Skip to Main Content

Guide to the Hilton Honors rewards program

Hilton Hawaiian Village
Jeff Whyte/Shutterstock
Bankrate Logo

Why you can trust Bankrate

At Bankrate we strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. While we adhere to strict , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here's an explanation for . The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

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—making its rewards program, Hilton Honors, a favorite for many kinds of travelers, from casual vacationers who want to save some money on their next trip to rewards enthusiasts who want to travel the world without breaking the bank to business travelers who want a little extra comfort while they’re away from home.

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 enjoy great perks like the lowest rates, free Wi-Fi, and the ability to manage your reservation and even unlock your door from the Hilton mobile app.

On top of that, members earn points anytime 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 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, Hilton Honors 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

New Hilton Honors members will receive a welcome bonus of 2,000 bonus points on their first stay and an extra 3,000 bonus points on their second stay.

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. Silver members earn a 20 percent bonus, Gold members earn an 80 percent bonus and Diamond members earn a 100 percent bonus. The more you stay, the more you earn.

Use a Hilton Honors credit card

American Express offers several co-branded Hilton credit cards that earn Hilton Honors rewards. If you use one for your everyday spending—such as at grocery stores and gas stations and for online shopping—you can earn Hilton Honors points with every purchase. These cards usually come with a welcome bonus for new card members as well, giving you the opportunity to earn a lot more points in a short period of time.

Ride with Lyft

If you like to rideshare when you travel, it could pay to use Lyft more often. You can link your Hilton Honors and Lyft accounts to earn up to 3X points per dollar on Lyft rides and 2X points per dollar on shared Lyft rides. The best part? You’ll earn the points automatically once your accounts are connected.

Join Hilton Honors Dining

You can earn points to eat at restaurants around the world with Hilton Honors Dining, and it’s incredibly easy. Search for restaurants near you, pay with the credit card you’ve registered with Hilton Honors Dining and earn points. For a limited time, you’ll earn 1,000 bonus points when you join the dining program, spend $25 at eligible restaurants and complete an online review within the first 30 days.

Rent a car

Hilton Honors partners with Alamo, Enterprise and National, allowing you to both earn points and receive a discount on your rental. You’ll earn 500 base points just for making a reservation plus additional points (anywhere from 500 to 4,500) for each day you rent a car (up to 5,000 points total).

Earn Hilton milestone bonuses

As a Gold or Diamond tier member, you can earn bonus points when you reach certain milestones each calendar year. After you’ve stayed 30 nights in a calendar year, you’ll earn 10,000 bonus points every 10 nights, then continue to earn 10,000 points for every 10 additional nights you stay throughout the year.

How to redeem Hilton Honors points

There’s more than one way to spend the points you’ve earned.

Free nights at Hilton properties

The best and most obvious way to use your Hilton Honors points is for free stays at Hilton hotels. Your points work at all properties in the brand’s portfolio—from the most luxurious to the most economical—giving you amazing flexibility for how you use them. If you don’t have enough for a completely free night, you can also use points and cash for the same purchase.

How many Hilton Honors points you need for a free night depends on where you stay and when you stay there. Hilton uses dynamic pricing for its rewards, so the cost for each hotel will vary based on its luxury level, location and demand.

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. These adventures are curated specifically for Hilton Honors members. Each one offers something different based on your location. For example, you could have a luxurious spa treatment in the Maldives or feast on the ultimate Sunday brunch in Singapore.

Pay for Lyft rides

Connecting your Hilton Honors account with your Lyft account can save you some cash while ridesharing. If you have enough points in your Hilton account, you can convert them to Lyft credits to use whenever you need them. Unfortunately, you have to do this beforehand; you can’t transfer only what you need in real-time.

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. However, the exchange rate is typically pretty poor, so it’s best to save your points for other uses, such as hotel stays.

