Hilton Is Offering A 100% Bonus On Purchased Points

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Hilton Honors has just announced their latest bonus on purchased points, which is valid through June 7, 2018. While you need to log into your account to see the offer, it appears as if all members are targeted for the same offer, for a 100% bonus when you buy at least 5,000 points in one transaction.

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.

You can purchase a maximum of 80,000 Honors points before any bonuses per account per calendar year, meaning you can max out the promotion by buying a total of 160,000 points (including the bonus) for $800.

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.

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. About a week ago Daily Getaways sold Hilton points for 0.5 cents each, and those sold out quickly, so clearly there’s demand for Hilton points at this cost.

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 ~0.4 cents each, though 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 (December 22-27), 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.

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.

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. There are many circumstances under which it could make sense to acquire Hilton points at this price. Personally I wouldn’t speculatively buy points at that cost, but with a specific use in mind, I think it’s an excellent option.

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

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  1. On the website for period between 22 dec to 27 dec required 1,188,000 points, not sure how did you get 95,000 pts per night .

  2. “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.”

    This only happens when you could have gotten more than 0.5 cents per point on a standard award. Now that the points+cash scheme is wholly tied to the cash and award costs, there is no advantage to using them other than being short on points (where previously, the points+cash award typically represented a savings both in cash and points).

  3. DCS loves you. Like delta, is or will Hilton soon become the best ever loyalty program in your eyes?

  4. Lucky- I find that a points & cash redemption results in taxes & fees on the entire cost of he redemption, not just the cash portion.

    I’ve moved the needle to where I’m paying just a few dollars in cash, but the total stay can be hundreds of dollars because tax is calculated for the full stay.

    Am I missing something here, or is there no reason to ever do a Hilton redemption for anything but going for the 5th night free, paid entirely in points?

  5. Grant: “Am I missing something here, or is there no reason to ever do a Hilton redemption for anything but going for the 5th night free, paid entirely in points?”

    No, you really aren’t – unless you have a shortage of points and buying them won’t save you anything, you will never be better off doing cash+points as opposed to a straight point redemption, for the reason I already mentioned above.

  6. @Grant — The truth of the matter is that Hilton Honors cash+points rewards (a) were often difficult to find and (b) did not universally offer good value (some offered good value, while others did not). Given those two facts, what Hilton’s new C+P reward option did was to “split the difference” on the costs of C+P awards, while making the availability such awards virtually unlimited. On top of that, the policy was changed from points being earned only for incidental spend during C+P award stays, to points being earned also on the C portion of the C+P, thereby tipping the change from essentially neutral to slightly more positive.

  7. There is no such thing as a “good deal” which includes PURCHASING loyalty points – in any program. This is for suckers.

  8. DCS can say that the cash+points changes are neutral, or positive, or however he wants to spin it, all he wants, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s true. In fact, the new program is still a significant devaluation when compared to the old program, for three reasons:

    1) Despite what DCS wants people to believe, the awards, in a straight comparison between old and new, are generally more expensive now than before. This is because the old cash+points awards were on a fixed award chart of 40 percent of the points, plus a cash copay that was usually less than 50 percent of the BAR.

    The reality is that, more often than not, C+P was a better value where it was available than simply using points because both the cash and point components on the award chart were both usually less than 50 percent of either the cash and point components.

    Now that the award chart has been eliminated, there is now a directly linear correlation between the cash and point cost for the point+cash room. This means that if you want to pay with 40 percent points as you did before, the cash component is now 60 percent, not 50 percent or less as it usually was before. If the cash component before was 50 percent of the BAR, you now need to spend 50 percent points to use the same amount of cash, rather than 40 percent.

    The only places where cash+points may now be a better deal are the properties where either the award cost significantly decreased under the removal of the categories, or where the old cash+points cash component was more than 50 percent of the BAR (which are both relatively rare).

    2) While the cash component of the cash+points rate now earns Honors points, it still represents a poor deal, because the increased rate difference resulting from the change (see number 1 above) makes these points more expensive than buying the points directly from Hilton in the bulk of instances.

    When these changes were first announced last March, DCS trotted out the same argument about how earning points on the cash component was a positive, and I showed three different examples to demonstrate that it really isn’t. The first of these examples is below:

    Under the old scheme, the Hampton Inn in Carson City, Nevada was $40 plus 8,000 points per night ($44 after tax), or $110 per night for the cash rate. The new cash cost for the equivalent amount of points is about $76 under the new scheme.

