Your Comprehensive Guide to the Hilton Honors Program

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Hilton is one of the largest and most recognizable global hotel brands. And it's also one of the largest. There are more than 6,000 Hilton properties across 18 brands participating in the Hilton Honors rewards program.

Hilton's elite program offers excellent perks at each status level, with top-tier Diamond members receiving tangible benefits like Executive Lounge access and the ability to gift elite status. Hilton Gold has also earned its place as the best mid-tier hotel elite status. Even better, it's one of the easiest to acquire.

Conrad-Koh-Samui

Thanks to strong earning rates on Hilton co-branded credit cards and a generous return on Hilton spending, Hilton Honors points are easy to accumulate. Plus, Hilton features the best points pooling policy of any loyalty program we've reviewed. This makes it easy to amass a huge balance of points when working towards a big redemption.

In this guide, we'll cover how to earn Hilton Honors points, the best ways to redeem points, run through Hilton's elite program, and dig into the rules and transfer policies.

How to Join Hilton Honors

You can sign-up for Hilton Honors online through the Hilton website. However, before you do, check here to see if there's a new member bonus for signing up through a special link. Once on the signup form, you'll be prompted to supply your name, phone number, email, address, and create a password.

Hilton Honors Welcome Page

Hilton provides you with your Hilton Honors membership number immediately after joining. When you are logged into your Hilton Honors account, you can view your account status, upcoming reservations, and book travel using cash or points.

How to Add Your Hilton Honors Account to AwardWallet

This is also the perfect time to add Hilton Honors to your AwardWallet account. AwardWallet will track your Hilton reservations, points balance and expiration, elite status, and any credits or promos associated with your account.

If your Hilton points or elite status expires soon, we'll send you a series of reminders by email. You can also use AwardWallet to log into your Hilton account with one click — instead of entering your Hilton membership number and password on the Hilton website.

AwardWallet Plus members also see their Hilton Honors earning and redemption history, and their progress towards the next tier of elite status. To track your Hilton Honors account information, just add your Hilton Honors login using this link.

track Hilton Honors with AwardWallet

You can also track accounts for friends and family with AwardWallet. To add a second account or a different program, log in to AwardWallet through a web browser or the AwardWallet app (iOSAndroid). Then click the “Add Award Program to Track” button, and type in the name of the program.

Add Hilton Honors to AwardWallet

Brands That Participate in Hilton Honors

Hilton has a global presence with more than 6,200 properties in 118 countries around the world. The chain offers 18 unique brands — ranging from limited-service Hampton by Hilton to the distinctive luxury of Waldorf Astoria.

hilton brands

Although it's not Hilton's premier luxury brand, Hilton Hotels & Resorts is the flagship brand within the portfolio with over 550 properties around the world. It is an upscale full-service brand for both business and leisure travelers.

Other brands in the Hilton Honors portfolio include the Curio Collection of independent boutique hotels, the ubiquitous Hilton Garden Inn, and Homewood Suites by Hilton, one of two Hilton Honors extended-stay hotel brands. Hilton has also been testing the waters with new brands in recent years, such as LXR, Tempo by Hilton, and Motto by Hilton.

HOTEL CATEGORYBRAND
LuxuryWaldorf Astoria
Conrad
LXR
Boutique/Independent CollectionsCurio Collection
Tapestry Collection
Canopy by Hilton
Standard Upscale Full-ServiceHilton Hotels & Resorts
DoubleTree by Hilton
Signia by Hilton
Embassy Suites
Lifestyle with Limited or Focused ServiceTempo by Hilton
Motto by Hilton
Tru by Hilton
Focused-Service or Limited-ServiceHilton Garden Inn
Hampton by Hilton
Extended StayHomewood Suites
Home2 Suites
TimeshareHilton Grand Vacations

Best Ways to Earn Hilton Honors Points

Hilton award stays typically require more points per night than other hotel programs. The good news: it's easy to rack up stacks of Hilton Honors points.

Members receive higher than average earning rates on hotel stays. Cardholders earn top multipliers when using co-brand credit cards. Plus, you can leverage lots of travel and dining partner programs. There is no shortage of ways to earn Hilton Honors points!

