9 Things We Love About the Hilton Honors Rewards Program 9 Things We Love About the Hilton Honors Rewards Program

9 Things We Love About the Hilton Honors Rewards Program

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Back in 2017, Hilton completely revamped the Hilton Honors program from a tired and somewhat lackluster loyalty program into one full of unique features with valuable perks that members love. The program also moved to dynamic award pricing, where the price reflects the seasonality of the hotel industry. Award prices drop in the low season and rise in the high season, much like the equivalent cash price.

At the same time, Hilton introduced innovative new features like the Points + Money Slider, Points Pooling across multiple accounts, and removed our least favorite grammatical gimmick: the double ‘H’ in Honors.

Here are nine things we love about the Hilton Honors rewards program.

Hilton's Points Pooling Feature Rocks

Hilton's points pooling feature is a well-thought-out highlight of the program, allowing family and friends to combine their Hilton Honors points. Each pool can have up to 11 members, and each member can send 500K points per year and receive up to 2 million points annually. To combine points, you must be an active member of Hilton Honors and must have been a member for at least 30 days. Plus, you need a minimum of 1,000 points to participate.

Hilton Honors page for pooling points with others

Get the Best Mid-Tier Elite Status for Under $100

Hilton Honors Gold is the best mid-tier elite status available, offering complimentary breakfast and space-available upgrades at Waldorf Astoria, Conrad, Curio, Hilton, and DoubleTree properties, based on availability. Additionally, you’ll receive every fifth night free on award stays. Hilton Gold is also one of the easiest hotel statuses to achieve. The hard route involves 20 stays, 40 nights, or 75K base points. However, Honors Gold is awarded as a perk on several rewards cards.

Enroll for complimentary Gold status with these cards:

Additionally, the Hilton Honors American Express Card offers complimentary Hilton Honors Silver status with a fast track to Gold status after spending $20K in a calendar year.

Enrollment is required for select Amex benefits.

Spend Your Way to Diamond for $40K (Or Get It Free With a Card!)

The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card offers complimentary Hilton Honors Diamond status — the top tier — as a built-in perk. Alternatively, if you don't want to pay a premium annual fee, put $40,000 of spending on the Hilton Surpass or Hilton Business Card in a calendar year. In this case, you'll earn Hilton Diamond status, which would typically take 30 stays, 60 nights, or 120K base points — a substantial investment.

Above what you get with Gold status, Diamond members get a 48-hour room guarantee, express/late checkout, and guaranteed lounge access (where available). Plus, they're eligible for upgrades to suites at check-in.

Enrollment is required for select Amex benefits.

Solid Budget Redemptions Around the World

Hilton has a huge footprint, including budget hotels in places you may not suspect available at prices that are too good to pass up. Current welcome offers on Hilton credit cards could provide enough points for six nights at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Orlando (using the fifth night free), right outside the front of Universal Studios and the perfect base for a long weekend exploring Florida’s theme parks.

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel at the Entrance to Universal Orlando
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel at the Entrance to Universal Orlando. Credit: Hilton

Hilton offers multiple credit cards to help you unlock redemptions, including the following welcome bonuses:

Additionally, American Express became the sole provider of Hilton Honors co-branded credit cards.

These Amex co-branded cards are the fastest way to amass a healthy balance of Hilton points. They offer significant new cardmember welcome offers and tangible benefits, for a relatively small (or no) annual fee. If more than one member of your household takes advantage of these offers, you can pool the points into a single account to redeem for a one-of-a-kind holiday!

Get the 5th Night Free on Award Redemptions

Another reason to love Hilton Honors is that elite members get the fifth night free on award stays. And it's not hard to get status, considering even the Hilton Amex confers Silver status. That means this benefit offers incredible value while being extremely accessible.

