Hilton Hotels is one of the world’s oldest hotel brands and, with 7,000 properties worldwide, it’s also one of the largest.
Since the Hilton Hotel network includes properties in many locations around the globe, joining the Hilton Honors program and earning Hilton Honors points might be an item worth putting on your itinerary.
What is Hilton Honors?
Hilton Honors is the loyalty program of Hilton Worldwide, a multinational hotel company that offers a broad portfolio of hotels and resorts, ranging from mid-level brands such as Hampton Inn to the luxurious Conrad and Waldorf Astoria hotels.
Hilton Honors gives you several ways to earn points that you can redeem for free nights at Hilton Hotels, including earning points through travel credit card spending.
Thanks to Hilton’s massive hotel network, your travel options with the Hilton Honors program are immense. But the program’s points are inflated and won’t take you as far as many of its competitors.
There are other upsides to the Hilton Honors program, however, including its elite benefits. Read on to see if the Hilton Honors can take you where you want to go.
Hilton Honors program overview
Type of currencyHotel pointsAverage point value (according to Bankrate.com)0.6 centsCredit cardsHilton Honors American Express Card, Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card*, Hilton Honors American Express Business CardRedemption optionsHotel nights, Points & Money, car rentals, cruise certificates, on-property rewards, Amazon merchandise, donationsMinimum required to redeem5,000 points for a rewards nightDo rewards expire?Yes, if your account is inactive for more than 24 months.Blackout dates/travel restrictionsNone. If a standard room is available, you can book it.Hotel brandsCanopy, Conrad, Curio, DoubleTree, Embassy Suites, Hampton, Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Hilton Grand Vacations, Homewood Suites, Home2 Suites, LXR, Motto, Signia, Tapestry Collection, Tempo, Tru Waldorf AstoriaHotel coverage7,000 properties in 122 countries and territories.Transfer optionsTransfer points to other Hilton members in 10,000-point increments, for a feeTransfer to more than 35 airline partnersBest forTravelers who prefer staying with chain hotels and want a large hotel networkMid-level travelers who want good hotel perksTravelers who prefer flexibility in redeeming their hotel pointsHilton loyalists
How to earn Hilton Honors points
Have you ever browsed through Hilton’s listings of hotels in faraway lands, only to discover that the luxury hotel room of your dreams costs more than $500 a night? Don’t despair. Those fancy suites aren’t just for royalty. Award stays are the way to go.
It may feel daunting or straight-up impossible to earn enough points to stay at an overwater villa in the Maldives, for example, which averages more than $1,000 a night, or to visit the $500-per-night Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah, located in the United Arab Emirates about an hour north of Dubai. The Hilton Honors loyalty program, however, offers a large number of options for rapidly amassing enough points to cover a night or two at a luxury resort.
Here is a look at the top ways to quickly earn Hilton Honors points. Depending on your lifestyle, there’s sure to be an option that suits your spending habits.
Earn an introductory bonus
Hilton credit cards all include introductory bonuses designed to encourage new cardholders to charge a certain number of dollars within a designated number of months. Depending on the redemption you choose, these points can be enough to cover a week-long vacation, making introductory bonuses one of the fastest ways to earn your next luxury stay.
Earn bonus points on credit card spending
Each dollar you charge on a Hilton Honors credit card will earn you points toward a future stay. These cards offer additional points for purchases in bonus categories, such as Hilton hotel bookings, meals at restaurants and more. Depending on your spending habits, you can earn free hotel stays quickly by charging your monthly expenses to your Hilton credit card.
CardPoints for Hilton purchasesPoints for other U.S. categories or travel purchasesPoints for other eligible purchasesHilton Honors7X5X3XHilton Honors Surpass12X6X3XHilton Honors Aspire14X7X3XHilton Honors Business12X6X (select business and travel purchases)3X
Earn points on Hilton Hotel stays
As a Hilton Honors loyalty program member, you earn 10 points for every dollar you spend on most hotel stays in the Hilton hotel portfolio. You’ll also earn points on incidental spending, such as parking, spa services or beverages from the minibar, at all Hilton brands. These points are awarded in addition to the points you earn with a Hilton Honors branded credit card. It adds up quickly.
If you qualify for an elite member tier, you could bump up your earn rate for stays even more. Silver members earn 12X points, Gold members get 18X points and Diamond members receive 20X points.
Earn dining rewards
One of the fastest ways to multiply your hotel points is by participating in the Hilton Honors Dining program. The program is free, and you don’t even have to be a Hilton rewards credit card holder to participate. Once you link a debit card or credit card to a Hilton Honors Dining account, you will earn bonus points whenever you make a purchase using that card at a participating bar, club or restaurant.
Depending on your status in the dining program, you can earn up to 8 points per dollar you spend. These points are earned in addition to any other rewards you may be collecting from your Hilton Honors credit card and can quickly boost your progress toward an epic hotel stay.
Rent a car with one of Hilton’s car rental partners
Hilton also has a number of partnerships with car rental companies, so you can earn points even outside the hotel during your next vacation. Book a car rental from the following rental companies and present your Hilton Honors member number at the time of reservation to earn Hilton Honors points:
PartnerEarning rateAlamoEarn up to 500 Hilton Honors points a day and up to 5,000 total points, on every qualifying rentalEnterpriseEarn up to 500 Hilton Honors points a day and up to 5,000 total points, on every qualifying rentalNationalEarn up to 500 Hilton Honors points a day and up to 5,000 total points, on every qualifying rental
Ride with Lyft
Thanks to a partnership between Hilton Honors and Lyft, members can earn 3X points spent on qualifying Lyft rides. (Note: Shared rides only earn 2X points.) To take advantage of this perk, you’ll need to link your Lyft and Hilton Honors accounts by visiting this link.
