Hilton’s Best-Ever Bonus On Purchased Points

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Hilton Honors has just announced their latest bonus on purchased points, which is valid through December 18, 2018. While you need to log into your account to see the offer, it appears as if all members are eligible for the same offer, for a 100% bonus when you buy at least 10,000 points in one transaction.

Update: Unfortunately it looks like this offer is indeed targeted, and some people are only eligible for an 80% bonus.

The cost to purchase points with Hilton is ordinarily one cent per point (including tax), meaning that through this promotion you’d pay just 0.5 cents per point.

That’s the lowest price we ever see on purchased Hilton points, though there’s an added benefit this time around — Hilton has doubled the cap on how many points you can buy for a limited time. Usually you can purchase a total of 80,000 Honors points before any bonuses per account per calendar year, while right now you can purchase up to 160,000 Honors points.

That means you could purchase a total of 320,000 Honors points for $1,600 if you wanted to.

Nowadays Hilton lets you combine points across accounts at no cost, so in reality you could buy substantially more points by simply buying them across accounts and then consolidating them. This can also be useful if you’re “only” targeted for an 80% bonus, while a friend or family member is targeted for a 100% bonus.

Typically a 100% bonus is as good as offers on purchasing Hilton Honors points get. We’ve never seen a better offer (as far as I know), as typically the offers hover between an 80% bonus and a 100% bonus.

Should you buy Hilton points for 0.5 cents each?

Last year Hilton radically changed their Honors program. They eliminated their traditional award chart, and rather moved to more variable pricing. However, the good news is that there’s still value to be had in the program, as the top properties still won’t cost you more than 95,000 points per night.

Both before and after the changes I value Hilton Honors points at ~0.5 cents each, so this price is right around what I value them. However, there are instances where you can get a lot more value out of Hilton points than that.

For example, the Conrad Maldives is $3,000+ per night in peak season when factoring in taxes and fees (which is totally ridiculous, of course). Meanwhile a redemption costs 95,000 points per night. At a rate of 0.5 cents per point, that’s like paying $475 for a night there.

To take it a step further, if you have elite status and stay five nights on points then the fifth night is free, lowering the average nightly cost to 76,000 points. Furthermore, the above cash rates don’t include the 10% service charge and 12% tax, which don’t apply if you’re redeeming points.

To do a direct comparison, if you booked the cheapest advance purchase rate for five nights (January 1-6), here’s the cost:

Or you could pay a total of 380,000 points, which at a valuation of 0.5 cents each, would cost you $1,900 for the five night stay, or $380 per night.

There are also plenty of circumstances under which you can value at more mid-range hotels. For example, I recently redeemed 30,000 Honors points for a night at the Hilton Tallinn, when the paid rate would have been over 500EUR. Talk about a heck of a deal.

On top of that Hilton has adjusted their Points & Money awards, where you can now redeem part points and part cash towards any redemption. There are many instances where you can get way over 0.5 cents of value per point through that system.

Hilton points purchases are processed by points.com, meaning they don’t count as a hotel purchase for the purposes of credit card spend. Therefore you’ll want to purchase these points with a credit card that maximizes your return on everyday spend, like the Chase Freedom Unlimited® or Citi® Double Cash Card.

Rack up Hilton points with great Amex card offers

If you’re looking for another way to earn Hilton Honors points without outright buying them, at the moment there are great welcome bonuses on Hilton’s four co-branded Amex cards:

You can learn everything you need to know about these cards in this post.

Bottom line 

0.5 cents per point is the lowest cost you’ll see per purchased Hilton point, so offers don’t get better than this. Furthermore, this promotion has the advantage of having the maximum number of points you can purchase doubled. I know lots of people have already maxed out their purchase limit for this year, and will be happy to see this offer.

There are many circumstances under which it could make sense to acquire Hilton points at this price.

Do you plan on buying Hilton Honors points with a 100% bonus?

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Comments

  1. You write that Hilton won’t charge more then 95,000 points a night. Well I was pricing the Waldorf in Jerusalem for mid-January of 2019 for points and they want 153,000 points for a night.

  2. @Eli Geller – Standard Rooms Rewards cap at 95,000 per night. Premium Room Awards can be exceed that rate.

