When to use Points & Money with Hilton Honors

Dec 28, 2019

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Contrary to most airline loyalty programmes today, hotel rewards are mostly fixed. That means a pre-set number of points will get you a certain redemption, with hotels divided into categories of tiers.

With the Hilton Honors programme, this recently changed, allowing rewards to be dynamically priced. When this happened, the Points & Money option also changed. The new system allows more flexibility: all rewards are now bookable with a customisable combination of cash and points using an online tool with a slider. Unfortunately, it limits the ease of extracting great value. Let’s take a look at when it makes sense to use this option.

Hilton Honors points

TPG U.K. pegs Hilton Honors points at 0.4p per point. The true value will differ for each reward, as the amount of points needed is only loosely based on the cash price. There is no published reward chart anymore, but a good starting point to find deals is the Points Explorer tool Hilton offers. This tool gives you the reward amount ceiling, as well as the lowest amount of points successfully booked by members recently. This gives a general idea of the points value of a hotel.

The most rewarding times to use points over cash is in peak moments, when the cash price surges far beyond the normal level. At that moment, the regular points ceiling is still there, meaning you can possibly snag an otherwise-expensive room for fewer points.

Points & Money

The Points & Money option allows you to use a mix of cash and points. The value of cash versus points is based on the amount of points needed for a reward versus the cash price. For example, a room at the Conrad Bali costing £152 per night or 42,000 points, can also be had for 21,000 points and around £76 per night.

Let’s look at a few cases where Points & Money could be an option — some good and some not so good.

1. You travel infrequently

When you don’t travel that much, you collect fewer points (not counting those earned or transferred from credit cards). Points & Money allows you to redeem those points — however few — instead of having them collect dust. In this case, Points & Money is great.

2. You are using the fifth night free benefit

When you book a reward for five nights, you only have to pay for four. If we look at a room that is £200 or 50,000 points per night, a five-night stay will cost you either £1,000 or 200,000 points, making the latter the superior option if your points balance can handle it. With Hilton’s fifth night free perk, however, Points & Money will only discount the points portion. That means redeeming only 100,000 points will result in a relatively high £600 cash portion. For five-night stays, avoid Points & Money if possible.

3. The points amount is relatively low

When a full points reward makes sense, so does Points & Money. Whenever the cash amount divided by the amount of points superseeds our 0.4p valuation, we would consider the reward a good deal. In that case, no matter if you use all points or Points & Money, go for it! For example, the Conrad Maldives. With prices of £800 per night versus the maximum level of 95,000 points, this is a great deal.

(Photo courtesy Hilton Conrad Maldives)
(Photo courtesy Hilton Conrad Maldives)

Earning points

It’s good to know that you will earn Honors points on the cash portion of your stay. Any amount on your folio will yield the amount of points you usually get, based on your level of elite status.

In case you’re low on Honors points, remember you can top up your account by transferring from American Express U.K. Membership Rewards at a 1:2 ratio, meaning you will get two Hilton Honors points for every Membership Rewards point. Furthermore, The Platinum Card® from American Express gives you Honors Gold status as a benefit, granting you free breakfast, upgrades and more points per pound spent.

Featured image courtesy of Grand Wailea Resort Hotel & Spa, A Waldorf Astoria Resort.

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