Guide to the Hilton Honors rewards program

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The Hilton Honors program has long been a favorite of rewards enthusiasts and business travelers who want to earn elite perks. This program makes it easy to earn Hilton rewards for free nights or room upgrades, and you can redeem your points for free stays at more than 5,900 properties around the globe.

Basic Hilton Honors members also get a few decent perks, ranging from no resort fees on points stays to free Wi-Fi. Meanwhile, frequent travelers who climb the ranks of elite status can eventually qualify for room upgrades, executive lounge access and free breakfast, among other money-saving benefits.

For travelers who may be wondering how to set up their account, redeem points and maximize rewards when traveling, keep reading for Bankrate’s comprehensive guide to making the most of the Hilton Honors rewards program.

What are Hilton Honors points worth?

Hilton Honors points are generally worth around .06 cents each. However, this Hilton point value is just an estimate, as you can frequently find hotel award bookings that offer a much higher value.

Note that, generally speaking, you’ll get more bang for your buck if you redeem Hilton rewards for a standard room in one of their luxury hotels. Doing so can be tricky since Hilton frequently limits award availability at some of their top tier properties, yet you can find enormous value opportunities if you look.

Take this booking in the island nation of the Maldives, which sits between Africa and the Middle East in the Indian Ocean. If you had enough Hilton Honors points, you could book the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi for 120,000 points per night on dates when the nightly cash rate starts at $1,351. At that rate, you’re getting a Hilton Honors points value of 1.12 cents each.

While the Hilton Honors program doesn’t post a traditional awards chart, they advertise standard rooms starting at 5,000 points per night. Most standard award rates cap out at 95,000 points, but some luxury properties (like the Waldorf Astoria above) break the mold.

The Hilton Honors program also uses dynamic award pricing, so free nights can cost significantly more during peak travel dates or times when pricing is higher to accommodate for demand.

How to get started with Hilton rewards

Signing up to become a Hilton Honors member is insanely easy and absolutely free. You can get started with Hilton Honors by heading to the loyalty program website and selecting the option to “join for free.”

To join Hilton Honors, you’ll need to provide information like your name, phone number, email address and the personal address where you live. Once you supply this information, you’ll become a full-fledged Hilton Honors member, and Hilton will assign you a loyalty number and let you set up an online Hilton Honors account.

Hilton Honors elite levels

The Hilton Honors rewards program is broken up into four membership levels that range from the lowest “Member” status all the way to “Diamond.” Here is an overview of the rewards offered at each membership level.

Membership Level Rewards
Member (achieved immediately when you enroll in the Hilton Honors rewards program) 10 points for every $1 spent
Silver (10+ nights) 12 points for every $1 spent
Gold (40+ nights) 18 points for every $1 spent
Diamond (60+ nights) 20 points for every $1 spent

*Stays must occur in one calendar year

For a full explanation of rewards tier requirements visit Hilton’s Tiers and Benefits page.

Credit cards that earn Hilton Honors points

There are a generous number of Hilton Honors credit cards you can sign up for and each allows you to earn more points on paid stays. However, what’s even more interesting is the fact that co-branded Hilton credit cards let you earn rewards on all your spending, and that you can qualify for elite hotel loyalty perks (including Hilton Diamond status) just by signing up for one.

Hilton Honors credit cards also tend to offer generous welcome bonuses that can be enough for a few free nights right off the bat. Here are all the Hilton Honors credit cards you should consider:

Hilton Honors American Express Card

The Hilton Honors American Express Card is the only Hilton-branded option with no annual fee. You start off earning 75,000 points when you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first three months, but you also earn 7X points on Hilton spending, 5X points at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations and 3X points on all other purchases. This card also comes with complimentary Silver status in the Hilton Honors program.

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

Another option is the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card. Once you sign up, you can receive 125,000 Hilton Honors bonus points when you spend $2,000 within three months of account opening. You also rack up 12X points on direct purchases in the Hilton portfolio and 6X points on purchases at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations.

The Surpass card also offers a flat rate of 3X points on all other eligible purchases. A $95 annual fee is required, but you get automatic Hilton Honors Gold status and the ability to earn a free weekend night award when you spend $15,000 on your card within a calendar year.