    The $76 I would pay now as a Diamond would net me about 1500 more points, barring promotions and credit card spend that would increase the total. Let’s say that I do include the Aspire points (about 450 at 14/$1 for the additional $32 paid) plus the Q2 double points, which would give me 3450 points for the extra $32 paid, or slightly better than buying the points directly.

    With the current points sale, though, I’m actually far worse off paying extra for the room than just buying points, because that same $32 would get me 6400 points. And under a different bonus (say, the current Q1 bonus) or for non-Diamonds or people who don’t have the Aspire card, the math simply won’t pencil out, either, because there’s no way you’d even get to 3200 points without the right set of circumstances, let alone 6400.

    3) Even if you grant that DCS is correct that the goal of the change was to “split the difference” on C+P costs (which he isn’t, because as already mentioned, the old C+P cost was generally far more favorable than unfavorable), the end result ended up being a system that has no real incentive to be used other than if you don’t have enough points. By changing to a pure linear sliding scale between the two, the redemption value of a point never changes, so there is no difference in using 8,000 points as opposed to using 20,000 points.

    Under the example I mentioned above, where the tradeoff was 8,000+$40; 20,000 points; or $110, the value of the Honors point under the pure point redemption was 0.55 cents, but under the cash+point redemption, the value of the point increased to 0.875 cents. Under the new change, it doesn’t matter whether you use the minimum of 5,000 points or 20,000 points – each point would now be worth the 0.55 cents. (In fact, the points used at the Hampton Inn in Carson City, Nevada are even worth less than that now, because they changed the low end redemption there to a minimum of 23,000 points, instead of 20,000.)

    This is the point, again, that specifically answers Grant’s question – that is, because of the sliding scale between points and cash, there is no difference in value between a points+cash redemption and a points redemption. This was not usually the case under the old charts, since the redemption value on the award chart was only fixed to the category and the point cost, not the rate.

  9. Also I like Hilton program in general, I have to say the value of points went down significantly. There used to be plenty redemption opportunity for 0.5 valuation; but now it is very hard to find any. It is more or less 0.45 now. I believe their engine have a intrinsic value assigned to point and it was tuned down a bit now.

    Also, it used to have some steels on the low end of hotels. I have done quite a few 10K redemption for a room cost more than $100 in cash. However, it is not there any more. All of them are 20K + now. Still OK redemptions but not steal for sure.

    I wouldn’t buy point for 5 cents anymore, for 4 cents maybe.

  10. The utility of a Cash+Point redemptions usually was and remains highest when used to “stretch points” and not as a way to “cheap” redemptions, because such awards (a) could not always be counted on to be available, and (b) they did not universally offer good value. Those are the two premises that must be kept in mind when evaluating the impact of the Hilton Honors’ new vs. old C+P awards, to avoid ‘romanticizing’ and claiming higher value for old-style awards that often was not there. I ought to know because I did did do the comparison using actual pre/post numbers in a post titled:

    “Hilton Honors C+P Awards Just Went “on Steroids”: A Quantitative Analysis of Potential Implications” [1]

    [1] https://goo.gl/9qwn98


  11. @Lu — Remember this:

    Loyalty points have no redemption value until they are redeemed.

    Using estimates of the costs in cash and in points of a 5-night stay at Conrad Maldives provided by @Lucky in this post, one can get a redemption value of:

    $15,786/380,000 = $0.0415/HH point

    or 4.15 cents per point (no, the position of the decimal point is not an error).

    That redemption value is 10X larger than the values of 0.4, 0.45 and 0.5cents per points that concerned you so much, as if one can actually estimate those values with a 1/10th of a cent accuracy!

    One reason to purchase Hilton points at 0.5cent each is because one could turn around and redeem them for 4.17cents each. That is called playing the game with a “full deck.”

  12. @DCS: “I ought to know because I did did do the comparison using actual pre/post numbers…”

    DCS cherry-picked a total of seven hotels out of 5,000 for his analysis. The conclusions he comes to are the statistical equivalent of a coin flip.

    Anything else that comes out of his mouth is nothing more than his inability to acknowledge that Hilton may have done something that devalued the Honors program.