Earn From Hotel Stays and Incidental Spend

The most straightforward way to earn Hilton Honors points is by staying at a Hilton property. Just make sure that your Honors number is attached to the reservation.

Boulders Resort & Spa Scottsdale, Curio Collection by Hilton | Photo courtesy of Hilton

Members earn 10 base points per $1 spent on hotel stays and most incidental charges, such as parking, food, and beverages. However, at Tru and Home2 Suites, you'll only earn 5 points per $1 spent.

If you hold Hilton elite status — which comes complimentary with all Hilton co-brand credit cards — you'll enjoy the following elite point bonuses:

  • Silver Elite: 20% bonus (total of 12 points per $1 spent)
  • Gold Elite: 80% bonus (total of 18 points per $1 spent)
  • Diamond Elite: 100% bonus (total of 20 points per $1 spent)

Select properties offer additional points at check-in if selected as a Hilton “My Way” benefit. Promotions may provide even more points from hotel stays.

Here's an example of points earned from one of my previous stays. The nightly rate was $123 before taxes. I also spent $20.13 on food and a cocktail at the hotel restaurant. The final bill, including taxes, came to $164.66, which I put on my Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card. Here's how many points I earned:

  • 10 base points per $1 as a Hilton Honors member on $143.13 (room plus food) — 1,431 points
  • 10 bonus points per $1 as a Diamond elite member (100% bonus) — 1,431 points
  • Qualifying stay under the 2020 Points Unlimited promotion — 2,000 points
  • 14x points per $1 by using my Hilton Aspire — 2,305 points

The total haul from the stay: 7,167 points, worth ~$36, or a 22% return on spending. Not a bad return for a work stay.

Hilton Honors Credit Cards

American Express issues multiple Hilton credit cards. All Hilton Honors credit cards offer complimentary elite status, bonus points on Hilton stays, and three of the four cards offer free nights and other perks. We cover the Hilton cards in more detail in our guide to earning Hilton points, but here's a quick recap of the cards and the bonuses on offer:

Hilton Honors American Express Card
Hilton Honors American Express Card
Apply Now
Rates & Fees
(Terms apply)
Hilton Honors American Express Card
Annual Fee$0
Welcome Bonus Earn 100,000 Bonus Points and a $100 statement credit. Earn 100,000 Bonus Points after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Plus, earn a $100 statement credit after your first purchase on the Hilton Honors Card within your first 3 months.
  • Earn 100,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Plus, earn a $100 statement credit after your first purchase on the Hilton Honors Card within your first 3 months.
  • Earn 7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton portfolio.
  • Earn 5X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations.
  • Earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees. Enjoy international travel without additional fees on purchases made abroad.
  • Enjoy complimentary Hilton Honors Silver status with your Card. Plus, spend $20,000 on eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year and you can earn an upgrade to Hilton Honors Gold status through the end of the next calendar year.
  • No Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • Rates & Fees
  • 7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton Honors portfolio of brands
  • 5X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations
  • 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card

The no-annual-fee Hilton Amex is perfect if you only stay with Hilton occasionally and don't want to pay an annual fee (Rates & Fees). You'll earn some extra points and will have access to Hilton's 5th-night free benefit.

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
Apply Now
Rates & Fees
(Terms apply)
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
Annual Fee$95
Welcome Bonus Earn 150,000 Bonus Points and a $150 statement credit. Earn 150,000 Bonus Points after you use your new Card to make $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Plus, earn a $150 statement credit after your first purchase on the Hilton Surpass Card within your first 3 months.
  • Earn 150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you use your new Card to make $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Plus, earn a $150 statement credit after your first purchase on the Hilton Surpass Card within your first 3 months.
  • Earn a Weekend Night Reward from Hilton Honors after you spend $15,000 on purchases on your Card in a calendar year.
  • Earn 12X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton portfolio.
  • Earn 6X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations.
  • Earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.
  • Spend $40,000 on eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year and you can earn Hilton Honors Diamond status through the end of the next calendar year.
  • $95 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • Rates & Fees
  • 12X Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton Portfolio
  • 6X Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations
  • 3X Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card

The Hilton Surpass is an excellent mid-tier card with a great mix of benefits for the $95 annual fee (Rates & Fees). Cardmembers receive complimentary Hilton Gold status and 10 Priority Pass Lounge access passes each year.

