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How to Earn Hilton Honors Points in 2019: The Ultimate Guide

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How to Earn Hilton Honors Points in 2019:  The Ultimate Guide

Harlan VaughnHow to Earn Hilton Honors Points in 2019:  The Ultimate GuideMillion Mile Secrets Team

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INSIDER SECRET:   You don’t even have to set foot in a Hilton hotel to earn Hilton Honors points!

Hilton is one of the biggest hotel chains in the world, and has hotels in luxurious destinations like Hawaii, the South Pacific, and nearly everywhere else you can imagine.  So it’s no wonder folks want to use their points to stay at otherwise pricey hotels.  And luckily, Hilton points are among the easiest to earn!

Whether you’re starting from scratch, or want to top-up your account for a dream vacation, you have lots of options, including improved welcome bonuses on the AMEX Hilton cards!

I’ll show you all the ways to earn Hilton Honors points for free travel.

It’s Easy to Earn Hilton Points for Stays All Over the World, Like New York City!

How to Earn Hilton Points

Hilton hotels include Conrad, Canopy, Curio, DoubleTree, Embassy Suites, Hampton Inn, Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Hilton Grand Vacations, Home2Suites, Homewood Suites, Tapestry Collection, Tru, and Waldorf Astoria brand hotels.

Earn Hilton Points Directly

Link:   AMEX Hilton Cards Get a Boost (Up to 150,000 Points!)

The easiest way to collect Hilton points is with welcome offers from credit cards.  AMEX issues 4 Hilton cards – 3 personal cards and 1 small business card.

Each one varies in terms of welcome bonus, annual fee, and points earned in bonus categories.  Here’s a round-up with the important details.  Be sure to check our in-depth reviews of each card for more information.

Note:   You can only earn the welcome bonus on American Express personal and business cards ONCE per person, per lifetime.  

1.   Hilton Honors American Express Card

Apply Here:   Hilton Honors American Express Card

Our Review:   The Hilton credit card Might Be the BEST No Annual Fee Hotel Credit Card

The Hilton Honors American Express Card comes with 75,000 Hilton points after you spend $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. You can learn more about how to meet credit card minimum spend here.  You’ll also receive:

  • 7X Hilton points per $1 spent directly at any Hilton portfolio hotel or resort
  • 5X Hilton points per $1 at US restaurants, US supermarkets, and US gas stations
  • 3X Hilton points per $1 spent on everything else
  • NO foreign transaction fees (See Rates & Fees)
  • Access to statement credits when taking advantage of an AMEX Offer
  • Complimentary Hilton Honors Silver status
  • Hilton Honors Gold status after you spend $20,000 on eligible purchases in a calendar year (free breakfast at Hilton hotels, room upgrades when available, and more)
  • Terms apply

This card has NO annual fee. (See Rates & Fees)

2.   Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card

Apply Here:   Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card

Our Review:   Hilton Ascend: Earn 125,000 Hilton Points and Automatic Elite Status

With the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card, you’ll earn 125,000 Hilton points after you spend $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of account opening (25,000 more points than the previous offer). You can learn more about how to meet credit card minimum spend here.  The card also comes with:

  • 12 Hilton points per $1 spent directly at a Hilton hotel or resort
  • 6 Hilton points per $1 in eligible purchases at US restaurants, US supermarkets, and US gas stations
  • 3 Hilton points for all other eligible purchases on your card
  • 1 weekend night reward after spending $15,000 on purchases in a calendar year
  • Access to statement credits when taking advantage of an AMEX Offer
  • Complimentary Hilton Gold status (bonus points, free breakfast at Hilton hotels, room upgrades when available, etc.)
  • Earn Hilton Diamond status if you spend $40,000 in a calendar year (valid through the end of the next calendar year after it’s earned)
  • 10 free airport lounge visits each year once enrolled in complimentary Priority Pass™ Select membership.  Each guest you bring counts as one of your 10 free visits
  • NO foreign transaction fees (See Rates & Fees)
  • Terms apply

The $95 annual fee is NOT waived for the first year. (See Rates & Fees)

Use Hilton Points to Stay at the Romantic Conrad Koh Samui in Thailand

3.   The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

Apply Here:   The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

Our Review:  Hilton Business Credit Card: Turn Your Expenses Into 125,000 Hilton Points, 10 Lounge Visits, and Elite Status

The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card comes with 125,000 Hilton points after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. You can learn more about how to meet credit card minimum spend here.  The card also gives you:

