Do Hilton points expire? Yes, but you can reset the clock with these tips

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Hilton Honors points are incredibly useful for free stays at over 5,000 hotels around the world. Even better, they’re easy to earn from Hilton cards like the Hilton Honors American Express Card and Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, or by transferring flexible points from programs like American Express Membership Rewards.

In most rewards programs, your miles or points will expire after a certain period of inactivity. You wouldn’t want to lose your hard-earned Hilton points before you can use them.

Do Hilton points expire? Hilton points usually expire after 12 months of account inactivity. But due to the coronavirus pandemic, Hilton is freezing points expiration through December 31, 2020.

While you don’t have to worry about expiring points in the near future, there will come a time when Hilton’s standard 12-month expiration policy will be in place again. And the good news is, there are plenty of ways to keep your Hilton points from expiring — even if you don’t stay at Hilton hotels

Here are all the ways to keep your Hilton points from expiring.

Do Hilton points expire? Yes, but there are lots of ways to keep them active, including staying at fabulous hotels like the Hilton Hawaiian Village. (Photo courtesy of Hilton)

Here’s how to keep your Hilton points from expiring

Under normal circumstances (i.e. when we’re out of this pandemic), you’ll need eligible activity in your account at least once in a 12-consecutive-month period to keep your Hilton points from expiring.

If your points have already expired, you still may have recourse. Hilton allows folks to reinstate their points if it’s been less than 18 months since they expired. It comes at a price, though — you’ll pay 0.25 cents per point.

Similar to other hotels’ points expiration policies, it’s easy to keep your points from expiring without having to resort to great lengths! Here’s what to do.

Stay at a Hilton hotel

Staying at a Hilton hotel will keep your Hilton points from expiring. You can use your points for an award stay, or book a paid stay to earn more Hilton points.

Unlike other hotels, booking a future award stay at Hilton with points will not reset the expiration of your points unless you actually complete your stay before the expiration date.

You can earn or redeem points at these Hilton hotel brands:

Keep in mind, you must book a paid stay directly through Hilton (not a third-party site like Orbitz or Expedia) to earn points for the stay and reset the expiration clock.

Use a Hilton Credit Card

If you have one of the Amex Hilton credit cards (and use it at least once every 12 months), you’ll never have to worry about your Hilton points expiring. Currently, all of these cards have big welcome bonuses, so it’s a great time to apply:

Keep in mind, you can only earn the welcome bonus on each specific Amex card once, per person, per lifetime. So if you’ve had the Hilton Honors American Express Card in the past, for example, you’re not eligible for the bonus on that card again (but you can still earn the bonus on any of the other cards).

Transfer points to Hilton

Folks who have a card that earns Amex Membership Rewards points can transfer their points to Hilton at a 1:2 ratio. The minimum transfer amount is 1,000 Amex Membership Rewards points, which equals 2,000 Hilton points.

You can earn Amex Membership Rewards points with these cards:

CardWelcome bonus & minimum spending requirements
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
Terms Apply.
American Express®️ Green CardEarn 30,000 Amex Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in your first three months of account opening. Terms Apply.
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American ExpressEarn up to $300 when you make eligible purchases with Dell Technologies, DocuSign and FedEx within the first three months of Card Membership (up to $100 per merchant, in the form of statement credits). This offer will run through November 4, 2020
The Platinum Card® from American Express
60,000 Amex Membership Rewards® points after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening your account. Terms Apply.
American Express® Gold Card60,000 Amex Membership Rewards® points after spending $4,000 in purchases in the first six months of account opening. Terms Apply.
American Express® Business Gold CardEarn 35,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $5,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Gold Card within the first three months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.
Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express
15,000 Amex Membership Rewards® points after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening your account. Terms Apply.
Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express10,000 Amex Membership Rewards® points after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening your account. Terms Apply.

The information for the Amex Green Card, Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card and Amex EveryDay Credit Card has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

If you want to keep points from expiring and have Amex Membership Rewards points to spare, just transferring the 1,000-point minimum to 2,000 Hilton points is a great way to go.

You can also move points to Hilton from Hawaiian Airlines and Virgin Atlantic. These points transfer to Hilton at a 1:1.5 ratio with a minimum transfer of 10,000 Virgin Atlantic or Hawaiian Airlines miles (which would earn you 15,000 Hilton points).

Earn points with Hilton Honors Dining

When you register a credit card (it doesn’t have to be a Hilton card) on the Hilton Honors Dining site and use that card to pay for a meal at a participating restaurant, you’ll earn Hilton points.

You’ll still earn rewards from your card (for example, if you use the Chase Sapphire Reserve®to earn 3x points per dollar on dining) on top of earning Hilton points. It’s easy to search for nearby restaurants by city and state or zip code.