The fifth night free doesn't technically offer your fifth night free. Instead, you receive a discount equal to the average cost of a night across a five-night reservation.

explanation chart of Hilton 5th night free benefit

Hilton Honors Promos

The number of points required for Hilton’s high-end properties can be a little deceiving. When you factor in how fast you can accumulate Honors points, plus Hilton’s regular promos, earning enough points for luxury redemptions is a breeze.

Points + Money Slider Offers Solid Value

The Hilton Honors revamp also introduced a new Points + Money Slider, which has turned out to be one of its better additions. Does it lower the cost of every stay? No, and in the case of redemptions subject to a resort fee, even adding the smallest amount of cash to the slider can add the resort fees in full to the cost of your reservation. The value of the Points + Money Slider differs between properties and dates.

Hilton Honors Points + Money slider example

We’ve found value in all kinds of points and cash combos, with some of the best value found in Hilton’s mid-range hotels. Not only can this tool lower the cost of your reservation, but if you have plans to stay at a particular hotel and don’t quite have the required points, you can use the Points + Money Slider for any combo that works for you financially.

Gifting Your Status to Friends and Family

Once a Diamond Elite member reaches 60 nights in a calendar year, they can gift Gold status to a friend or family member. If you reach 100 nights in a calendar year, you can gift Diamond Elite status to a friend or family member. Diamond Elite members can gift one Gold and one Diamond Elite status per year, assuming you stay for the required amount of nights. Once you have reached the required nights for gifting status, you will receive a claim code by email and instructions on how to gift your status. The gifted status lasts for 365 days from the date it was gifted.

Free Night Reward With Incredible Value

While most other award programs put limits on the use of their free night rewards (valid only up to x number of points or only at certain hotel categories), Hilton Honors does no such thing — an updated benefit we absolutely love. You can use a Hilton Free Night Reward for nearly any property at any price point. There are a few limitations, but these don't apply to most stays. This means you can use your free night for something as goal-worthy as the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi or the Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal.

an overwater bungalow at the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi
Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi. Credit: Hilton

Final Thoughts

Thanks to its 2017 update, Hilton Honors transformed itself into one of the best hotel programs for mid-range redemptions, and the Honors program now counts some stellar features that we really love. The points pooling feature allows you to combine points with up to 10 other accounts to reach your travel goals, and the super-achievable Hilton Gold status can get you free breakfast and your fifth night free on award stays.

Did your favorite Hilton Honors perk not make the list? Let us know what it is in the comments below.

4.9 / 5 - (11 votes)
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  • Excellent informantion. Thank you for share it!!!!!

  • All this is good for Hilton, but their web site cannot seem to find my scheduled stays with confirmation numbers and requires me to file a missed stay 100% of the time. So buying your status is really good for Hilton, they can track that.

  • There is also a feature to transfer points from one member to another, free of charge. Great thing.

  • Worth to note is that, as a gold member, the reception you get at Hilton hotels in Europe and Asia is often great, much better than in the US. We have had fruit baskets, bottles of wine, choclates, free drinks in the bar day-long, suite upgrades and the like. In the US, reception was typically much like any guest – no extra attention at all.

  • Leif LIndholm says:

    Members outside the US can’t get the credit cards, so to reach Gold status the quick way to get it as a credit card benefit is not available. I wonder if there is some other “quick way”? Some years, it may be hard to reach the nights/stays requirements.

  • Leif LIndholm says:

    A great thing with Hilton Honors is that reward stays on many hotels in less frequented locations can be booked at incredibly low “points cost”. I have been on vacations in Turkey, Poland and Romania, and stayed very nicely at only 5,000 or 10,000 points. This is increadibly good value.

  • Sheila Wilshire says:

    As a business traveler who is finally hitting the road again, it seems that the hotels are slow to go back to the pre-COVID level of service. I’m staying at a Homewood Suites next week which, according to their website, has no evening social. I hate to spend time getting carry-out from restaurants after working long hours. You’d think they could at least offer some prepacked sandwiches or salads along with chips and sodas. I understand not serving buffet style, but they could do something for the guests.