Hilton Honors American Express® Aspire Card

The Hilton Honors American Express® Aspire Card comes with a hearty annual fee of $450, but it may still be worth it for frequent travelers. That’s because you get automatic Hilton Diamond status, a free weekend night award every year, up to $250 resort credit good for select properties, up to $250 in airline fee credits and more – just for being a cardholder.

You also start off with 150,000 points when you spend $4,000 within three months of account opening and earn 14X points on Hilton purchases, 7X points on flights booked with airlines or through AmexTravel.com, U.S. restaurants and select car rentals and 3X points on other purchases.

The information for The Hilton Honors American Express® Aspire Card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

Business owners should consider the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card, which features a similar rewards structure as the Surpass card.

After signing up, you earn 125,000 Hilton Honors points when you spend $3,000 on your card within three months of account opening. You’ll also earn 12X points on Hilton spending, 6X points on business purchases (applicable on U.S. purchases for shipping, wireless telephone services purchased from U.S. providers, U.S. gas stations and select travel purchases) and 3X points on everything else.

A $95 annual fee applies, but you receive elite benefits like 10 Priority Pass airport lounge visits each year and a free weekend night when you spend $15,000 on your card within a calendar year.

How to get more Hilton Honors points

The most common way to earn more Hilton Honors points is signing up for the loyalty program and paying for hotel stays. However, there are plenty of additional ways to earn more rewards, and some don’t require you to travel at all.

  • Earn at least one credit card sign-up bonus. The hotel credit cards we’ve outlined above let you earn a big welcome bonus just for meeting a minimum spending requirement. By signing up and following the guidelines, you can earn enough Hilton points for a few free nights within the first few months.
  • Leverage a Hilton credit card for regular spending. Also, consider using your Hilton credit card for regular purchases (but keep in mind which bonus categories let you rack up even more points over time). Even the no annual fee Hilton credit card lets you earn 5X points at Hilton supermarkets, so just $500 in monthly grocery spending with that card would net you 2,500 points per month or 30,000 points per year.
  • Refer friends. As a Hilton credit card member, you’ll be able to refer friends and earn bonus points along the way.
  • Transfer American Express Membership Rewards points. If you have a travel credit card that earns rewards in the American Express Membership Rewards program, don’t forget that you can transfer these points to Hilton at a generous 1:1 ratio.
  • Watch for special promotions. The Hilton Honors program frequently has special offers that let you earn more bonus points on paid stays. Make sure to watch for special deals that let you boost your points haul over time.
  • Book other travel through Hilton. You can also earn bonus points when you book other types of travel through your Hilton Honors account, such as rental cars or cruises.
  • Join the Hilton Honors dining program. The Hilton Honors dining program lets you earn Hilton Honors bonus points when you dine at participating restaurants. You can even earn 1,000 bonus points for your first visit.

How to redeem Hilton Honors points

Most rewards enthusiasts rack up hotel loyalty points in order to pay for free hotel stays, but there are other ways you can redeem points from this program. Here are your main options:

  • Book a hotel stay. Most Hilton Honors awards range from 5,000 points to 95,000 points per night. However, you should know that Silver members and higher get their 5th night free when they book an award stay.
  • Transfer points to airlines. You can turn your Hilton Honors points into airline miles with select programs, although the transfer ratios are less than generous. Generally speaking, this is only a good option when you need a specific number of airline miles for a flight.
  • Book experiences. The Hilton Honors program lets you cash in points for VIP concerts and events, dining, sports and more.
  • Pay for Lyft rides. You can pay for rides with Lyft directly with your Hilton Honors points.
  • Shop with points. Use your Hilton Honors points to shop for merchandise in the Hilton online mall or through Amazon.com.
  • Book a rental car. Redeem your Hilton Honors points for rental cars from major companies around the world.

Also, be aware that the Hilton Honors program lets you pool your points with up to 10 other members. You can also give points to other people to help them pay for a dream trip. This makes the Hilton Honors rewards programs one of the best for families who want to rack up and pool rewards for a Hilton award getaway.

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