  3. Oh man, I was pretty excited to consider this, but my offer is actually only for 80% bonus. Bummer! But a useful data point.

    Happy Election Day to fellow USA folks!

  4. Replying to my own comment, thanks to Lucky for reminding me about the new feature of pooling points – perhaps family members are targeted for the 100% bonus. Thanks Lucky!

  5. I rarely purchase Hilton Honors points since they are so easy to accumulate. However, having depleted my stash down to just 1,596 points from more than 1M points as part of my Year-end Escapade for stays totaling more than 2 weeks (16 nights) at Conrad Manila, Waldorf Astoria Shanghai, Waldorf Astoria Chengdu, Hilton Pattaya and Conrad Hong Kong , this deal’s too good not to take advantage of as a quick way to replenish my stash of HH points, especially since I qualified to purchase the maximum offered. I just went for it and put the purchase on my Chase Freedom Unlimited, which will earn me 2,400 UR points along the way. The purchased HH points posted immediately.

  6. Worth noting that purchasing the bonus with a Hilton card will not trigger any 12x bonus or other category spend as it is through points.com and not a direct purchase from Hilton.

  7. I have abandoned Hilton almost entirely in the last 2 years. With all the changes that have amounted to drastic devaluation I find no value in staying at Hilton properties anymore using points, Hilton has abandoned their loyal customer base. For a stay at the “Hilton Garden Inn at JFK” in the middle of January, they want 50,000 points. Which is $250 plus tax in points, when the posted rate is $166 dollars. And that’s just one example. There is no value anymore in earning Hilton points, and I don’t know why you bother writing an article that infers that there is substantial value in this currency. You’re not doing your readers much of a service by doing so.

  8. @Lloyd – Just curious. If you have abandoned Hilton due to “changes that have amounted to drastic devaluation” (simple math readily shows this to be a bogus claim), which program do you believe currently gives you better value? [Hint: you’ll be more credible if you put up some numbers for comparison]

    Inquiring minds wanna know!

  9. Be careful about using this offer and then points pooling. There’s quite a few DP on flyertalk about Hilton closing accounts due to “gaming” of their system/offer (which, IMO, is BS).

  10. BTW, do not fall for claims like this one

    “Ultimately I think many people looking for Hilton Honors points are ***better off*** with the strong signup bonus offers — which were just increased — for Hilton cards from American Express”

    by self-anointed ‘thought leader in travel’ because they are utterly thoughtless.

    With this offer, I paid “just” $1,600 and collected 320,000 points. Compare that with, e.g., paying $2,000 in minimum spend for the Ascend card to collect “just” 125,000 bonus points. That is, for a little over half the money, I got 2.56x more points than I would for signing up for the Ascend card (more than 2x for signing up the Aspire, but at least this one comes with top elite status). In fact, you could simultaneously sign up for the no-fee (75K/$1,000), the Ascend (125K/2,000) and the Business (125K/$3,000) HH Amex cards at the tune of $6K in minimum spend, but collect only 5K more HH points (325K) over the 320K points that one collects for spending $1,600 with this offer.

    That, in a nutshell, is what made this offer is so attractive (read: “lucrative”) I simply could not pass it up…

    G’day!

  11. Struggling to find 0.5c of value per point, yes if you’re looking at spending 5 nights at $3,000 per night but then you probably wouldn’t care about the points.

    For regular hotel rooms in the $100-200 range it’s hard to find value above .3c per point, especially if you include the points earned when you pay cash rates.

    And you have to use bought points immediately, with the unacceptable risk (longetrm certainty) of running into another covert devaluation now that Honors redemption rates are kept secret and subject to unannounced changes.

  12. I only have the 80% bonus unfortunately. I would have been a buyer at 100% for a specific redemption that I have in mind.

    @DCS – I’ve never bought Hilton points before.

    I’m Gold via Amex Platinum but rarely stay at Hiltons.

  13. Lucky I wish you would stop telling people about the Conrad Rangali Island. For a decade I have been saving points religiously and every three years taking a two week vacation on points. It looks like winter 2019 is the next excursion.

    People might eventually discover how wonderful the Conrad is. And then reward travel will disappear. sigh.

