Hilton Honors: The Complete Guide

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If you’re looking for a hotel loyalty program that offers flexible rewards, . As one of 82 million members worldwide, you’ll be able to redeem your points for free stays at more than 5,500 properties in over 100 countries and earn points with every dollar spent at Hilton portfolio hotels, with partners, or with a Hilton Honors American Express card.

Based on our latest analysis, we value Hilton Honors points at  each. But the good news is that you earn multiple points per dollar spent at participating hotels, based on your elite status and which credit card you use. With the right planning, it can be easy to earn a free night or other rewards of your choosing.

Is Hilton Honors the right program for you?

We crunched the numbers to help you decide how much energy to focus on this loyalty program.

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Based on our most recent analysis, NerdWallet values Hilton Honors points at  apiece. To determine the value of reward points, we compared cash prices and reward redemptions for hotel stays across several destinations and dates. We divided the cost in cash by the cost in points to determine a “cent per point” value for each hotel night, then averaged this value across several searches. .

This is therefore a baseline value for Hilton Honors points, based on real-world data collected from hundreds of hotel stays, not a maximized value. In other words, you should aim for award bookings that offer  or more in value from your Hilton Honors points.

To determine the value of your points for specific bookings, divide the cash value (minus any fees associated with the reward booking) by the number of points required. So if a hotel room would cost either $100, or 15,000 points + $10 in resort fees, the math would be as follows:

($100 – $10) / 15,000 = 0.006, or 0.6 cent per point.

Hilton Hotels is one of the largest hotel chains in the world, with over 800,000 hotel rooms worldwide across 15 brands. Some of the most common hotel brands in the Hilton portfolio include:

Other brands in the Hilton Portfolio include Conrad, Canopy by Hilton, Curio Collection by Hilton, Hilton Grand Vacations, Home2 Suites, Tapestry Collection by Hilton and Tru by Hilton.

As a Hilton Honors member, all of your stays at participating Hilton hotels will count toward earning elite membership status, giving you access to more perks. Plus, you can easily qualify for ongoing automatic elite status by signing up for a co-branded credit card.

Hilton Honors consists of four membership levels, ranging from Blue to Diamond. The higher your status, the more benefits you'll get when staying at Hilton properties. You can earn status through staying at hotels, earning Hilton Honors points, or by holding certain Hilton Honors American Express cards. You can become an Honors member by creating a free profile on .

Note that if you’ve stayed at a Hilton hotel in the past six months but didn't get status credit, you can request it by reporting it as a “missing stay” on your Hilton profile. Just complete the information about your check-in and check-out dates, along with the name and location of the hotel.

In 2017, Hilton introduced a lifetime status benefit for its most loyal guests. To qualify for Lifetime Diamond status, Hilton Honors members must have Diamond status for at least 10 years. The 10 years of Diamond status do not have to be consecutive. In addition, members must meet one of two milestone requirements:

If you had a previous membership and it was canceled due to inactivity, those nights may not apply toward lifetime status.

You can earn two types of points through Hilton Honors: base points and bonus points. You'll earn 10 base points per $1 spent at most Hilton portfolio hotels, regardless of the Honors status you have.

At Home2 Suites by Hilton and Tru by Hilton hotels, you'll only earn 5 base points per $1. And you won't earn any base points at Hampton by Hilton hotels in China because those hotels are excluded from the Hilton Honors loyalty program.

The only difference between base points and bonus points is in qualifying for elite status and lifetime status: You can qualify for Gold and Diamond status with base points, but not with bonus points. All points can be redeemed for free stays. The number of bonus points you earn is determined by your elite status, any bonus promotions you used when you booked, and whether you used a Hilton credit card. Elite status can gift you between 20% and 100% more bonus points, while using a Hilton credit card at a participating portfolio hotel may earn you an additional 7 and 14 bonus points per $1.

If you paid $200 for a one-night stay at a participating Hilton Hotel and didn’t use a Hilton Honors credit card, you could earn:

Honors points expire after 12 months of account inactivity. To keep your account active, you must be earning or redeeming points or staying at Hilton portfolio hotels.

And, unless you have a credit card that grants you automatic elite status, you have to requalify each calendar year by staying at Hilton portfolio hotels.

The easiest way to earn more Honors bonus points is by getting a co-branded card. American Express offers four Hilton Honors credit cards: three consumer cards and one business card, each with various benefits and bonus earnings.

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If you have a credit card that earns American Express Membership Rewards or Diners Club International Club Rewards, you can turn those points into Hilton Honors points. Prior to transferring, you must link your accounts.

As a general rule, there are better transfer options for both of these programs, but if you just need a few points to top up to a high-value award redemption, it may make sense.

Aside from getting a co-branded card and staying at Hilton portfolio hotels, you can also get more bonus points through promotional offers, with partner offers, and through Hilton Honors dining. If you are just short of a reward night, you can also purchase Hilton Honors points.

Although Hilton Honors is a hotel loyalty program, the points can be redeemed in many different ways. From free hotel nights to shopping at Amazon, Hilton Honors makes it easy to use your points — but they don’t always provide the same value.

Hilton no longer categorizes their hotels on a fixed scale, but instead uses a dynamic award calendar. The number of points you'll need for a free room night is based on the hotel, the room you want, when you book and the dates of your stay.

Family-friendly properties like Hampton by Hilton and Embassy Suites may cost less, while luxury properties like Waldorf Astoria and Conrad often cost more.

To search for an award night, visit and sign in with your member number and password. From there, you can search for all available rooms at a destination with their cost in points.

Another way for guests to use their Hilton Honors points is through the brand’s Points & Money awards. Through its new flexible awards system, members can choose how many points to use per night at over 4,900 hotels with no blackout dates, starting at 5,000 points and increasing in 1,000-point increments.

Because Hilton Honors no longer has award categories for its hotels, prices may change over time. This means prices for Points & Money awards can increase or decrease prior to booking. If you find a lower price before your trip, you can always cancel and rebook your trip to get the better price as long as your reservation is refundable.

Hilton Honors members who have an abundance of points from staying or spending can trade them in for unique experiences. Hilton Honors Experiences is an auction site that offers regular guests opportunities to get VIP tickets to some of the most in-demand shows, concerts and sporting events. Some of the featured experiences include tickets to the Rose Bowl, a weekend package at the Grammys and a family getaway to Antwerp, Belgium.

Depending on the experience, your value per point will vary based on the ticket price and availability. Unique memorabilia and VIP events could yield a greater value per point than tickets to concerts and sporting events.

Instead of providing members with a merchandise mall, Hilton partnered with Amazon to allow members to use points at one of the world’s biggest retailers. To use Hilton Honors points on Amazon, members must first link their accounts on Amazon.com.

The benefit is available to Hilton Honors members around the world, but it comes with some limitations. Members can’t use their points to purchase some digital goods, Kindle downloads, Subscribe and Save items or AmazonFresh items. Other items may not be available with points and are subject to change. Any returned items purchased with Hilton Honors points will be credited in points and can take up to 72 hours to appear in your Honors account.

Like other hotel programs, Hilton Honors points can be transferred to airline partners. Members can transfer their points to over 40 frequent flyer program partners, including:

Transfer rates vary from airline to airline. While 10,000 Hilton Honors points can be transferred to 1,000 Delta SkyMiles or United MileagePlus miles, the same 10,000 Honors points are exchangeable for 1,500 American AAdvantage miles. Hilton points will typically be more valuable when redeemed for Hilton hotels than when transferred to its airline partners.

All information about the has been collected independently by NerdWallet. The is no longer available through NerdWallet.

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