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Update: The below links for the Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express and Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express are expired, but you can learn more about best available offers here.
Through October 5, 2017, Hilton Honors is offering up to a 50% discount on purchased points. This bonus kicks in as long as you purchase at least 5,000 points in one transaction. At least that’s the promotion I see on all the accounts I manage, though it’s possible that different accounts are eligible for different offers.
The cost to purchase points with Hilton is ordinarily one cent per point (including tax), so with the 50% discount you’re able to pick up Honors points for 0.5 cents each. You can purchase a maximum of 80,000 Hoonors points per account per calendar year, meaning you can max out the promotion by buying a total of 80,000 points (including the bonus) for $400.
However, keep in mind that nowadays Hilton lets you combine points across accounts at no cost, so in reality you could buy substantially more points by simply buying them across accounts and then consolidating them. On a cent per point basis, this is as cheap as purchased Hilton points get. Sometimes Hilton will offer a 100% bonus rather than 50% discount, which gets you the same cost per point, though has the benefit of allowing you to buy double as many points.
Do keep in mind that earlier this year Hilton 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.
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.
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 Chase Freedom Unlimited®, Starwood 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 at the moment there are increased sign-up bonuses on two of Hilton’s fantastic co-branded credit cards:
- The 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 virtuallyany Hilton Honors hotel on your first cardmember anniversary.
- The Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express is offering a sign-up bonus of 50,000 bonus 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
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 for 50% off could represent a very good deal.
(Tip of the hat to YHBU)