29 Best Ways To Earn Hilton Honors Points [2019 Guide]

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Hilton Honors was the first loyalty program to give travelers the ability to earn both airline miles and points in 1989.

After 30 years, it’s still one of the largest and most popular hotel loyalty programs in the world, with over 5,600 properties in more than 100 countries and 82 million global members.

This flexible rewards program has three levels of elite status that are pretty easy to reach with a Hilton branded credit card, and there are dozens of ways to earn points. Even without much optimization, Hilton Honors points are easily worth 0.4 to 0.6 cents each but — with a little strategy — it’s not a challenge to get more than 1 cent per point.

It may not sound like much, but you’ll usually earn multiple points per $1 spent plus up to 100% more bonus points with elite status.

The program also comes with perks like free 5th night stays and upgrades. It’s not just about hotel stays, either; Hilton points can be used in many ways, including free airfare with dozens of transfer partners.

You won’t find it hard at all to earn Hilton points and build up a huge stash that can be used toward reward nights and impressive amenities or transferred to 30 rail and airline partners like United, American, and British Airways.

Ready to get started with the Hilton Honors program? Here are the best ways to earn Hilton Honors points to start your next adventure.

First Step: Enroll in the Hilton Honors Program

To get started earning Hilton points, you’ll need to sign up for a free Hilton Honors account. Hilton Honors is entirely free to join online and only takes a few minutes.

You can join the Hilton Honors program online through Hilton. All you need to provide is your name, email address, physical address, and password to get your own Hilton Honors member number.

That’s all there is to it.

sign up to earn hilton honors points

The first step is to sign up for Hilton Honors, then you can start earning points!
As a new member, you’ll be at the Hilton Honors Blue level of the program which gives you express checkout and late checkout. At this level, you earn 10 base Hilton points per $1 spent on Hilton purchases.

Hilton has three elite levels you can reach by meeting a minimum number of Hilton stays per year or instantly with Hilton’s co-branded American Express cards.

The higher your elite status, the more base points Hilton offers. By the top Diamond tier, you earn 20 base Hilton points. You also get other perks like complimentary breakfast and a 5th reward night for free.

Why Hilton Honors Points are Worth Earning

So, what makes Hilton Honors worthwhile? It’s one of the most extensive and most flexible loyalty programs available — especially if you’re interested in earning free stays at hotels around the world.

  • Hilton points tend to be very valuable for many reasons:
  • They’re very easy to earn
  • Hilton is one of the world’s largest hotel chains with thousands of properties
  • You can combine points and cash to book awards
  • Hilton points can be transferred to dozens of partners including programs with points that are hard to earn like American’s AAdvantage program
  • There’s a ton of flexibility in how you redeem Hilton points

The most popular way to redeem Hilton points is for award stays at Hilton properties. Depending on where you want to travel and the hotel category, you can get excellent value. Free night awards range from 5,000 to 95,000 points. Most properties are 10,000 to 40,000 points a night but don’t forget you can get a 5th night stay free.

why earn hilton points

You can use Hilton points to book free nights at over 5,600 Hilton hotels around the world. Image courtesy of Hilton.
This is almost always where your points will go the farthest, but there are other options.

You also have the option to transfer your Hilton points to a partner loyalty program and potentially stretch your Hilton points even farther. For example, you turn your Hilton points into Alaska Airlines miles which tend to be much harder to earn. You probably won’t get max value when you transfer Hilton points, but it still can be an excellent option to have for when you’re close to an award flight and need a few more miles.

How Do Hilton Honors Points Compare to Other Hotel Points?

The Hilton Honors program stands out for its flexibility and how easy it is to earn points.

That’s important because Hilton points do have an inflated value. Other hotel loyalty programs may offer a higher value per point than Hilton, but that isn’t always a good thing.

Unlike many hotel programs, earning Hilton Honors points can be done in dozens of ways from using a Hilton branded credit card and staying at Hilton properties to non-hotel activities like booking through travel partners and dining at participating hotels. You can even buy Hilton Honors points—sometimes for as low as 0.5 cents each.

Determining how much Hilton points are worth can be a bit tricky because it depends on how they’re used. If you have 100,000 Hilton points, you can stretch them to get 10 to 20 nights at a low-tier property or just one night at the highest-tier hotel properties.

hilton honors vs marriott ihg hyatt

How does Hilton Honors stack up against other hotel loyalty programs?
As a general rule, your Hilton honors points are usually worth no less than 0.5 to 0.6 cents each when redeemed for hotel stays, but there are ways to get a much better (or much lower) rate.

Hilton uses a dynamic pricing model that can make it hard to predict how many points you need. You can use their new Points Explorer tool to get a good idea of the value of your points, though.

As an example, the Hilton Garden Inn in Singapore usually requires 20,000 points per night. If you book 5 nights, you’ll need just 80,000 points with the 5th night free perk.

The cash cost of the stay would be $816. That gives your points a value of just over 1 cent each.

You can get an even better value by shopping around. As you can see, you can do much better than the “standard” Hilton Honors point value of 0.5 to 0.6.

Keeping in mind Hilton Honors points are often easier to earn than the average hotel point, let’s give the Hilton Honors program a quick comparison to other hotel points using their typical point values.

