Complete Guide to Hilton Honors Loyalty Program: Earning Points, Free Nights, Elite Status, and More

| Updated: July 11, 2019
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With over 5,600 hotels worldwide, Hilton Honors can be an incredibly valuable hotel loyalty program for rewards driven travelers.

Some of the top perks of the program include easy points earnings with multiple Hilton credit cards, quick ways to earn elite status, and valuable points redemption options for free nights.

In this definitive guide we cover everything you need to know about Hilton Honors, starting at the basics and diving into the nitty-gritty of the loyalty program. Feel free to skip ahead to sections in the article using the table of content below.

Everything You Need to Know About Hilton Honors

Ready to jump into the Hilton Honors program and start earning Hilton points toward free stays? The Hilton loyalty program is easy to understand with generous benefits at its elite tiers. Here’s a look at everything you should know.

Hilton Honors Program Basics

Before you start earning Hilton Honors points, you’ll want to know the basics of the program. Why should you bother to sign up? Where can you stay? Here’s an overview of Hilton Honors and its hotel portfolio.

What is Hilton Honors?

Hilton Honors is the world’s largest hotel loyalty program. Founded in 1989, the program allows you to earn Hilton Honors points that can be redeemed for stays at more than 5,600 properties across 100 countries. Hilton points earned can also be used for experiences, on-property rewards like all-inclusive resorts, shopping and dining. They can also be transferred to partner loyalty programs.

As a Hilton Honors member, you earn Hilton Honors points for stays at Hilton properties with the opportunity to earn more points for spending with partners, traveling, shopping, and dining.

This flexible rewards program is one of the most popular in the world with a base membership level and three elite levels that come with additional perks and higher rewards rates.

Depending on your Hilton Honors status level within the program, you can enjoy perks at Hilton properties like a free 5th night stay, complimentary upgrades, discounts, in-room Wi-Fi, complimentary breakfast, and more.

Hilton hotels brands in Hilton Honors loyalty program

All of Hilton’s 16 hotel brands included in the Hilton Honors loyalty program

Hilton Hotel Brand Overview

There are 16 Hilton hotel brands that participate in the Hilton Honors program, although two currently have reduced base and elite status rewards. The following is a guide to what hotels are part of Hilton Honors broken down by Hilton Honors hotel category ranging from luxury to limited service.

Luxury

Hilton Waldorf Astoria Bangkok

The luxurious Waldorf Astoria hotel in central Bangkok. Image courtesy of Hilton.

Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts
Footprint: 40 hotels in 14 countries
Formerly known as the Waldorf-Astoria Collection, the Waldorf Astoria brand is used for Hilton hotels with the highest level of service and luxury. The luxury brand was launched in 2006 and named for New York City’s flagship The Waldorf Astoria. To add a bit of confusion, however, some Hilton properties have the Waldorf name but are not part of the Waldorf Astoria brand like London’s Waldorf Hilton.

Hilton Conrad Tokyo executive lounge

With Diamond status you can enjoy the executive lounge at the Tokyo Conrad. Image courtesy of Hilton.

Conrad Hotels & Resorts
Footprint: 41 hotels in 19 countries
The Conrad brand may be luxurious but it’s more relaxed and modern than the Waldorf and aimed at a younger audience. Conrad properties don’t have the recognition of Waldorf Astoria but they offer great luxury options and locations. Most Conrad hotels are located in Asia in destinations like French Polynesia, Maldives, and Bali.

The Conrad Bora Bora Nui is a great example of what you can expect from Conrad. This renovated resort is located on a private island in French Polynesia with Presidential Villas and overwater villas on the white sand beach. The resort caters who value adventure and upscale amenities with experiences like swimming with sharks and hiking as well as the hilltop Hina Spa.

Hilton Biltmore Mayfair Room in London

Enjoy opulently designed rooms at The Biltmore, Mayfair located on London’s prestigious Grosvenor Square.Image courtesy of Hilton.

LXR Hotels & Resorts
The latest addition to the Hilton family is LXR Hotels and Resorts. The luxury brand debuted in 2018 with the former St Regis Dubai Al Habtoor City. Three Marriott hotels were rebranded in the Al Habtoor City development in Dubai: one became V Hotel Dubai, Curio Collection by Hilton, another the Hilton Dubai, and the third Habtoor Palace, LXR Hotels and Resorts.

Hilton has launched the LXR brand quietly. It was previously launched in 2005 after Wyndham International was acquired by the Blackstone Group. The hotels were later reflagged under the Hilton name.

Along with the Dubai property, the LXR brand debuted in Europe in 2019 with the Biltmore, Mayfair, formerly the Millennium Hotel London Mayfair.

Upper Upscale

Hilton Hotels & Resorts
Footprint: 570+ properties in 85 countries and territories in 6 continents

This is Hilton’s flagship brand and one of the world’s largest hotel brands. Hilton Hotels & Resorts are often located near airports, in city centers, near convention centers, and close to popular tourist destinations. Hilton Hotels & Resorts targets leisure and business travelers with full-service properties that feature swimming pools, restaurants, and other services.

Curio – A Collection by Hilton
Footprint: 85 hotels in 24 countries
The Curio Collection by Hilton was launched in 2014 to deliver the experience of an independent hotel with the benefits of Hilton Honors. The Curio Collection brand is designed to deliver a boutique hotel experience for travelers who want a unique, local experience. Curio properties are located in beach resorts and urban settings, each with its own personality that reflects the destination.

Hilton Honors Loyalty Program - Curio Brand

The Cincinnatian Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton is a great example of what sets Curio properties apart. The Cincinnatian Hotel has been a landmark in downtown Cincinnati since 1882 and features historic French Second Empire style architecture with other vintage touches like a marble staircase and stunning atrium.

