Should You Buy Hilton Honors Points With A 100% Bonus?

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Through May 3, 2017, Hilton Honors is offering up to a 100% bonus on purchased points. This bonus kicks in as long as you purchase at least 5,000 points in one transaction. While Hilton has offered a 100% bonus on purchased points in the past, 5,000 points is one of the lowest thresholds we’ve seen for the full bonus to kick in, which is great.

Hilton-100-Bonus

The cost to purchase points with Hilton is ordinarily one cent per point (including tax), so with the 100% bonus you’re able to pick up Honors points for 0.5 cents each.

You can purchase a maximum of 80,000 Hoonors 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

Do keep in mind that Hilton recently radically changed their Honors program. They eliminated their traditional award chart, and rather moved to more variable pricing. However, the good news is that there’s still value to be had in the program, as the top properties still won’t cost you more than 95,000 points per night.

Both before and after the changes I value Hilton Honors 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.

For example, the Conrad Maldives is $1,000+ per night in peak season (when factoring in taxes and fees), 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.

Conrad

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

Hilton_Discount

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

On top of that Hilton has adjusted their Points & Money awards, where you can now redeem part points and part cash towards any redemption. There are many instances where you can get way over 0.5 cents of value per point through that system.

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 CardChase Freedom® UnlimitedStarwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express, or Citi® Double Cash Card.

If you want to earn Hilton Honors points without outright buying them, keep in mind that the no annual fee Citi Hilton Honors Visa Signature Card is offering a limited time increased sign-up bonus of 75,000 Honors points upon completing minimum spend. If it’s free nights at Hilton’s top hotels that you’re after, consider the Citi® Hilton Honors 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. However, there are plenty of ways to get outsized value with Hilton points, especially for redemptions at their higher end properties. I know a lot of people who buy Hilton points at this rate, so I recommend crunching the numbers and deciding for yourself whether or not this is worth it.

With a specific use in mind, buying Hilton points with a 100% bonus could represent a very good deal.

About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

More articles by lucky »

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Comments

  1. Honors points suck at higher end properties. Very few are over $450 per night. You are using extreme scenarios. Where they hold value to the more everyday person is LOWER end properties. I’m at a nice Hampton inn right now that’s only 10,000 points per night. There are still plenty out there. Mexico City is an example. Great Hampton Inn Downtown. Goes for around $119 normally or 10,000 points. 1.2 cents per point and an easy redemption.

  2. Agree with Ryan. Hilton sucks. I have the points for 5 night stay in december at the Conrad Maldives but now it is over 1 MILLON POINT a night! Look at flexible dates….more dates are 320.000 points nights with only a very few 95.000 points night. Obviously award chart are gone so maximum points is gone.

  3. There is no way I am giving Hilton any more of my money after I dump all the points I’ve accumulated already. AmEx is going to lose 2 Hilton Surpass cards from our family as well.

    $0.05 cpp is the cost to buy but to redeem them you’ll get… at best $0.027~.03 CPP for anything other than a standard room at a double tree at po-dunk, nowhere town. Any higher end resorts… the point prices have sky rockets… 18 different categories of room.. 1 standard room and everything else is ‘premium’ redemption.. at a ridiculous rate.. PLUS no 5th night free. naaah.. I’m done with Hilton.

  4. I still don’t understand the new Hilton system. The Grand Wailea is 237,000 a night from Dec 23-26. That is more than 95k.

  5. You need to do a “best Hilton hotels redemption ” article. Tpg used to have one, not sure if he has updated it.

    Can you believe it? I haven’t visited Tpg and mms in many months. I come regularly. Their websites are #FAKENEWS

  6. @marcos — You did not agree with @Ryan because you clearly did not understand his point. You are bitching about not being able to book stays at a high-end property where all the rooms have been designated at “premium”, which code word for “points redemption not welcome”, while @Ryan’s point was precisely he opposite: you can actually get better value at lower end properties. He achieved a redemption rate of 1.2 cents/pt or about 3x the average at a Hampton Inn.

    You saw “sucks” and immediately had the usual knee-jerk reaction that travel bloggers’ kool-aid drinkers have when HH is mentioned.

  7. Nobody says at a Hilton for the wide variety of luxury properties. Or the amazing on-property benefits. It’s a rebate program for a lot of small town coverage.

  8. @Ali sez: “I still don’t understand the new Hilton system. The Grand Wailea is 237,000 a night from Dec 23-26. That is more than 95k.”

    A lot of people are confused by that but should not be. Look beside those rooms that cost 327,000HH/night and you will see the words “premium reward”. That means that the property has no standard awards, which are the ones that would cost up to 95K, available. Do you know what happens in other programs when there are no standard awards? They simply show no availability. However, Hilton Honors has the policy of “no black out dates” for using points. Therefore, even when standard awards are not available, they will still offer ‘premium’ rooms for booking with points. The only catch is that they would not be affordable, which is why “premium” means “points redemption not welcome” because demand is high and the property expects to make real money.

    I hope that clears up the confusion but I won’t hold my breath… 😉

  9. “Other programs” may also offer better rooms for 20-50% more, not 250% more, and in fact do let you know that these rooms exist

    #FactsMatter

  10. BTW, @Ali, exorbitantly priced “premium” awards have nothing to do with the “new” Hilton system. It’s been the case since 2012 when the ‘premium’ room category was introduced that properties would declare all rooms as ‘premium’ in order to discourage points redemption.

