Ultimately I’m a Hyatt and Starwood loyalist, or at least have been up until now. Hilton is a great backup chain, given that you can earn Hilton Gold status just for having cards like The Business Platinum® Card from American Express, The Platinum Card® from American Express, Hilton Honors Ascend Card from American Express, etc.
You can even earn Hilton’s top tier Diamond status by spending $40,000 on the Hilton Honors Ascend Card from American Express in a year. On top of that, Hilton was providing easy status matches to their top tier Diamond status for a while.
What don’t I love about Hilton HHonors?
- I still think their top tier elite benefits are weak, as they don’t offer guaranteed late check-out or suite upgrades
- While Hilton has some aspirational properties, my perception is that there are fewer of them than with Hyatt or Starwood, for example
- Hilton’s points aren’t as flexible as Marriott or Starwood points, in the sense that you can’t efficiently convert them into airline miles
I can only post pictures of the Conrad Koh Samui so often… 😉
Hilton HHonors points earnings rates are incredible
While most major hotel chains are running promotions at the moment, I don’t think there’s a single promotion as good as what Hilton is offering. I’m talking specifically about two promotions:
- Hilton is offering triple base HHonors points for all stays booked through the Hilton app through December 31, 2016
- Hilton is offering 5,000 bonus HHonors points per stay when you book through the Hilton app and pay with a Visa card through January 31, 2016
Members ordinarily earn 10 base points per dollar spent, plus an additional five points if they choose Points & Points as their earnings preference (which most people should be doing). When you factor in the triple base points and 5,000 bonus points, that means you’re earning 35 Hilton points per dollar spent, plus 5,000 bonus points per stay.
Then if you’re a Diamond member you earn an additional five points per dollar, and if you’re paying with a card like the Hilton Honors Ascend Card from American Express, you’re earning an additional 12 points per dollar.
That means I could either earn 40 HHonors points per dollar spent, plus 5,000 bonus points per stay or 52 HHonors points per dollar spent, with no extra bonus points per stay.
To give an example, I have an upcoming stay at the Hilton Zurich Airport, which costs 162CHF (~$164). While that’s not cheap, it’s not bad either.
However, for that one night stay I’m earning 13,200 HHonors points. I value those points at ~0.4 cents each, so to me that’s a return of over $50 on that one night stay. Obviously you can achieve a significantly better return on one night stays at cheaper hotels.
That same amazing promotion is available globally. So while Hyatt’s current promotion has the potential to be lucrative, you have to stay in very specific increments to maximize that. Meanwhile the Hilton promotion is open to everyone, at all hotels around the world.
While there are many things I still don’t love about Hilton HHonors, there’s no denying that their points earnings rates are among the best offered by any hotel group, especially with their current promotion. Obviously Hilton points are less valuable than other currencies on a per point basis, but even when you account for that, it takes fewer stays to get a free night at one of Hilton’s 95,000 point per night properties than it does to get a free night at one of Hyatt’s 30,000 point per night properties or one of Starwood’s 30,000-35,000 point per night properties.
Again, it’s not going to get me to switch all my stays to Hilton, but I do think they deserve some credit for their promotions lately. Just a couple of years ago they had nothing but lame promotions and even those promotions had tons of excluded properties. Now they’ve been offering double points all year, and in the fourth quarter it’s even better than that. Furthermore, all properties are participating. Kudos to them.
Anyone else benefiting from Hilton’s current triple points plus 5,000 bonus points per stay promotion?