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INSIDER SECRET: With any of the Amex Hilton cards, you’ll earn automatic elite Hilton status which qualifies you for the fifth night free on award stays of five or more consecutive nights.
Hilton Honors points are among the easiest to earn in our hobby, due in part to big bonuses on cards like the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express, and the Hilton Honors American Express Card. I’ve had a Hilton card in my wallet for many years and enjoyed incredible stays at properties like the Waldorf Astoria Grand Wailea — for free.
While Hilton points aren’t worth as much as other hotel points, like Hyatt’s, you can still get tremendous value by redeeming them for hotel stays at 5,000+ properties in over 100 countries and territories. It’s likely you’ll be able to find a Hilton brand hotel just about anywhere you go.
You don’t have to be a miles and points wizard to use your Hilton points, either. I’ll share how to use Hilton Honors points for award stays and more, and show you when it’s not a good deal.
How to Use Hilton Honors Points
Even if you’re new to Hilton points, it’s easy to build up a substantial account balance quickly. You can earn Hilton Honors points directly with increased bonuses on these cards:
- Hilton Honors American Express Card – 90,000 Hilton points after spending $2,000 in the first three months of account opening (limited time until August 28, 2019)
- Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card – 130,000 Hilton points and a free weekend night after spending $4,000 in the first four months of account opening (formerly the Hilton Ascend card) (limited time until August 28, 2019)
- Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express — 150,000 Hilton points after spending $4,000 in the first three months of account opening
- The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card – 130,000 Hilton points and a free weekend night after spending $5,000 in the first four months of account opening (limited time until August 28, 2019)
The information for the Hilton Honors Business Card has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets and has not been reviewed by the card issuer.
You’ve also got the option to transfer Amex Membership Rewards points to Hilton at a 1:2 ratio. I don’t personally recommend this unless you’re a few points shy of an award and need to top off your account, because there are far better uses for your Membership Rewards points. Here are cards that earn Amex Membership Rewards points:
|Card||Welcome Bonus & Minimum Spending Requirements|
|The Business Platinum® Card from American Express||Ends December 4, 2019: Limited Time Offer - Up to 100,000 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 50,000 Amex Membership Rewards points after spending an additional $15,000 on qualifying purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account. Terms Apply.
|The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express||No 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 Card||35,000 Amex Membership Rewards® points after spending $4,000 in purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. Terms Apply.|
|American Express® Business Gold Card||Ends November 06 2019: Limited Time Offer- Earn up to $500 in statement credits by purchasing qualifying services with FedEx within the first 3 months of account opening. Terms Apply.|
|Business Green Rewards Card from American Express||Ends November 06 2019: Limited Time Offer- Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on your combined eligible purchases on the Card, up to the first $50,000, at U.S. restaurants, on hotel stays booked directly with hotels, and on airfare purchased directly from airlines in the first 3 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 3 months of opening your account. Terms Apply.|
|Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express||10,000 Amex Membership Rewards® points after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account. Terms Apply.
Once you’ve built up a stash of Hilton points, get out and use them! Here’s how to redeem your Hilton points:
1. Use Hilton Points for Hotel Stays
Whether you prefer five-star accommodations or are happy with a family-friendly, small-town hotel, Hilton has 15 hotel brands to suit your travel style (with more coming soon):
- Embassy Suites
- Hampton Inn
- Hilton Garden Inn
- Hilton Grand Vacations
- Home2 Suites
- Homewood Suites
- Tapestry Collection
- Waldorf Astoria
Hilton no longer has an award chart, so to find the price of a Hilton hotel you’ll have to either search individually for location and dates, or use the Hilton Points Explorer, which shows you the most or least you could pay for an award night at a specific hotel. Prices may vary depending on season as well. I prefer just searching directly — it’s more efficient.
Standard room prices at Hilton properties start at 5,000 Hilton points per night, and top out at 95,000 Hilton points per night. However, it’s possible to spend much more if you want to (or have to) book a premium room award, so look for standard awards first.
To search for an award stay, navigate to Hilton.com and enter your search criteria (city, travel dates). You can also select “Advanced Search” to include details like number of guests and rooms. Click “Go” to see your results.
You don’t need to be signed into your Hilton account to search, but if you want to book, you’ll be prompted to log-in later.
You’ll be brought to a results screen which defaults to cash rates. Click “Points” in the upper right hand corner to see the award rates for your stay.
On the left sidebar, you’ll have the option to filter your results by distance, amenities, brand, and availability. If you find a hotel you like, click “Select” to proceed.
If you see an asterisk next to the points price, it means the rate changes during your stay (for multi-night stays).
You’ll be brought to a screen showing the various paid and points rates for the hotel. Click “Select” next to the standard room award. At this point you’ll be prompted to enter your Hilton Honors account number and password (if you haven’t logged in already).
Then, you’ll see a screen verifying your stay dates and personal details, plus have the opportunity to add additional guest names or special requests. If everything is in order, select “Continue”.
Before you complete your reservation, you’ll be given the choice to pay for your stay with Points and Money. Just move the slider to reflect the number of points (and amount of cash) you’re willing to pay. This is a good option if you prefer to stretch your Hilton points for longer stays by adding a cash co-pay.
On this screen, you’ll also be asked for your credit card number to guarantee the room (or pay for the cash co-pay, if applicable). Once you’re happy with the booking, select “Book Reservation” to confirm.
Here’s something really cool about booking award stays with Hilton. If you have any sort of elite Hilton status (Silver, Gold or Diamond), you’ll get the fifth night free on award stays of five or more consecutive nights.
