The Guide to Booking Award Nights With Hilton Honors

Although the Hilton Honors points redemption chart is no longer in use, you can still easily use points for free stays.

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Once upon a time there was a Hilton award chart. That made it quite clear how many Hilton Honors points you needed to book an award night, allowing you to save your cash for you and to cover your hotel room with points. There's now no longer a published Hilton Honors points redemption chart, but you can still book award nights using Hilton Honors points. Now, points generally correspond a bit more closely with the cash price to book a room — but that's not always the case.

Luckily, Hilton doesn't leave you totally in the dark in terms of how much it costs to book a room on points. Instead, Hilton has what it calls the Points Explorer tool, giving you a better gauge of how many points you'll need to book a specific Hilton reward. You can even filter results by the number of points you actually have.

How many Hilton points for a free night?

The minimum amount of Hilton points that you’ll need to book a standard room is 5,000 points, and the cost can reach upward of 120,000 points for high-end properties. For a step-by-step guide on how to use points to book an award stay, check out this resource: The Complete Guide to Using Hilton Honors Points.

Since Hilton doesn’t offer an award chart, the number of points needed for any given stay will vary based on hotel, room, booking and stay date. Although this can make pricing your award night more uncertain, Hilton does put both a minimum and a cap on the number of points needed for stays at each property. Use the Points Explorer tool to check the maximum price.

For example, a night at the Conrad Tokyo requires a minimum of 65,000 points and a maximum of 95,000 points.

Importantly, the cap on the maximum number of points needed per night for Hilton award redemptions applies only to a standard room rate; premium rooms can cost quite a deal more. Here’s an example standard room redemption at the Conrad Tokyo:

using hilton points conrad tokyo

Use points and money

Hilton also allows you to pay with a mixture of points and cash for hotel stays. Although this can be a helpful feature if you don’t have enough Hilton points to book a full stay, if you’re looking to maximize the value of your points, this isn't usually the best option.

You’ll still need to pay resort fees for bookings made with Points & Money (notably, resort fees are waived for award bookings paid entirely with points). Additionally, by using the strategies in this article, you’ll often be able to get a better redemption rate for your points than is offered through Points & Money.

Best strategies for booking Hilton award nights

Here are some strategies that can help you maximize the value of your Hilton Honors points:

1. Use the Hilton 5th night free benefit

One of the best ways to get the most value out of your Hilton points is using Hilton’s fifth night free benefit. Whenever you book a standard room reward for five or more nights with Hilton, the fifth night is free.

This benefit is available to any Hilton elite (Silver level and above) — and don’t worry, elite status is really easy to get with Hilton (more on that below).

By taking advantage of the fifth night free perk, you are spending 20% less points on an award stay. For example, if an award night costs 30,000 points, a four-night stay and a five-night stay will both cost 120,000 points. By taking advantage of the fifth night free, you’re effectively paying 24,000 points per night instead of 30,000.

For example, take a look at this five-night hotel stay at the Hilton Garden Inn Brussels City Centre in June 2023.

using hilton points brussels

Although each night is priced at 30,000 points, when you book five nights, the last night is free — so the entire stay will cost only 120,000 points. Those points used for the stay are worth around $720 given NerdWallet's valuation of 0.6 cent per point.

Now, if you look at the hotel price in cash, you will see that you’re being charged for the fifth night. That's because the fifth night free perk is not available on stays paid in cash.

using hilton points brussels

This five-night stay will set you back about $800 based on the current exchange rate. By using points, you’re getting a value in excess of 0.75 cent per point, which is above what the points are worth based on our valuation.

By using points on a five night stay, you’re not only spending fewer points but also saving more cash. As long as you book a five-night stay, this perk will let you meaningfully increase the value of your points.

As mentioned before, to take advantage of this benefit, you’ll need to at least have Silver status. Luckily, Hilton makes it pretty simple to reach Silver ...

2. Get Hilton Silver status

Hilton has three elite status levels: Silver, Gold and Diamond. Once you sign up for a loyalty account and get a Hilton Honors account number, you reach the Member level. As a Member, you still get some perks like no resort fees on award stays and free Wi-Fi.

hilton status

To get the fifth night free award, you’ll need to reach Silver elite status, which can be achieved by staying 10 nights at Hilton properties. However, a much faster way to attain Silver status is to get approved for a Hilton credit card (even one without a fee).