Embassy Suites by Hilton
Footprint: 231 hotels in 6 countries

Embassy Suites by Hilton is one of Hilton’s older brands, originally created in the 1980s by the Holiday Corporation known for Holiday Inns. Embassy Suites Hotels joined Hilton in 1999 after a merger and now encompasses 230 locations in the U.S., Canada, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Embassy Suites properties are known for their classic atrium-style layout, although this isn’t common in newer Embassy Suites. This brand is known for its cooked-to-order breakfast and two-room suites that make it popular for extended stays and traveling families.

Upscale

Canopy by Hilton
Footprint: 9 hotels in 4 countries

Canopy by Hilton is one of the latest Hilton brands. While there are only a few Canopy properties now, with the first Canopy opening in Iceland, there are 19 more planned by 2021. Canopy by Hilton is aimed at a young crowd with “simple, guest-directed services,” cafes with light selections, free evening tastings, and Canopy bikes available for guest check-out.

DoubleTree by Hilton
Footprint: 494 hotels worldwide with 21 upcoming
DoubleTree focuses more on comfort and friendly service than flashy design. What DoubleTree lacks in sleekness it makes up for in reliability and affordability. The brand competes with sister chain Hilton Hotels & Resorts as a full-service chain. Most DoubleTree locations are independently owned and operated by there are some managed by Hilton.

Hilton Garden Inn
Footprint: 668 hotels worldwide
Hilton Garden Inn is one of Hilton’s largest brands, accounting for about 12% of its portfolio. The brand is a more upscale version of Hampton Inn with a focus on convenience rather than uniqueness. Hilton Garden Inn is aimed at families and budget travelers who want more comfort and reliability than limited service budget brands.

When comparing Hilton Garden Inn vs Hampton Inn, you’ll notice upgrades like a full restaurant and bar, room service, and a fitness center. Garden Inn rooms always have a microwave and mini fridge. Hampton Inn always offers free hot breakfast but Garden Inn only offers free continental breakfast and made-to-order eggs for Gold and Diamond Hilton Honors members; otherwise, breakfast costs between $10 and $15 at Garden Inn properties.

Homewood Suites by Hilton
Footprint: 450 hotels in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico

Homewood Suites by Hilton is an extended stay brand focused on value and convenience. Homewood properties are known for their spacious rooms, full kitchens, and amenities like free hot breakfast, on-site laundry, and complimentary evening social. Most locations also offer a media room, pool, sports court, and fitness center. Homewood is a good compromise between the amenities and space of an Airbnb and the full service of a Hilton hotel with separate sleeping and living areas and full-size appliances.

Tapestry Collection by Hilton
Footprint: 23 hotels in the U.S.
Tapestry Collection by Hilton was launched in 2017 to provide unique experiences and to meet the demand for original upscale hotels. Tapestry features 3- and 4-star hotels that are a more affordable version of Curio, the curated chain of 4- and 5-star hotels Hilton launched in 2014.

Upper Midscale

Hampton by Hilton
Footprint: 2,400+ hotels in 25 countries, mostly in the U.S.

Hilton owns more Hampton properties than it does flagship Hilton brand hotels. Hampton by Hilton properties are typically affordable with included Wi-Fi and free hot breakfast. Hampton properties are targeted to families and budget travelers who want a greater range of amenities than Hilton offers at its select service properties.

Select Service/Midscale

Hilton has recently launched two new hotel brands aimed at budget travelers. These limited service brands are designed to compete with La Quinta, Comfort Inn, and other economy chains.

There’s an important distinction made with these two brands in the Hilton Honors program: they earn reduced base and elite bonus points. Base points at Tru and Home2 properties are just 5 points per $1 instead of 10 points. At the elite tiers, the bonus percentage remains the same but the maximum you will earn is 10 points per $1 at Gold status instead of 20x points at other Hilton brands.

Tru by Hilton
Footprint: 30 hotels opening soon in the U.S.

Tru by Hilton is one of Hilton’s latest brands. This economy or select service brand is designed for budget-conscious travelers, especially younger travelers who want to spend $75 to $90 per night. The brand launched in 2016 with 132 locations signed or in some stage of approval with locations in a mix of airport, suburban, and urban locations across the United States.

Rooms at Tru properties are generally small without a closet and a chair with a small spot for a tablet rather than the standard hotel desk.

Home2 Suites by Hilton
Footprint: 45 hotels in the U.S. with 46 hotels planned

Home2 Suites by Hilton are extended-stay, midscale hotels offering studios and one-bedroom suites with in-suite kitchens, complimentary continental breakfast, and high-speed internet as well as outdoor spaces and fitness and laundry facilities. All Home2 Suites properties are also pet-friendly.

Micro Hotel

Motto by Hilton
Motto by Hilton was launched in 2018 to “deliver affordable style in coveted urban destinations.” Motto follows the trend of offering smaller rooms that are offset by large public spaces for socializing. Motto guest rooms will be an average of 163 square feet or about half the size of a Hampton by Hilton room. These rooms will have space-saving features like multifunctional furniture, bunk beds, and wall-beds.

The first Motto will open in the Marylebone area of London with an anticipated opening in 2020. There are also deals in place to open Motto properties in cities like San Diego, Boston, Dublin, Lima, and Savannah. As more Motto properties open, they will likely turn out to be the cheapest Hilton hotel available.

Other Participating Hilton Brands

Two other Hilton hotel brands participate in the Hilton Honors program.

Signia
Announced in February 2019, Signia is a new full-service brand focusing on hosting events and meetings. Each Signia hotel will offer at least 500 rooms and 75 square feet per key for flexible events and meeting space. Every Signia will also include a signature restaurant and bar. The meeting space is the centerpiece of Signia hotels with pre-function areas, large ballrooms, and meeting rooms.

There are currently three Signia properties in Indianapolis, Orlando, and Atlanta.