What’s even better is that all of the Amex Hilton cards come with automatic elite status. So that’s another reason to get (and keep) a Hilton card if you like redeeming points for longer stays.
2. Use Hilton Points for Experiences
If you’re sitting on a chunk of Hilton points and don’t have travel plans, here’s a unique way to use them. You can redeem Hilton points for things like exclusive concert and sporting event tickets, culinary tours and more through Hilton Experiences.
Some of these are auctions that require you to bid, and others are a fixed price in points. Past auctions included tickets to see Ariana Grande, Pink, and the Indy 500 (not all at once obviously), and foodie/cultural events included a chef’s table experience at a Gordon Ramsay restaurant and truffle hunting in Tuscany.
You’re able to filter experiences by number of points you want to spend, type of experience, dates, location and the like. It’s really hard to say whether or not these are a good value because some experiences don’t have a cash equivalent, or they might be so popular that the bidding gets out of hand.
3. Use Hilton Points at Amazon
This is a relatively new redemption option that allows you to shop with Hilton points at Amazon. Similar to using flexible points like Chase Ultimate Rewards, Amex Membership Rewards or Citi ThankYou to pay for Amazon purchases, you’ll first have to link your Hilton account to your Amazon account.
But please don’t do this, because the value you’ll get is spectacularly bad. Your Hilton points are only worth 0.2 cents each when you redeem them this way — and on average, it’s possible to get at least 0.5 cents per Hilton point in value (or more) when you use them for hotel stays instead.
If you link your Hilton and Amazon accounts, be careful not to let Amazon set Hilton points as your default payment method (I just tried this and the default was yes, make Hilton points the default). You wouldn’t want to accidentally use them all to pay for a purchase — that’d be the worst redemption ever.
Hilton members who reside outside the US can also redeem their points for merchandise and gift cards through the Hilton Honors Shopping Mall. The value you’ll get for your points is also poor.
4. Transfer Hilton Points to Airlines
This is another redemption which, while nice to have as an option, is a generally crummy value. You can transfer Hilton points to dozens of airline partners, plus Amtrak, but the ratios are not good.
Transfer partners include:
- Alaska Airlines: 10,000 Hilton points for 1,000 Alaska Airlines miles
- American Airlines: 10,000 Hilton points for 1,500 American Airlines miles
- British Airways: 10,000 Hilton points for 1,000 British Airways Avios points
- Delta: 10,000 Hilton points for 1,000 Delta miles
- Singapore Airlines: 4,000 Hilton points for 500 Singapore Airlines miles
- United Airlines: 10,000 Hilton points for 1,000 United Airlines miles
Transferring Hilton points to airline miles rarely makes sense, unless you absolutely won’t use your Hilton points for stays or just need a few airline miles to top off your account for an award flight.
5. Use Hilton Points for Events
Another way to redeem your Hilton points is for event credits towards meetings or events at any of their hotels. Again, this is horrible value:
- 25,000 Hilton points = $50
- 50,000 Hilton points = $100
- 75,000 Hilton points = $150
- 125,000 Hilton points = $250
- 250,000 Hilton points = $500
Similar to Amazon, your points are worth 0.2 cents each when you redeem them for event credits. You can do much better using them for hotel stays.
6. Pool Hilton Points
You can transfer up to 500,000 Hilton points to up to 10 friends and family members each year, and it won’t cost you a thing. By pooling your Hilton points with others, you might be able to boost a pal’s points balance so they can afford a better or longer award stay.
7. Donate Hilton Points to Charity
It’s also possible to use Hilton points by donating them to charity. In conjunction with PointWorthy, you can donate as few as 4,000 Hilton points to hundreds of causes — from large organizations like the American Red Cross to local churches, social service groups or memorial funds.
Donating points will also reset your points expiration, so it’s a great way to keep your Hilton points from expiring and do some good.
Redeeming Hilton Honors points for hotel stays is very straightforward and can get you amazing stays at luxury properties for nothing — or help you visit family and friends in smaller cities without having to worry about accommodations. Typically, you’ll get the most value from your Hilton points redeeming them this way.
You can also combine points with cash for award nights, and if you have elite Hilton status of any kind (which you’ll get complimentary with any of the Amex Hilton cards, including the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card, Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express, and the Hilton Honors American Express Card, you’ll get the fifth night free on award stays of five or more consecutive nights.
You’ve got other options for redeeming Hilton points outside of hotel stays, but the value you’ll get is almost always lousy in comparison:
- Hilton Experiences – Use your points for concert tickets, exclusive events, and tours
- Shop With Points at Amazon – Redeem Hilton points at a rate of 0.2 cents apiece for Amazon purchases
- Transfer Hilton points to airlines – Dozens of airlines participate, but the transfer ratios are abysmal
- Redeem Hilton points for events – Another bad deal, with the same value per point as Amazon redemptions
- Pool Hilton points with others – You can move your Hilton points to a friend or family member’s account
- Donate Hilton points to charity – This is a nice way to keep your Hilton points balance from expiring by having account activity
Do you have a favorite memory or tip with redeeming Hilton points? Let us know in the comments!
Here’s more information about Hilton:
- Hilton Honors Review
- Hilton Points Value
- Hilton Status
- Best Use of Hilton Honors Points
- How to Earn Hilton Honors Points
- How to Setup a Hilton Account
- How to Use Hilton Honors Points
- Hilton Award Chart
- Do Hilton Points Expire?
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 Honors Aspire Card from American Express, click here.