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
Annual Fee$450
Welcome Bonus Earn 150,000 Bonus Points after you use your new Card to make $4,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Plus, enjoy a free Weekend Night Reward within your first year and every year after renewal.
  • 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

Hilton Aspire cardmembers receive exceptional value if you stay with Hilton on a regular basis, and it's the only card to offer top-tier elite status as a card benefit. Plus, you'll get an Annual Weekend Night Reward good for a free night at almost any Hilton property worldwide.

The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card
The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card
Apply Now
Rates & Fees
(Terms apply)
The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card
Annual Fee$95
Welcome Bonus Earn 150,000 bonus points and a $150 statement credit. Earn a $150 statement credit after your first purchase on the Hilton Honors Card within your first 3 months. Plus, earn 150,000 Bonus Points after you spend $2,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • New Offer: Earn a $150 statement credit after your first purchase on the Hilton Honors Card within your first 3 months. Plus, earn 150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $2,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card: 12X at hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio, 6X on Select Business & Travel Purchases, 3X on all other eligible purchases. Terms & Limitations Apply.
  • Enjoy complimentary Gold Status with your Hilton Honors Business Card.
  • Earn a Weekend Night Reward from Hilton Honors after you spend $15,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year.
  • Earn another Weekend Night Reward from Hilton Honors after you spend an additional $45,000 in purchases on your Card in the same calendar year.
  • Relax with 10 free airport lounge visits each year once enrolled in complimentary Priority Pass™ Select membership, which offers access to more than 1,300 lounges across 140 countries and counting.
  • Terms apply.
  • Rates & Fees
  • 12X at hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio
  • 6X on Select Business & Travel Purchases
  • 3X Everywhere Else

The Hilton Business Card rounds out the lineup for small business owners who want to accumulate points from company spending, featuring similar benefits to the Hilton Surpass.

Transfer American Express Membership Rewards to Hilton Honors

You can transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to Hilton Honors points at a 1:2 ratio. Points transfer in increments of 1,000 Membership Rewards points. Cards like as the The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express and American Express® Gold Card earn Membership Rewards points and offer great earning rates on supermarket purchases.

Generally, transferring Membership Rewards to Hilton doesn't provide good value. However, the occasional transfer bonus of up to 50% can make this a better value when offered.

An example of the regular transfer bonuses we see from Membership Rewards to Hilton Honors
An example of the regular transfer bonuses we see from Membership Rewards to Hilton Honors

Host Meetings and Events with Hilton

If you're a meeting or event planner  — or just putting together a one-time event at a Hilton property — make sure you don't miss out on earning points for this spend.

Planners earn 1 Hilton point per $1 spent on meetings and events, on up to $100,000 per event. You'll need to add Event Planner Points to your contract with Hilton. Not all properties participate. Here is the list of participating hotels in the event planner program.

Hilton Honors Promotions

Hilton Honors promotions can be an excellent way to rack up additional Hilton points. Hilton runs multiple promotions per year, typically offering bonus points per stay or per night.

We regularly update the blog with the latest Hilton promos. So, keep checking back before you book to ensure you are maximizing the number of points earned on every booking.

Purchasing Hilton Points

Hilton sells points at a standard rate of $10 per 1,000 points. Given that the value of Hilton points is roughly half a cent, this isn't a good deal.

However, Hilton frequently runs promotions on buying Hilton points. Hilton normally caps members at buying no more than 80,000 points per year, before promotional bonuses. This rule is often relaxed during promotional events.

Based on AwardWallet tracking, Hilton points take roughly two hours to hit your account after purchase.

Pooling Hilton Points: A Unique Program Feature

Hilton allows members to pool Hilton Honors points with up to 10 other people into a single account, which is a unique option among hotel loyalty programs. One member has to initiate the “pool”, and other members can choose to contribute points to it. This is essentially a transfer of points to one member's account, as no separate pooled account is created.

Hilton Honors Points Pooling

Members can transfer up to 500,000 points to other members via points pooling in a calendar year. A single member can receive up to 2 million Hilton points in a calendar year from others into their account. Points pooling is free, and you can participate in as many points pools as you'd like.