Hilton Grand Vacations
Footprint: 45 properties in 4 countries

Hilton Grand Vacations properties aren’t hotels; they’re timeshares. Resort villas are owned jointly by Hilton Grand Vacation Club (HGVC) members who have exclusive use of the property for a specific length of time, or timeshare. Club members can exchange intervals for vacations at affiliate properties around the world.

How to Join Hilton Honors

The Hilton Honors program is free to join here.

You can get started with just your name, address, and email to receive a Hilton Honors member number. The process only takes a few minutes!

Maximizing Hilton Honors Benefits

Here’s a look at the benefits you can enjoy in the Hilton Honors program and how to get the best value.

Hilton Honors Elite Status Levels

The Hilton Honors program comes with three status levels: a base level and three elite levels. The Hilton Honors levels are:

  • Blue
  • Silver
  • Gold
  • Diamond

The Blue status is the free, base level of the program. Because it’s free to join Hilton Honors, no one should stay in a Hilton hotel without a Hilton Honors membership as even the Blue level offers free Wi-Fi and late check-out.

As you progress to higher levels in the Hilton Honors program, you’ll earn more Hilton points on Hilton stays and enjoy a greater range of perks. Let’s explore the perks of Hilton elite status and how to get the most value from your membership.

Hilton Honors Elite Status Benefits

The Hilton Honors program comes with a wide range of benefits for elite status members — plus interesting perks offered just with the free membership like late check-out. To help you maximize your Hilton Honors benefits, here are the perks you can earn and how to use them.

Points Toward Free Nights
Tiers: Blue, Silver, Gold, and Diamond

All Hilton Honors members earn 10x base points on Hilton stays (5x points at Tru and Home2 hotels). With elite status, you’ll earn a bonus on your base points:

  • Silver: 20% bonus (12x points)
  • Gold: 80% bonus (18x points)
  • Diamond: 100% bonus (20x points)

All Hilton points are the same but the base points you earn count toward your elite status. If you don’t get automatic Hilton Honors elite status from your co-branded Hilton Honors American Express card — or you want to upgrade your elite status with Hilton stays — you will need to reach a certain threshold with these base points or by staying with Hilton for a certain number of nights.

No Resort Fees on Reward Stays
Tiers: Blue, Silver, Gold, and Diamond
When you redeem Hilton points for hotel stays, you won’t pay any resort fees or taxes on your award. The only taxes you will pay are local taxes in some areas that are assessed on a per person or per room basis. This isn’t always the case with hotel loyalty programs and it can add up. It isn’t uncommon to see resort fees in popular destinations topping $30 to $40 per night on top of the taxes you will face on a long award booking in a higher-category hotel.

5th Award Night Free
Tiers: Silver, Gold, and Diamond
With any elite status in Hilton Honors, you can get every 5th night free on award stays up to 20 nights. Hilton uses an “average award cost” system that you should understand to make the most of this benefit.

Instead of just making the 5th night free when you book your award stay, Hilton averages the nightly rate of your stay across all nights then deducts the cost of one average night.

For example, let’s say you’re staying five nights: 3 nights are peak nights at 40,000 points each night and 2 nights are off-peak and 30,000 per night. Together, you will need 180,000 points before the 5th free night discount.

The average number of Hilton points needed for each night of your stay is 36,000 which is subtracted from your total. With your 5th free night benefit, the total number of points you will need is 144,000.

This benefit only applies for Standard Room awards. It can’t be used on Points & Money awards, premium rooms, or upgrades.

Elite Tier Rollover Nights
Tiers: Silver, Gold, and Diamond
With elite status, any qualifying nights above those required to qualify for your elite status at the end of the year will be rolled over and count toward your elite status qualification for the next year.

If you hit Silver status with the required 10 nights but have 30 night stays at the end of the year, 20 nights will roll over the next year to help you earn the next status.

Room Upgrades
Tiers: Gold and Diamond
With Hilton Honors Gold status, you can get free room upgrades up to Executive Level rooms. With Hilton Honors Gold status, you can qualify for free upgrades up to 1-bedroom Suites. These upgrades aren’t guaranteed, unfortunately; they’re space-available upgrades. Hotels can use their discretion as to what is considered a “preferred” room and upgrades aren’t a sure bet.

To take advantage of room upgrades, make sure you ask for one politely at check-in. Ask the check-in clerk if there’s a better room available and mention if it looked like there was good availability online. You may have the best luck upgrading in higher-category hotels during the peak season as they’ll want to open up standard rooms which are more likely to sell.

Complimentary Breakfast
Tiers: Gold and Diamond
The complimentary breakfast is one of the most popular benefits of the Hilton Honors program and one of the most valuable in terms of immediate savings. This perk is great for frequent travelers, families, and budget travelers with a value that can be as high as $36 per person per night for Waldorf Astoria hotels. Even at lower-category hotels, it’s definitely nice to get a free hot breakfast included with your stay.

Hilton Gold and Diamond status both include the complimentary breakfast perk but there are a few things to know.

The complimentary breakfast benefit is part of the MyWay hotel benefit program. In most cases, you’ll need to choose between a complimentary breakfast and bonus points before you check in, although you can change your choice after check-in.

If you’re a Diamond status member, you will get both complimentary breakfast and bonus points at many brands. We’ll go into more detail about the breakfast options and MyWay benefits in the “MyWay Hotel Benefits” section below.

MyWay Bonus Points
Tiers: Gold and Diamond
If you don’t plan to use the complimentary breakfast benefit, you can usually choose to receive bonus points for your stay instead. Depending on the hotel brand and your elite status, you’ll get anywhere from 250 to 1,000 or 2,000 bonus points for your stay. Just note that the bonus is per stay, not per night, and you’ll need to choose the bonus points through your Hilton Honors account.

In the “MyWay Hotel Benefits” section, we’ll break down the bonus points per brand and Hilton Honors elite status.