Sign-Up for Hilton Honors Dining and earn Hilton points for spending at participating restaurants.

You’ll earn more points if you use the program frequently (and opt in for email communications). Here’s what you can earn:

  • 2 Hilton points per dollar spent if you don’t opt in for email communications
  • 5 Hilton points per dollar spent if you opt in for email and dine 10 or less times per year
  • 8 Hilton points per dollar spent if you opt in for email and dine 11+ times per year

Shop with Hilton points at Amazon

Spending points on Amazon purchases is one of the worst ways you can use Hilton points, because the value you’ll get is so poor (just 0.2 cents per point). However, if you need a quick way to keep your Hilton points from expiring, this method works well. Most of us make Amazon purchases fairly regularly anyway.

The Hilton terms and conditions don’t explicitly say redeeming points at Amazon will count, but reports online and a conversation with Hilton Honors customer service confirm this is the case.

You can redeem points in 500 Hilton point (worth $1 Amazon credit) increments with the minimum being just 500 Hilton points.

Once you link your Hilton and Amazon accounts, you’ll have the option to pay with Hilton points at checkout. Just use 500 Hilton points towards your purchase and you’ll reset your points expiration (be careful not to use Hilton points for the whole purchase).

Take surveys with eRewards

Folks with spare time can take market research surveys through eRewards to earn Hilton points. For every survey you complete, you’ll earn eRewards currency you can cash in for rewards, including Hilton points.

You’ll need to redeem a minimum of $25 eRewards credit, which earns you 1,000 Hilton points. If you already have credits (because taking surveys is time consuming), this is a good way to earn Hilton points and reset your expiration date.

Rent a car

Renting a car through the Hilton portal can be a good way to earn some extra Hilton points if you are already planning a car rental.

If You’ve Got an Alamo, Enterprise or National Car Rental coming up, book through Hilton to earn Hilton points.

You can earn up to 5,000 Hilton points per qualifying car rental with Alamo, National and Enterprise.

Donate Hilton points to charity

Here’s a way to keep your Hilton points alive and do good at the same time. Donating Hilton points to charity through Hilton’s partnership with PointWorthy will also reset the expiration clock.

The minimum donation amount is 4,000 Hilton points, and there are hundreds of charities to choose from, including large organizations like the American Red Cross, local churches, social service groups and memorial funds.

Purchase Hilton points

As a last resort, you can purchase Hilton points directly to generate activity in your account and keep your Hilton points from expiring. A minimum purchase of $10 will get you 1,000 Hilton points.

Top up your Hilton account by purchasing points and reset your expiration date.

Occasionally, Hilton runs buy points promotions that offer a bonus when you purchase points. Even with a bonus, it rarely makes sense to buy Hilton points unless you need a few extra to top-off your account for an award (or keep your points from expiring). There is a maximum of 80,000 Hilton points you can purchase per year.

Again, pooling points with friends and family doesn’t count as activity and will not reset the expiration on your account.

What changes has Hilton made in response to the current pandemic?

As mentioned above, Hilton is extending points expiration through December 31, 2020. In addition, all elite status that has expired on March 31, 2020, will now be extended to March 31, 2021. And if you earn Hilton elite status this year, your status won’t expire until March 31, 2022.

Hilton has also announced that all stays completed from Jan. 1, 2020 through Dec. 31, 2020, will automatically roll over and count towards 2021 – 2023 Hilton elite status.

All in all, we’re very pleased with the way Hilton (and many other hotel chains and airlines) have handled the pandemic. It’s nice that Hilton has relaxed their policies a bit in an effort to help out travelers during this unpredictable time.

Bottom line

Hilton points expire after 12 months of inactivity in your account. You can stop this from happening – there are many ways to keep your Hilton points from expiring.

The easiest way to keep your points active is by using one of the Amex Hilton cards at least once every 12 months:

And you’ve got other options to reset your Hilton points expiration date, like:

  • Stay at a Hilton hotel (using points or a paid stay)
  • Transfer points from Amex Membership Rewards to Hilton at a 1:2 ratio, or from Virgin Atlantic or Hawaiian Airlines at a 2:3 ratio
  • Register a credit card with Hilton Honors dining and eat at a participating restaurant to earn Hilton points
  • Shop with Hilton points at Amazon
  • and more

For the latest tips and tricks on traveling big without spending a fortune, please subscribe to the Million Mile Secrets daily email newsletter.

For rates and fees of the Amex Surpass Card, please click here 
For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors Amex Business Card, please click here 
For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors Aspire Card, please click here 

Meghan Hunter is a contributor to Million Mile Secrets, she covers topics on points and miles, credit cards, airlines, hotels, and general travel.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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