Hilton is a renowned name in the hospitality industry. Since Conrad Hilton bought his first hotel in 1919, Hilton has been one of the leading hotel brands in the world. Today, its portfolio includes 18 brands and over 6,500 properties around the world.

Whenever and wherever you travel, you’re likely to find a Hilton property nearby. This makes the Hilton Honors rewards program a favorite for many kinds of travelers — from casual vacationers who want to save some money on their next trip, to rewards credit card enthusiasts looking to travel the world without breaking the bank, to business travelers who want a little extra comfort on the road.

This Hilton Honors guide will answer all of your most important questions about the rewards program, plus we’ll show you how to earn and use your points for free nights at Hilton Hotels.

What is Hilton Honors?

Hilton Honors is the loyalty program for Hilton Hotels. Members can enjoy great perks like the lowest room rates, free Wi-Fi and the ability to manage their reservation (and even unlock their door from the Hilton mobile app).

On top of that, members earn points any time they make a reservation at a Hilton hotel or use a Hilton credit card. As you earn points, you unlock even more great benefits through Hilton’s elite status tiers. You can then redeem your points for free nights at properties within the Hilton portfolio — from more budget-friendly brands like Hampton by Hilton to luxurious resorts from Waldorf Astoria Hotels and Resorts.

The best part is, the Hilton Honors program is free. You don’t have to pay to create an account to begin earning points and rewards as a member. As you earn more, you can increase your status level and see even more benefits.

How to earn Hilton Honors points

There are many ways to earn points, which makes it easy to get to your next free night sooner.

  • Earn the welcome bonus. After joining the Hilton Honors program, you’ll receive 1,500 bonus points on your first hotel stay, then an additional 3,000 bonus points after crossing off two stays total (not to be confused with first-year welcome bonuses offered by many Hilton-branded credit cards).
  • Stay at Hilton hotels. You’ll earn base points for every dollar you spend at Hilton hotels. You can also earn bonus points every time you stay, depending on your elite status level.
  • Use a Hilton Honors credit card. American Express offers several co-branded credit cards that earn Hilton Honors rewards. If you use one for your everyday spending, such as at grocery stores, gas stations and for online shopping, you can earn Hilton Honors points with every purchase.
  • Ride with Lyft. You can link your Hilton Honors and Lyft accounts to earn up to 3X points on Lyft rides and 2X points on shared Lyft rides.
  • Join Hilton Honors Dining. You can earn points to eat at restaurants around the world with Hilton Honors Dining. Just search for restaurants near you, pay with the credit card you’ve registered with Hilton Honors Dining and earn points.
  • Rent a car. Hilton Honors partners with Alamo, Enterprise and National, allowing you to both earn points and receive a discount on your rental.
  • Earn Hilton milestone bonuses. As a Gold or Diamond tier member, you can earn bonus points when you reach certain milestones each calendar year.

How to redeem Hilton Honors points

There’s more than one way to spend the points you’ve earned, including:

  • Free nights at Hilton properties. The best and most obvious way to use your Hilton Honors points is for free stays at Hilton hotels.
  • Redeem for exclusive experiences. If you have some points to burn and want to try something new and exciting, you can use your Hilton Honors points for Hilton Experiences.
  • Pay for Lyft rides. If you have enough points in your Hilton account, you can convert them to Lyft credits to use whenever you need them.
  • Transfer points to airlines. Hilton is partnered with more than 30 global airlines, including Delta and United. You can transfer your Hilton Honors points to the partner’s loyalty program if you need some extra miles to book a reward flight.
  • Shop with points. You can use your Hilton Honors points to shop online through either the Hilton Honors Shopping Mall or Amazon.
  • Book a rental. Hilton Honors points will transfer to Hilton’s rental car partners, allowing you to use them to reserve a car while you’re traveling. Alamo, Enterprise and National all accept the hotel’s points.

How much are Hilton Honors points worth?

You can expect your Hilton Honors points to be worth roughly 0.6 cents each, on average, according to Bankrate valuations. This number is an estimate, of course, and should be used as more of a guide than a rule.

Your points will be more or less valuable at some properties and on certain dates than others. Additionally, Hilton operates on a dynamic pricing system instead of a set rewards chart, so the points you’ll need for a free night will fluctuate based on the demand.

It’s difficult to predict which properties and dates will give you the best value. For example, you may get 0.6 cents per point on a stay at a villa in the Conrad Maldives, but only 0.4 cents per point for a king sky room at the SAii Lagoon Maldives, Curio Collection by Hilton.