Points are automatically added to your Hilton Honors balance after every ride you take, making it easy to rack up rewards with the rideshare service.
Buy Hilton Honors points
You can also buy Hilton Honors points, but this option should generally be considered a last resort because the cost is quite high.
We value Hilton points at 0.6 cent apiece, but Hilton sells them for 1 cent each. There’s not much value in purchasing points outright unless there’s a redemption you want that requires just a few more points. In this case, if you can’t transfer points from other partners, buying points is an option. You can purchase up to 80,000 points in a year. Remember to use your Hilton Honors co-branded credit card for additional earnings on the points purchase.
How to redeem Hilton Honors points
Once you’ve earned all the points you can handle, it’s time for the fun part. The Hilton loyalty program gives you a variety of options for redeeming Hilton Honors points, but by far your best option is redeeming points for Hilton hotel nights.
If you don’t redeem your points for standard room nights or Points & Money Rewards, you’re probably not getting a good value. If you want to stretch your points, you’re best off searching in the lower redemption tiers and using your fifth-night-free award to tack on extra nights to your rewards stays.
Besides that, finding good values for your points mostly comes down to flexibility and patience. And since the points required for a specific location fluctuate over time, it’s good to check in advance and have a variety of options, including times and locations, for using your points.
Below, we detail the best ways to spend Hilton Honors points.
Hilton Honors redemption options
Here is a table summarizing all the redemption options the chain offers Hilton Honors members.
Redemption optionPoint value (cents)Average standard room reward0.5Average premium room reward0.3Points & Money0.5Car rentals0.2Cruise certificate0.2On-property rewards0.2Redemption experiencesVariesAmazon merchandise0.2Donations (PointWorthy.com)0.25
Using Hilton Honors points for standard room nights
If you want to get the most out of your Hilton points, your best choice is to redeem them for standard room nights. As you can see from our redemption chart above, the value of a standard room night hovers around 0.5 cent per point. However, since Hilton doesn’t use a fixed redemption chart, but rather dynamic pricing, the value of your points varies depending on the level of the hotel that you book, time of year, location and how far in advance you book.
You can use Hilton’s Points Explorer tool to get an estimate of how much your reward night will cost in points and compare it to the cash price to estimate point value.
Hilton Points & Money Rewards
Hilton allows you to use points and cash to book standard rooms at some properties. It’s great for when you don’t have enough points to cover the entire stay, but the availability of the rooms depends on the hotel and time of stay.
This method gives you some great values for your points — around 0.5 cent on average and possibly higher. Not only can you shave money off the cost of the room, but you can reduce taxes and resort fees when you use this option.
Hilton’s fifth-night-free benefit
Hilton’s fifth-night-free award is a great way to stretch your points even farther. Hilton offers a free fifth night on any rewards stay of five nights or longer. If you book your rewards in five-night increments, every fifth night will be given to you free of charge.
This benefit is available to all Silver elite members, which you can qualify for by opening a Hilton credit card or accumulating at least three stays or seven nights in a year. It’s also open to Hilton Honors base members at select hotel properties.
Transferring Hilton Honors points to a travel partner
Hilton has a list of more than 35 travel partners that you can transfer points to. As you can see from our sample list below, transferring Hilton points is a terrible value — points transfer to most of its partners in 1,000-point increments at a 10:1 ratio. Because of this, it’s best to avoid this option.
Transfer partnerTransfer ratioAeroplan10:1Alaska Airlines10:1American Airlines10:1.5British Airways10:1Delta Air Lines10:1Frontier Airlines10:1.5Hawaiian Airlines10:1.5United Airlines10:1Virgin Atlantic Airways10:1.5
Other redemption options
You can also redeem your points for a range of other options, though you might not receive as much value for many of them.
You can use your points to bid for experiences, such as VIP tickets to concerts and sporting events or exclusive tastings. You can also redeem your points for car rentals with Alamo, Enterprise or National; cruise certificates through CruisesOnly.com; on-property hotel amenities such as golf tee times, packages and hotel currency; or to buy items on Amazon.
Be careful with these other options, though. The value for them tends to be low. For instance, your Hilton Honors points will only be worth an average of 0.2 cent each if you use them to buy items on Amazon, pay for a car rental or book a trip through CruisesOnly.com.
You can also donate your Honors points to charities through PointWorthy.com. Again, though, points aren’t worth much here, coming out to an average of 0.25 cents each. You might do more good by holding onto your points and making a cash donation to the charity of your choice instead.
Top Hilton Honors cards to consider
No annual feePremium benefitsBusiness travel
Hilton Honors American Express Card
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card
Hilton Honors American Express Business Card
7X points on Hilton hotel stays5X points on eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations3X points on general purchasesTerms apply12X points on Hilton hotel stays6X points on U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations3X points on general purchasesTerms apply12X points on Hilton hotel stays6X points on select business and travel purchases3X points on other eligible purchasesTerms apply
*Information about the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has been collected independently by CreditCards.com. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.
The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.