Hotel Loyalty ProgramValue Per Point
Marriott Bonvoy0.8 cents
Western Rewards0.7 cents
Choice Privileges0.6 cents
Diners Club Rewards2.1 cents
IHG Rewards Club0.6 cents
Radisson Rewards0.4 cents
World of Hyatt2.0 cents
Wyndham Rewards1.2 cents

complete guide to earning hilton points

Best Ways to Maximize Earning Hilton Honors Points

From Hilton co-branded credit cards, elite status bonus points earnings, to Lift rides—here are the best ways to accrue tons of Hilton Honors points that you can use towards valuable free nights and more.

Earn Hilton Honors Points from Credit Cards

One of the biggest perks of the Hilton Honors program is it comes with lots of ways to earn Hilton Honors points. If you want to know how to earn Hilton points fast, the answer is using a Hilton co-branded credit card.

Co-branded American Express Hilton cards have the highest earning rate in the program of up to 14x points per $1 on top of your Hilton base points (10x points per $1), elite status bonus (up to another 10x points per $1 at Diamond level), and bonus points during a Hilton Honors Bonus Promotion (which you need to register for!).

As you can see, that adds up quickly. During one recent promotion, it was even possible to earn up to 54 Hilton points per dollar!

Another bonus of earning points with Hilton Honors credit cards is getting automatic Hilton Honors elite status of Silver, Gold, or Diamond depending on the card you get.

Here’s a look at the different ways to earn Hilton Honors points with a credit card.

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card
hilton-honors-card-from-american-express-05-20-19

Weclome Bonus: 130,000 points plus a free weekend night reward after spending $4,000 in the first 4 months [more details]
Annual Fee: $95
Card Perks: Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors points plus a free weekend night reward after spending $4,000 within the first 4 months. Earn a free weekend night at any Hilton hotel each calendar year you spend $15,000.

Our Take: We like the valuable welcome bonus for free Hilton nights. Its bonus spending categories make this card a powerful way to earn Hilton points. It earns 12X points on Hilton purchases, 6X points at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations and 3X points on all other purchases.

For more details on the benefits and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card, click here.
Hilton Honors American Express Card
hilton-honors-card-from-american-express-05-20-19

Weclome Bonus: 90,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months [more details]
Annual Fee: None
Card Perks: Earn 90,000 Hilton Honors points after spending $2,000 within the first 3 months. Earn 7X points on purchases at Hilton hotels.

Our Take: This card is ideal for anyone looking for a no-annual fee Hilton credit card, plus the generous welcome is a huge perk.

For more details on the benefits and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Card, click here.
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
hilton-honors-card-from-american-express-05-20-19

Weclome Bonus: 150,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months [more details]
Annual Fee: $450
Card Perks: Earn 150,000 Hilton Honors points after spending $4,000 within the first 3 months. You'll get a free weekened night and $250 in Hilton Resort credits every year, Hilton Honors Diamond status, Priority Pass for unlimited lounge visits. The card earns 14X points at Hilton, 7X on airfare booked direcly with airlines or amextravel.com, car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies, and at U.S. restaraunts, and 3X points on everything else.

Our Take: This is our favorite premium hotel credit card. Aside from the sizable welcome bonus, the cards benefits far outweigh the annual fee if you can put them to good use.

For more details on the benefits and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, click here.
Hilton Honors American Express Business Card
hilton-honors-card-from-american-express-05-20-19

Weclome Bonus: 125,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months [more details]
Annual Fee: $95
Card Perks: Earn 125,000 Hilton Honors points after spending $3,000 within the first 3 months. Get automatic Hilton Honors Gold status and 10 airport lounge visits through Priority Pass. The card earns 12X points at Hilton hotels, 6X points on flights booked direcly with airlines or amextravel.com, car rentals booked direct from agency, U.S. gas stations, U.S. wireless and U.S. shipping and U.S. restaraunts, and 3X points on everything else.

Our Take: A great business card choice for earning Hilton Honors points. However if you will be frequently staying at Hilton hotels we recommend the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express that for the additional Hilton Honors benefits including Diamond status, an annual free night, and $250 resort credit.

For more details on the benefits and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card, click here.

Hilton Honors Credit Card Welcome Bonuses

Want to earn Hilton honors points quickly? There’s no better option than taking advantage of Hilton credit card welcome bonuss. Hilton Honors credit cards offer one of the most lucrative ways to earn Hilton points, potentially allowing you to earn up to 54 Hilton points per $1 by stacking special promotions.

Welcome bonuses available with American Express Hilton Honors cards are always changing, and the Hilton credit card bonus depends on which card you sign up for. Still, the welcome bonuses for the premium Hilton Honors Amex Aspire will always be higher than the bonuses offered for the basic Hilton Honors Amex with no annual fee.

As a general rule, welcome bonuses for Hilton Honors Amex cards range from 50,000 to 150,000 Hilton Honors points. That’s a welcome bonus worth $250 to $750 with the standard Hilton point value of 0.5 to 0.6 cents each. If you use your points wisely, the bonus can be worth double that.

Everyday Spending on Hilton Honors Credit Cards

Regular spending with your Hilton Honors credit card may be one of your best ways to earn Hilton points after welcome bonuses which, after all, aren’t something you can count on more than once.

Everyday spending includes all purchases with your Hilton card aside from charges at a Hilton property and anything that falls into a category bonus. Category bonuses vary by Hilton credit card, and we’ll get to these next.