While you can use your Hilton Honors points for all sorts of things besides hotel stays, they’re a lot less valuable in other applications. It may be tempting to use your points for other purposes, but you’ll be much better off saving your points for the next time you travel instead of using them elsewhere.

Hilton Honors elite status

For 2022, Hilton Honors has continued to provide flexible requirements for elite status. For example, if you earned elite status in 2021, you’ll be able to keep that status through March 31, 2023.

Status level Requirements Benefits
Member Sign up for a Hilton Honors membership
  • Hilton Honors discount rate
  • Points toward free nights, travel partners and more
  • No resort fees on reward stays
  • Digital check-in and check-out
  • Choose your room
  • Digital key
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Access to Hilton Honors Experiences
Silver 7 nights, 3 stays or 17,500 base points
  • All of the Member benefits, plus:
  • 20% bonus points on stays
  • Fifth night free
  • Free bottled water
  • Elite Rollover Nights
  • All-inclusive spa discount
Gold 28 nights, 14 stays or 52,500 base points
  • All of the Member and Silver benefits, plus:
  • 80% points bonus on stays
  • Space-available room upgrades
  • Daily food and beverage credit (U.S. only) or continental breakfast
  • Milestone Bonuses
Diamond 42 nights, 21 stays or 84,000 base points
  • All of the Member, Silver and Gold benefits, plus:
  • 100% bonus points on stays
  • Executive lounge access
  • Space-available room upgrades
  • Diamond status extension
  • Premium Wi-Fi
  • 48-hour room guarantee
  • Elite status gifting

Best Hilton Honors credit cards for 2022

Hilton Honors American Express Card: Best for no annual fee

With the Hilton Honors American Express Card, you’ll earn rewards on Hilton purchases, as well as food and gas-related purchases, and get complimentary Silver elite status with Hilton. Get 7X points on eligible hotel and resort purchases within the Hilton portfolio; 5X points at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. gas stations and U.S. restaurants; and 3X points on all other purchases. Plus, new cardmembers can earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in the first three months.

The most popular way to redeem points is for free hotel stays, and rewards cannot be redeemed for cash or credit. International travelers can benefit from the lack of foreign transaction fees, but what we like best is that the card doesn’t charge an annual fee.

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card: Best for casual travel

For a $95 annual fee, the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card* comes with some decent benefits in addition to its rewards structure (12X points on eligible purchases at Hilton hotels and resorts; 6X points at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations; 3X points on everything else).

New cardholders can earn 130,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 in their first three months. Plus, you can get a Free Night Reward after spending $15,000 in a calendar year, Priority Pass Select membership and complimentary Gold status (which includes access to the 5th night free benefit).

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Credit Card: Best for luxury travel

The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Credit Card* is the top tier of the three personal Hilton Honors cards, and it comes at a hefty annual fee of $450. But the perks might be worth the cost if you spend a lot of nights in Hilton-branded hotels throughout the year.

New cardholders can receive 150,000 bonus points when they spend $4,000 in the first three months. And in terms of ongoing rewards, get 14X points at Hilton hotels or resorts; 7X points on flights booked directly with airlines or via AmexTravel.com, on car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies and at U.S. restaurants; and 3X points on everything else.

Aspire cardholders will also receive complimentary Diamond status and a free weekend night reward immediately (and an additional weekend night reward after $60,000 in spending per year), plus one each year after card renewal. The card also offers a Priority Pass Select membership, up to $250 in airline incidental credits, up to $100 in property credits, various travel insurances and more.

The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card: Best for business travel

The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card is perfect for small-business owners with good credit and loyalty to the Hilton brand. For a $95 annual fee, earn 12X points on hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio; 6X points on select business and travel purchases (including at U.S. restaurants); and 3X points on everything else.

Further, cardholders receive complimentary Gold status, a Free Night Reward after $15,000 in spending per year (and a second night after $60,000 in spending per year), 10 complimentary Priority Pass visits per year and a few travel insurances.

New cardholders can also earn a pretty sweet welcome offer: 130,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 in the first three months of card membership.

The bottom line

Hilton Honors is an excellent rewards program to be a part of, no matter how you like to travel. With properties all over the world, Hilton lets you earn and use points virtually anywhere you go — and its credit cards can help you gain even more value, from hotel elite status via card spending to Free Night Awards.

*The information about the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card and Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Credit Card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.