Milestone Bonuses
Tiers: Gold and Diamond
How often do you stay at Hilton brands per year? If you stay at least 40 nights, you can earn unlimited points with Milestone Bonuses. This perk is available to Gold and Diamond elite status members.

You’ll get 10,000 Milestone bonus points once you hit 40 nights in a calendar year plus 10,000 more bonus points for every 10 nights after that. Reach 60 nights in a year and get an extra 30,000 Hilton points.

Premium Wi-Fi
Tiers: Diamond
All Hilton Honors tiers include free in-room and lobby Wi-Fi but the Diamond tier comes with free premium internet. Unfortunately, there’s no way to know exactly how fast the premium internet will be — or if it will necessarily be faster than the standard internet. Hilton says the premium internet for Diamond status members is up to 3x faster than the standard speed but this will vary by hotel.

Executive Lounge Access
Tiers: Diamond
One of the best perks of Hilton Diamond member status is guaranteed Executive Lounge access at Hilton hotels. The Executive Lounge is a relaxing place to unwind with a complimentary drink, enjoy hors d’oeuvres while catching up on work, or grab a quiet, hot breakfast. Because the Executive Lounges are usually filled with frequent travelers and executives, peace and quiet prevail.

As a Hilton Diamond member, you have guaranteed lounge access, even if you do not book or get upgraded to a room on the Executive Level.

Note that you can get access to the Executive Lounge as a Hilton Gold member but only if receive a room upgrade to the Executive Floor.

Hilton hotels with Executive Lounges include the following brands. Just keep in mind not all hotels at these brands have Executive Lounges.

  • Conrad Hotels & Resorts
  • Curio – A Collection by Hilton
  • Hilton Hotels & Resorts
  • DoubleTree by Hilton
  • LXR Hotels & Resorts
  • Waldorf Astoria

Diamond Status Extension
Tiers: Diamond
If you don’t travel often, you can still enjoy the perks of Diamond status with the Diamond Status Extension feature. Diamond status members can extend their Diamond status for a full year without meeting the minimum requirements as long as the following are met:

  • You are a current Diamond status member, and
  • You have had Diamond status for 3 years (it does not need to be consecutive), and
  • You have at least 250 paid and/or award lifetime night stays OR
  • You have at least 500,000 lifetime base points

If you choose to extend your Diamond status, you can only do it once. This benefit is worthwhile if you don’t travel as often as you used to and you know you won’t meet the requirements for Diamond status in the upcoming year.

48-Hour Room Guarantee
Tiers: Diamond
An often overlooked perk of Hilton Diamond status is the exclusive 48-hour room guarantee benefit. This benefit guarantees you a room even if the hotel is fully booked as long as you book at least 48 hours in advance.

While there’s a lot of fine print and exceptions — and a hefty upcharge — the benefit can be very convenient.

To take advantage of the benefit, you’ll need to keep in mind the following restrictions:

  • You must book a minimum of 48 hours in advance
  • The hotel can’t be more than 10% overbooked (or 2% for some properties)
  • The room has to be booked with cash, not a certificate or points
  • There can’t be an “extraordinary demand” which usually refers to major events or holiday celebrations like the World Cup or New York’s Eve, for example
  • You can only book one room per Hilton Diamond member
  • Some properties may be excluded. These are usually in exotic locations for which people plan far in advance like the Conrad Maldives Resort & Spa. Home2 Suites by Hilton and Homewood Suites by Hilton properties are also excluded.
  • You can book over the phone or online

When the option is available, you can expect the cost to be significantly higher than the regular rate.

Elite Status Gifting
Tiers: Diamond
Another one of the Hilton Diamond status benefits you may overlook is the ability to gift elite status to friends and family. If you stay 60 or more nights in a calendar year, you can gift Gold elite status to any other Hilton Honors member. You can gift Diamond status to anyone once you stay 100 or more nights. The gifted status will be good for a full year.

If you have already gifted elite status to someone at the Gold mark, they will be upgraded to Diamond once you reach 100 nights.

How to Earn Hilton Honors Elite Status

There are two ways to earn elite status in Hilton Honors: through Hilton stays or by earning free Hilton status with a cobranded Hilton Honors Amex credit card. This Hilton elite status guide will go over how to earn each level of Hilton Honors status.

Hilton Honors Silver Status:
To get Hilton Silver status, you must complete any 1 of the following during a single calendar year:

  • Stay 10 nights with Hilton
  • Complete 4 Hilton stays
  • Earn 25,000 Hilton base points (with a Blue base status, you earn 10x points per $1 at Hilton. This would require spending $2,500 at the Blue level)
  • Be a Hilton Honors Amex cardholder

The standard Hilton Honors Amex credit card has no annual fee and includes free Hilton Silver status. With the card, you will maintain at least Silver status as long as your credit account is open.

Hilton Honors Gold Elite Status:
Achieving Hilton Honors Gold status requires completing any 1 of the following during a single calendar year:

  • Stay 40 nights
  • Complete 20 Hilton stays
  • Earn 75,000 Hilton points
  • Be a Hilton Honors Amex Ascend or Hilton Honors Amex Business cardholder

Hilton Honors Diamond Status:
There are no Hilton Honors levels above Diamond: this level comes with the greatest benefits in the program. To achieve Diamond status, you must complete any 1 of the following during a single calendar year:

  • Stay 60 nights
  • Complete 30 Hilton stays
  • Earn 120,000 Hilton points
  • Be a Hilton Honors Amex Aspire cardholder

Hilton Honors Elite Status Value

Despite the low value of Hilton points and how easy it is to earn elite status in Hilton Honors, elite status actually has a lot of value — but only once you reach Gold or Diamond level.