Anecdotally, I have had numerous technical issues trying to pool and transfer points. It worked flawlessly the first time I initiated a points pool. However, I've never been able to successfully receive points since then, even after reaching out to Hilton multiple times.

Shopping and Dining Portals

Hilton offers a shopping portal where you can earn Hilton points on purchases from select merchants online. However, it is no longer available to people living within the United States. If you live overseas, check out the Hilton shopping portal to see what is offered.

If you eat our frequently, dining programs can be a great way to rack up extra points and miles. If you join Hilton Honors Dining and opt into marketing emails, you'll earn 5 Hilton points per $1 spent dining out at participating restaurants. You can search by ZIP code at Hilton Honors Dining. Make sure you check to see if a participating restaurant is offering rewards on a given day.

Hilton Travel Partners

Hilton partners with a number of other travel brands, including:

Check out additional detail on each of these in our separate post on the best ways to earn Hilton Honors points.

Best Ways to Redeem Hilton Honors Points

Hilton free nights start at just 5,000 points at a number of select properties around the globe. However, most require many more points than this. Hilton moved away from an official award chart and now prices award nights dynamically. When the cash rate is higher, award rates are typically higher.

However, the general range for standard room awards is between 5,000 and 95,000 points per night. There are a few notable exceptions to this pricing including the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi and Hotel del Coronado, Curio Collection by Hilton which require more than 95,000 points per night. 

You can find the price range for all Hilton properties through its Points Explorer tool, filterable by brand, points price, and location.

hilton dynamic award pricing

Note that the min and max values listed are based on recent bookings made. You might find lower award rates when you search your dates. For example, the Conrad Makkah is listed at a minimum of 34,000 points. But, it's currently available for just 29,000 Hilton points per night on some dates:

Hilton Standard and Premium Room Award Pricing

The referenced list provides the standard room pricing for Hilton properties around the globe. However, Hilton allows Honors members to book other room types with points. Typically, if a room is available at a cash rate, the room will also be bookable as an award night as a premium room reward. This includes anything from rooms with a better view to suites.

Premium room reward pricing can vary significantly and are typically correlated with the cash rate. These awards may be both better or worse deals than standard room rewards. Here are sample premium room prices at the Conrad Bali:

One thing to note: to be able to use your Annual Weekend Night Reward certificates earned from Hilton credit cards, you must be able to book a standard room reward. If only premium room rewards are available, you will not be able to use the certificate.

Pay with Points and Money

Hilton offers a unique feature that allows you to price stays in both cash and points using a sliding scale. You can use any combination of points and money for your stay. Something to keep in mind is that Hilton waives resort fees for 100% award stays. So, you may forfeit some savings should you choose to use the Points and Money option.

Hilton 5th Night Free Benefit

One of the best perks of being an elite Hilton Honors member is the 5th Night Free benefit on award stays. This benefit allows you to get 5 award nights for the price of 4 on stays of 5+ consecutive nights at the same hotel.

Rather than simply pricing the fifth night at 0 points, however, Hilton gives this to you as a deduction of the average cost of one night. The 5th-night free benefit works on stays of five or more nights. You'll receive one free night for every five booked for stays of up to 20 nights.

Hilton Free Weekend Night Certificates

One of the benefits of the Hilton Aspire and Hilton Surpass cards is the ability to earn free weekend nights every year. These are redeemable at any Hilton property worldwide with a small list of exclusions. Free weekend night certificates can be used to book one night that is a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday night, and must be used for stays that occur prior to the expiration date listed on the certificate. To book a free weekend night, you need to call 1-800-4HONORS and have your certificate number ready.