  13. Utterly predictable.

    I put up real numbers. Claiming that they are cherry-picked rings hollow because (a) you can’t prove it and (b) the methodology is fully disclosed publicly online, on a travel discussion board, where it’s been viewed more than 3,500 times.

    Importantly, it is pointless to try compare factual evidence, even if limited, to just words that say “Trust me. The other guy is full of it, and wrong, wrong, wrong because I say so. I know better than anyone else who’s examined the evidence. Really!”

    Anyone with grade-school math skills will see the very simple point that Hilton’s C+P awards are not at all the debacle claimed. They are a slight positive compared to old-style awards, if one remembers, and as I factually showed, that ‘old’ C+P awards were rather scarce and that they did not always yield better value. Also, the C part of C+P awards earned no points, whereas it does under the new policy.

    It’s not rocket science, so I will not waste any more time here.

  14. no way a water villa is being offered at standard award, i don’t believe this be true….should be a beache villa rather as standard….and other than conrad inspirational properties, hilton is really lacking these high end resorts…even if they are , their standard room type is typically unavb and requires book at higher premium award. IE Conrad Bora ,where you just have 2 garden standard in their inventory all time…

  15. And obviously, DCS, you didn’t bother reading my post – just as you purport to never read my posts – because if you had, you would have seen that I addressed the bulk of your arguments to show that you were wrong about them.

    And whether you like it or not, your analysis is wholly based on cherry-picked samples – that fact should be obvious to anyone reading your so-called analysis. The fact that you are attempting to do statistical modeling (which is not “grade-school math”) on a sample size of slightly more than a tenth of one percent, which just happens to give the result that Hilton did something awesome here, makes it fairly obvious that your self-selected sample was cherry-picked.

    If you actually wanted to do analysis that would be statistically significant, you would have used some of the examples that other people provided for the change. You know, the ones that showed just how much higher the costs were for their awards. Or, simply put, you would have done your modeling with a reasonable sample size.

    Yet, although it’s fairly evident that your so-called “analysis” reeks of confirmation bias, you double down on defending it as conclusive evidence. It certainly would make me think twice about taking any of your real research seriously, for sure.

    Again, DCS – as much as you refuse to want to believe it, the reasonable person would argue that the new awards are not a positive when compared to the old ones. The expansion of the awards to more hotels (not all, since they can’t still be booked everywhere) does not negate the fact that booking them now, in the bulk of instances, requires you to either use more cash or more points (or possibly both). In fact, all other things held equal, the cost of the new award is always more expensive when the old cash component was less than 60 percent of the BAR (which it was in the bulk of instances).

    And the fact that the cash component is now more expensive means that the points you earn on that cash component are essentially paid for, but at a rate that is more expensive than simply buying the points directly from Hilton.

    I stand by what I said earlier and what I have said on several occasions before. No matter what Hilton does, or how bad people think it is, DCS will twist himself into a pretzel to defend it and tell everyone how awesome it is, because he can never admit that they might have done something negative.

  16. @Jung — If I understand you correctly, your beef here is that (a) the offered WATER VILLA rate shown in the post above is a mistake, (b) Hilton lacks in high-end resorts, and (c) when one can find a high-end Hilton resort there are generally no standard awards available, requiring one to book ‘premium’ awards at higher rates.

    Here’s the reality about each of those claims that anyone can establish with just a little FREE online “research”:

    (a) “no way a water villa is being offered at standard award”
    That is no mistake rate. That WATER VILLA offer at Conrad Maldives for the cost of a standard award has been around for months and months. It’s been flagged by several travel bloggers as a steal or as a mistake rate, but it has remained, even as we speak. Check it out. It will go away for sure at some point, but it is no mistake right now.