Hilton Honors Silver benefits include a 20% bonus on points for Hilton stays (which is just an extra 1-2x points depending on the Hilton property), two free bottles of water per stay, and the ability to get a 5th standard reward night free.

Hilton Honors benefits really start to pay off at Gold level. Hilton Honors Gold status arguably offers the best value because it’s easy to reach and offers most of the benefits you’re probably looking for. Hilton Diamond, by comparison, requires an extra 20 nights per year or signing up for the card with a $450 annual fee (even though it comes with great perks that can more than offset that cost).

Hilton Honors Gold benefits include a big bonus on your base points (80%), the ability to earn Milestone bonuses, complimentary room-available upgrades, Hilton MyWay Hotel benefits, and one of the best values around: complimentary breakfast.

The Hilton Honors free breakfast with Gold and Diamond level can be worth anywhere from $5.95 to $36 per person per day for you and your guest.

Hilton Honors Diamond status is harder to earn and its benefits pay off the most for very frequent travelers. You only get another 20% bonus on your points over Gold but better room upgrades, lounge access, and elite status gifting. If lounge access doesn’t matter to you — or you don’t even stay at Hilton properties with Executive lounges — you should be just fine at Gold level.

MyWay Hotel Benefits

One of the nicest perks of the Hilton Honors program? The MyWay benefits. This feature lets you choose the benefits and upgrades you receive during your Hilton stays based on your preferences.

To enjoy MyWay benefits, you will need Gold or Diamond Hilton status.

Benefits vary by elite status and brand; some benefits are automatic but some require making a choice before check-in. For example, you may have a choice between a hot breakfast or extra points.

You can always choose to receive a MyWay option or extra bonus points or miles on qualifying Hilton stays.

To choose your MyWay Earning Style, you’ll need to log into your Hilton Honors member account. Choose “Edit Preferences” then select “Change Earning Style” under “MyWay Earning Style Preferences.”

You can choose points to earn Hilton stays faster or select the complimentary breakfast or welcome gift.

Here’s how the MyWay benefits work by Hilton brand and elite status.

Waldorf Astoria

  • Space-available upgrade
  • Gold: Choice of 1,000 Hilton points per stay OR a daily continental breakfast at the hotel’s restaurant for you and a registered guest
  • Diamond: 1,000 Hilton bonus points per stay AND daily continental breakfast at the hotel’s restaurant for you and your registered guest

LXR Hotels & Resorts, Curio – A Collection by Hilton, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Tapestry Collection by Hilton, DoubleTree by Hilton, and Hilton Hotels & Resorts

  • Space-available upgrade
  • Gold: Choice of 1,000 Hilton points per stay OR complimentary continental breakfast for you and a registered guest each day
  • Diamond: Executive Floor Lounge Access at selection properties AND 1,000 Hilton bonus points per stay AND complimentary continental breakfast for you and your registered guest each day

** Note that not all hotels in these brands have Executive Lounges. As a Diamond member, you will have access to the Executive Floor Lounge, when available, even if you aren’t upgraded to a room on the executive floor. Hilton Executive Lounges generally have several beverage and food offerings throughout the day with breakfast, hors d’oeuvres, and cocktails.

Canopy by Hilton

  • Space-available upgrade
  • Gold: Choice of 500 Hilton bonus points OR complimentary continental breakfast for you and a registered guest each day
  • Diamond: 1,000 Hilton bonus points per stay AND complimentary continental breakfast for you and your registered guest each day

Embassy Suites Hotels

  • Gold: 500 Hilton bonus points or two snacks per stay
  • Diamond: 1,000 Hilton bonus points per stay OR three snack or refreshment choices per stay

Hilton Garden Inn

  • Gold and Diamond: 750 Hilton bonus points or complimentary hot cooked-to-order breakfast for you and a registered guest each day

Hampton by Hilton

  • Gold and Diamond: 250 Hilton points per stay or choice of snack and non-alcoholic beverage

Tru by Hilton

  • Gold and Diamond: 250 Hilton bonus points per stay or choice of snack and 2 bottles of water per stay

Homewood Suites by Hilton

  • Gold and Diamond: 250 Hilton bonus points per stay or two bottles of water and a “sweet snack” per stay

Home2 Suites by Hilton

  • Gold and Diamond: 100 Hilton bonus points per stay or choice of bottled water and snack per stay

Hilton Grand Vacations

  • Gold: 1,000 bonus Hilton points per stay
  • Diamond: 2,000 bonus Hilton points per stay

How to Earn Hilton Honors Points

Now that you’re ready to start earning Hilton points, let’s explore your options ranging from Hilton stays and credit card spending to partner transfers.

Hilton Honors Credit Cards

Hilton Honors co-branded American Express cards offer one of the best ways to earn Hilton points on Hilton stays, restaurants, and more. Depending on the card, you can earn up to 14x Hilton Honors points on Hilton stays plus boosted points in bonus categories like U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations.

There are four Hilton Honors credit cards that earn Hilton points.

  • Hilton Honors American Express earns 7x Hilton points at Hilton and 5x points at U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations, and U.S. supermarkets.
  • Hilton Honors American Express Ascend earns 12x points at Hilton and 6x points at U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations, and U.S. supermarkets.
  • Hilton Honors American Express Business earns 12x points at Hilton and 6x points at on select travel and business purchases, U.S. shipping, U.S. gas stations, and U.S. wireless phone service
  • Hilton Honors American Express Aspire earns 14x points at Hilton and 7x points at restaurants, directly booked car rentals, and flights booked directly or through Amex Travel.

All Hilton Honors credit cards also earn 3x points on all other purchases outside bonus categories.

In addition to earning Hilton points for Hilton stays and regular spending, you can get a sizeable welcome bonus. Welcome bonuses for Hilton Honors American Express cards can range from 50,000 to 150,000 Hilton points which is worth $250 to $750 when Hilton points are valued at 0.5 cents each.