Hilton Honors Award Sweet Spots

With over 6,000 properties around the globe, there are plenty of Hilton hotels where award nights are an excellent value. In general, Hilton awards that approach a 1.0 cent per point value are a great find. Here is a very brief list of 10 properties that stand out, including both some budget and luxury picks:

  • Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi — It goes without saying that Hilton's flagship Maldives property is an excellent award deal (rooms for $1,700?!). The trick is finding standard room availability.
  • DoubleTree by Hilton at the Entrance to Universal Orlando — Rooms are often over $200 per night, which makes the ~25,000 points per night award cost a good deal.
  • Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills — Rooms for $800 per night or 95,000 points? I'll choose points.
  • Hilton Garden Inn Hanoi — Rooms are often available from $80-100 per night after taxes, which makes the 10,000 points per night pricing a bargain.
  • Grand Wailea, a Waldorf Astoria Resort — Again, rooms for $800 or 95,000 points? Points make paradise free.
  • Hilton Sharm Waterfalls Resort — Yes, this Egypt resort may cost just $40 per night. But it is also just 5,000 points per night.
  • Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort — During peak time can easily hit the $450 per night mark. However, you can snag one for between 40,000 and 70,000 points.
  • Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam — Amsterdam can be crazy expensive. Rooms easily climb over $700. I'd happily book for 95,000 points per night.
  • Hilton Tokyo Narita Airport — Yes, it's a transit hotel. But when room prices approach $150, I'd happily shell out 20,000 Hilton points instead.
  • Conrad Bora Bora Nui — I'll take the garden view for just 89,000 points, thank you.

How to Book a Hilton Award

The easiest way to book a Hilton award stay is online at hilton.com or via the Hilton app. You don't need to log into your Honors account to search for award nights. However, you'll need to log in once you select a room and rate at a particular hotel.

To search for points rates, simply check the “Use Points” box in the Special Rates options. Enter your destination and dates and click the “Find a Hotel” button.

I did a sample search for London, England where there are numerous Hilton properties. Hilton recently changed its search display, and I'm still getting used to it. I have mixed feelings about the changes, although the list and map displaying together is a plus. You can see that there are 89 Hilton hotel options in the Greater London area.

Hilton hotel search results in London

Once you settle on a property, click the “View Rates” button. This will take you to the page displaying various award rates for different room types at this particular property. You'll see which are standard room rewards versus those that are premium room rewards.

Once you settle on a room type, you will have to log in (if not logged in already). Then you can enter the reservation details, use the Points and Money slider to customize the rate, and finalize the booking.

Other Ways to Use Hilton Points

Using Hilton points for free hotel stays will definitely provide the best value for your points. However, I want to touch on a number of other uses. You can redeem Hilton points for:

Pretty much all of these uses are a poor value compared to most hotel stays. Amazon lets you cash out Hilton points at 0.2 cents each. The value for redeeming points for Lyft rides is similar. Transferring miles to airlines or Amtrak yields just 1,500 miles/points per 10,000 Hilton points.

The only potential I really see in any of these is the ability to use Honors points for experiences, and that's because you can find some unique activities at times for decent value.

How to Achieve Hilton Honors Elite Status

Hilton offers a fairly strong elite program that rewards loyal members with perks such as complimentary breakfast, bonus points, room upgrades, and executive lounge access. The Honors loyalty program offers three elite tiers: Silver, Gold, and Diamond. In addition, there's a basic Member tier, which offers some basic perks

Hilton Elite Status Tiers and Benefits

The benefits you enjoy as a Hilton elite increase as you climb through the tiers from Silver to Gold to Diamond. Here is what you can expect at each of the three levels:

ELITE STATUS TIERREQUIREMENTSBENEFITS
MemberSign up for Hilton HonorsHilton Honors Discount Rate
Earn points toward free nights & more
No resort fees on reward stays
Digital Check-in option and Digital Key
Free WiFi
Silver Elite10 nights OR 4 stays OR 25,000 Base PointsAll Member benefits plus...
20% Bonus Points on stays (12 Honors points per $1 spent)
Fifth night free on reward stays
Two free bottles of water per stay
Elite Rollover Nights
Gold Elite40 nights OR 20 stays OR 75,000 Base PointsAll Silver benefits plus...
80% Bonus Points on stays (18 Honors points per $1 spent)
Space-available room upgrades, up to rooms on the executive level (at property discretion)
Free continental breakfast at select brands
Diamond Elite60 nights OR 30 stays OR 120,000 Base PointsAll Gold benefits plus...
100% Bonus Points on stays (20 Honors points per $1 spent)
Space-available room upgrades, up to standard suites (at property discretion)
Executive lounge access
Diamond status extension
Premium WiFi
48-hour room guarantee
Elite status gifting

Check out the Hilton Honors terms and conditions for more details.