    Any Hilton property is free to designate ANY accommodation as a standard award (to encourage redemptions) or as a ‘premium’ award (to discourage redemptions). What is going on here something like that…

    (b) Hilton lacks in high-end resort
    Hilton currently has 34 Conrad and 27 Waldorf Astoria properties [61 total], many of which are high-end resorts in coveted locations (information is free, check it out). In addition, Hilton launched their Curio Collection which consists of “a carefully selected, global collection of distinctive four and five star hotels that offer travelers local discovery and authentic experiences in key markets.” Just 2.5 years after its launch, the Curio Collection now boasts 64 unique properties across the globe and counting [just type: “Curio Collection all locations” in a search box]. In addition, the fastest growing hospitality company has these several WAs in the pipeline:

    Waldorf Astoria Chengdu (2017) — now in business. I might try it out at the end of the year.
    Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills (2017)
    Waldorf Astoria Dubai International Financial Centre (2018)
    Waldorf Astoria Bangkok (2018) — planned for a July opening, so I might try this one out as well.
    Waldorf Astoria Doha West Bay (2018)
    Waldorf Astoria Bali (2018)
    Waldorf Astoria Sanya Haitang Bay (2019)
    Waldorf Astoria Jakarta (2020)
    Waldorf Astoria Antigua (2020)
    Waldorf Astoria Bali Ubud (2021)
    Waldorf Astoria San Francisco (2021)
    Waldorf Astoria Hainan Baoting Resort (2025)

    Despite that picture, we keep getting comments about how Hilton purportedly lacks high-end resorts, and the reason is that, although for years self-anointed travel gurus promoted that view (when it was largely true), no one bothered keeping up with developments in the industry to update that view when it stopped being true — i.e., the typical herd mentality of travel blogosphere that perpetuates long-dead canards.

    (c) even when found, high-end Hilton resorts show no standard available.
    I just put that claim to the test by searching for availability of standard awards between 1 June – 6 June, 2018, at the following properties, selected because they are ALL category 10 and ‘aspirational’ [see outcome of the search to the right of each property]:

    Waldorf Astoria Grand Wailea — Standard awards available @ 95K/night
    Conrad Koh Samui — Standard awards available @ 95K/night
    Conrad Maldives Rangali Island — Standard awards available @ 95K/night (including Water Villas!)
    Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort & Spa — NO STANDARD AWARDS FOR THE ENTIRE YEAR!
    Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort & Spa — Standard awards available @ 80K/night
    Hilton Odawara Resort & Spa — Standard awards available @ 95K/night
    Hilton Seychelles Northolme Resort & Spa — Standard awards available @ 95K/night

    As you can see, your claim is simply wrong. Out of seven Category 10 high-end Hilton resorts, all but one showed availability of standard awards and ONLINE too! The one property that did not show any availability, Conrad Bora Bora, is and has always been a joke in that it considers itself too good to offer ANY standard awards at all! You should know by now not to bother…

    In contrast to the claim I just debunked above, we are told again and again about how Starwood is extremely strong in the high-end resort department. That is fine, except that there are minor “inconveniences” that are never disclosed with that claim, which are (a) that not only are award costs for those “aspirational” Starwood properties ridiculously expensive, but (b) that their participation in the SPG program is also limited. I am not making up either claim. SPG tells you. Here’s the notice that displays when one does a search for awards on the St. Regis Maldives Rommuli Resort website:

    “SPG Participation Disclaimer
    All accommodations are villas and suites; therefore, Starpoint Award reservations must be booked at a higher Starpoint rate **through your local customer contact center**. Also, since all accommodations are either suites or villas, upgrades for Starwood Preferred Guest members do not apply.”

    – Must be booked at higher rate. [Guarantee!]
    – Must call to book.
    Marriott has indicated that they are likely to keep charging higher rates for these SPG resorts.

    See how reality differs from perceptions when one bothers to do just a little of research, rather than basing one’s view on hearsay or on outdated claims by self-anointed travel gurus?


  17. @DCS: “Two can write long “dissertations”, but, as usual, only one is coherent and factual…”

    So says the person who admits he doesn’t even read them. That fact alone says more than I ever could.

  18. Ironic that DCS calls out people for cherry-picking the Conrad Maldives example, when he goes and cherry-picks himself the couple (out of hundreds of high end Starwood properties) that are double points (for all suites, which he never acknowledges) or have some modified restrictions.

    Hypocrisy runs deep with him.

  19. Enough with these ridiculous claims of “cherry-picking”! Provide your own credible examples, or just take your pick and figure out the redemption values for a 5-night award stay at any of these properties that show standard availability and, unlike for some programs, ONLINE too as full participants in the HH program. Few, if any, will be 0.5cpp:

    Waldorf Astoria Grand Wailea — Standard awards available @ 95K/night
    Conrad Koh Samui — Standard awards available @ 95K/night
    Conrad Maldives Rangali Island — Standard awards available @ 95K/night (including Water Villas!)
    Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort & Spa — Standard awards available @ 80K/night
    Hilton Odawara Resort & Spa — Standard awards available @ 95K/night
    Hilton Seychelles Northolme Resort & Spa — Standard awards available @ 95K/night.


