Hilton HHonors Overview, Elite Status & Earning Points

hilton hhonors overview

Hilton HHonors is Hilton’s loyalty program which includes all of the following brands: Home2 Suites, Homewood Suites, Hampton Inn, Hilton Garden Inn, Embassy Suites, Doubletree, Conrad, Waldorf Astoria, and of course Hilton Hotels & Resorts. Compared to other programs, Hilton tends to charge high rates (in terms of points) for award nights. Despite that, Hilton HHonors is still worth paying attention to.  Here’s why:

Easy to get points

Hilton is pretty generous with awarding points for stays. Unlike other programs, HHonors members can “double dip” by getting points for their stay and their choice of airline miles or extra Hilton HHonors points. By selecting points + points, you can earn 15 points per dollar for your stay, plus even more points if you have elite status.

An even better way to accumulate Hilton points is through credit card sign-ups. There are a surprising number of credit cards that one can get to earn Hilton points. Here are the ones I’m aware of (at the time of this writing):

Update: This post includes offers that were valid at the time of publication, but have since expired. Please click here to see the best offers currently available.

  • American Express Hilton HHonors. (expired)
  • American Express Hilton HHonors Surpass. (expired)
  • Citi Hilton Visa Signature.
  • Citi Hilton Reserve.
  • Citi ThankYou Prestige.  Points can be transferred to Hilton at a 1 to 1.5 ratio.
  • Citi ThankYou Premier.  Points can be transferred to Hilton at a 1 to 1.5 ratio.
  • Barclay’s Hawaiian Airlines World Elite Mastercard. Miles can be transferred to Hilton at a 1 to 1.5 ratio.
  • Bank of America Virgin Atlantic. Miles can be transferred to Hilton at a 1 to 1.5 ratio.

Please see my “Best Credit Card Offers” page to find the current best offers for each of the above cards.

Another way to get points easily is by using one of the Hilton HHonors American Express cards for everyday spend. The Hilton HHonors Surpass gives 12 points per dollar at Hilton properties (that’s in addition to points earned automatically for your stay); 6 points per dollar at restaurants, supermarkets, and gas stations; and 3 points per dollar everywhere else. The free Hilton HHonors card (not the Surpass card) gives 7 points per dollar at Hilton properties; 5 points per dollar at restaurants, supermarkets, and gas stations; and 3 points per dollar everywhere else.

Easy to get status

hilton hhonors overview

Hilton offers three levels of elite status: Silver, Gold, and Diamond. Silver status doesn’t get you much, but Gold status is quite valuable. With Gold status, you get free room upgrades, free breakfast (at many properties), late checkout, bonus points with each stay, etc. With Diamond status you also get guaranteed club lounge access. Many people who have experienced both Gold and Diamond status have argued that the incremental benefit of Diamond status isn’t worth much. Most of the “goodies” can be had with Gold status.

Fortunately, Gold status is very easy to achieve. Hilton often runs promotions that make it easy to get to Gold status, but the easiest path of all is to simply sign up for either the Citi Hilton Reserve card or the Amex Hilton Honors Surpass card (expired).  Both offer Gold status automatically! . The American Express Platinum card also offers HHonors Gold status (but you must request it).

If you’re a big spender, you could get to Diamond status by spending $40,000 per year on either the Citi Hilton Reserve card or the American Express Hilton Honors Surpass (Expired).  Each card has different pros and cons, so if you’re considering doing this, familiarize yourself with the benefits of both cards before you decide which to go with.

Here are a few advantages of the Citi card: Visa cards are accepted more places; no foreign transaction fees; and the free weekend night after $10K spend is a great bonus.

Update: This post includes offers that were valid at the time of publication, but have since expired. Please click here to see the best offers currently available.

Here are a few advantages of the American Express Surpass card: 12X points at Hilton properties (vs. 10X with the Citi card); 6X points at grocery stores, gas stations, and restaurants.  Also, the Surpass has a slightly lower annual fee ($75 vs. $95).

hilton hhonors overview

Hilton Bodrum Turkbuku Resort & Spa

Easy to find hotels

Like Marriott and IHG Rewards Club, Hilton hotels can be found almost everywhere.

Reduced Price Awards

Compared to Starwood and Hyatt, Hilton charges far more points for free nights.  However, there are a few ways to potentially reduce the number of points required:

Elite Members:  HHonors elite members (even Silver elite) automatically get their fifth night free on standard room rewards. That’s a 20% discount on 5-night stays.

Summary

Hilton HHonors is a decent loyalty program for the following reasons:

  • Points are very easy to come by through stays, credit card sign-ups, and credit card use
  • Elite status is useful and very easy to get
  • Hilton hotels are everywhere
  • While Hilton usually charges exorbitant rates for redeeming points, there are a few ways to sometimes reduce the number of points required.
Go to: Table of Contents - Credit Cards - Flexible Points Programs - Airline Programs - Hotel Programs - Earning & Managing Points - Miscellaneous

About Shawn Coomer - Senior Editor

Shawn Coomer has spent nearly a decade circling the globe for pennies on the dollar. He uses that first-hand knowledge and experience to teach others how to achieve their travel dreams for the least amount of money possible.

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