Rollover Nights and 2021 Elite Status Updates

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hilton reduced its elite status requirements for 2021. First, Hilton extended whatever elite status you earned for 2020 over through 2021. Hilton also rolled over every night stayed in 2020 to 2021 to help you qualify for elite status next year. Furthermore, Hilton halved the qualification requirements to earn elite status. That means you earn top-tier Diamond with as few as 30 nights in 20221.

Hilton Honors Elite Status Requirements 2021

Rollover nights are normally a benefit of Hilton Honors elites. But usually you only get to roll over any nights accrued in excess of status requirements to the next year. In this case, Hilton has rolled over all nights to give everyone a jump start on Hilton Honors elite status for 2021.

Hilton Milestone Bonuses

Hilton offers milestone bonuses once you hit a certain number of nights stayed in a calendar year. The first bonus of 10,000 Honors points is awarded when you hit 40 nights. You'll earn an additional 10,000 Honors points for every 10 additional nights after 40 nights, with an extra 30,000 Honors points awarded when you hit 60 total nights.

Hilton Honors typical Milestone Bonuses

But, Milestone Bonuses will work a bit differently in 2021. You'll start earning bonus points at just 20 elite nights and score 10,000-point bonuses every 10 nights. When you hit 60 elite nights, you'll earn a 40,000-point bonus instead of just 10,000. That's a total of 90,000 bonus Hilton points by the time you reach 60 elite nights.

Hilton Honors 2021 Milestone Bonuses

Complimentary Elite Status from Co-Branded Credit Cards

All Hilton credit cards offer some level of complimentary elite status:

This status can be enjoyed for as long as your card remains open. You do not need to meet any stay or night requirements each year. The Hilton Aspire is the only card that offers Hilton Diamond status and the only hotel credit card that offers free top-tier elite status of any hotel chain.

Status Matching

Hilton also offers a status match program for elite members of other hotel programs. The requirements have changed over time as well. Currently, you can match to either Hilton Gold and Hilton Diamond — depending on your status in other programs. You'll need to provide your name, email, Honors number, and proof of elite status in the other program. You'll need to show proof of at least one stay in the other program within the past 12 months.

After signing up, you'll be automatically upgraded to Hilton Gold status. Typically you need to meet the challenge requirements of 10 nights within 90 days to extend this elite status. Or, if you pull off 18 nights in the trial period, you'll be upgraded to Diamond for the duration of that period.

Hilton Honors 2020 elite status match requirements

However, Hilton temporarily slashed the night requirements on its elite status challenge. If you sign up now, you need to earn just 5 nights within 90 days to keep Gold through March 31, 2023. Or, stay 9 nights to earn top-tier Diamond through March 31, 2023.

Hilton Honors 2021 elite status match requirements

Hilton Lifetime Diamond Status

Hilton offers a lifetime status program — but for only its Diamond elite tier. The requirements for lifetime Diamond elite status requires you to have earned Diamond status for at least 10 years (do not need to be consecutive) and either:

  • completed stays totaling at least 1,000 paid and/or reward nights
  • earned at least 2 million Base Points over the life of your membership

Hilton Honors Rules and Policies

Hilton Change and Cancellation Policies

Under normal circumstances, Hilton Advance Purchase reservations are completely non-refundable. These offer the lowest rate, but you are locked into your reservation and will forfeit the entire amount should you cancel. Like most hotel chains during the pandemic, Hilton's policies have changed several times during Covid. For the latest rules, check out Hiltons dedicated notifications page.

Previously, flexible rate Hilton stays (both cash and award) could be canceled free of charge up until 48 or 72 hours prior to arrival, depending on the property. However, there have been some outliers to these change and cancellation policies, with specific properties requiring even more advance notice. Change and cancellation policies have previously been up to the individual hotel.

Hilton Price Match Guarantee

Hilton offers a Price Match Guarantee that ensures you will find the lowest publicly-available rate through official Hilton booking channels. If you find a lower rate at another site, Hilton will both match the lower rate and provide an additional 25% discount off the lower rate.

