We devote thousands of hours of research to help you get Big Travel with Small Money. You support us by signing-up for credit cards through partner links which earn us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.
Hilton’s recent Points Unlimited promotion has a loophole that allows you to earn bonus points for reward stays!
Million Mile Secret Agent James asked:
I haven’t been able to figure out if I’d still get the bonus from Hilton’s Points Unlimited promotion if I book with points. Do you know if I have to pay cash rather than booking an award night in order to earn the bonus?
Great question, James!
I like taking advantage of hotel promotions to earn points, without having to sign-up for a credit card. And usually, only stays paid with cash qualify for hotel promotion bonuses.
However, for the current Hilton Points Unlimited promotion, you CAN earn the bonus on award stays. But only if you meet certain criteria. I’ll explain more.
Earning Bonus Points on Award Nights With Hilton’s Latest Promotion
With the Hilton Points Unlimited promotion, you can earn 2,000 bonus Hilton points per stay and an extra 10,000 Hilton points for every 5 stays. The promotion runs from January 1, 2018, to April 30, 2018. All Hilton hotels except Hampton hotels in mainland China are participating. And you must register before your stay for it to qualify.
Award nights will count if you have an eligible incidental charge during your stay. The promotion’s frequently asked questions page states:
Members will earn bonus points with the “Points Unlimited” promotion if they have incidental charges during a reward stay, provided such charges are deemed eligible folio charges. This does not apply to incidental charges for stays at Hampton by Hilton™, Tru by Hilton™, Homewood Suites by Hilton®, and Home2 Suites by Hilton®.
Eligible incidental charges include drinks, food, and anything else you charge to your room. So as long as you make an eligible charge to your room, you should earn the bonus points for your award stay!
If you don’t have enough points to book an award night, you can pay for part of your stay with points and still qualify for the bonus. You’ll need at least 5,000 Hilton points to use the Points & Money option. And you can only redeem in 1,000-point increments.
If you are paying cash, don’t forget to book directly with Hilton for the stay to qualify for the promotion. If you book through a 3rd-party site, like Orbitz or Priceline, the stay will NOT qualify for the bonus.
Is This a Good Deal?
This promotion is better for shorter stays. Because the bonus is awarded per stay, NOT per night. So for a 5-night stay, you will only earn 2,000 Hilton points. But if you stayed 5 separate nights, you would earn 20,000 Hilton points (2,000 Hilton points per stay X 5 stays + 10,000 Hilton point 5-stay bonus).
Hilton award nights range from 5,000 to 95,000 Hilton points per night for standard rooms. So if you are booking 1-night award stays at the lowest award levels, this promotion could be worth it. But many of the low-level Hilton hotels are outside of the US. So for most folks, it’s probably not worth going out of your way to take advantage of this deal.
That said, if you already have 4 paid Hilton stays already planned, then booking a 5th stay could make sense. Because with this deal, you’ll earn an additional 12,000 bonus Hilton points (2,000 Hilton points per stay + 10,000 Hilton point 5-stay bonus) after your 5th stay!
During your award stay, if you have an eligible incidental charge to your room, like food or drinks, you can earn the bonus! But award stays at hotels including Hampton, Tru, Homewood Suites, and Home2 Suites, will NOT count, regardless of incidental charges.
And don’t forget, if you are paying cash for a stay, you will NOT earn the bonus if you booked through a 3rd-party site, like Orbitz or Priceline.
Do you plan on taking advantage of the Hilton Points Unlimited promotion’s loophole?