  • 12 Hilton points per $1 spent directly with Hilton hotels and resorts
  • 6 Hilton points per $1 spent on select business & travel purchases (including wireless phone services from US providers, US purchases for shipping, US gas stations US restaurants, and more)
  • 3 Hilton points per $1 everywhere else
  • Access to statement credits when taking advantage of an AMEX Offer
  • Complimentary Hilton Gold status (Late checkout, free breakfast, complimentary upgrades, bonus points)
  • Hilton Diamond status after you spend $40,000 on eligible purchases on your card in a calendar year (you can earn an upgrade to Hilton Honors Diamond status through the end of the next calendar year)
  • A weekend night reward after spending $15,000 in purchases on your card in a calendar year
  • A 2nd weekend night reward after spending an additional $45,000 in purchases on your card in the same calendar year ($60,000 in total purchases in a calendar year)
  • Priority Pass™ Select membership with 10 free visits each year (enrollment required).  Each guest you bring counts as one of your 10 free visits
  • NO foreign transaction fees (See Rates & Fees)
  • Terms & limitations apply

There’s a $95 annual fee with this card. (See Rates & Fees)

4.   Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express

Apply Here: Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express

Our Review:  Hilton Aspire: How to Get $2,500 in Travel Benefits the First Year (and $1,000+ Every Following Year)

 

The Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express comes with 150,000 Hilton points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. You can learn more about how to meet credit card minimum spend here.  The card also comes with:

  • 14 Hilton points per $1 spent directly at a Hilton hotel or resort (highest earning rate of any Hilton card!)
  • 7 Hilton points per $1 in eligible purchases at US restaurants, flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com, and car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies
  • 3 Hilton points for all other eligible purchases on your card
  • Unlimited free Priority Pass lounge visits (enrollment required)
  • Complimentary Hilton Diamond status (100% bonus on base points, upgrades, late check-out, and more)
  • Up to $250 per calendar year in credits for incidental fees charged by your selected airline
  • Up to $250 in statement credits each year of card membership for eligible purchases at participating Hilton Resorts
  • Up to $100 in credit for qualifying charges at participating Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts and Conrad Hotels & Resorts when you book a 2-night minimum stay with your card at HiltonHonors.com/AspireCard or by calling Hilton Honors at (855) 292-5757
  • A weekend night reward when you receive the card, and an additional weekend night reward every year after you renew the card
  • Earn an additional weekend night reward after you spending $60,000 on eligible purchases within a calendar year
  • Access to statement credits when taking advantage of an AMEX Offer
  • NO foreign transaction fees (See Rates & Fees)
  • Terms & Limitations apply

This card has a $450 annual fee. (See Rates & Fees)

Earn Hilton Honors Points Indirectly

Other cards earn miles or points that you can transfer to Hilton, including:

  • American Express Membership Rewards points
  • Hawaiian Airlines miles
  • Virgin Atlantic miles

1.   American Express Membership Rewards

Link:   The Big Travel Guide to AMEX Membership Rewards Points

You can transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to Hilton at a ratio of 1 AMEX Membership Rewards point to 2 Hilton points.

And sometimes there are transfer bonuses.

Here are all the cards that earn American Express Membership Rewards points:

Card Welcome Bonus & Minimum Spending Requirements
The Business Platinum® Card from American Express


Up to 75,000 Amex Membership Rewards points

50,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $10,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account, plus earn an extra 25,000 Amex Membership Rewards points after spending an additional $10,000 on qualifying purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account. Terms Apply.
The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American ExpressNo welcome bonus
The Platinum Card® from American Express


60,000 Amex Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account. Terms Apply.
American Express® Gold Card35,000 Amex Membership Rewards points after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account. Terms Apply.
American Express® Business Gold Card
35,000 Amex Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account. Terms Apply.
Business Green Rewards Card from American Express5,000 Amex Membership Rewards points after your first purchase on the card within the first year of card membership. Terms Apply.
Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express
Card Image Not Available
15,000 Amex Membership Rewards points after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account. Terms Apply.
Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American ExpressCard Image Not Available
10,000 Amex Membership Rewards points after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account. Terms Apply.
The information for the 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.

Remember, you can only earn the bonus on personal and business American Express cards once per person per lifetime.  So consider carefully if transferring points to Hilton makes the most sense for you.  There are plenty of other ways to earn Hilton points!

2.   Hawaiian Airlines Miles

You can transfer Hawaiian Airlines miles to Hilton at a 1:1.5 ratio.  You must transfer in increments of 10,000 Hawaiian Airlines at a time, to create 15,000 Hilton points.

Instead of Using Hawaiian Airlines Miles to Fly to Hawaii, You Could Use Them for a Stay at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Honolulu

3.   Virgin Atlantic

You can transfer Virgin Atlantic miles at a 1:1.5 ratio to Hilton points.  You must transfer only in increments of 10,000 Virgin Atlantic miles, to make 15,000 Hilton points.

