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Update: This offer for the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card is expired. You can find the current offer details here.
Through September 16, 2016, Hilton HHonors is offering a discount on the purchase of points. You have to log into your HHonors account to see what kind of a discount you’re eligible for, so I imagine different accounts are targeted for different discounts. In my case, I was targeted for a 50% discount on purchased points.
The cost to purchase points with HHonors is ordinarily one cent per point (including tax), so if targeted for a 50% discount you can purchase Hilton points for 0.5 cents each. I’ve never seen Hilton sell points for less than that, for what it’s worth. I’d note that the opportunity to purchase discounted Hilton points typically comes in the form of a bonus on purchased points rather than a direct discount.
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 for a total of $400.
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.
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.
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® Business 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 that value Hilton points at 0.3 cents each, and I know people that value them at 1.0 cent each.
With a specific use in mind, this could represent an excellent value.
What version of the Hilton buy points promotion were you targeted for?
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