Hilton Honors: Everything to know about the loyalty program

3 weeks ago 9

With more than 7,000 hotels in 124 countries across 19 brands, Hilton likely has a property to suit your needs when you are making travel plans. To enhance your vacation, you may consider joining a hotel loyalty program like Hilton Honors.

If you continue to stay at Hilton properties or spend on Hilton cobranded credit cards, you can earn elite status and collect valuable points that can then be redeemed for free nights at Hilton hotels.

Here is everything you need to know about the Hilton Honors program, including an overview of its elite status and how to earn and redeem points.

Hilton Honors program overview

KRIS TAMBURELLO/THE MORROW WASHINGTON D.C., CURIO COLLECTION BY HILTON/FACEBOOK

The Hilton Honors program is the loyalty program offered by Hilton, one of the largest hotel chains in the world.

When you combine the impressive number of properties worldwide participating in this program with generous of Hilton Honors credit cards and relatively easy points to earn and redeem, Hilton Honors makes a strong case for being one of the best hotel rewards programs.

Hilton Honors elite status

The Conrad Washington, DC. SCOTT MAYEROWITZ/THE POINTS GUY

Hilton offers four tiers within its Hilton Honors loyalty program.

Hilton Honors Member

Hilton automatically gives Member tier status to everyone who signs up for the Hilton Honors program. The benefits include:

  • 5 base points per dollar spent at Tru and Home2 brands and 10 base points per dollar spent at all other Hilton properties
  • No resort fees on award stays
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Access to exclusive Hilton Honors experiences
  • Choose your room from available rooms up to 24 hours in advance
  • Use digital check-in/checkout and a digital key
  • Points toward free nights, travel partners and more

Hilton Honors Silver

You can earn Hilton Honors Silver status after four separate stays, 10 nights or 25,000 base points in a calendar year.

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On top of the benefits available to all Hilton Honors members, Hilton Honors Silver members also get the following perks:

  • Fifth night free on award stays booked solely with points
  • 20% bonus on base points earned on every stay, which equals 2 extra points per dollar spent (12 points total) at most properties or 1 extra point at Home2 Suites and Tru brands
  • Elite rollover nights
  • Two bottles of water per stay at select properties (Hampton, Homewood Suites, Home2 Suites and Tru are excluded)
  • 15% off spa discount at Hilton's all-inclusive brands

Hilton gives Hilton Honors American Express Card holders Silver status (enrollment required), which is a great benefit for a no-annual-fee card.

HILTON

Hilton Honors Gold

You'll earn Hilton Honors Gold status after 20 separate stays, 40 nights or 75,000 base points accrued in a calendar year.

On top of the benefits available to Hilton Honors Silver members, Hilton Honors Gold members also get the following benefits:

  • Daily food and beverage credit (U.S. hotels only) or continental breakfast (non-U.S. hotels)
  • Space-available room upgrades, all the way up to the executive level (at select Hilton brands)
  • Milestone bonuses: Earn 10,000 bonus points every 10 nights after you've stayed 40 nights in a calendar year
  • 80% bonus on base points earned on stays, which equals 8 points per dollar spent (18 points total) or 4 extra points at Home2 Suites and Tru brands

Cardholders of the following American Express cards automatically get Hilton Honors Gold status (enrollment is required) for as long as the card account is open:

Additionally, Hilton Honors American Express Card holders can earn an upgrade to Hilton Honors Gold status through the end of the following calendar year by spending $20,000 on the card in a calendar year (Jan. 1 to Dec. 31).

Hilton Honors Diamond

You can earn Hilton Honors Diamond status after 30 separate stays, 60 nights or 120,000 base points accrued in a calendar year.