  • I absolutely love Hilton Honors. Clear and simple, with regular promos and excellent treatment of elites.

  • Last Year Hilton Honors allowed me to access great promotions for my stay at the hotel and also it allows to shop with points on Amazon. Big Deal!!

  • Fenspinbi says:

    I’m currently Hilton Gold (Amex Platinum) with Silver elite as a fallback (Hilton Honors Amex), and this is my first and primary hotel loyalty program as a newcomer to points and miles during the pandemic. In my Hilton profile, the MyWay Benefits allows you to pick which benefit you’d like with particular brands in the portfolio. Given that the continental breakfast is undoubtedly the better value since it’s per day, in which situations would it be better to choose the 500/1000 points per stay option in lieu of breakfast? When one is just on the cusp of redeeming in Bora Bora/Maldives? 🙂

    • Sheila Wilshire says:

      Not everyone eats breakfast. I often work odd hours and am either on the way to work during the hours breakfast is available or asleep because I’ve worked the night before. Otherwise, breakfast would win every time.

  • Gomez Selenna says:

    Hello, could you help me? I would like to be a member of the E-rewards opinion panel, with any of your invitations.

  • Sheila Wilshire says:

    I hope Hilton will extend status for 2021 to the whole year. My typical constant travel has dropped to zero during the pandemic.

  • Colleen E Brown says:

    I have a Hilton Honors number but do not recall what it is and the usage goes back far enough I don’t have a recent email with that number on it?? Can I reclaim those points? if so, when?? And how can I use your system to find the honors number?? Wishing to apply for a new
    Amex Express card??

  • Danny Boswell says:

    Can I join Hilton Honors without applying for a credit card?

  • Final found out about the status of my missing award POINTS. After 4 1/2 months messing around with Salesforce.com inc. without any results, I got and excellent answer from the Hilton manager where I was attempting to use the POINTS. I had emailed, over the months, every possible Hilton address I could find. Apparently, one those emails was forwarded to the Hilton site manager with the answers. I received an email from the manager regarding the POINTS issue. I immediately emailed him back a whole string of detailed circular correspondences between Salesforce.com Inc. and myself with screen shots of the attempted reservation at the manager’s facility. The very next day the manager responded with a logical and succinct explanation of what happened with my POINTS.

    As it turns out, my POINTS had expired days before I attempted to make the reservation, but the POINTS were still showing as available in my Hilton Honors account. It seems that my Hilton Honors account had not been updated when I was attempting to use the POINTS. Logical explanation provided by the Hilton manager in TWO days!

    My personal experience with the Hilton Manager was stellar. The multi billion dollar Salesforce.com Inc. who purports to provide Customer Relationship Management of behalf of Hiltion has failed to be effective regarding my issue.

    Lesson learned: Forget dealing with the offshore incompetence and try to find a domestic source for Hilton issue resolution.

  • Just a word of warning. Your Hilton Honors point are very useful as long as they remain in your Hilton Honors account. In November I was making a reservation on line, using points and money. I was unable to complete the transaction online due to technical problems on Hilton’s website. I completed the reservation by telephone with a Hilton agent. Due to errors made by the agent my points were never applied to my reservation and ALL of my POINTS were subsequently deleted from my Hilton Honors account.

    After numerous emails and phone calls the POINTS have yet to be restored. Apparently the problem resides with Salesforce.com, Inc. who provides Customer Relationship Management for Hilton. Salesforce.com, Inc. provides Hilton offshore responses to all online inquires. Salesforce.com, Inc. has provided me numerous pandering responses and still no restoration of my POINTS. It seems that Salesforce.com, Inc. is not empowered to restore my POINTS without some behind the scenes communication with Hilton sales?

    As of today, I am still receiving inane emails from Salesforce.com, Inc., but now have received a complaint number, for what that is worth? Telephone attempts to have the POINTS restored have also not been fruitful. Telephone calls ended up with endless 800 number referrals and dropped call transfers.