    Possibly the $1200 flight to the island deters some people. And the dropping (!) water levels have depleted the fish you see while snorkeling. So perhaps these factors will balance the increased publicity.

  14. Agreed with everyone else. Long time Hilton diamond. 95k points is the starting point for upper end properties. Many times going well above that especially when paid nights can be as low as 395/nt. Pretty much the rule with Hilton points is never buy unless you are only a thousand or two away from an award

  15. DCS, there is a difference between spending $2000 for goods, travel, etc. and getting points as a bonus – and buying points directly, where you do not receive anything but points for your money.

  16. Hilton’s best-ever bonus on purchased point! What? I purchased HH points with 100% bonus every year ever since I jointed Hilton. I usually purchased the points to stay at doubletree KL and for five nights, it costs me no more than 200 bucks.

  17. @Mishas — I did consider your scenario and even expected comments like yours. However, my point stands. It would be mindless to spend $6K on 3 co-branded Hilton Honors card to get 325K signup bonus points, when you can spend $1,600 to earn 320K points, and put the rest of the spend ($4,400) on other cards. It is called ‘opportunity cost’, it is prohibitively high in your scenario.

  18. strange some get 80%. does not make sense from business point of view. I would be a buyer @100%..

    @DCS – I’ve never bought Hilton points before.

    gold through stays this year. (no credit card in europe)

  19. @DCS – It is certainly easier to buy points/miles outright than earn them by bonus spend, which is why I sometimes do it, but in terms of being lucrative, the latter option gives you better return on your money. Regarding opportunity costs, even assuming generously that you earn an equivalent of 6c per dollar spent (x3 UR points valued at 2c), you would need to spend about $26000 to earn $1600 – you probably need to spend quite a bit less for equivalent credit card bonuses, provided you spend on things you would have bought anyway.

  20. @Mishas — Here’s some simple math under your scenario, which should make my point crystal clear.

    Suppose you get the Aspire card. You’d earn 150K bonus points after a $4K minimum spend.

    Under the best possible scenario, you would meet that minimum spend by doing revenue stays at Hilton properties totaling $4K, which would earn you @ 34x (14x Aspire bonus + 20x as a HH Diamond):

    $4,000 x 34 HH/$ = 136,000

    136,000 + 150,000 = 286,000, for spending $4Kunder the rosiest assumptions, which would still be less than the 320,000 points that I got for spending $1,600 under this offer.

    In sum, for $1,600 I would get 320,000 HH points + 2,400 UR points for putting the purchase on the Chase Freedom Unlimited + $2,400 (i.e., $4,000-$1,600) remaining in my bank that I can put on other cards vs. 286K HH points and $4K in the hole.

    Q.E.D

  21. @DCS – as for ‘in the hole’ – I guess that is true if you stayed at these hotels only to meet the CC spend requirement rather than because you planned these trips and would have made them regardless. However, if you just used the specific credit card (and not, say, CSR) to pay for expenses that were going to happen anyway, I just don’t see how paying (a substantial amount) for something is a better deal than getting it as free bonus (with minor allowances for valuation differences between, say, 14 HH points and 3 URs).
    Of course, there are many other considerations – the timing of travel, limits on the number of credit cards or concerns about getting too many, etc. I see the two options complementing each other.

  22. @Mishas — The overall intangible “value” of what you get out of the $4K minimum spend may exceed the associated monetary value, especially assuming you were going to spend the money, anyway, but that is why I did the math under the best possible possible [one that actually applied to me when I went for the Aspire, including how I met the minimum spend] and still showed purchasing the points to offer higher “value.” Note that the math did not include the great intangible “value” of the satisfaction of spending just $1,600 to get more points than I would for spending $4K. Also, the redemption values of points seldom include the intangible value that one gets out of a redemption, which is tough to quantify, so why include it in this case? More to the point and then I will exit is that we should not lose sight of what I had objected to in the first place, which was this claim:

    “Ultimately I think are ***better off*** with the strong signup bonus offers — which were just increased — for Hilton cards from American Express”

    No, many people who are just ***looking for Hilton Honors points*** won’t be ***better off*** getting the co-branded cards than going for this offer…

    G’day.

  23. Do you earn Hilton points for purchases with Aspire Card? Would purchase of points count towards minimum spend on Aspire card?

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