The best part of using a Hilton Honors credit card to earn Hilton bonus points? The points are stacked for Hilton purchases with Hilton Honors base points, elite status bonuses, bonus promotions, and Milestone bonuses.

American Express Membership Rewards Credit Cards

You can also use other American Express cards to earn Hilton points, although this requires transferring Membership Rewards points to the Hilton Honors program. The standard transfer rate is 1 Membership Rewards point to 2 Hilton Honors points.

Before doing this, consider whether you’re really getting a good value. Membership Rewards points are usually valued at 1.8 cents each compared to 0.5 cents each for Hilton Honors points. You may get a targeted American Express transfer bonus of up to 50% that gives you a better value. There are also some cases in which you’ll get an even better value, such as using the points on a 5-night Hilton stay to qualify for a free 5th night and waived resort fees.

Earning Points From Hilton Stays

As a Hilton Honors member, you’ll earn double-digit points for all Hilton stays. The Hilton points you earn will depend on your status in the program. You’ll earn two types of points through the Hilton Honors program for Hilton stays: base points and elite status bonus points.

Base Points

At most Hilton brands, you’ll earn 10x base points on Hilton stays. These base points are awarded regardless of your Hilton Honors status. The only exceptions on the base points you earn are Tru by Hilton and Home2 Suites by Hilton; at these properties, you earn just 5x base points.

Base points are just like any other Hilton points you earn except when it comes to earning elite status. You can earn Gold and Diamond status through base points, however bonus points won’t count. This will only matter if you don’t get automatic Hilton elite status with a Hilton Honors American Express card.

Elite Status Bonuses

Once you reach elite status, you’ll earn an elite status bonus on the base points for your stay.

  • Silver: 20% bonus (12x points)
  • Gold: 80% bonus (18x points)
  • Diamond: 100% bonus (20x points)

If you spend $200 on a one-night stay at a Hilton hotel, here’s what you can earn:

  • Blue: 2,000 base Hilton points
  • Silver: 2,400 Hilton points (2,000 base points + 20% bonus)
  • Gold: 3,600 Hilton points (2,000 base points + 80% bonus)
  • Diamond: 4,000 Hilton points (2,000 base points + 100% bonus)

Hilton Promotions

Check for a Hilton promotion to earn even more bonus points before a Hilton stay or points redemption. Hilton often has a promotion running that awards bonus points for staying a certain number of nights during the promotion, for example, or doubling the amount of points you earn through Hilton Honors. Sometimes Hilton even offers a promotion to give you a bonus when you buy Hilton points. In this case, instead of paying 1 cent each for Hilton points, you can get points for 0.5 cents each to help you top off your account before booking a stay.

Amex Offers

Amex Offers is a program available to American Express cardholders with targeted offers to earn extra points or cash back for spending at specific merchants. Because American Express and Hilton are partners, it’s not uncommon to see Hilton offers turn up in the Amex Offers program.

For example, you may get anywhere from $50 to $200 back through Amex Offers for spending a specific amount at one of several Hilton brands or the offer may be limited to just one or two Hilton brands such as $100 back for spending $500 at Conrad or Waldorf Astoria. You’ll need to sign up for the offer, pay attention to the fine print, and book directly or through the Amex Offers link to receive the bonus.

Other Ways to Earn Hilton Honors Points

Aside from Hilton stays and American Express options, there are plenty of other ways to earn Hilton points quickly. From shopping and dining to transferring points from partner programs, here’s a quick overview of your other earning options with Hilton Honors.

  • Earn Hilton Honors points for travel. You can earn Hilton points by booking a cruise through the Hilton portal, renting a car with a partner rental agency, and signing up for Priority Pass.
  • Dining. Sign up for the free Hilton Honors Dining program to get bonus Hilton points when you use your linked card.
  • Shopping. Get bonus Hilton points for shopping at partner retailers like Vinesse Wines or taking advantage of Amex Offers.
  • Transfer points and miles to Hilton. Hilton Honors partners with loyalty programs like Diners Club, Hawaiian, Virgin Atlantic, and Amtrak. You can transfer points or miles from these programs and Amex Membership Rewards to Hilton Honors — but this option usually has a very low value.
  • Pool points. You can pool Hilton Honors points with up to 10 people to save up for a group trip or trade points.
  • Buy points. While it’s usually not worth it unless there’s a promotion or you’re close to the amount of points you need, you can buy Hilton Honors points directly through the program, usually for 1 cent each.

This is just a short overview of the ways you can earn Hilton points. Read our in-depth guide to the Top Ways to Earn Hilton Honors Points for more information and tips to maximize your earning.

How to Use Hilton Honors Points

Here are the ways you can use Hilton Honors points, including how to get the best value by earning free Hilton nights.

Redeem Hilton Honors Points for Reward Stays

You will usually get the highest value for your Hilton points when you redeem them for free Hilton stays. Here’s how to make the best use of Hilton points and redeem Hilton points for award nights.

Standard Room Reward

In most cases, you’ll get the best value for your points when you redeem Hilton points for standard rooms. If you’re a Gold or Diamond Hilton member, you can even receive free upgrades to a better room without spending extra points for a premium room. The downside is your elite status doesn’t guarantee you an upgraded room.

Premium Room Reward

When you search for a room to redeem your points, you have the option of booking a Premium Room Award. These rooms will be designated in the search results. Premium rooms require more points than standard rooms and it’s usually not worth it unless you need the extra space.

If you book a premium room, just note that the 5th night free benefit only applies when you book a Standard Room Reward stay.

Points & Money Rewards

One of the best additions to the Hilton Honors program in recent years is the ability to use a combination of money and points to book award stays. Hilton is also unique because it doesn’t require a fixed number of cash and points; you can choose how many points you want to use with a slider.

