Why Hilton’s Points Pooling Feature Is So Awesome

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Through October 4, 2017, we’re seeing increased sign-up bonuses on Hilton’s two co-branded American Express cards:

  • The $75 annual fee Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express is offering a sign-up bonus of 100,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months, plus a free weekend night certificate valid at virtually any Hilton Honors hotel on your first account anniversary
  • The no annual fee Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express is offering a sign-up bonus of 50,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after spending $1,000 within the first three months, plus a further 25,000 bonus points after spending another $1,000 within the first six months

Both of these are great offers that are seriously worth considering, in my opinion. But one thing I really love about Hilton Honors is how easy it is to transfer points between accounts. Hilton Honors added a bunch of new benefits earlier this year, and one of them is the ability to pool points with other Hilton Honors members.

The basic terms of these points transfers are as follows:

  • Up to 11 Hilton Honors members can combine points — one pooler can initiate and receive points from up to 10 members
  • You need to have a minimum balance of 1,000 points to take advantage of this
  • You can use pooled points for whatever you’d like, including both room and non-room rewards
  • You can transfer a minimum of 1,000 points and a maximum of 500,000 points into a pool in a calendar year

Best of all the process couldn’t be easier. You can transfer points online instantly, and the process is facilitated by points.com, so the system is similar to many other points transfer processes out there.

So why does this matter in the context of the sign-up bonuses on the Hilton Honors Surpass Card and Hilton Honors Card from American Express? Because to me this makes the points you earn on the sign-up bonus significantly more flexible and valuable:

Pool points towards a fifth night free redemption

One of the great things about being able to pool points is that you can get enough points in an account for a free night redemption, or ideally, for a fifth night free redemption. Hilton offers elite members a fifth night free on all standard room free night redemptions. So say you and your spouse both sign-up for the Hilton Honors Surpass Card, and want to redeem at a property that costs 52,000 points per night. If you each had 109,000 points (how many you’d have after applying for the card and completing the minimum spend) you’d have more than enough for four free nights, while if you had the points in one account, you could make a fifth night free booking, and stay for five nights.

Make it easier to track points expirations

I’ve had several family members apply for these card under this increased offer, though sometimes my family isn’t especially good at tracking points, to put it mildly. So as much as I try to keep track of points for everyone in my family, sometimes that doesn’t work out quite as I’d hope. I hate to admit it, but points have expired several times in my family without me knowing. Hilton Honors points expire after 12 months of inactivity, so by consolidating points it’s much easier to keep track of points expiration, have qualifying activity so that your points don’t expire, etc.

Maximize elite status

The Hilton Honors Surpass Card offers Gold status for as long as you have the card, while the Hilton Honors Card from American Express offers Silver status for as long as you have the card. However, if you spend enough on either card you can get boosted to the next elite tier.

Hotel stays are always better with elite status, so it’s great to transfer points to the person who has the highest elite status, and then maximize the points that way.


The higher your elite status, the better chance of an upgrade

Bottom line

I really love the way that Hilton allows (almost) no strings attached points pooling. While some other hotel programs also offer points pooling, none make it this easy, in my opinion. With Hilton you can combine points online and for free, and you don’t need special circumstances to do so. To me this enhances the value of Hilton’s co-branded credit cards even more, in terms of being able to combine points towards redemptions, making it easier to track points expirations, and also in terms of maximizing elite status.

Have you taken advantage of Hilton’s points pooling feature?

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Comments

  1. @Lucky – agreed that combining points can be a powerful option but how is this any better than Hyatt’s policy? In some ways I see Hyatt’s as superior because there’s no point minimum to transfer, but since they have a paper process that takes a few days, I suppose that would make it a wash with Hilton. No?

  2. Can you walk me through how this avoids expiration? You can just transfer your points to someone with a more active account? What if that person then transfers the points back?

  3. We haven’t yet, but will combine both accounts for Conrad NYC stay – will he stay in NYC for 5 nights???

  4. The fifth night free feature isn’t for ALL redemptions. It only applies to “standard rooms.”

    Right now the Hilton Tokyo only has “premium rewards” rooms available, at a cost of 2,000 points more than a standard room. So that means no fifth night free.

  5. This got me thinking. Earlier in the year, I had the Hilton surpass card and got the 100K bonus points. I now applied for the other Hilton Amex card will get the 75K points. There is no reason why I can’t have both the cards credit points to the same Hilton Honors account correct? When they sent me the second Hilton card, they created a new Hilton Honors account instead of just using my existing account even though I entered it during the application process. Now I am wondering if there is some obscure small print which says I can’t have credit to the same Hilton Honors account and get the bonus.

  6. You mention that “Hilton Honors points expire after 12 months of inactivity,” but I also seem to recall that points won’t expire as long as you have a Hilton credit card in good standing. I hope that still holds true.

  7. Thank you Lucky! It hasn’t always been free has it? just wondered when did they started charging? or was it not allowed at all previously? Thank you in advance! You have an amazing website!
    Israel

  8. @BPCGuy–hope that is only temporary or just based on the dates you were looking. I spent six nights at that hotel less than a year ago on points. Fifth night was free, standard redemption rates, the breakfast in the lobby was amazing and the Lounge in the evening was pretty good as well.

  9. How do you sign up for the additional 25k points for the Hilton Honor. I asked about it when on their site and was told im not eligible since I got the card in July. I told them it’s an extension of that. Because I don’t want to just spend $1000 and get nothing…

  10. Tried 3x to combine my points with my wife’s to reduce cost of a wonderful stay in Berlin at Christmas. So far, no luck. Transaction does not go through. Called HH, agents (plural) knew nothing about the process other than it can only be done online. Frustrating as we are talking over one million points. We are brand loyal Hiltonites whenever possible, but this SNAFU is a real downer. Finally gave up and booked with my points only which added about E900 to the cost. Blah!

  11. @Russ: “Frustrating as we are talking over one million points.”

    You realize that the terms of the point transfer allow only 500,000 points to be transferred from one account per year, right?

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