For example, the Hilton Honors American Express Card does not charge an annual fee. In addition to automatic Silver status, the card offers the following perks:

  • 7 points per $1 spent on eligible purchases at Hilton hotels or resorts.

  • 5 points per $1 spent on eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations.

  • 3 points per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases.

  • No foreign transaction fees. Terms apply.

Unlike many other cards without annual fees, this card does not charge foreign transaction fees. If you’re a Hilton loyalist and you’re looking to add a hotel card to your portfolio, this is a solid option. Not only can you use it when traveling internationally, but you can also earn 7x Hilton points when you swipe the card at Hilton properties. Most importantly though, you get Silver status, which gets you the fifth night free on award bookings.

3. Use a Hilton free night certificate

While the fifth night award is great, the free weekend night certificate is also a great perk and provides you with a lot more flexibility for shorter stays. These certificates can only be earned by those who have Hilton co-branded credit cards that charge an annual fee. Before we get into the eligible credit cards, here are a few important facts about these weekend certificates:

  • Certificates issued through June 30, 2020, expired July 1, 2022.

  • Certificates issued between July 1 and Dec. 31, 2020, expire 24 months from their date of issuance.

  • Certificates issued between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2021, will expire Dec. 31, 2022.

  • Certificates issued between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2022, will expire 12 months from the date of issuance.

  • Certificates can be used on any night of the week (not just weekends).

  • Valid only on standard room bookings.

The certificate can be used at almost any Hilton property as long as there is a standard room available. Hilton hotels are priced from as low as 5,000 points per night to upwards of 120,000 for a standard room — generally, you’d be extracting the most value from a certificate by using it at a higher-end property.

To learn all about the different ways to maximize the certificate, how to earn, and the best ways to redeem it, check out our guide: How to Earn and Redeem Hilton Free Night Certificates

4. Focus on Hilton luxury hotels

Luxury properties generally offer the best opportunity to maximize the value of your Hilton points. One way to find a luxury stay is to use Hilton’s Points Explorer tool, which allows you to select the nightly price and filter by location and/or other criteria.

Although on the Points Explorer tool, the maximum number of points you could choose from the slider is 95,000, there are properties that require more points, even for a standard night. Nonetheless, we can input this search into the Points Explorer tool to see what comes up.

hilton points explorer tool

You’ll then see a map, which will allow you to zoom in by location and also let you filter by specific hotel brands. You may be prompted to enter a location.

hilton points explorer tool

Let’s say for example, you’ve decided to check out the Conrad Los Angeles, which starts at 90,000 points per night. A scan of the calendar over the year shows plenty of availability at 90,000 points per night, even during the holidays in December.

hilton points explorer tool

However, if you were to book this stay with cash, you’d pay $4,514.32, which also includes a daily resort fee of $30 ($150 for all five nights), which is waived on award stays.

hilton points explorer tool

By booking with points you’d extract a value of 1.2 cent per point ($4,514 / 360,000 points), which is double our 0.6 cent per point valuation.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Whenever possible, book your award stays entirely with points to avoid the much-dreaded resort fees.

Where you can use your Hilton Honors points

Hilton is one of the largest hotel companies with 18 brands, more than 6,800 hotels in 122 countries. Its Hilton Honors loyalty program can be richly rewarding for members and includes the following brands:

  • Canopy by Hilton.

  • Conrad Hotels & Resorts.

  • Curio Collection by Hilton.

  • Doubletree by Hilton.

  • Embassy Suites by Hilton.

  • Hampton by Hilton.

  • Hilton Garden Inn.

  • Hilton Grand Vacations.

  • Hilton Hotels & Resorts.

  • Home2 Suites by Hilton.

  • Homewood Suites by Hilton.

  • Tapestry Collection by Hilton.

  • Tru by Hilton.

  • Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts.

Top-tier Hilton hotels where you can use your points

If you’re looking for some suggestions on where you can put your points or free night certificates, check out our guides:

How else can you use Hilton Honors points?

As a Hilton Honors member you can redeem points toward travel in other ways.

NerdWallet values Hilton points at 0.6 cent each. This is a baseline value, drawn from real-world data, not a maximized value. In other words, you should aim for award redemptions that offer 0.6 cent or more in value from your Hilton points.