In addition to Gold benefits, Hilton Diamond members also get the following perks:

  • Space-available room upgrades (up to a one-bedroom suite)
  • Executive lounge access for you and up to one other guest registered in your room
  • Premium Wi-Fi
  • 48-hour room guarantee if you reach out at least 48 hours before your stay
  • Elite status gifting: If a Diamond member stays 60 nights in a calendar year, they can gift Gold status to another member; after staying 100 nights in a year, they can gift Diamond status
  • 100% bonus on base points earned on every stay, which equals 10 extra points per dollar spent (20 points total) or 5 additional points at the Home2 Suites brand
  • Diamond status extension: Diamond members who have achieved this status for three years and have stayed 250 lifetime nights or earned 500,000 base points can enjoy a one-time status extension for an extra year

Lifetime Diamond status is offered to any member who has held Diamond status for 10 years (the years do not need to be consecutive) and has completed 1,000 nights at Hilton properties (can be a mix of paid and reward nights) or earned at least 2 million base points.

Some Hilton Honors credit cards that offer complimentary Hilton Honors Gold status as a benefit also allow you to spend your way to Hilton Honors Diamond status. Specifically, the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card and The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card offer an upgrade to Hilton Honors Diamond status through the end of the following calendar year when you spend $40,000 on your card in a calendar year.

Meanwhile, the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card offers complimentary Hilton Honors Diamond status as long as you keep the card account open.

The information for the Hilton Aspire Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Status match to Gold and challenge to Diamond

Hilton Honors frequently offers a status match to Hilton Honors Gold with a challenge to keep Gold or upgrade to Hilton Honors Diamond status.

You can currently request a status match to Hilton Honors Gold and experience how Hilton Honors Gold members travel for the following 90 days. If you stay eight nights within your 90-day trial period, you can keep Gold status through March 31, 2025. If you stay 14 nights within your 90-day trial period, Hilton will upgrade your status to Diamond through March 31, 2025.

However, you'll want to time your status match carefully since the terms and conditions often state that only members who have not previously completed a status match challenge are eligible. Additionally, reward stays do not count toward the status match qualification.

You usually won't get access to elite benefits and earnings unless you book directly with a hotel brand.

Related: Complete guide to current hotel elite status match and challenge offers

Hilton Honors transfer partners

MIKE BUTLER/HILTON

You can transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to Hilton Honors at a 1:2 ratio. The program occasionally offers transfer bonuses.

However, TPG values Amex points at 2 cents per point and Hilton Honors points at 0.6 cents per point. So, even transferring during a bonus period may not make sense.

Related: How (and why) you should earn transferable credit card points

How to earn Hilton points

La Quinta Resort & Club, Curio Collection by Hilton. BENJI STAWSKI/THE POINTS GUY

There are many ways to earn Hilton points. Although you can earn some points through Hilton Honors partners, many travelers earn most of their points by staying at Hilton properties or through credit card spending.

Hotel stays

You'll earn at least 10 Hilton Honors base points for every dollar you spend at most Hilton brands, although you'll only earn 5 base points per dollar spent at Home2 Suites and Tru by Hilton. You can earn base points on up to four rooms per stay, and you'll earn base points on all eligible charges you make to these rooms. You'll also earn bonus points based on your Hilton Honors status tier.

Hilton Honors often offers promotions that can allow you to earn bonus points on hotel stays.

Credit card spending

Between sizable welcome bonuses and high-category bonuses, it's relatively easy to earn Hilton points quickly using Hilton Honors cobranded credit cards.

The information for the Hilton Aspire card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Partners

Hilton Honors has partners through which you can earn and redeem Hilton points.

You can earn Hilton Honors points by riding with Lyft. By linking your Hilton Honors account with your Lyft account, you can earn 3 points per dollar spent on Lyft rides (economy, luxury and extra seats) and 2 points per dollar spent on shared Lyft rides. You can also earn Hilton points on select Alamo, Enterprise and National car rentals.

Finally, by creating an account and linking a credit or debit card to Hilton Honors Dining, you can earn between 2 and 8 points per dollar spent at participating restaurants.

Enrollment is required for select benefits.

Buy Hilton points

Hilton generally sells points for 1 cent each, allowing you to purchase up to 160,000 points for $1,600 per calendar year. However, during some Hilton promotions, you may be able to purchase a larger quantity of points for as low as 0.5 cents apiece.

