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Hilton has completed its revamp of the Hilton Honors program, transforming what was a tired and somewhat lackluster loyalty plan, into a program full of unique features with some great value for members. The Honors program finalized the move 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.
- 14X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton Portfolio
- 7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com, car rentals booked directly through select rental companies, and at U.S. restaurants
- 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card
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.
To be clear, the changes still leave a bit to be desired, especially when our beloved AXON awards disappeared, but things could be a lot worse, and we're still happy to have a healthy stash of Hilton points.
We also saw the demise of the much-loved Citi Hilton cards, two of the four co-brand Hilton credit cards, following a deal that sees American Express become the sole provider of Hilton Honors credit cards. All of Hilton's co-brand cards are now issued by Amex:
- Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card – Earn 150,000 Bonus Points. Plus earn Diamond elite status
- Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card – Earn up to 180,000 Hilton Honors bonus points. Plus earn Gold elite status
- Hilton Honors American Express Card – Earn up to 130,000 Hilton Honors bonus points. Plus earn Silver elite status
- The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card – Earn up to 180,000 Hilton Honors bonus points. Plus earn Gold elite status
Enrollment is required for select Amex benefits.
The co-brand cards are the fastest way to amass a healthy balance of Hilton points, offering significant new cardmember welcome offers and tangible benefits, for 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! Still not convinced the new Hilton program is worth your attention? 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. You must be an active participant of Hilton Honors and have been a member for at least 30 days, and you need a minimum of 1,000 points to participate.
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. Plus, you’ll receive every 5th 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.
- Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card receives Hilton Honors Gold status
- The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card receives Hilton Honors Gold status
- The Platinum Card® from American Express receives Hilton Honors Gold status
- The Business Platinum Card® from American Express receives Hilton Honors Gold status
- Hilton Honors American Express Card receives Hilton Honors Silver status with a fast track to Gold status after spending $20K in a calendar year
Spend Your Way to Diamond for $40,000 (Or get it free with a card!)
The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card receives Hilton Honors Diamond status. Or, 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 one calendar year, and you earn Hilton Diamond status, which would typically take 30 stays, 60 nights, or 120K base points, a substantial investment. Benefits include the same perks as Gold, plus a 48-hour room guarantee, express/late checkout and guaranteed lounge access (where available).
Solid Budget Redemptions Around the World
Hilton has a huge footprint, including budget hotels in places you may not suspect, at prices that are too good to pass up. Current welcome offers are enough for six nights at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Orlando (5th night free), right out the front of Universal Studios and the perfect base for a long weekend exploring Florida’s theme parks.
Get the 5th Night Free on Award Redemptions for Elite Members
Another killer feature of the Honors award program is the 5th night free for elite members. Considering even the no annual fee Hilton Amex offers up complimentary Silver status, these benefit offers incredible value and substantially raises the value of your Hilton Honors points.
Earn up to 52 Points per Dollar with 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, and Hilton’s regular promos, earning enough points for luxury redemptions is a breeze. Diamond members that stacked a ‘Go More Get More’ promo were able to rack up as much as 52 points per dollar spent on their co-brand card!
Points + Money Slider Offers Solid Value
It's easy to be skeptical of award program ‘enhancements,’ but Hilton’s new Points + Money Slider has turned out to be one of its better additions. Does it lower the cost 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.
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 it lower the cost of your reservation, if you have plans to stay at a particular hotel but don’t quite have the required points, you can use the Points + Money Slider for any combo that works for you financially.
Put Your Diamond Status on Hold
Life gets in the way of travel; it’s unavoidable. A new addition to the family, a change of career or employer, or you might be taking a sabbatical to learn the fine Japanese art of Kintsugi. Whatever the reason, if you’ve been Hilton Diamond for the last three years with at least 250 nights or 500K+ base points, you can apply for a one-time status extension of one year from the time when your status would otherwise have expired. A great way of rewarding the most loyal Hilton fans.
When All Else Fails, You Can Purchase Hilton Honors Points
When you’ve exhausted every other method of collecting Hilton points, and you’re still a few thousand short of a redemption, you can always turn to the last port of call and purchase Hilton Honors points for 1¢ per point. If you time your purchase to coincide with one of Hilton's regular promos, you can get points as low as 0.5¢ per piece. Not our favorite way to collect points but when you’re short of points, it’s another method of reaching that redemption.
Hilton Honors transforming itself into the best hotel program for mid-range redemptions, and the Honors program now counts some stellar features. The points pooling feature allows you to combine points from up to 10 other accounts to reach your travel goals, and the super-achievable Hilton Gold status can get you free breakfast and your 5th night free on award stays.
If you have any questions about the Hilton Honors program, or you’re unsure how to use one of the features, please reach out in the comments.
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