  20. Starwood was 336 properties classified as resorts (some of them may be coming soon). There are a handful that are double points (because they are all suites, and guess what, they typically cost 2x the amount of properties in the same category, like $1,200/night in your isolated example).

    You pick two properties and basically say, Hey, look they are all more points, and/or limited benefits and don’t participate! When that couldn’t be further from reality. And actually, “limited participation” doesn’t mean “you don’t get benefits here” – it means you have to call in your reservation. BFD.

    So STFD.

  21. Frankly, I’d thought that after SPG got swallowed by Marriott you would wake up at long last and smell the coffee, but I should’ve known better. So, here is the short of it. I could not care less. SPG is dead. The starpoints is dying. It’s all water under the bridge at this point. Get used to it.

    Bye bye, baby!

  22. I did not bother reading the dissertations in this thread. Honest. I simply know them from before because I have seen them ad nauseam and they are always obsessively the same.

  23. Cowardice is not what I am known for. Call it a pointless exercise. SPG is now officially dead.


  24. @DCS: “I did not bother reading the dissertations in this thread. Honest. I simply know them from before because I have seen them ad nauseam and they are always obsessively the same.”

    No, what it really means is that you can’t handle being wrong and, instead, must act like a petulant child when anyone dares to disagree with you.

    As you have no real rebuttal other than “You’re wrong because you can’t ever be right,” maybe you should just give up and get help.

  25. SPG and Ritz Carlton has more high end properties than the Hilton. But Hilton has better mid-range properties specially for families/kids.
    Hilton’s last devaluation took away most of the opportunity to achieve outlandish cpp except some cherry picked examples of 95K in low season (in High season they go for 265K or more). Even very ordinary Hiltons in avg destinations can charge upwards of 200K/night!
    So, bottom line in probably 99%+ of the time, you will be hard-pressed to get better than 0.4 cents value from Hilton points..
    So, no point (pun intended) in advance purchase of Hilton “Zimbabwe” points..

  26. @DCS

    Please do not try to educate the great unwashed. We love our Hhonors points and the awards at Rangali Island and use points every three years for a two week stay. If they start believing you the place will be filled with ex Marriott loyalists and we will have to try to find another place instead.

    One of my favorite other redemptions is the Conrad Hong Kong. You cannot find a better run hotel or friendlier staff anywhere but we should not be letting others into the secret.

    Yup Mike and others – Hilton really sucks and you should never think of going there. It would be a waste of you money or time.

  27. @Azamaraal: “Yup Mike and others – Hilton really sucks and you should never think of going there. It would be a waste of you money or time.”

    The fact that I am already a Hilton Diamond aside, perhaps it would behoove you to actually read the comments before making assumptions.

  28. Christ, these comments are scary. Who writes hundreds of words in a comments section?!

  29. Well I was reading this tread as the merger from Marriott/SPG has come and gone…I am also a Hhonor member.
    First the value of my Hilton points where I live has gone down 33%.My stays at bangor,Portland Maine cost apprx.10k more points/night.The sliding scale is a direct correlation and is no deal..you are way better off to buy the missing points on Hilton’s site before the redemption because at least you don’t pay the tax on the full nightly value.
    Hilton in the last year where I vacation have gone down in value a lot…I can’t afford to do a Maldive 2 week stay so it’s like picking the few High end that are way over 95k points as the rule while the thing is 95k first…members don’t have those points,second that’s the highest for now that Hilton can charge.
    Now Marriott is going down also…high season rates are bad and worst the SPG amex which is the only CC Canadians have has them only giving 66% of points that they had prior to August….so even if Marriott says that the points are still valued at 9cents…in theory it’s true but if they had put up the points needed by 33% instead and keeping the earn rate on the CC we would see that the points have gone down a lot.
    Example…My 30k spend on SPG amex gave me 90k MR points last year and 3 nights at a cat.6…this year the same 30k spend gives me 2 nights at a cat 4 high season…so all in all this proves that for me at least these 2 programs have devalued a lot.

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