There’s a 5,000-point minimum for Points & Money stays but you’ll still earn Hilton Honors points on the cash portion of your stay.

When you use the Points & Money option, you may get an even better value than booking with points or cash alone. Before booking a Hilton stay with cash or points, experiment with the Points & Money option to see which booking option gives you the highest value for your Hilton points.

How Many Points Do You Need for a Free Night?

How many Hilton points for a free night stay will depend on the hotel, the room, and the date but Hilton reward stays do begin as low as 5,000 points per night and go up to 95,000 points per night.

Most Hilton properties require about 20,000 to 60,000 per night for a free stay.

Unfortuately, Hilton Honors no longer publishes an award chart thanks to a switch to dynamic pricing. You won’t know an individual hotel’s maximum rate. Hilton does divide its global properties into categories ranging from its micro hotel and select service tiers to luxury properties like Conrad and Waldorf Astoria. Each category requires an increasing number of Hilton points to book a stay.

The best way to figure out how many points you will probably need for each property is to use the Hilton Honors Points Explorer tool.

How To Book a Free Night Reward

Booking a Hilton Honors free night reward is easy and can be done over the phone, online, or through your Hilton Honors app.

Online or Hilton Honors App

The easiest way to book a free Hilton stay is to log into your Hilton Honors account and search for an available property. Make sure you select “Use Hilton Honors points.”

Every room listing in the search results will show the amount of Hilton points you need to complete your stay and the regular room rate so you can see the value of your points.

After booking a stay, your Hilton points will be automatically deducted.

By Phone

You can also book a Hilton Honors free night by calling 1-800-4HONORS. Just make sure to tell the agent you want to use Hilton Honors points to book a stay. You will be able to review your reservation through your Hilton Honors account.

On Property Rewards

Hilton points aren’t just for free nights; you can redeem Hilton points for a range of on-property amenities at Hilton brands around the world. On-property rewards depend on the property but they can range from vacation packages with dining and spa treatments to golf rewards.

Transfer Hilton Honors Points to Partners

Hilton Honors has a large network of rail, air, and credit card partners but transferring Hilton points to another loyalty program should usually be avoided. These transfers almost always have a poor value. For example, you need to transfer 10,000 Hilton Honors points for just 1,000 Mileage Plan miles on Alaska. Even considering the higher value of Alaska miles (1.9 cents each compared to about 0.5 cents each for Hilton points), it’s still a bad deal.

If you do decide to top off your miles or points in another program with Hilton points, you can transfer Hilton points to partners such as Delta, United, Miles & More, and American Airlines.

You can see the full list of airline and rail partners here.

Other Ways to Use Hilton Honors Points

In addition to Hilton stays, on-property rewards, and transfer partners, there are still other ways to use Hilton points through the Hilton Honors program. Some of these options have a better value than others.

You can redeem Hilton points for:

  • Purchases on Amazon. Do this by selecting Hilton Honor points as your payment method when you check out. You’ll get a value of just 0.2 cents per point with this option.
  • Event credits. You can redeem Hilton points for discounts on Hilton events like a wedding to receive a voucher but this has a very low value of 0.2 cents per point.
  • Hilton Experiences. This is one of the more interesting options for using Hilton Honors points. You can redeem points for experiences like concert tickets, sporting events, skydiving, spa visits, and more. The value of your points will depend on your experience and whether you bid or redeem your points outright.
  • Car rentals. Hilton points can be used to book car rentals with National, Enterprise, or Alamo but usually with a value of 0.2 cents per point.
  • Cruise discounts. Points can be used through CruisesOnly.com to get discounts on a cruise but the value is just 0.2 cents per point.

How Does Hilton Honors Compare to Other Hotel Loyalty Programs

Before committing yourself to a hotel loyalty program, you need to consider not only the benefits it offers during your stays but the value of your rewards, the property’s footprint, and how easy it is to earn and redeem points. Here’s how Hilton Honors stacks up against the three other giants in the hotel loyalty industry.

Hilton Honors Vs Marriott Bonvoy

Hilton and Marriott are two of the giants in the hotel world and there are plenty of divisive opinions about which loyalty program is really the best. This is made even more confusing by the recent Marriott-Starwood merger.

Marriott and Hilton have similar footprints with between 5,500 and 6,000 hotels in about 110 countries. Hilton has a greater range of price points, especially in the mid-range to upscale properties while Marriott has more luxury properties.

In terms of elite status, Marriott Bonvoy comes out ahead in many of the benefits it offers although Hilton elite status is easier to earn and comes with the Hilton Honors free breakfast — a perk you’ll probably use a lot. You can use a Hilton Honors credit card to automatically get top-tier Gold status whereas Marriott requires that you actually earn the top three levels.

It’s easier to earn Hilton points than Marriott points and you’ll usually get a better value when redeeming points for hotel stays — even though Marriott points are worth a bit more. The Hilton program definitely has the more robust co-branded credit card lineup.

Hilton Honors Vs Hyatt World of Hyatt

World of Hyatt may be a smaller program than Hilton Honors but it still has a lot to offer. In addition to earning free Hyatt stays, you can earn Club lounge access and suite upgrades. Hyatt also has among the most valuable points in the hotel loyalty business.

Hyatt only has around 740 properties in 57 countries which is no comparison to Hilton but their portfolio includes some great luxury properties like Park Hyatt Sydney.

It’s harder to earn elite status and points in World of Hyatt than Hilton Honors but the program has a very impressive award chart. World of Hyatt award nights cost 5,000 to 40,000 points compared to up to 95,000 with Hilton Honors.

World of Hyatt Award Chart

You can stay at Hyatt’s top-rated luxury properties like Park Hyatt New York for just 30,000 per night for a standard room. At this property, rooms can go for up to $1,000 a night. You can also find great deals on the other end of the spectrum with low-category hotels costing just 5,000 to 15,000 per night.