No matter which Hilton Honors credit card you use, you’ll earn the same 3x Hilton Honors points per $1.

You will earn boosted Hilton bonus points for spending that falls into a select category.

The Hilton Honors American Express card earns 5x Hilton bonus points at:

  • US restaurants
  • US gas stations
  • US supermarkets

The Hilton Honors American Express Ascend earns a slightly higher 6x Hilton bonus points for the same bonus categories.

The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire card earns 7x Hilton bonus points in these categories:

  • US restaurants
  • Car rentals you book directly from select rental agencies
  • Flights booked through Amex Travel or directly with the airline

The Hilton Honors Business card has popular business bonus categories and earns 6x Hilton points for:

  • US gas stations
  • US restaurants
  • Wireless phone service purchased directly through the service provider
  • Shipping fees
  • Flights booked through Amex Travel or directly with the airline
  • Car rentals you book directly from select rental agencies

Everyday Spending on Hilton Honors Credit Cards

Earn Bonus Points When you Stay at Hilton Hotels

When you book stays at Hilton properties with a Hilton Amex, expect to be well rewarded.

How many Hilton Honors points do you earn per stay with your Amex? Here’s how it breaks down.

  • 10x base points as a Hilton Honors member
  • Bonus points based on your status (2x more points per $1 at Silver, 8x more at Gold, and 10x more per $1 at Diamond)
  • Bonus points from your credit card (7x to 14x depending on which Hilton card you use)
  • Any bonus promotion points, when available

Note that there are a few exceptions to the base points and bonus status points. Hampton by Hilton hotels in China are entirely excluded from the Hilton Honors program and don’t earn Hilton Honors points. The rate you earn at Home2 Suites by Hilton and Tru by Hilton is also reduced to just 5 base points per $1 and no more than 10x points at Diamond level.

Earn Bonus Points When you Stay at Hilton Hotels

Here’s an example breakdown of Hilton Honors points earned per stay depending on which credit card you use.

Let’s say you pay for a 1-night stay at a Hilton hotel for $200 with your Hilton Honors credit card.

With the base Hilton Honors Amex which comes with automatic Silver status, you’ll earn 2,000 base points + 400 bonus points (Silver status) + 1,400 points (7x points from the credit card) for a total of 3,800 Hilton points.

With the Hilton Honors Amex Ascend or Hilton Honors Business card, you’ll automatically be boosted to Gold status and earn 2,000 base points + 1,600 bonus points (Gold status) + 2,400 points (12x points from the credit card) for a total of 6,000 Hilton points.

The Hilton Honors Amex Aspire card gives the biggest bonus and comes with automatic Diamond status. You’ll earn 2,000 base points + 4,000 bonus points (Diamond status) + 2,800 points (14x points from the credit card) for a total of 8,800 Hilton points.

With all but the no annual fee version of the Hilton Honors card, you’ll earn enough for a free night stay at the lowest tier of Hilton properties which require at least 5,000 points.

Don’t forget to look for bonus promotions, too.

Hilton frequently offers bonus promotions that you need to register for. These promotions vary, but they typically offer even more bonus points on Hilton stays. One recent promotion even allowed you to earn up to 54x Hilton points on each Hilton stay during the promotion!

Sometimes the promotions are as simple as doubling your points per stay during the promotion period. Sometimes there are tiers such as 2,000 bonus points per stay plus an extra 10,000 points for 5 stays or 10 nights. Sometimes you even get extra points during the promotion for staying at luxury or resort properties.

Make sure you check for promotions before booking and don’t forget to register through your Hilton Honors account!

Earn Extra Points with Hilton Amex Offers

Amex Offers is a program that gives you statement credits or extra points on your American Express card with limited-time, targeted offers. All Amex cards come with access to Amex Offers, including co-branded Hilton Honors Amex cards.

Thanks to the Hilton-Amex partnership, the Amex Offers program often features ways to earn even more when you stay at Hilton properties. One recent Amex offer gave a statement credit of $30 to $200 when you reached a certain spending threshold at any of six Hilton brands.

Amex Offers are all targeted. This means different cardholders will see various offers on their card. Offers are targeted to individuals as well as the card type. If you have different Amex cards, such as an American Express Platinum and a Hilton Honors Amex Aspire, you may see various offers on each one.

Offers can come in three forms:

  • Earn extra points per dollar at specific merchants
  • Earn a dollar amount back when you spend a minimum amount at a merchant
  • Earn a specific number of bonus points for spending a certain amount at a merchant

To make the most of Amex Offers, read the terms carefully. You will need to register for the offer by adding it to your card then you must use the same card to redeem the offer. You usually need to make your purchase directly through the merchant, too.

hilton hotels amex offers earn points

With a Hilton Amex Offer, you must book through the Hilton app, Hilton.com, or by calling Hilton directly, not using a third-party booking site. Some offers even require signing up through a unique Amex link.

Also, note that almost all offers usually have an expiration date. In the case of Hilton offers, offers often don’t apply to advance purchase rates, Save Now & Pay, Advance Purchase, and non-refundable rates. To get the offer, you need to pay for and stay with Hilton before the offer expires.

Make sure you check the Amex Offers on your card, read the terms carefully, and register before making a purchase.