However, there are some hoops to jump through. You must make your claim within 24 hours of booking through an official Hilton channel. The booking must also be for the same hotel, same room type, and have the same amenities (breakfast, view, check-in time, etc.). If there are any discrepancies between these, Hilton does not consider this a lower qualified price and will likely reject the Price Match.

If you think you have a Hilton Price Match Guarantee to claim, you can use the online claim form.

Hilton Points Expiration Policy

Hilton Honors points expire if your account doesn't have eligible activity in a 15-month period. However, points expiration is paused until December 31, 2021 due to COVID-19.

There are a number of ways to extend your Hilton Honors points expiration date. Most earning and redemption activity will extend the expiration date. However, points pooling and Membership Rewards transfers notably will not extend the expiration date.

Final Thoughts

Hilton Honors is an excellent hotel loyalty program and one from which I have personally gotten great value. With the ability to quickly rack up points from paid stays and promotions, a suite of excellent co-branded credit cards, and a solid elite program, Hilton Honors has often been a top choice. As an interesting metric, Hilton is the chain for which my ratio of award stays to paid stays is highest. A whopping 92% of my nights with Hilton have been on points. Now that is value.

Hilton Honors FAQ

Do Hilton Honors Points expire?

Hilton Honors points expire if your account doesn't have eligible activity in a 15-month period.

Can you book Hilton stays for friends and family?

Yes, you can book award nights for friends and family using your Hilton points. You'll need to call 800-446-6677 to make the reservation in their name. You can book paid stays for others, but their Hilton Honors number will need to be attached to earn the points.

How many Hilton points do you need for a free night?

Free nights with Hilton start at just 5,000 points at a handful of the lowest-tier properties, rising to 95,000 points at the highest standard tier. Premium rooms can cost even more.

Do you still receive elite benefits when booking through a third party?

No, you will not receive elite benefits when booking Hilton stays through a third-party.

How do I find my Hilton Honors membership number?

Your Hilton number will be emailed to you in your initial email communication when you join Hilton Honors. You can find your Hilton membership number in AwardWallet, if you've chosen to track your account, or pull up your card in the Hilton app.

For rates and fees of the cards mentioned in this post, please visit the following links: Hilton Honors American Express Card (Rates & Fees), Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card (Rates & Fees), and The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card (Rates & Fees)

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    The fairly consistent free breakfast at Hilton brands is an excellent perk, especially when it’s so accessible to obtain Gold status.

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    Thanks for this excellent guide. These days, it seems that Hilton has better value in terms of rewards for frequent travelers than does Marriott. I find the free breakfast for Gold particularly valuable.

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    Thanks for this. Very useful. I didn’t know that I could earn Hilton Honors points with Lyft. Am I right that I can double dip on Lyft: earn HH points plus the 10x UR for using my CSR?

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      It seems like it! The CSR 10X is based on the purchase posting to your credit card account. So, you should be able to get the Hilton bonus in addition to this.

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    The expiration pause is much more reasonable in comparison with the Marriott one, so far.

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    Very informative. Thank you.

    Years ago, Marriott Rewards was my favorite hotel loyalty program. I now much prefer Hilton Honors and IHG Rewards (the latter because my two cards provide Platinum status, 2 free anniversary nights, the 4th night free, and – for weeklong trips – 3 free nights on a seven night stay).

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    This is an amazing post, thanks for a comprehensive guideline. Hope to see a co-branded Canadian credit card with Hilton.

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    Love the Hilton Honors program and how easy it is to rack up large numbers of points – and u need large numbers of points to stay at desirable Hilton Hotels – but they are too chintzy with the annual free nites (only on weekends, excessive spend requirements for additional nites) compared to the Chase IHG and Hyatt cards….need to work on your game here Hilton!

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    Very interesting. This program was always one of the most difficult for me to understand, so many ways to score points and spend them lost me. Now I can start earning Hilton points. Thanks.

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    Thanks for the comprehensive Hilton Honors program guide. Definitely will refer back to this one when considering booking hilton stays!

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    Have to consider this promotion, very interesting. I didn’t know about Hilton Honors American Express Card that’s great!! and with no annual fee!!. Also the possibility to convert to airline miles with Virgin Atlantic is a good catch for me.

    Thanks you for sharing