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Your Guide to Booking Award Nights With Hilton Honors

Sept. 27, 2019
Loyalty Programs, Reward Optimization, Travel
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Hilton is one of the largest hotel brands, with more than 4,800 hotels around the globe. Its Hilton Honors reward program can be richly rewarding for its members.

How many points are needed for a free night?

Hilton Honors points can be redeemed for a free night for as little as 5,000 points for a Points & Money Reward, topping out at what the company reports as 95,000 points per night for an all-points award. Points are determined by travel date, hotel and room type.

Hilton properties include the following brands:

  • Hilton Hotels & Resorts.
  • Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts.
  • Conrad Hotels & Resorts.
  • Canopy by Hilton.
  • Curio Collection by Hilton.
  • Doubletree by Hilton.
  • Tapestry Collection by Hilton.
  • Embassy Suites by Hilton.
  • Hilton Garden Inn.
  • Hampton by Hilton.
  • Tru by Hilton.
  • Homewood Suites by Hilton.
  • Home2 Suites by Hilton.
  • Hilton Grand Vacations.

Hilton doesn’t offer an award chart to make finding a property for a set number of points easier. Instead, you will need to search destinations and find the best deal for the brand you prefer. Location plays a big role in how much awards cost.

For example, in September the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel New Orleans Airport was available for 30,000 points per night when we checked. The luxury Roosevelt Hotel New Orleans, a Waldorf Astoria Hotel near the French Quarter, required more than twice the points.

Of the several dozen Hilton hotels in the Washington, D.C., area, the lowest awards redemption rate we found was at the Hilton Garden Inn Tysons Corner in Virginia for 27,000 points. Rates went as high as 133,000 points per night for The District by Hilton near Georgetown and Homewood suites by Hilton Washington D.C. Downtown.

You can also use Hilton points to book premium room rewards. For example, the London NYC’s one-bedroom suite required 190,000 points when we checked, while a one-bedroom apartment with full kitchen at the same property cost 1,888,000 points.

How many Hilton Honors points will I earn on hotel stays, and how can I use them?

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

Hilton Honors elite members earn additional bonuses:

  • Silver: 20% bonus points.
  • Gold: 80% bonus points.
  • Diamond: 100% bonus points.

Elite members enjoy the added benefit of receiving the fifth night free on consecutive four-night stay.

Meeting planners can earn 1 point for every $1 spent when booking guest rooms, meeting rooms and other event space, on up to $100,000.

Hilton has all-inclusive resorts, meaning you can redeem points for hotel rooms that include all meals, drinks and activities. For example, the Hilton Rose Hall Resort in Jamaica required 63,000 points per night when we checked. That was a far better deal than, say, the Millennium Times Square Hotel in New York for 80,000 points per night, as the latter is for a room only on the same dates we searched.

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

This card has a $0 annual fee and the following welcome bonus: Earn 75,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Card after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

The card comes with complimentary Silver elite status and offer 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

Earn 125,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card after you use your new Card to make $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply. The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card has a $95 annual fee and comes with complimentary Gold elite status and the following opportunities to earn points and free nights:

  • 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.

» Learn more: Hilton AmEx Surpass review: Decent value, lounge perks

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card offers 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:

  • 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

Earn 125,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases 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:

  • 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 $60,00 on eligible purchases in a calendar year.

Terms apply.

» Learn more: Hilton Honors: The complete guide

How else can you use Hilton Honors points?

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

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 equates to 1,000 Delta or United miles.

Hilton Experiences

Hilton also lets you redeem points for awesome experiences and events. These ”once-in-a-lifetime experiences” can be booked outright or require bidding against other members.

For example, the bidding for an Aston Martin Driving Experience in Atlanta has currently reached 170,000 points, while two tickets to a Zac Brown Band show in Houston is going for 80,000 points.

Non-travel awards

You can also use points to shop for non-travel awards. Consider these options:

  • Shop and purchase items through Hilton’s partnership with Amazon.com. Just link your Hilton account to Amazon and you can use your points through the Shop with Points program. Five hundred points equals $1 on Amazon.
  • Pool your points with other Hilton Honors members free of charge and redeem for free night awards.
  • Donate your points through Point Worthy to a number of non-profit organizations, such as the Red Cross. Redeem at least 4,000 points for a $10 donation.

The bottom line

The Hilton Honors program is a solid loyalty program, with plenty of redemption options. Whether you want points or miles, Hilton offers options to earn both.

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 2019, including those best for:

Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice:
Find the best travel credit card for you
Hilton credit cards: Which one should you get?
Earn more points and miles with these 6 strategies

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