With Amex Offers, you can double-dip or triple-dip to get an excellent return on Hilton stays. It can typically be used in combination with an online portal for non-Hilton purchases to earn Hilton points on your co-branded Hilton Amex, or it can be used to leverage bonus categories on your Hilton Aspire, Hilton Ascend, or Hilton Amex card to get more Hilton points at restaurants or car rentals with eligible Amex offers.

For example, you see an Amex Offer to earn an extra point per $1 at GrubHub or The Cheesecake Factory. You sign up and use your Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card Card, which gives you 7x Hilton points at restaurants. Thanks to the offer, you’ll now get 8x points on your purchase.

Earn Points Via Other Amex Credit Cards

Do you have other American Express cards besides a Hilton Honors Amex? You can transfer Membership Rewards points directly into Hilton Honors.

Since January 2018, the standard American Express Membership Rewards points to Hilton Honors points ratio is 1:2, which isn’t too bad. This means every 1 Membership Rewards point will transfer into 2 Hilton Honors points.

Amex Membership Rewards points have an average value of 1.8 cents depending on how they’re used. Despite that value, Membership Rewards are notorious because they can be hard to earn due to limited credit card bonus categories and Amex’s strict once-in-a-lifetime welcome bonus policy.

When redeemed for travel through Membership Rewards, you get a value of 1 cent per point on airfare and just 0.75 to 0.85 cents per point on cruises, car rentals, and hotels (except with the Business Platinum which offers a bonus on redeemed points).

Amex Membership Rewards points have the highest value when they’re transferred to a partner airline or hotel program like Hilton Honors. With some partners, you can get a very high point value — but only if you value those partners.

Transferring Membership Rewards points to Hilton Honors can won’t give you the best value for your Membership Rewards points. In general, transferring Membership Rewards points to airline partners is the best way to get the highest value given the value of Hilton points.

There are exceptions to this rule.

The first thing you should watch for is a targeted offer with an Amex transfer bonus. Targeted cardholders may see a bonus of 10% to 50% when converting Membership Rewards points to Hilton Honors points. This isn’t uncommon!

Still, there are several cases in which it’s a great idea to transfer your Membership Rewards points into Hilton points.

Hilton waives resort fees on award stays and elite status members in Hilton Honors get a fifth night free. As we mentioned before, earning Hilton Honors status is easy with any Hilton credit card.

Here’s an example of why that maximizes the value of your Membership Rewards points when they’re transferred to Hilton.

Let’s say you’re planning a stay at Hilton Waikoloa Village. Rooms in the resort can reach as high as $630 a night plus a $40 resort fee per day for a total of $670 per night without taxes.

If you book an award night at the property, you only need 60,000 Hilton Honors points. There are no additional fees or taxes to worry about.

For a 5-night stay, you would pay about $3,860 as a Hilton Honors blue member. With Hilton elite status, the stay would cost 240,000 Hilton Honors points thanks to the 5th free night perk.

If you’re targeted for the 50% bonus when transferring your Amex Membership Rewards points into Hilton points, you only need to transfer 80,000 Membership Rewards to book the award stay.

That would give your Membership Rewards points a value of around 4.8 cents each.

That’s definitely worth jumping on.

Even without the transfer bonus, transferring Membership Rewards points to Hilton points can still give you a solid value if you aren’t going to use them for airfare.

Refer-a-Friend for Hilton Honors Credit Cards

Know anyone who wants to earn Hilton Honor rewards points, free stays, and travel rewards? Referring family members and friends to Hilton Honors Amex cards can be an excellent way to earn Hilton Honors points, especially now that American Express has changed its refer-a-friend program.

In the past, you only received a bonus when you referred someone to the specific card you had. That means if you had the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, they would also have to get approved and sign up for the Hilton Aspire Card, not the Hilton Ascend Card or another non-Hilton co-branded Amex.

In 2018, Amex updated its refer-a-friend bonus and now allows you to send referral links that let your friends sign up for almost any American Express card. You’ll still get a bonus, even if you don’t have the card they get.

Even better, you get the referral bonus offer for the card you referred—no matter which card your friend chooses.

When you send your referral link to friends and family, they will get an offer to apply for the card you referred them to. They can also explore other Amex cards they might like, each with a welcome bonus for them and a referral bonus for you.

This is excellent news if you have a premium American Express credit card like the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card card but want to refer people who would be better suited to something with a lower annual fee.

Amex Refer-a-Friend for Hilton Honors Credit Cards

Quick Guide: How to Refer-a-Friend for American Express Credit Cards

To refer someone to American Express, simply generate an Amex refer-a-friend link through your Amex account. Friends can use this link to sign up, or you can send an email through American Express.

Not all cards are eligible for Amex referral bonus, but most are. Refer-a-friend bonuses sometimes change and depend on the card you refer. There’s also a maximum annual referral bonus per card which may be up to 225,000 points.

Premium cards tend to have the highest referral bonuses. With the Hilton Aspire card, for example, you can get 25,000 Hilton bonus points each time an applicant is approved. With the Amex Gold card, the referral bonus may be 10,000 Membership Rewards points.