    In summary, your POINTS are useful, as long as you do not have to engage the dysfunction Hilton Customer Services.

  • I work for Hilton!! This honors program is awesome and the guests love it especially now that they have rolled out the shop with points on amazon!! It’s very exciting!!

  • anthony gonzales says:

    Booked a room here and had plenty to choose from in the area. The hotel was clean and friendly people. The hotel began renovations that day and the fumes were nauseating, the poor hotel workers could hardly deal with it. I couldn’t use the gym, pool or eat at the restaurant due to the fumes. Fumes like this are very dangerous and I called Hilton honors to discuss the situation. I asked for a supervisor and they gave me Evelyn, after discussing the problem and severity of it her response was “if you get sick keep the doctor’s bill.” Evelyn did not try to transfer me to a hotel or anything, terrible experience at this hotel.

  • Thank you for your review. If you have AmEx Ascend card, do you get the complimentary Hilton Honors status every calendar year regardless of card earnings? Or die the gold status expire after the calendar year is up?

  • Hilton has a great Program!!! Event better.

  • Thank you for the article .. My opinion and experience prove to me that Hilton program is one of the mid range features and cannot compared to Marriott and Spg program either in term of features , benefits , or the recognition from the different chain hotels ..

    in addition to that this program is misleading the members and not transparent specially in term of redemption .., the have removed hotel category in order to make it in the gray aria so no member can know how much points needed for any hotel for redemption .

    most of the hotels in many countries have increased the required redemption points twice a year .. such as Cairo from 10 k to 20000 and Alexandria 5000 points to 20000 points , and in tangier morocco from 10000 points to 20000 even the fact that the maximum points required for one night redemption as per the provided link by Hilton is showing less then these numbers check (http://pointsandmoney.hilton.com/ )

    Marriott gives you guaranteed late checkout until 4 PM for platinum and gold members while Hilton you have to ask and request and begging them to get until 2 or 3 PM . even if you are platinum member .

    So the conclusion ,, the comparing between Marriott and Hilton is comparing between Mercedes and Hyundai cars .

  • Darshak Thakore says:

    I’ve been split between SPG and Hilton for a while but with the Marriott-SPG merger and the Hilton Aspire card, I’m planning to go all in with Hilton for a while and see how much I enjoy the diamond status. I have some stays coming up and will see what kind of upgrades i get (i’m looking to see how they provide suite upgrades)

    • I am all in on Hilton. Aspire card….HGVC member….use the app all the time…..diamond status…..love it. Learning the ends and outs, but find that it works for us as a family and like the variety they have.

  • Good write-up. I am a little tired of the SPG Marriott stuff… Still spending 5 nights in a Marriott, but like the idea of keeping my options open.

  • Hate dynamic award! Many hotels do not drop point stay amount when the cash cost drops substantially.

  • Love Hilton Diamond. It works very well for us including the 5th night free and the bonus nights on the Hilton Macquarie Visa card for Australians.

  • Mitchell Telsey says:

    Just caught your article here. I am a lifetime platinum elite with Marriott and though I enjoy the status, though I certainly do not feel special–do you think Hilton with grant diamond status to me if I show them my Marriott status ? Average 105 nights per year

    • You could certainly try for an outright match — they have an official challenge site: https://statusmatch.hiltonhonors.com/ Perhaps in the documentation you provide, provide a note asking for an outright match showing all of your hotel activity — or simply switch to them right away and get 8 stays in to keep Diamond for a year — or just get the new Hilton Aspire card from Amex, which if you stay frequently with Hilton is a complete no-brainer. It earns the most Hilton points/dollar when you stay at Hilton properties and gives you instant Diamond.

  • Do Hilton point still expire after 12 months of inactivity?

  • I don’t think Hilton points are all that valuable though, and the flexible award pricing eliminates a lot of potential “high value” redemptions during peak season.