Hilton Honors currently has a bonus of up to 100% when you buy points starting at 5,000 points. With the bonus you only pay $5 (approx. 4,40€) instead of $10 per 1.000 points. You can redeem points starting at only 5.000 points for hotel stays, this results in a price of effectively 22€ per night!
IHG currently offers a similar deal on purchasing points with a bonus.
Important: Not everyone gets a bonus of 100%. You can find out what your personal bonus is (sometimes only 80%) by logging into your Hilton Honors account.
Buy points with a bonus of up to 100%
Normally you pay $10 (about 8,87€) per 1.000 points. With a bonus of 100% you only end up paying $5 (approx. 4,43€) per 1.000 points. This gives you a price of 0,50 USD-Cent per point.
If you sign up for a Hilton Honors account now, you will have to wait 30 days to purchase points and collect at least one Honors Point. Otherwise you will have to wait 90 days until the first purchase of points.
The current promotion runs until the 28th of May, so you still have some time to decide if you want to buy points or not.
Since March 1st 2017, Hilton Honors no longer divides hotels into fixed categories, but has priced them according to availability and season. Additionally the possibility was created to combine points and money in pretty much whatever combination you want.
Whether these changes are positive or negative for members cannot be said with full certainty. Officially, however, Hilton has promised that no hotels will become more expensive as a result of the change. Hilton also provides a special tool that shows the former categories and required points for each hotel.
Note: If you only have a few points in your Honors account, you will only see availability for hotels for which you have enough points. If you wish to check availability regardless of your account balance, simply log out of your account!
In the past, Hilton hotels were divided into hotel categories from 1 to 10. Depending on the category, a Redemption Night cost between 5,000 and 95,000 points in a standard room:
- Category 1: 5.000 Points = $25
- Category 2: 10.000 Points = $50
- Category 3: 20.000 Points = $100
- Category 4: 20.000 – 30.000 Points = $100 – $150
- Category 5: 30.000 – 40.000 Points = $150 – $200
- Category 6: 30.000 – 50.000 Points = $150 – $250
- Category 7: 30.000 – 60.000 Points = $150 – $300
- Category 8: 40.000 – 70.000 Points = $200 – $350
- Category 9: 50.000 – 80.000 Points = $250 – $400
- Category 10: 70.000 – 95.000 Points = $350 – $475
One can still think along the lines of these categories. However, many hotels in the higher categories have become considerably cheaper depending on the season.
For most 5-star Hilton, Waldorf-Astoria and Conrad hotels, you still have to pay between 60,000 and 80,000 points. If you assume a price of 70,000 points, you currently have to pay $350 (approx. 300€). An extreme example is the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island with 95.000 points = 475$ (approx. 410€). That is rarely a good deal, but there are of course exceptions such as New Year’s or trade fairs. Hotels that are available for 5.000 to 20.000 points are more interesting!
Unfortunately, there were not many hotels in Category 1 (5.000 points) or Category 2 (10.000 points). In Europe, these hotels are mostly found in Eastern Europe and Turkey. A current list of hotels for 5.000 or 10.000 points can be found over at LoyaltyLobby.
If you have at least Silver status with Honors (currently there is a Status Match Challenge available), the 5th night in all categories is free. If you stay in a hotel for 5.000 points/night, you essentially only pay 4.000 points/night for 5 nights (or about $20 when you buy points).
Here are some hotels that are cheaper to book with points than with cash:
Hilton Salalah Resort, Oman for 10.000 points
The Hilton Salalah Resort in Oman was available for 5,000 points for a long time. Meanwhile it costs 10,000 points unfortunately. In cash you have to pay between 37 – 74 OMR (approx. 78-157€).
By buying points, you quickly save more than 100€ per night. You can even book a room with sea view for 10.000 points:
Hampton by Hilton Krakow, Poland for 10.000 points
The Hampton by Hilton Krakow was one of the few Category 1 hotels in Europe and was bookable for 5.000 points until the end of 2017. Meanwhile it also costs 10.000 points.
While it is not located in the city centre but rather a bit further out near a shopping centre, it is a great deal for 10.000 points = $50 it is still cheap! Normally the hotel costs between 220-489 PLN (approx. 51-113€).
Hilton Garden Inn Vienna South, Austria for 10.000 points
The Hilton Garden Inn Vienna South is not located in the city centre of Vienna, but it is well connected and 10.000 points are a very cheap price for a hotel in Vienna (thanks to Nils for the tip!). Normally a night starts at 87€, but the prices quickly skyrocket towards 300€ if there is a big event in the city.
The other three Hilton Hotels in Vienna are also worth a look.
The DoubleTree Bratislava is also available for 10.000 points and usually costs even more than the Garden Inn Vienna.
Points & Money
With the new Points & Money option, you can pay almost any part of the overnight price with points and the rest with money. But you have to redeem at least 5.000 points, after that you can adjust the points part in increments of 1.000.
The goal should be to get more value out of the points you have bought than you have paid for them. 1.000 points should reduce the price of a night by at least $5.
That’s not as easy as it sounds. Hotels where you get a higher value than 5$ per 1.000 points are difficult to find. In my opinion it is not worth redeeming for a hotel below 7$ per 1.000 points. In addition, you should note that you can usually not book the cheapest rate and you can only collect points for the part that is paid with money.
Feel free to share great redemptions you found as a comment!
Hilton really devalued the points in 2013. The redemption prices have more than doubled for many hotels. Before that, you needed at most 50.000 points (except Waldorf Astoria properties) for one night. After that it was 80.000 points.
However, there was also a new benefit: Silver, Gold and Platinum customers receive the 5th night for free when they book their redemption stay
Although Hilton has promised that no hotel will cost more points than before after getting rid of the fixed hotel categories, Hilton can now change the required points for a hotel at any time and without notice. There are now almost no 5.000 point redemptions in Central Europe, but at least some hotels are now bookable for 10.000 points…
You should not buy points or miles merely to hoard them. It is important that you first find a lucrative way to redeem your points and then buy them.