Earn Points For Hilton Stays

There’s no better way to earn Hilton points fast than by staying at Hilton properties. Each Hilton stay has the potential to earn points in several ways:

  • Base points through Hilton Honors
  • Elite status bonus points
  • Hilton Honors bonus promotions (including hotel-specific promotions)
  • Milestone bonuses
  • Hilton credit card spending bonuses

All of these bonuses can be stacked, too!

hilton hotel brands

You’ll earn Hilton bonus points at all 14 Hilton brands around the world, although some properties have lower base and elite status bonuses:

  • Conrad
  • Canopy
  • Curio
  • DoubleTree
  • Embassy Suites
  • Hampton Inn
  • Hilton
  • Hilton Garden
  • Hilton Grand Vacations
  • Home2 Suites **
  • Homewood Suites
  • Tapestry Collection
  • Tru **
  • Waldorf Astoria

** These properties have reduced reward rates, explained below.

Earn Extra Points with Hilton Honors Elite Status Bonus

As a Hilton Honors member, you earn 10 base points per $1 you spend at Hilton properties around the world. You also get elite status bonuses on top of the base points depending on your Hilton Honors status. Here are the Hilton elite status earning rates:

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

With a $200 Hilton stay, you would earn 2,000 points at Blue status; 2,400 points at Gold status; 3,600 points at Gold status; and 4,000 points at Diamond status.

At Tru and Home2 Suites properties, the elite tier bonuses are different.

You’ll get just 5x points per $1 at Blue level, 6x Hilton points at Silver level; 9x points at Gold level; and 10x points at Diamond level.

Earn Extra Points with Hilton Honors Elite Status Bonus

Enroll in Hilton Honors Bonus Promotions

Hilton Honors frequently comes with bonus promotions to earn even more points when you stay at Hilton. You always need to register for Hilton Bonus Promotions to get the points which you can do through your Hilton Honors accounts.

Promotions vary and may last for a few weeks or months. Some bonus promotions give you double Hilton points for stays during the promotion period, others have tiers. For example, you may earn 2,000 bonus Hilton points on all stays during the promotion and an extra 10,000 points when you reach 10 nights or a single five-night stay.

Sometimes bonuses are dependent on the Hilton property. You may get more bonus points for a stay at a resort or luxury property. There are even location-specific bonuses to watch for.

For example, Hilton recently celebrated the opening of a new Hilton Garden Inn in Chicago by offering 1,000 bonus points per night at the hotel—but you needed to select the bonus offer at checkout.

Before booking Hilton stays, check your Hilton Honors account for any promotions and don’t forget to sign up!

Earn Bonus Points with Hilton Honors Milestone Bonuses

The Hilton Honors points you can earn on Hilton stays aren’t just limited to base points, elite status bonuses, promotions, and Hilton credit card bonuses; a new addition to the Hilton Honors program is the Milestone Bonuses.

Milestone bonuses award you extra points when you frequently stay at Hilton properties. You’ll get an additional 10,000 points for every 10 nights you stay with Hilton, starting at 40 nights per year. Once you reach 60 nights in a year, you’ll get another 30,000 bonus points.

earn points with hilton honors milestone bonuses

Get Extra Points with Hilton Honors Credit Cards

Don’t forget you earn even more on Hilton stays when you book with a Hilton co-branded Amex credit card. All Hilton Honors Amex cards offer generous bonus points for purchases at Hilton properties, including your stay and any other charges like parking, valet service, and dining.

The amount of bonus points you earn depends on which Hilton card you use:

  • Hilton Honors American Express Card: 7x points on Hilton purchases
  • Hilton Honor American Express Surpass Card: 12x points on Hilton purchases
  • The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card: 12x points on Hilton purchases
  • Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card: 14x points on Hilton purchases

Credit card Hilton Honors points are stacked with any other bonus points you earn with your Hilton stay.

Earn Points for Travel

In addition to Hilton stays while you travel, you’ll find other ways to earn Hilton bonus points no matter where your next trip takes you. Whether you want to sign up for airport lounge access or book a car on your next trip, here’s how to add even more Hilton points to your balance when you travel.

earn hilton points rental car

Renting a Car

There are two great ways to earn Hilton points while renting a car: booking with a Hilton car rental partner and/or using Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card or Hilton Honors Business card.

When you book with Alamo, National Car Rental, or Enterprise, you’ll get Hilton members-only discounts and earn Hilton bonus points.

You earn 500 Hilton points on every qualifying car rental and an extra 500 Hilton points for every day of the rental up to 5,000 bonus points.

To earn the bonus points, make sure you enter your Hilton Honors member number when booking.

Booking a Cruise

Planning on a cruise vacation? Book through the Hilton Honors portal to earn Hilton points on your trip. The Hilton portal takes you to CruisesOnly.com, a Hilton partner, where you will earn Hilton Honors points based on the length of the cruise:

  • 1-5 night cruise: 6,000 Hilton points
  • 6-8 night cruise: 12,000 Hilton points
  • 9-12 night cruise: 24,000 Hilton points
  • 13+ night cruise: 50,000 Hilton points

Just make sure you shop around before booking to make sure you’re getting the best deal on your cruise, even with the Hilton points considered.

earn hilton honors points booking cruise

Signing-up for Priority Pass

Priority Pass gives you access to upwards of 1,200 airport lounges across the world with three levels of membership to choose from. Priority Pass membership ranges from $99 for a standard membership to $429 for a prestige membership.

