP, one should be breaking even. Putting it another way, if one gets a value of about 0.5 cent/HH point for a redemption, then one is getting 100% of what one should for that award at a Hilton property. On the other hand if someone gets 0.5 cent per HGP point or starpoint, that person would be getting , respectively, just 33% or 17% of what they should get for redemptions using the latter two currencies. It is why it is silly to compare cents per points across programs when the number of points that each program awards per cents spent is different.

    To be able to compare award “values” across programs meaningfully, one must do it in absolute terms of “spend/free night”, which takes out the dependency on the type of points currency and is, in fact, the closest thing to how one can objectively measure and express points currencies-independent “award costs”. That is, the “absolute” cost of an award in $$ is how much one needs to spend in hard currency to afford one award night in the SAME room in a given points currency. By that measure, HH, HGP and MR awards at their top tier hotels would cost their top elites almost exactly the same (~$4.5K/free night), while SPG’s (r.i.p) would be about an order of magnitude more expensive for theur “pure” Plats (~$12K/free night), and Club Carlson’s and IHG’s are the cheapest (~$3K/free night or less)…

  8. DCS Fact Check Alert:
    – SPG is not dead, and MR is shaping up to look more like SPG going forward by the week
    – Make your comparison at the mean/median property level vs. some outlier

    Be intellectually honest one time already

  9. 0.4 cents per HH point? Closer to 0.3 cents in my experience. With other programs offering 2 cents per dollar spend or more, why would I ever use HH?

  10. @Martin — Yeah, why would you ever since you clearly have no clue, despite a couple of comments up thread that explain in grade school-level language and math why one would…

    Sad!

  11. Hey,
    Does buying ANY points (airline or hotel), qualify as a legit expense, in order to meet minimum spending on a creditcard sign-up bonus?

  12. @Per–absolutely! Lucky used to point out that you should use a card if you were working on the spend for the bonus, but he’s dropped that lately.

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