How to Redeem Points With the Hilton Honors Program

Feb 24, 2019

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Hilton Honors may not be the most rewarding hotel rewards program out there, but it still can provide some significant value. The chain has over 5,000 properties across six continents, and all of them — even the most luxurious Conrad and Waldorf Astoria properties — can be booked with points. But you’re not just restricted to hotel stays; there are other ways to use your Hilton Honors points that can provide value too, so it’s worth assessing all options before committing to a redemption option.

With that in mind, today I’ll go through how you can use your Hilton Honors points. I’ll start with using them for hotel stays and then move into a few alternatives, though most offer a relatively poor value proposition. Use this article as a guide for how to redeem all of your hard-earned Hilton points.

Redeeming Hilton Honors Points for Hotel Stays

Hilton Fort Lauderdale
A beach vacation this winter could be even more enjoyable if your Hilton hotel stay is free. (Photo courtesy of Hilton Fort Lauderdale)

Hilton Honors is a hotel loyalty program, so naturally, you can redeem your Hilton Honors points for hotels stays in the Hilton portfolio. Every property has a maximum number of points per night it requires, but then the award rates may be discounted below this cap when cash prices are lower. Unfortunately, the program no longer publishes an award chart, so you have no way to know what an individual property’s max rate is.

TPG values Hilton Honors points at 0.6 cents per point, but given the form of variable pricing the program uses, this valuation will vary from hotel to hotel. For example, I found an example night at the Conrad Chicago for $253 with the Hilton Honors discount rate; that same room was bookable for 57,000 points. This gives you a points valuation of just 0.44 cents per point.

On the other hand though, some hotels will actually give you more than 0.6 cents in value, mainly when you get to the properties maximum award price (generally increments of 10,000 points). For example, the Hampton by Hilton London Croydon costs £134 per night (~$175 with current exchange rates) using the Honors Discount rate on the example date below.

Alternatively, you can book the same Queen Room for just 20,000 points per night, giving you a valuation of 0.875 cents per point.

To book an award room, start at Hilton Honors’ website and click Sign In at the top right. Enter your credentials, then click sign in and you’ll be redirected to your account overview page. From here, enter your search criteria, and be sure to check the box for Use Points at the right:

From the results page, select the property you’d like to book and then follow the on-screen prompts to complete the reservation. Just be sure to pay close attention to the cancellation deadline of the individual hotel. The vast majority of award stays are free to cancel until a couple of days before arrival, but there are always exceptions out there with stricter policies.

However, you may not want to use all of your points on an individual award stay, so as you’re going through this booking process, keep your eyes out for the following …

Points & Money Redemptions

In addition to booking full award rooms, the Hilton Honors program also allows you to use a combination of points and money for an award a stay. Unlike many other programs that use a fixed number of points and cash for this award option, Hilton lets you customize the amount using a slider on the final page before confirming your reservation. You still select the full award price from the search results, but then you can drag the slider to whatever combination you want:

Note that there is a 5,000-point minimum for Points & Money redemptions, and this combination is final once you’ve booked. However, you will earn Hilton Honors points on the cash portion of these stays, so if you’re short on points or just don’t want to burn all of them on a stay, this can be a nice option

Premium Room Awards

One of the best things about Hilton Honors redemptions is that you’re not restricted to one room type. You can redeem points for premium rooms, suites or whatever else is available on the night you want to book. The booking process is exactly the same; once you’ve selected your desired hotel, you can choose between a Standard Room Reward and Premium Room Rewards, like this example at the Hilton Times Square:

As you can see, premium rooms will cost more points than standard rooms, and in some cases (like the above) it’s likely not worth it. However, if you’re looking for extra space for your family, it’s great to have the option to burn additional points for a suite or otherwise upgraded room rather than hoping your Hilton elite status can score you an upgrade at check-in.

Speaking of Hilton elites …

Fifth Night Free For Hilton Honors Elite Members

Anyone with Hilton Honors Silver status or higher will be treated to a free fifth night when redeeming four or more nights on an award redemption. If you don’t have Hilton Honors status already, consider applying for one of Hilton’s American Express cobranded cards for automatic status.

Redeem Your Hilton Honors Points for Event Credits

You can also use Hilton Honors points for a discount on your next Hilton event (but please don’t). This can be a wedding, corporate event or other type of meeting. When redeeming for these discounts, you can choose from different denominations of vouchers. Here’s how much they cost:

  • 25,000 Points = $50 USD
  • 50,000 Points = $100 USD
  • 75,000 Points = $150 USD
  • 125,000 Points = $250 USD
  • 250,000 Points = $500 USD

Unfortunately, these vouchers don’t provide the best value for your Hilton Honors points. These give you a straight valuation of 0.2 cents per point, putting you under our benchmark of 0.6 cents per point.

Redeem Hilton Honors Points for Experiences

Alternatively, you can redeem your Hilton Honors points for different types of travel experiences through Hilton Experiences. These redemption options include tickets to sporting events, dinner at top restaurants, concert tickets and more. Some of these can be purchased immediately with points, while others require you to bid against other Hilton Honors members.

There are some pretty neat experiences available as of writing this piece. Some include indoor skydiving, tickets to Formula One races and skiing adventures in the Swiss Alps. While you’re generally best off redeeming hotel points for hotel stays, snagging a unique experience using your points can make for a fantastic redemption.

Take a look through the Hilton Honors Experiences page to see if anything strikes your fancy.

Transfer Hilton Honors Points to Airlines

An Alaska Airlines A321neo at SFO. Photo by Alberto Riva/TPG
You may want to transfer your Hilton points to a program like Alaska to top up your account for an award ticket, but it shouldn’t be your primary redemption option. Photo by Alberto Riva/TPG

Hilton Honors has 30 airline and rail loyalty partners to which you can transfer your Hilton Honors points. However, just note that Hilton Honors has less-than-ideal transfer ratios. For example, you can exchange 10,000 Hilton Honors points for a mere 1,500 American Airlines AAdvantage points. Transfer ratios vary airline-to-airline, so check Hilton’s transfer site for your airline of choice.

With that in mind, we only recommend transferring Hilton Honors points to airlines if you need to top-up miles on a hard-to-earn loyalty program like American Airlines AAdvantage or Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan. Otherwise, you can almost always get more value using your points for stays or experiences.

Use Your Hilton Honors Points for Amazon Purchases

PETERBOROUGH, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 15: A close-up of a packaged Amazon Prime item in the Amazon Fulfilment centre on November 15, 2017 in Peterborough, England. A report in the US has suggested that over half of all online purchases this Christmas will be made with Amazon. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
Hilton Honors points can be used for Amazon purchases, albeit at a very poor value. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Finally, you can use your Hilton Honors points to cover Amazon purchases. To do this, just link your Hilton Honors account to your Amazon account and select Hilton Honors points as your payment method at checkout. Amazon will tell you how many points it takes to cover your order, and you can use your points to cover the whole or part of a purchase.

But should you use Hilton Honors points for Amazon purchases? In our research, we found that Hilton Honors points are worth 0.2 cents per point when redeemed towards Amazon purchases. This means you’re effectively cutting the currency’s valuation by two-thirds. I’m all for having additional options for using your points and miles, but in general, you should never use Hilton points (nor any other currency) at Amazon.

Bottom Line

As you can see, there are a lot of interesting ways to redeem your Hilton Honors points. However, we recommend sticking with hotel stays — this generally provides the most value, getting you closer to (or even higher than) TPG’s valuation of 0.6 cents per point. The other option I’d recommend considering is Hilton Honors Experiences, especially if you’re looking for a unique event that may not be otherwise available to you.

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

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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