Redeeming Hilton Honors points for great value is challenging. It always seems like you need an incredibly large amount of points to book anything decent. But thanks to Standard Room Rewards, paying with points and money, and pooling points with family and friends, it is possible to book stays at amazing Hilton properties worldwide for great value.
Redeeming Hilton Honors Points for Hotel Stays
Hotel stays with Hilton Honors Points start at just 5,000 points for Standard Room Rewards. I’ve yet to see a rate that low, but I like to stay in Hawaii where 50,000 points is typical. Stays can go as high as 95,000 points for Standard Room Rewards. Hilton properties are divided into 10 categories and hotels within categories 4-10 fluctuate between Standard and Premium Room Rewards. Premium Room Rewards can be astronomically high and I recommend trying to avoid them.
Standard Room Rewards vs Premium Room Rewards
Hilton Honors essentially has no blackout dates for booking hotel stays with points. Instead, they just charge Premium Room Rewards instead of Standard Room Rewards when rooms are scarce. Hotel stays booked entirely with Standard Room Rewards get the added benefit of the 5th night free. Premium Room Rewards do not have this benefit. Premium Room Rewards are tricky. They can sometimes be a similar amount to Standard Room Rewards or they can be insanely high. Always double-check with type of reward when making a reservation.
I’m looking to redeem Hilton Honors Points at the Hilton Waikoloa Village on the Big Island of Hawaii during the off-season. A Standard Room Reward in the palace tower with resort view and one king bed is 50,000 Hilton Honors Points. The same room costs $251 with the Hilton Honors discount. This gives my Hilton Honors points a value of .5 cents. But if I book the room for five nights, I pay 200,000 Hilton Honors points with the 5th night free. That saves me $1255 and gives my points a value of .6 cents.
When I scroll down, I see a lagoon tower room with mountain view and one king bed for 59,000 Hilton Honors Points. But this is a Premium Room Rate so no 5th night free. The Hilton Honors discount rate for the room is $308 so the point value per night is similar at .5 cents, but it would cost me 295,000 Hilton Honors points to stay for five nights. Personally, I’ll take the higher value (and hope for an upgrade).
Points and Money Rewards
Hilton Honors also allows you to book hotel stays with a combination of points and money. You can choose any combination of points and money in 1,000 point increments starting at 5,000 points. Hilton Honors provides a points and money slider in their reservation system that allows you to play around with the points and money values. This is a great option if you’re a few points shy of covering your entire stay. There are a lot of reports that points and money rewards frequently result in a higher point value than Standard Room Rewards. I personally have not seen that result, but I’m still playing around with it for my upcoming trip to Hawaii. Keep in mind that if you book with points and money, you do not get the 5th night free benefit from booking Standard Room Rewards.
Pooling Hilton Honors Points
Finally, Hilton Honors allows you to combine points with up to 10 others to book hotel stays or other non-room rewards. Before you can pool points, you must be a Hilton Honors member for 30 days and have a minimum point balance of 1,000 points. You can transfer between 1,000 points and 500,000 points into a pool per calendar year. There is no fee to pool points. If you’ve got a big trip planned with multiple people, you can use pooled points to book a really great room or experience. To start pooling points, visit this website.
Redeeming Hilton Honors Points for On-Property Rewards
Hilton Honors Points can also be redeemed for on-property rewards like all-inclusive resorts, vacation packages, Hilton Hawaii Dollars, and golf rewards. On-property rewards vary by property. You have to contact the Hilton Reservations and Customer Care center to find out how many points are needed.These redemptions will vary in value. 25,000 Hilton Honors Points will get you $50 Hilton Hawaii Dollars. That’s a value of .2 cents per point. Hilton Honors points aren’t worth much, but they are worth more than that!
Redeeming Hilton Honors Points for Travel and Shopping Rewards
You can redeem Hilton Honors Points for travel with rail, airline, car rental, cruise, or mobile roaming partners, but the transfer ratios are very low. This is usually a terrible way to redeem your points. Plus, you have to pay a $25 fee to get your points expedited or you might be waiting 30 days for the transfer!
You can also redeem Hilton Honors Points by shopping with points at Amazon or the Hilton Honors Shopping Mall. Again, this is a terrible way to redeem your points. You’ll get around .2 cents per point which is significantly less than for hotel stays.
Redeeming Hilton Honors Points for Redemption Experiences
Finally, you can redeem Hilton Honors Points for redemption experiences similar to SPG moments. These include music, sports, and cultural experiences. The redemption value is low, but the experiences might be worth it to you.
Earning Hilton Honors Status
I’m not a huge fan of brand loyalty. I usually go with the cheapest hotel option in terms of either cash or points. But the Hilton Honors program has some great benefits that might be worthwhile if you have their credit cards or stay at Hilton properties frequently. Plus, you earn more bonus points depending on your status which means more stays.
The Hilton Honors program has four membership levels: Member, Gold, Silver, and Diamond. Anyone who signs up for the program gets Member status and receives the following benefits:
- Guaranteed discounts.
- Digital check-in.
- Complimentary in-room and lobby standard internet access at most Hilton properties.
- Quick reservations and checks-ins based on your room preferences.
- Lake check-out.
- Express check-out.
- Second guest stays free.
To obtain Silver status you need to earn 4 stays in a calendar year or 10 nights in a calendar year. You can also obtain Silver status automatically with the Hilton Honors Credit Card. Silver benefits include all the same benefits as Member plus the following:
- 15% bonus on all Hilton Honors Base Points earned.
- 5th night free when booking a reward stay of five nights or more using all points.
- Two complimentary bottles of water per stay at most Hilton properties.
To obtain Gold status you need to earn 20 stays in a calendar year, 40 nights in a calendar year, or 75,000 Hilton Honors Base Points in a calendar year. With the Hilton Honors Surpass Card, you earn Gold status automatically. Gold status includes in the same benefits as Member and Silver plus the following:
- 25% bonus on all Hilton Honors Base Points earned. (Instead of 15%.)
- My Way Gold Membership Hotel Benefits which can include room upgrades, bonus points, complimentary breakfast or snacks, or complimentary movies depending on the Hilton property and your preferences.
To obtain Diamond status you need to earn 30 stays in a calendar year, 60 nights in a calendar year, or 120,000 Hilton Honors Base Points in a calendar year. You can also obtain Diamond status by spending $40,000 per year on your Hilton Honors Surpass Card. Diamond status includes the same benefits as Member, Silver, and Gold plus the following benefits:
- Optional status extension for one year.
- 50% bonus on all Hilton Honors Base Points earned. (Instead of 15% or 25%).
- Guaranteed room if you make a reservation at least 48 hours prior to your arrival.
- Premium internet access instead of standard.
- My Way Diamond Membership Hotel Benefits which can include room upgrades, bonus points, complimentary breakfast or snacks, complimentary movies, complimentary spa, golf, or restaurant discounts, or lounge access depending on the Hilton property and your preferences.
You can read more about the benefits of Hilton Honors status here.
Final Thoughts on Redeeming Hilton Honors Points
Hilton Honors Points are tricky and it takes a lot of them to book stays at some of the incredible Hilton properties worldwide. These points and this program truly require long-term travel goals and planning like I discussed in 5 Things To Do Before You Can Travel (Nearly) Free With Points & Miles. But I think both Hilton Honors Credit Cards are a great way to circumvent the arduous task of earning points and status. The Citi Hilton Honors Reserve Card worked well for me in Maui, and I expect the Hilton Honors Surpass Card will do the same. Hilton properties are everywhere so chances are you can find an awesome resort wherever your travel takes you. And you might get some great perks with Hilton Honors status.