When you sign up for Priority Pass, you can earn up to 10,000 Hilton Honors points for your first-year membership. The bonus points will depend on which membership level you choose:

  • Standard: $99/year (4,000 Hilton points)
  • Standard Plus: $299/year (6,500 Hilton points)
  • Prestige: $429/year (10,000 Hilton points)

Of course, if you have a premium travel rewards credit card, such as the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card you’ll already have a Priority Pass membership with unlimited lounge access.

priority pass hilton honors promo to earn points

Earn and Transfer Other Points (and Miles) to Hilton

Short on Hilton Honors points for a reward stay? You can transfer points and miles from partner loyalty programs into Hilton points. Whether or not you’ll get a good value for your miles/points depends on the partner program and how you planned to use the points. As a general rule, though, transfers to Hilton usually aren’t a good value.

To transfer partner airline and rail points or miles into Hilton Honors points, you’ll need to contact the partner’s customer service and provide your Hilton Honors member number.

American Express Membership Rewards

One of the best transfer partners with Hilton Honors is the Amex Membership Rewards program.

At first glance, this transfer option doesn’t look great as the standard transfer ratio is 1 Amex American Rewards point to 2 Hilton Honors points.

While Membership Rewards points are usually valued at 1.8 cents each, this depends a great deal on how they’re used. Membership Rewards points have a value of up to 1 cent per point when redeemed for airfare, but they tend to have a higher value when transferred to a hotel or airline transfer partner.

You won’t get the highest transfer value with Hilton, but there are exceptions.

It’s common for American Express to offer a targeted transfer bonus of 10% to 50% when you transfer Membership Rewards points to Hilton Honors. With the 50% bonus, the transfer ratio would be 1 Membership Rewards point to 3 Hilton Honors points—a much better proposition.

If you know you aren’t going to transfer your Membership Rewards points to a partner airline, Hilton Honors may give you the best value. That’s because Hilton doesn’t add resort fees or taxes to award stays and you can get a fifth night free with Hilton elite status.

If you transfer 80,000 Membership Rewards points with the 50% bonus, you’ll get 240,000 Hilton points. That’s enough to book 5 — not 4 — nights at a property that requires 60,000 points a night such as the Hilton Waikoloa Village.

At this property, you may pay up to $670 per night with the resort fee without considering taxes. In this case, you’d get a value of 4.8 cents each on your Membership Rewards points.

Diners Club International Club Rewards

The current transfer ratio for Diners Club to Hilton points is 1,250 Club Rewards points for 2,000 Hilton Honors points in increments of 1,250 Club Rewards points. Transfers take about 3 weeks.

Diners Club points have a value of about 2.1 cents per point compared to around 0.6 cents each for Hilton points. This transfer definitely won’t give you a good value for your Diners Club points and it isn’t recommended.

Hawaiian Airlines Miles

In 2014, Hawaiian Airlines followed Virgin Atlantic by devaluing the conversion to Hilton Honors. You used to get a ratio of 1:2, but now the transfer rate is 1 Hawaiian mile to 1.5 Hilton Honors points. You also need to transfer in increments of 10,000 miles.

In general Hawaiian miles are worth about 1.9 cents each while Hilton points are worth a standard 0.6 cents each. Even when the ratio was 1:2, the value you get isn’t the best. You’re most likely going to get a value of less than 1 cent each for your Hawaiian miles when you convert them to Hilton points.

The transfer also takes between 10 and 15 days to process so you can’t expect to use it for a last-minute booking.

Virgin Atlantic Airways Miles

You can transfer 10,000 Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles into 15,000 Hilton Honors points as long as you transfer at least 10,000 points.

Virgin Atlantic’s loyalty program is unique because it allows you to earn Hilton Honors points and Flying Club miles when you stay at Hilton. Still, the transfer ratio isn’t great.

While you can find better redemption values, Flying Club miles are usually valued around 1.2 cents each. Hilton points are worth around 0.6 points each. Before the transfer ratio between the two was devalued, the transfer would have retained the value of your points. Now, your Flying Club miles will take a hit in value.

Transferring Virgin Atlantic miles to Hilton also takes about 30 days.

Amtrak Guest Rewards Points

The exchange rate with Amtrak is 5,000 Amtrak Guest Rewards Points for 10,000 Hilton points. That’s better than the reverse: you’d only get 1,500 Amtrak points by transferring out your Hilton points.

As long as you have status with Amtrak, you can transfer Amtrak points to three partners, including Hilton. The transfer ratio isn’t that great, however. Amtrak points are worth about 2.5 to 2.9 cents each while Hilton points are usually worth 0.5 to 1 cent each when redeeming for a free night. Even doubling your Amtrak points doesn’t retain their value.

transfer amtrak points to hilton honors

Earn Hilton Honors From Shopping and Dining

Unfortunately, Hilton discontinued its Shop-to-Earn Mall in 2018 which used to give you bonus points for shopping at partner retailers like Home Depot through the portal. Despite this move, there are still ways to earn Hilton Honors points from dining and shopping, even without using a Hilton credit card which gives you Hilton points on all purchases and in bonus categories like restaurants.

Hilton Honors Dining

Hilton Honors Dining is a free program and a great way to earn Hilton points from dining—and even double-dip. You don’t even need to be a Hilton Honors Amex cardholder to participate in Hilton Honors Dining.