If you don’t need the wide variety of properties and destinations that Hilton delivers, World of Hyatt offers a great value.

Hilton Honors Vs IHG Rewards Club

InterContintental Hotels Group offers a great value if you travel frequently for fun or business with a large portfolio that includes off-the-beaten-path areas in the U.S. where Hilton properties may not be easy to find as well as luxury destinations around the world.

The IHG program is a bit confusing as IHG has two parallel but different rewards programs: the Intercontinental Ambassador program (with paid membership) only valid at Intercontinental hotels and the IHG Rewards Club. Your IHG Rewards Club membership isn’t recognized at Intercontinental hotels even though you still earn points.

Hilton and IHG are comparable in terms of their global footprint except Hilton offers more high-end properties, especially in top global destinations while IHG has a strong small-town presence in the U.S.

In many regards, IHG Rewards Club and Hilton Honors are similar. Both have similar elite tiers and credit cards that offer automatic elite status, although Hilton Honors has a much more robust credit card line-up. IHG and Hilton points are also close in value.

Hilton makes it much easier to earn points and elite status, but IHG Rewards Club has more affordable award nights. IHG Rewards Club is a good bet if you want a mix of luxury and budget-friendly properties like Holiday Inn. Still, Hilton Honors offers the stronger program with a greater variety of luxury and mid-range properties in great locations plus an excellent line-up of credit cards.

FAQ

When do Hilton Honors points expire?

Hilton Honors points expire after 12 months with no activity on your account. You can keep Hilton points from expiring by staying at a Hilton property, earning Hilton points in some other way such as using a Hilton Honors American Express card, or redeeming Hilton points.

How do I find my Hilton Honors number?

You can find your Hilton Honors member number in several ways:

  • From your Hilton Honors account, select “My Account Overview” to see your account number.
  • Call Hilton Honors Customer Service at 1-800-548-8690 to request your Hilton Honors number.
  • Search your email for a Hilton Honors welcome or confirmation email.

Can I book a free night for another person (family or friend)?

Yes, you can book Hilton stays with your Hilton points for someone else. You can call Hilton Honors at 1-800-446-6677 to book under someone else’s name or you can do it through your Hilton Honors account in which case you can add the other person as the registered guest.

Can I transfer Hilton Honors points to someone else?

Hilton points can be transferred to any other Hilton Honors member for free with no fees at all. You can also share and pool Hilton Honors points with up to 10 other people in a single shared pool.

Which credit cards earn Hilton Honors points?

There are four co-branded Hilton Honors American Express cards that directly earn Hilton points ranging from a standard card with no annual fee to a premium card with a $495 annual fee. Learn more about the Hilton Honors credit cards here.

How much are Hilton Honors points worth?

In general, Hilton Honors points are worth about 0.5 cents each. You’ll usually get the best value by redeeming points for Hilton stays. You can learn more about how to use Hilton Honors points and their potential here.

How many Hilton Honors credit cards can I have at once?

All Hilton Honors American Express cards are considered separate products. This means you can sign up for and earn the welcome bonus for each card. However, you are typically limited to no more than 5 American Express cards at once whether they are personal or business cards. Charge cards like the American Express Gold card aren’t included.

What are Hilton Honors elite status tiers?

There are three elite tiers in the Hilton Honors program: Silver, Gold, and Diamond. Each level comes with unique benefits and elite status bonuses on top of the base points you earn for Hilton stays. The section on maximizing Hilton Honors benefits goes over all three elite status tiers.

How do I get Hilton Honors elite status?

There are two ways to get Hilton Honors elite status: staying at Hilton properties enough to reach the thresholds for each level (starting at 4 stays or 10 nights in a calendar year for Silver status) or signing up for a Hilton Honors American Express card which comes with automatic Hilton Honors elite status. Learn more here.

What is the difference between Hilton Honors base points and bonus points?

There are two types of points in the Hilton Honors program: base points which are earned by all Hilton Honors members for Hilton stays and bonus points which are awarded on top of base points through a range of other earning opportunities like using a Hilton Honors credit card. The only unique thing about base points is they can be used to qualify for Hilton Honors elite status.

Do I contact Hilton Honors customer service?

From the United States or Canada, you can reach Hilton Honors toll-free at 1-800-548-8690. Outside the U.S. and Canada, call 1-800-449-4155. The Hilton Honors number for reservations is 1-800-445-8667.

How many Hilton Hotels are there in the world?

Hilton currently has over 5,500 properties in more than 109 countries and territories among an ever-increasing number of brands. Hampton by Hilton is the largest brand with more than 2,400 locations although most are in the United States. Hilton Hotels & Resorts has just 570 or so properties but it’s one of the most widespread brands with a presence in 85 countries and territories.

Does Hilton Honors have an award chart?

Hilton Honors no longer has a published award chart thanks to its move toward dynamic pricing. The best way to find out how many points you will need for a property is using the Points Explorer tool. You can search by city and property and see the minimum and maximum points you will need per night for a standard room.

What is Hilton Honors lowest hotel category? And highest?

There were/are 14 unofficial Hilton Honors hotel categories although Hilton has switched to dynamic pricing for rewards which makes these categories somewhat obsolete. Hilton properties are more commonly broken down into the following categories ranging from micro and select service to luxury hotels. Learn more about Hilton hotels here.

Wrap Up

Hilton Honors is definitely one of the best hotel loyalty programs around. It comes with a huge portfolio of properties around the world and elite status that’s easy to earn and includes coveted benefits like free breakfast, late checkout, and elite status bonuses. You’ll also find it’s easier to earn Hilton Honors points than most other hotel loyalty programs, especially when you use Hilton Honors credit cards for Hilton stays and everyday spending.

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions, reviews, and recommendations on this site are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed or approved by any bank, card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. You can read our advertiser disclosure here.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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