  11. Everyone referencing the rooms that cost over 95K a night are because they are premium rooms. Only the basic/entry level rooms are quoted at the Category rates. If you don’t find the 95K available, look for dates where they are available. Nothing is available at Conrad Maldives over Christmas as expected, it’s peak season. If you want to go then, plan ahead and make sure you reserve as soon as it becomes available next year.

  12. DCS, I have no interest in saving my points for a Hampton Inn….thank you anyways. And believe me, I was a Hilton fan like you…until now.

  13. @Marcos — I does not matter to me which program you are a fan of. It does not matter that you cannot tell the difference between premium awards and standard awards. I just explained the difference above on March 16, 2017 at 10:55 am, which @Chris just reiterated succinctly in the comment just above yours.

  14. Regardless of the Hilton property, only the lowest level, most basic room, is available at the lowest point cost. Once those basic rooms are reserved, rooms even one small level up cost a huge number of points more. So to be able to book a desirable property on sought after dates, at the basic points level, you need to book way in advance.

    The new pricing system is not all bad, by the way. I just rebooked the Stockholm Sweden Slussen Hilton for next August, which I’d previously booked at the standard 60K points per night, for 37K points per night. Likewise the Frankfurt Airport Hilton was rebooked at 35K instead of 50K. I imagine for a resort property over Christmas/New Years it’s a different matter, but for us next Summer it’s all good. 🙂

  15. @Robert Hanson — Wow! Those are YUGE points savings!

    So far, the program is working exactly as advertised. Busy times of the year will be tough for “aspirational’ properties, which will often now even show availability if standard awards. But during slow times of the year we’ll be seeing redemption rates that reach new lows. Can you believe 45K/night at WA Shanghai in December, where I stayed twice and the lowest rate with he 5th night off was 64K/night?

    One may have to plan ahead (I do!), but there is plenty of value to be had!

  16. “…now even show availability if standard…” === “…NOT even show availability OF standard…”

  17. Can anyone please name 1 or 2 good redemptions for decent Hilton properties in desired vacation spots within US? I heard there is still outsized value to be had, but all th examples given are in Europe, china, or the famous Maldives Conrad.

  18. You guys know that you can get referral money from a flashback portal for these purchases right? But that lucky never mentions it and pockets it? For what it’s worth, Frequent Miler does tell his readers that at the least.

  19. @Stvr At the top of every blog post
    “In the interest of full disclosure, One Mile At A Time earns a referral bonus for anyone that’s approved through some of the below links. These are the best publicly available offers that we have found for each card. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Please check out my advertiser policy for further details about our partners, including American Express, Chase, and Citi, and thanks for your support!”

  20. @DCS Yep, rebooking multiple nights in Stockholm and Frankfurt saved us 129,000 points. 🙂

  21. Typically for Hilton normal room redemptions, you have to work hard to get more than ~0.4cents/1pt value (places you ACTUALLY want to stay and not some place somewhere middle of a corn field). So, not worth it to buy speculatively at 0.5cents/1pt HDishonors points.
    Marriott should buy this program and revamp it..

  22. I found no day through March 2018 with 95k availability at Conrad Maldives. Some 160something, most 200++

  23. @ff_lover — Do you know that 0.5 cent/HH POINT is about the same as 3 cents/STARPOINT? No, I did not think you knew…

    BTW, Marriott has its hands full after buying Starwood, and “HDishonors” is thriving and not on the auction block, thank you.

  24. @Peter — There appears to be a bug after the latest changes were introduced where if you search for availability using flexible dates at some properties, especially “aspirational” ones, only premium award rates would display. I confirmed this bug at Conrad Koh Samui where I could not find standards for as far in the future as it was possible to search using flexible dates. And then I searched using fixed dates around the time of my stay there a couple of years ago (Dec 15-20) and a standard award, complete with the 5th night free, popped up for just 72K/night.

    Maybe some clever developer would come up with an app that would automatically find out when standard awards are available at Hilton properties and alert subscribers (I am sure that someone is right now busily working on capitalizing on that ‘;-) )

  25. Mexico city is an even better deal since point stays don’t have local taxes added to the normal room rate. So that $119 room is closer to $130. 10K HH points can be had for $50 under this promotion, so that’s a savings of $80. With the current 2K per night bonus, the loss of any points earned from a revenue stay are somewhat off-set too. I had a revenue night at this Hampton Inn but decided to buy the points and save $80. Not all of us stay $1K a night properties.

  26. for all the newbies out there, DON’T DO IT! Hilton points are just as bad now as AA miles. Robert Hanson and Ryan have it DEAD ON!

  27. Lucky, I have simulated a lot of scenarios , and ” for me” it is not worth to buy points.

    But I have bought 5000 points so I could extend the ” expiration” of my actual points. I have just bought the points and it did not changed the expiration date.

    Before buying new points the expiration was in about 9 months, and after buying points it continues stating that it will expire in 9 months.

    Does anybody known if I have to give them some days to “update” the expiration date?

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