More Ways to Earn Hilton Points

1.   Stay at Hilton Hotels

You will certainly earn Hilton points when you stay Hilton hotels!  How many points you’ll earn per $1 spent on your stay (not including taxes) depends on your elite status level:

  • Base members earn 10 Hilton points per $1 spent (and 5 Hilton points per $1 spent at Home2Suites and Tru brand locations)
  • Silver elite members earn 12 Hilton points per $1 spent (and 6 Hilton points per $1 spent at Home2Suites and Tru brand locations)
  • Gold elite members earn 18 Hilton points per $1 spent (and 9 Hilton points per $1 spent at Home2Suites and Tru brand locations)
  • Diamond elite members earn 20 Hilton points per $1 spent (and 10 Hilton points per $1 spent at Home2Suites and Tru brand locations)
The Simplest Way to Earn More Hilton Points Is to Stay at Their Hotels

2.   Dining Rewards

Link:   Join Hilton Honors Dining

That’s right, you can regularly earn bonus Hilton points when you link your debit and credit cards with Hilton’s dining program and visit participating restaurants!

I usually prefer to earn airline miles instead.  All of the travel-related dining programs share the same network, and you can only enroll your card with 1 partner at a time.  That said, you can link your card with Hilton’s dining rewards if you want extra points for your next award stay.

Earn up to 8 Hilton Points per $1 Spent on Dining, Including Tax and Tip!

Every time you dine counts as a visit – there are no minimums you have to spend to earn points.

3.   Book a Cruise

Link:   Hilton Cruises

You’ll earn up to 50,000 Hilton points when you book through their cruise website.  Points are awarded based on the length of your cruise.

If You Like to Cruise, You Can Earn Points to Stay at Hilton Hotels Back on Land

This could be an easy way to rack up extra points.  Before you book, be sure to shop around to make sure you’re getting the best deal.

4.   Rent a Car

Link:   Hilton Travel Partners

You can earn 500 Hilton points every time you rent a car from Alamo, Enterprise, or National.  Plus, you’ll earn 500 more points for each day of your rental, up to 5,000 points.

I usually prefer to earn rewards directly with the car rental companies.  If you opt-in for Hilton points, you will NOT earn points in the car rental company’s loyalty program.  But if you only rent every once in a while, you might decide to take the Hilton points instead.

5.   Take Surveys

Link:   E-Rewards

Earning Hilton points to take surveys is by invitation only, so I wasn’t able to see the details.  These surveys are usually time-consuming and don’t award many points.

But if you fill them out while you’re watching TV or relaxing, you might enjoy sharing your opinions.  The trick is to get an invite from a current E-Rewards member.  Or you could try contacting them directly and ask to become a member.

6.   Exchange Amtrak Points

Link:   Amtrak Points Transfer

You can exchange 5,000 Amtrak points for 10,000 Hilton points, for an effective 1:2 ratio.

If You Don’t Have Plans to Ride Amtrak’s Rail Service Any Time Soon, Use Them for a Hilton Hotel, Like the Conrad Tokyo Where Team Member Jasmin Stayed!

7.   Buy Hilton Points

Link:   Purchase Hilton Points (Sign-In Required)

You can always buy points if you’re very close to an award!

You’re allowed to purchase up to 80,000 Hilton points per calendar year, at a rate of 1 cent each, and in increments of 1,000 points.  So 80,000 Hilton points would cost $800.

If You Need Points Fast, You Can Always Buy Them!

Or you could buy as few as 1,000 points for $10.  That could easily be worthwhile in certain situations, like if you’re a few points shy of a free night in a dream destination.

Occasionally, Hilton runs promotions offering a bonus for points purchases, so it’s worth checking to see if you can get a deal.

Bottom Line

There are lots of ways to earn Hilton points from top travel credit card welcome bonuses and ongoing spending!

You can earn them directly from American Express Hilton cards.  Or indirectly by transferring points from American Express Membership Rewards, Hawaiian Airlines, or Virgin Atlantic.

Beyond that, Hilton has partners to earn even more points, including for dining, taking a cruise, or renting a car.  You can also purchase points if you want them even sooner.  Between all of these ways to earn Hilton points, you’ll have your next award stay that much faster!

For more on Hilton points and the Hilton Honors loyalty program, check out these posts:

For rates and fees of the Hilton Ascend Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Business Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton AMEX Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Aspire Card, please click here

Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express

Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express

  • Earn 150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express after you use your new Card to make $4,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Plus, enjoy a free Weekend Night Reward within your first year and every year after renewal.
  • Earn 14X Hilton Bonus Points when you make eligible purchases on your Card at participating hotels or resorts within the Hilton Portfolio.
  • Earn 7X Bonus Points for eligible purchases: on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com, on car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies & at U.S. restaurants.
  • Earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.
  • Enjoy up to $250 in Hilton Resort Credits on your Card each anniversary year, when you stay at participating resorts within the Hilton portfolio.
  • Enjoy complimentary Diamond status with your Hilton Honors Aspire Card.
  • $450 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Terms Apply | Rates & Fees

More Info

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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The article provided no insight on whether transferring to Hilton was a good idea. Using some transfer partners MAY be a good idea other transfers are a horrible idea.