Signing up for the program is simple. Provide your Hilton Honors member number then link your debit or credit card to get started. Make sure you use your Hilton Amex if you have one.

After signing up, you get bonus Hilton points whenever you use your linked card at a participating restaurant, bar, or club.

Your status in the dining program determines how many Hilton points you can earn with a maximum of 8x Hilton points per $1.

These points are earned on top of Hilton points you earn through your Hilton card or rewards cards you may earn from another linked credit card.

That means using your Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card card at a participating restaurant would give you 7x Hilton points from the card and up to another 8x points through Hilton Honors Dining for up to 15 Hilton bonus points per dollar.

earn points hilton honors dining

With a standard value of around 0.5 cents each for Hilton points, that’s effectively earning you about 7.5% back on qualifying restaurant spending!

The base points you earn through Hilton Honors Dining is 2x points per $1 if you haven’t signed up for email notifications.

You get 5x points per $1 as long as you sign up for Hilton Honors Dining email notifications and dine at 10 or fewer participating restaurants per year.

If you dine at 11 or more participating restaurants or bars per year and sign up for emails, you get 8 bonus Hilton Honors points per $1.

On top of the regular bonus points Hilton Honors Dining offers, it usually comes with a new member welcome bonus, too. This bonus is generally around 1,000 Hilton points when you sign up and spend at least $25 at a participating restaurant.

Just note that travel-related dining programs like Hilton Honors Dining share the same network. You can only enroll your credit or debit card with one partner at a time. If you’re earning Hilton Honors points, you won’t earn points through any other dining program you have that may earn other points or miles.

Buy Wines on Vinesse Wines

In the market for wine delivered to your door? Hilton has partnered with Vinesse Wines with a special offer for bonus Hilton points.

After signing up for your first wine club shipment, you’ll get 3,333 bonus Hilton Honors points plus 13x Hilton points per $1. There are several club memberships to choose from such as the Four Seasons which ships a four-pack of wines five times a year.

earn hilton points vinesse wines

Using OneSimCard for International Calls

If you use your cell phone outside the US, you can earn Hilton Honors points by signing up for OneSimCard which can be used in more than 150 countries with free calls in 54 countries. A OneSimCard card can be inserted into your GSM phone to avoid costly roaming charges.

You’ll earn 100 Hilton points when you sign up and 1 Hilton point per minute on incoming and outgoing calls using OneSimCard.

To earn the points, you’ll need to register at OneSimCard.com and provide your Hilton Honors member number.

Take Surveys on Guest Opinion and eRewards

If you have some free time, you can earn Hilton Honors bonus points by completing surveys at home. The catch is the reward isn’t that great, and surveys can be incredibly time-consuming.

There are two ways to earn Hilton Honors points from surveys: eRewards and Guest Opinion Rewards. eRewards is by invitation only; you may receive an email from Hilton to join. Guest Opinion Rewards allows you to join and get started right away.

The Hilton points you earn through Guest Opinion Rewards are credited to your Hilton Honors account within 4 to 6 weeks.

Other Ways to Get Hilton Points

Pool and Transfer Points with Family and Friends

The Hilton Honors program allows you to pool your Hilton points with up to 10 people to reach awards faster than ever. This move came with Hilton’s major overhauling of its program.

You can pool points with any other 10 Honors members, not just family members with the same address. While there is a cap on the number of points you can pool, it’s unlikely you’ll hit it: the Points Pooling program allows members to share up to 500,000 points every year with up to 2 million points shared among up to 10 members.

The Points Pooling feature is entirely free, with no fees to add members or share points. You can also join any number of pools. In the past, Hilton used to charge $2.50 for every 1,000 transferred points.

Creating a pool is easy: go to Hilton Points Pooling and invite friends to your pool with their name and email address. From your Hilton Honors account, you can also click on “More Ways to Use Points” under “My Account.” Once they confirm, your accounts are linked, and you can choose how many points you want to share in the pool.

The Points Pooling feature is perfect for redeeming stays while planning a group trip. Pooled Points can be used for any room reward or non-room reward, including experiences and Points & Money rewards.

You can also transfer points back and forth between Hilton accounts with no fees. Friends and family can share points with you if you’re close to an award stay and you can return the favor later.

Hilton Points Pool with Family and Friends

Buy Hilton Points

Ready to redeem your Hilton points but you’re a bit short? You can always buy Hilton Honors points.

The standard price when you buy Hilton points is 1 cent each. In most cases, it’s not worth it.

However, Hilton sometimes offers bonuses when you buy Hilton Honors points. You may even get a 100% bonus when buying points which makes them just 0.5 cents each. That’s just under the typical value for Hilton points so you can actually purchase points for a bit less than they’re worth.

It’s never a good idea to buy points to entirely pay for your Hilton stay, but buying Hilton points is a useful tool when you’re short the points for an extra night or two.

This is especially true if you need enough points to reach 4 nights and get your 5th night free.

It’s also good to have the option to buy Hilton points for lower category Hilton properties because they tend to be affordable when using points, but they have a high cash price.

It’s also useful to buy Hilton points when you’re using the Points & Money redemption option. With Points & Money, which became available in 2017, you can pair points in increments of 1,000 (and starting at 5,000 points) with an equivalent cash value.

