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So what type of redemptions can you expect with 100,000 Honors points?
Free Room Nights
Unlike other hotel companies, Hilton properties use a dynamic award pricing system to determine how many points are needed to get a free hotel night. For example, hotels like Hilton’s Hampton Inn brand are often just 5,000 points per night, while top properties – think the ritzy Waldorf Astoria properties – are usually around 70,000 – 95,000 points per night.
Three important things to note about this system:
- You’ll end up paying more points during “peak times” for hotels. If you want to stay at the Waldorf Astoria in Park City, Utah during ski season, you’ll most likely get just one night’s stay out of those 100,000 rewards points.
- Silver, Gold, and Diamond Honors members get the fifth night free with a reward stay of five consecutive nights or more! Both of the Amex Hilton card offers come with either Silver or Gold status, so you would be eligible for the 5th night free.
- Don't have enough points for a free night? No problem. You can book another stay using a combination of points and money if you need too!
The big thing to determine for yourself is value. You’re not going to get a great value for 100,000 Honors points by using them all at once. Similarly, being realistic, you may not enjoy staying in all lower tier properties. So, let’s get a good look at some different ways you can use the points, realistically, to maximize their value.
The first thing to note is that top-tier hotels do not generally offer inexpensive rooms, but when they do, it can be better to pay cash. Paying between 50,000 and 80,000 points for an award stay is not a great value if the cash price of the hotel is discounted.
What is a good value is neither the cheap nor the expensive hotels. A stay at a hotel in the middle of Hiltons award price range can easily cost more than $400 a night depending on location. A few examples here:
- 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, potentially heading down to the beach for a long weekend for free.
- The DoubleTree by Hilton right in the heart of Times Square in New York City. You can snag a room for just 70,000 points per night at the lowest redemption level. If you have a lot of Hilton Honors points this can be an option, but I would rather redeem my points at a lower level property.
The middle of the point redemption rates – essentially, 10,000 through 30,000 points or so – are great options to stretch out your Hilton Honors points, particularly when you're able to redeem a luxury property for 30,000 points a night like at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Resort.
Get more details on Hilton’s point structure at their website.
Room Upgrades & On-Property Rewards
Want a top floor? Going on a romantic getaway and looking for a suite? Points can help here too! Best of all there are no blackout dates, so if you’ve got the points, Hilton will give you the premium upgrade. The number of points required to guarantee your upgrade can vary widely based on type of hotel, season, how crowded the hotel is at the time of your stay, and the elite tier of the other guests. Diamond status members get automatic upgrades, and Gold members usually do too. When you book, check the confirmation page to see what an upgrade would run you.
Spa and golf packages, bill credits and other room amenities are just some of the ways you can use your points. Again, points here can vary widely, so be sure to visit Honors’ website if you are considering using your points for on-property rewards.
A Bit About Status
It's worth noting that the no annual fee Hilton Honors American Express Card (Rates & Fees) comes with Silver elite status, which provides a 15% elite status bonus on points, every fifth night free, and complimentary access to fitness centers with two bottles of water.
The Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card and The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card come with Gold status. Hilton Gold status is generally considered the best mid-tier hotel elite status. You’ll get all the silver perks, plus 25% elite status bonus on all points earned, eCheck-in, complimentary Wi-Fi at select hotels, and what Hilton calls “bonus perks” at select hotels. And, Hilton Gold status comes with free breakfast and possible room upgrades. When you're upgraded to the executive level – you will receive access to the lounge.
And finally, the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card provides top-tier Diamond Elite status. You'll get all the perks of Silver and Gold status, plus higher priority room upgrades, 48-hour room guarantee, 50% point bonus, and more.
Travel & Transportation
Hilton Honors works with a number of different travel partners so you can take advantage of a lot of different travel and accommodations options outside of Hilton properties. With more than 60 air and rail partners, 100,000 Honors points can go pretty far. American Airlines, Amtrak, British Airways, Lufthansa, and more – the selection is endless. But transferring your Hilton points to an airline is never at a 1:1 ratio, so it isn't a good idea.
Alamo, Avis, Budget, National, Sixt, and Thrifty car rental locations also partner with Honors so you can rent or upgrade to that sports car you’ve always wanted to cruise around in. Itching to cruise on a boat instead? Honors has you covered – 120,000 points gets you $250 in Cruises Only certificate value to put toward over 6,500 sailings.
While it’s nice to be able to use your points with other partners, doing so does not really provide the best value for your points. We’d only recommend going this route if you have absolutely no other use for your points.
So What Do We Recommend?
The welcome offers on the co-brand Hilton cards make it easy to accumulate a big chunk of Hilton points. Hilton points can go a long way if you’re smart about how you spend them. It really comes down to what is most important to you, and your travel goals. You will get the most value out of redeeming your Hilton points for hotel award nights.
We’d spend our bonus points on a stay at a mid-tier hotel. The Park City Waldorf during the holidays is a great option for domestic travel.
There are many opportunities to spend your Honors points on shopping and dining, concert experiences, and even donating them to your favorite charity, but we recommend focusing on redeeming your points for hotels stays of your choice.
For rates and fees of the cards mentioned in this post, please visit the following links: Hilton Honors American Express Card (Rates & Fees)
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