Related: When does it make sense to buy points and miles?

How to redeem Hilton points

HILTON

Generally, the best way to redeem hotel points is for free nights at the program's participating properties. This is certainly true when it comes to redeeming Hilton Honors points.

Free night awards

Hilton doesn't publish an award chart, but you can use the Points Explorer tool to search for properties based on location and the number of points you're willing to spend per night.

HILTON.COM

Once you've searched by location and the amount of points, you can filter your results based on the brand.

Booking award nights through the Hilton website is easy. From the homepage, type in your destination, dates and number of guests. Before clicking "Find a Hotel," click on "Special Rates" and check the "Use Points" box.

Once you click "Find a Hotel," the award rates for your stay will appear in the search results.

You can click on a specific property to compare rates for each room type. Then, you can quickly decide whether redeeming points is worthwhile.

You can also use the flexible date search to easily view a month at a time. When you enter the dates for your hotel stay, select "Shop by price," and you'll see a calendar view of how much a stay of your chosen length would cost per night for each check-in date.

HILTON.COM

The value you can get from your Hilton points when redeeming for a free night will vary. For example, let's check out how much it would cost to book the new Conrad Orlando. On a random date I checked, the rate is $628 or 90,000 Hilton Honors points per night.

Although 90,000 Hilton points is a lot to spend for a night in Orlando, you would get a value of 0.7 cents per point. TPG values Hilton points at 0.6 cents each, so you'd still be getting more than TPG's valuation.

Note that you can also redeem your points for upgraded accommodations. When looking at Pay with Points options for a room, you'll usually see that some rooms cost more than others.

HILTON.COM

While redeeming for a premium room usually won't provide great value, it can be an excellent option for those needing a larger room or wanting an upgraded view.

Fifth night free on awards

Silver, Gold, and Diamond members have access to a fifth night free on award stays. This benefit provides every fifth night free for standard room reward stays of five or more consecutive award nights.

There is no limit on how many times you can use this benefit annually, but Hilton will not award you more than four free nights per stay.

Points & Money rewards

Redeeming for a free night award using Points & Money allows you to stretch your points. Instead of paying all points for a free night, you can use a combination of cash and points. Unlike with other programs, you can even adjust the ratio in increments of 1,000 points (starting at 5,000 points).

Travel rewards

You can transfer your points to 14 airline partners, but you'll usually need to transfer at least 10,000 miles simultaneously, and the transfer ratios aren't favorable.

You can also redeem your Hilton points toward car rentals, Shop with Points at Amazon and Lyft rides. Know, though, that you'll usually only get about 0.2 cents per point on these redemptions. So, I'd recommend avoiding all of these travel rewards options.

Hilton Honors Experiences

If you're looking for a non-hotel award with substantial value, you can redeem points for various experiences through Hilton Honors Experiences. That's how TPG senior writer Katie Genter enjoyed a 60-minute couples massage and a four-course dinner for only 20,000 Hilton points.

Donate

Finally, you can donate your points to charity through PointWorthy. For every 3,500 Hilton points you donate, a charity of your choice will get $10.

Related: The 6 best credit cards to maximize your charitable donation

Bottom line

Joining the Hilton's Honors program as a basic member is free. Plus, it will help you earn points to redeem on future stays within the Hilton portfolio. Hilton makes it super easy to earn and redeem points.

If you stay (or are planning to stay) at Hilton properties at least a few times a year, a Hilton cobranded credit card may help you maximize your ability to earn points, which you can redeem for award stays. When it comes to redeeming, you'll get the most value from your Hilton points when you redeem for award nights and, in some cases, Hilton Honors Experiences. I usually stay in increments of five nights when using Hilton points since Hilton Silver, Gold and Diamond members get every fifth night free on award stays.

For rates and fees of the Hilton Amex, click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Surpass, click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Business Amex, click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum, click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Business Platinum, click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Aspire, click here.

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

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