With Points & Money, the value you get for your points varies a great deal depending on whether you book a stay using only points, pay cash, or use a combination of both. Sometimes you can get a better value by splitting between cash and points to get up to 1 cent per point.

As a nifty bonus, you’ll still earn points on the cash portion of your booking.

Hilton allows you to buy up to 80,000 Honors points per year — although you can technically buy more points across several accounts and combine them for free.

If you do decide to buy Hilton Honors points, here’s a tip: use a rewards card that gives you a reasonable reward rate for non-travel purchases. Hilton point purchases are processed by Points.com, and the purchase won’t count as a travel expense.

Wrap Up

Hilton Honors is one of the best hotel loyalty programs in the industry with flexible redemption options, an extensive suite of co-branded Hilton cards, and among the easiest hotel points you can earn.

You’ll have no trouble racking up tens of thousands of Hilton points with even infrequent Hilton stays, especially if you use a Hilton Amex card and pair it with frequent bonus offers.

FAQ

Which credit card earns the most Hilton Honors points?

The Hilton Honors Amex Aspire is the premium Hilton co-branded Amex card with the highest rewards rate. The Aspire earns 14x Hilton points at Hilton properties; 7x Hilton points at restaurants, car rentals, and airfare; and 3x points on all other purchases. The Hilton Honor American Express Surpass Card card earns 12x Hilton points at Hilton properties; 6x Hilton points at restaurants, supermarkets, and gas stations; and 3x Hilton points on other purchases. The basic Hilton Honors Amex earns 7x points at Hilton; 5x points at restaurants, gas stations, and supermarkets; and 3x points on other purchases.

Which Hilton credit card will earn the most points for you will depend on your spending habits. If you fly and book rental cars frequently, you will probably come out ahead with the Aspire. The Ascend may be better suited to everyday spending at gas stations and grocery stores.

What are Hilton Honors elite status bonuses?

As a Silver, Gold, or Diamond status member of Hilton Honors, you can earn elite status bonuses on Hilton stays. At most properties, you get a 20% bonus at Silver status, an 80% bonus at Gold status, and a 100% bonus at Diamond status. The bonus is cut in half at Tru and Home2 properties.

What is the best use of Hilton Honors points?

As a general rule, you’ll get the best value for your Hilton Honors points when redeemed for Hilton stays. The amount of points necessary for a stay vary by property and demand, however. A stay that costs 40,000 points doesn’t necessarily offer a better value than the same hotel at 70,000 points. To get the best value, compare the cost of the stay depending on whether you pay all cash, all points, or a combination with the Pay & Money feature. You will also get the best value for your points when you book a five-night stay as the 5th night will be free as long as you have at least Silver status.

When do my Hilton Honors points expire?

Hilton points expire after 12 months of inactivity. To keep your points from expiring, you will need to stay at a Hilton property or earn or redeem Hilton Honors points within a 12-month period.

How long does it take for my welcome bonus points to post to my Hilton Honors account?

Officially, your Hilton welcome bonus points will be credited to your account within 8 to 12 weeks of reaching the threshold spending amount. The good news is American Express usually credits welcome bonuses within a few days.

How much are Hilton Honors points worth?

As a general rule, Hilton Honors points are worth around 0.5 to 0.6 cents each. Some redemption options have a much lower value, and others have a higher value. You will get the best value for your Hilton points by redeeming for Hilton stays, especially at higher-tier properties.

Can I earn Hilton Honors points from flying?

You don’t just earn Hilton points with Hilton stays; you can also earn points flying. One way to do this is with the Hilton Honors Amex Aspire which earns 7x Hilton Honors points per $1 on flights booked through Amex Travel or directly through the airline. You can also earn points through a partner airline which can be transferred to your Hilton Honors account, although this may or may not give you a good value.

Do any Hilton Honors credit cards give free elite status?

All Hilton Honors Amex cards come with free elite status in the Hilton Honors program. The Hilton Honors Amex comes with Silver status. The Hilton Honor American Express Surpass Card and Business cards come with complimentary Gold status. The premier Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card includes complimentary Diamond status, the highest level in the Hilton Honors program.

Can I buy Hilton Honors Points?

Yes, usually at 1 cent per point, or about double the standard value of Hilton points. Sometimes Hilton offers bonus promotions of up to 100% when you buy Hilton points which can make them as low as 0.5 cents each. You’re limited to buying 80,000 points per calendar year. When this bonus is in effect, you can get up to 160,000 points, however.

How to find your Hilton Honors account number?

The “official” way to get your Hilton Honors member number is by calling Hilton Honors Customer Service at 1-800-548-8690 in the US and Canada. You can check for the HHonors Customer Service number in your region here.

From your Hilton Honors account, you can also view your member number by going to “My Account Overview.”

You can also find your account number by searching your email for a confirmation or welcome email from Hilton Honors which will list your member number.

How do I sign up for Hilton Honors?

Go to the Hilton Honors sign-up page to sign up for a free Hilton Honors account. You will need to provide your name, phone number, email address, and physical address to create an account and get your own HHonors member number.

Can I earn points for someone else’s stay?

According to Hilton Honors rules, you can’t earn Hilton points for someone else’s hotel stay, even if the booking is under your name if you are not physically present. In practice, however, you may receive points or stay credit if the name on the reservation isn’t changed to someone else’s name on check-in.

About The Author

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