  • Airline and Amtrak points. For example, 10,000 Hilton Honors points can be redeemed for 1,500 Amtrak Guest Rewards points, while the same number of points equals 1,000 Delta or United miles.

  • Hilton Experiences. Hilton also lets you redeem points for experiences and events. Some of these "once-in-a-lifetime experiences" can be booked outright, while others require bidding. For example, bidding for tickets to a Jim Gaffigan comedy show in New York topped out at 90,000 points — or you could get The Ultimate Mezcal Tasting Experience in Cancun for just 25,000 points.

  • Non-travel awards. You can also use points to shop for non-travel awards. Some options including shopping and purchasing items through Hilton’s partnership with Amazon.com — link your Hilton account to Amazon and you can use your points through the Shop with Points program. On Amazon, 500 points equals $1. You can also pool your points with other Hilton Honors members free of charge and redeem for free night awards. If you're feeling charitable, members can donate points through Point Worthy to a number of nonprofit organizations, such as the Red Cross. Redeem at least 10,000 points for a $25 donation.

Other Hilton points tips

How many Hilton Honors points will I earn on hotel stays?

Hilton Honors members earn 10 points for every $1 spent at most Hilton properties. Home2 Suites and Tru hotels earn 5 points per $1.

Hilton Honors elite members earn additional bonuses on top of the 10 points per $1:

  • Silver: 20% bonus points.

  • Gold: 80% bonus points.

  • Diamond: 100% bonus points.

Additionally, meeting planners can earn 1 point for every $1 spent when booking guest rooms, meeting rooms and other event space.

Earn more points with the Hilton credit cards

Hilton offers four credit card options that come with welcome bonuses and elite status, among other benefits.

Hilton Honors American Express Card

The The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card has a $0 annual fee and the following welcome bonus: Earn 100,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

The card comes with complimentary Silver elite status and offers the following bonus categories:

  • 7x points per $1 spent on Hilton hotels and resorts.

  • 5x points per $1 spent at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations.

  • 3x points on all other eligible purchases.

  • Upgrade to Gold elite status after spending $20,000 on eligible purchases in a calendar year.

Terms apply.

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

Welcome bonus: Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $2,000 in purchases on the Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card has a $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95 annual fee and comes with complimentary Gold elite status and the following opportunities to earn points and free nights (Terms apply.):

  • 12x points per $1 spent on Hilton hotels and resorts.

  • 6x points per $1 spent at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations.

  • 3x points on all other eligible purchases.

  • Complimentary free weekend night reward after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases in a calendar year.

Terms apply.

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card offers a welcome bonus of 150,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in the first 4 months. The card has a $450 annual fee and offers free Diamond elite status the following point-earning opportunities (Terms apply.):

  • 14x points per $1 spent on Hilton hotels and resorts.

  • 7x points per $1 spent on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com, car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies and U.S. restaurants.

  • 3x points on all other eligible purchases.

  • Complimentary free weekend night reward after you spend $60,000 on eligible purchases in a calendar year.

Terms apply.

The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

The The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card offers a welcome bonus: Welcome Offer: Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 in purchases on the Hilton Honors Business Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

Cardholders pay a $95 annual fee in exchange for Gold elite status and the following rewards (Terms apply.):

  • 12x points per $1 spent on Hilton hotels and resorts.

  • 6x points per $1 spent on flights booked directly with airlines or Amex Travel and car rentals booked directly with select car rental companies.

  • 6x points per $1 spent at U.S. gas stations, U.S. purchases for shipping and wireless telephone service purchases made directly with U.S. service providers.

  • 3x points on all other eligible purchases.

  • Complimentary free weekend night reward after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases in a calendar year.

  • Second free weekend night reward after you spend $60,000 on eligible purchases in a calendar year.

Terms apply. To view rates and fees of The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card, see this page.

Using Hilton points for free nights, recapped

Even without a points chart, Hilton Honors has a really great award program if you’re savvy and willing to invest the time to find the best redemptions. To maximize the value of your points, try to save enough so that you can book your entire stay using the points, ideally at luxury properties and for at least five nights.

All information about the Hilton Honors American Express CardHilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card and Hilton Honors American Express Aspire card has been collected independently by NerdWallet. The Hilton Honors American Express CardHilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card and Hilton Honors American Express Aspire card are no longer available through NerdWallet.


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