Shop with points

You can use your Hilton Honors points to shop online through either the Hilton shopping portal or Amazon. To use them on Amazon, you’ll need to link your accounts and then select your Hilton Honors points as your payment method at checkout. You can choose how many points you would like to use for your purchase. Your Amazon purchase will cost you 500 points for every dollar, which is a very low exchange rate. Keep that in mind before deciding to use your points in this way.

Book a rental car

Finally, 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 each on average. 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 per point on a stay at a villa in the Conrad Maldives, but only $0.4 per point at 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 other things besides hotel nights, they’re a lot less valuable in other applications. It may be tempting to use your points for other purposes—especially since most people aren’t quite ready to start traveling again because of the coronavirus pandemic. You’ll be much better off saving your Hilton points for the next time you travel instead of using them elsewhere.

If you’re saving your points for when travel returns, you’ll probably want to know if Hilton Honors points expire. They do, but it takes a while. In the past, you would lose your points if your account went 15 months without earning or spending points. Currently, all points set to expire in 2022 will not expire until Dec. 31, 2022.

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
  • Hilton Honors Experiences
Silver 7 nights, 3 stays or 17,500 base points All the Member benefits plus:
  • 20% bonus points on stays
  • Fifth night free
  • Free bottled water
  • Elite Rollover Nights
Gold 28 nights, 14 stays or 52,500 base points All the Member and Silver benefits plus:
  • 80% bonus points 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 the Member, Silver and Gold benefits plus:
  • 100% bonus points on stays
  • Executive lounge access
  • 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

The Hilton Honors American Express Card comes with 80,000 Hilton Honors bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first three months of card membership. You’ll earn 7X points per dollar for eligible purchases at Hilton hotels or resorts; 5X points at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. gas stations and U.S. restaurants; and 3X points on everything else.

The most popular way to redeem points is for free hotel stays; 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 Hilton Honors American Express Card doesn’t charge an annual fee.

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card: Best for casual travel

The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card* comes with an annual fee of $95 and some great additional benefits. New cardholders can earn 130,000 Hilton Honors bonus points, plus a Free Night Reward, after spending $2,000 in purchases in the first three months of card membership.

This card is a great choice for frequent travelers who are loyal to the Hilton brand since it offers a number of travel perks, including automatic Gold status, which comes with an 80 percent bonus on base points earned from hotel stays, a fifth night free, food and beverage credits, room upgrades and more.

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card: Best for luxury travel

The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire 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 hotels throughout the year.

New cardholders can receive 150,000 bonus points when they spend $4,000 in the first three months. The earning rate includes 14X points on eligible Hilton purchases, 7X points on flights booked directly with airlines or via AmexTravel.com, 7X points at U.S. restaurants and 3X points on all other purchases.

Aspire cardholders will also receive complimentary Diamond status and a free weekend night reward immediately, plus one every year after card renewal. The card also offers a Priority Pass Select membership, which provides access to over 1,300 airport lounges.

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. The card charges an annual fee, and cardholders will receive automatic Hilton Honors Gold status, plus other American Express business card perks like baggage and rental car insurance, roadside assistance and travel assistance.

New cardholders can earn 130,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 in purchases in the first three months of card membership. For rewards, earn 12X points on Hilton hotel and resort purchases, 6X points on select business (U.S. gas stations, U.S. cellphone service providers and U.S. shipping purchases) and travel purchases (U.S. restaurants, airfare booked through Amex Travel and select car rentals) and 3X points on all other purchases.

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. Even as the world eases back into travel, you can still start earning and saving Hilton Honors points for future travel. Your rewards stash will help you save money on travel for both fun and business once you’re ready to hit the road again.

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

Written by
Emily Sherman
Senior Editor, Credit Card Product News
Emily Sherman is a senior editor for CreditCards.com and Bankrate Credit Cards, specializing in product news and recommendations. She has worked as a writer and editor in the credit cards space for several years, covering any and all topics related to how cards work, rewards programs, card benefits, travel, cash back and more.
Edited by
Associate Editor
Reviewed by
Associate Editor