4 Things to Know Before Joining Hilton Honors

You'll be able to start earning Hilton points to redeem for award nights as soon as you join this free program.
Josh Garber
By Josh Garber 

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Hilton is a global hotel chain with over 6,500 properties across its numerous brands. It not only includes the namesake Hilton Hotels & Resorts, but also Waldorf Astoria, Hampton by Hilton, DoubleTree by Hilton and Conrad. Hilton’s loyalty program is called Hilton Honors and it comes with a number of benefits, which vary depending on status level.

Here’s what you need to know before joining the Hilton Honors program as well as how many points you'll need for a free night.

What to know before joining Hilton Honors

1. You don’t have to pay to be a Hilton Honors member

If you’re considering Hilton’s loyalty program, we have some good news for you — you can become a Hilton Honors member for free. By registering with your basic details, you’ll have instant membership. Below is a chart showing the Hilton Honors member benefits, along with the benefits you’d receive as an elite member with Silver, Gold or Diamond status.

By joining Hilton Honors as a free member, you get perks like a guaranteed Hilton Honors discounted rate, digital check-in and the ability to earn points towards free nights. If you’re planning on staying at a Hilton hotel even just for one night, it’s a great idea to sign up for these benefits before your stay.

2. A free Hilton night may cost fewer points than you think

Once you’re a Hilton Honors member, you can start earning Hilton Honors points, which can be used for free nights. A great feature of Hilton’s loyalty program is that free nights can start at just 5,000 points per night.

We’ve compiled some recent examples below of properties you can book for 15,000 points or less per night:

  • DoubleTree by Hilton Boston Bayside for 15,000 points.

  • Hilton Kuala Lumpur for 14,000 points.

  • Conrad Bangkok for 12,000 points.

  • Hampton by Hilton Bucaramanga for 5,000 points.

Keep in mind, the exact number of points needed for a free night will depend on the hotel, room and dates.

3. There are easy ways to earn Hilton Honors points

As a Hilton Honors member, you earn 10 points for every $1 you spend on an eligible Hilton stay. That means, by spending $500 on your eligible stays, you’ll have enough points to start redeeming a free night at certain properties.

With your membership, you can also earn Hilton Honors points through:

4. You can earn Hilton Honors status without ever staying a night in a Hilton property

Hilton offers elite status to members after meeting a minimum number of nights or stays per year at Hilton properties.

  • Five+ nights or two stays per year — Silver status.

  • 20+ nights or 10 stays per year — Gold status.

  • 30+ nights or 15 stays per year — Diamond status.

But you can also earn automatic status by becoming a Hilton co-branded American Express cardholder. Below are the co-branded Hilton Honors cards along with each card’s complimentary status level:

Terms apply.

If you currently have Gold or higher elite status with another major hotel brand (such as Marriott, Hyatt or IHG), you can skip the credit card and minimum night requirements and request a status match from Hilton. If you qualify, you’ll obtain a 90-day trial of Hilton Honors Gold status.

If you're considering the Hilton Honors program

Hilton has a solid (and free) loyalty program that offers member benefits ranging from free Wi-Fi to free nights. Hilton also makes it easy for members to earn points outside of stays, including through co-branded credit cards or dining out. If you’re planning to stay at a Hilton property, consider signing up for the Hilton Honors loyalty program before your stay to enjoy the perks.

All information about the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has been collected independently by NerdWallet. The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is no longer available through NerdWallet.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2023, including those best for:

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