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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

Million Mile SecretsHow 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 properties 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 welcome bonuses on the Amex Hilton cards like the Hilton Honors American Express Card and Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card.

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. (Photo courtesy of Hilton)

How to Earn Hilton Points

Hilton hotel brands include:

Earn Hilton Points Directly

The easiest way to collect Hilton points is with welcome offers from credit cards. Amex issues four Hilton cards – three personal cards and one 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

Read our review of the Hilton credit card 

The Hilton Honors American Express Card comes with 75,000 Hilton points after you spend $1,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months of account opening. You’ll also receive:

  • 7 Hilton points per dollar spent directly at any Hilton portfolio hotel or resort
  • 5 Hilton points per dollar at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations
  • 3 Hilton points per dollar spent on everything else
  • No foreign transaction fees (See Rates & Fees)
  • Access to statement credits when taking advantage of an Amex Offer
  • Complimentary Silver Hilton 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 Surpass Card

Apply Here: Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card

Read our review of the Amex Hilton Surpass

With the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card (formerly known as 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 three months of account opening.

The card also comes with:

  • 12 Hilton points per dollar spent directly at a Hilton hotel or resort
  • 6 Hilton points per dollar in eligible purchases at US restaurants, US supermarkets, and US gas stations
  • 3 Hilton points per dollar for all other eligible purchases on your card
  • A 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 Gold Hilton 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 Priority Pass 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. (Photo courtesy of Hilton)

3. Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express

Apply Here: Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express

Read our review of the Hilton Aspire

 

The Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express comes with 150,000 Hilton points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. The card also comes with:

  • 14 Hilton points per dollar spent directly at a Hilton hotel or resort (highest earning rate of any Hilton card!)
  • 7 Hilton points per dollar 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 per dollar for all other eligible purchases on your card
  • Unlimited free Priority Pass lounge visits (enrollment required)
  • Complimentary Diamond Hilton 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 two-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)

4. The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

Read our review of the Hilton Business Credit Card

The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card comes with 125,000 Hilton points  after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases in the first three months of account opening. The card also gives you:

  • 12 Hilton points per dollar spent directly with Hilton hotels and resorts
  • 6 Hilton points per dollar spent on select business and travel purchases (including wireless phone services from US providers, US purchases for shipping, US gas stations, US restaurants and more)
  • 3 Hilton points per dollar everywhere else
  • Access to statement credits when taking advantage of an Amex Offer
  • Complimentary Gold Hilton 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 second 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
  • Terms & limitations apply

There’s a $95 annual fee with this card.

Earn Hilton Honors Points Indirectly

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

1. American Express Membership Rewards

Read our American Express Membership Rewards review

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:

CardWelcome bonus & minimum spending requirements
The Business Platinum® Card from American Express
Earn up to 75,000 Amex Membership Rewards® points: 50,000 points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 25,000 points after you spend an additional $10,000 all on qualifying purchases made on the card within the first 3 months of account opening.
Terms Apply.
American Express®️ Green CardReceive up to $100 in statement credits toward any eligible purchase from Away made within the first three months of Card Membership. Offer ends January 15, 2020. Plus, earn 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 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 $4,000 in purchases in the first 3 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 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.
Business Green Rewards Card from American Express15,000 Amex Membership Rewards® points after spending $3,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account. 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 3 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 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. (Photo courtesy of Hilton)

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 dollar spent on your stay (not including taxes) depends on your Hilton status level:

  • Base members earn 10 Hilton points per dollar spent (and 5 Hilton points per dollar spent at Home2Suites and Tru brand locations)
  • Silver elite members earn 12 Hilton points per dollar spent (and 6 Hilton points per dollar spent at Home2Suites and Tru brand locations)
  • Gold elite members earn 18 Hilton points per dollar spent (and 9 Hilton points per dollar spent at Home2Suites and Tru brand locations)
  • Diamond elite members earn 20 Hilton points per dollar spent (and 10 Hilton points per dollar spent at Home2Suites and Tru brand locations)
The simplest way to earn more Hilton points is to stay at their hotels.

2. Dining Rewards

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 one 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 dollar 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. Rent a Car

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.

4. Ride With Lyft

Hilton and Lyft are now partners, and when you link your accounts, you’ll earn 3 Hilton points per dollar spent on rides in the US and Canada.

5. Take Surveys

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

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 and her kids stayed. (Photo by Jasmin Baron/Million Mile Secrets)

7. Buy Hilton Points

You can always buy Hilton 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 like the Hilton Honors American Express Card and Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card, which both have limited-time increased offers until August 28, 2019.

Or, you can earn Hilton points 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 Lyft 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.

To learn more about Hilton points and the Hilton Honors loyalty program, check out these posts:

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 Hilton Surpass 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

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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