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With the massive Hilton HHonors program devaluation coming our way starting March 28, I shared some ideas of how you could burn through Hilton points at the current rates for some amazing hotel redemptions – but in order to do so, you’ve got to have the Hilton HHonors points ready to redeem, so here are some ideas and tips on topping up your HHonors account fast before the dreaded ax falls and we all start paying double for our Hilton award nights. Of course, you can always just stay at a Hilton and earn 15 points per dollar by choosing Hilton as your double dip, but there are some other ways as well in case you don’t have nay Hilton stays in your near future:
Transfer from American Express: You can transfer your American Express Membership Rewards to Hilton HHonors at a 1: 1.5 ratio, however it is more lucrative to transfer from Amex to Virgin Atlantic at a 1:1 ratio (usually goes through in 24-48 hours) and then transfer from Virgin Atlantic to Hilton at a 1:2 ratio, so in the end getting a 1:2 transfer ratio vs 1:1.5. See below for Virgin Atlantic to Hilton transfer information…
Transfer from Virgin Atlantic: Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles transfer to Hilton at a 2:1 ratio, so instead of the usual 1 Amex point to 1.5 Hilton HHonors points, you can transfer 1 Amex point to 1 Virgin Atlantic mile and then transfer again to get 2 Hilton HHonors points for a 2:1 final transfer ratio. That’s how I, using a transfer bonus from Amex to Virgin Atlantic for a 1:2.7 Amex to Hilton transfer ratio. You must call to process the transfer 1-800-365-9500 from 8.30am – 11:00pm seven days a week.
Transfer from Hawaiian Airlines: HawaiianMiles allows transfers at a 1:2 ratio, much like Virgin Atlantic. Another benefit is that Hawaiian Airlines Visa® cardholders can pool together miles so if you have the card and family members, you can potentially make one huge transfer. To process a Hiton transfer call Hawaiian at 1-877-HA-MILES. Transfers can take up to a couple weeks.
Transfer from Starwood Preferred Guest to Hawaiian or Virgin Atlantic. 20,000 SPG points = 25,000 miles = 50,000 HHonors points. As low as 37,500 Hilton points can get you a free room at the Conrad Maldives (booked before March 28, of course), so if you need to boost those account, it could make sense to go the SPG route. However, it could take a couple weeks for the Startpoints to transfer and then a couple more to hit Hilton, so it could be a nailbiter- if you want to go this route it will be a risk, but if you should do it ASAP.
Transfer from Citi ThankYou to Hilton at a 1: 1.5 ratio. This feature was just added earlier in 2013 and it is one of the only ways that you can transfer ThankYou points and get potentially over 1 cent per point in value (normally they are pegged at a max redemption value of 1 cent each). Still, I don’t think Hilton points are worth over .67 cents a piece normally (to break even at 1 cent a piece for the transfer), but certain pre-devaluation redemptions like the Conrad Koh Samui through Hilton GLON awards at 37,500 a night may be well worth the 25,000 ThankYou points ($250 in gift certificates).
Transfer from Amtrak Guest Rewards at a 1:2 ratio. Amtrak Guest Rewards points transfer to Hilton HHonors points at a 1:2 ratio in increments of 5,000 points. However, just note that only Members with Amtrak Guest Rewards Select, Select Plus or Select Executive status and Members that are active cardholders of the Amtrak Guest Rewards MasterCard issued by Chase Bank with an Amtrak travel spend on the card of over $200 per calendar year may redeem for hotel points up to 25,000 Amtrak Guest Rewards points per calendar year for members that are active cardholders of the Amtrak Guest Rewards MasterCard; up to 50,000 Amtrak Guest Rewards points per calendar year for Amtrak Guest Rewards Select or Select Plus Members (including those who are active cardholders of the Amtrak Guest Rewards MasterCard; and unlimited points for Amtrak Guest Rewards Select Executive Members (including those who are active cardholders of the Amtrak Guest Rewards MasterCard – just note that you have to spend at least $200 per calendar year on Amtrak travel on the credit card.
Use your Hilton Hilton Credit Cards: Each of the Hilton HHonors co-branded credit cards earns some potentially lucrative category spending bonuses, so if you’re just shy of the redemptions you want, amp up your spending in the next month and pay special attention to the points-earning ratio of each category, which will be changing in May anyway on the two American Express cards, after the HHonors program changes go into effect. Note: If you statement closes on or after March 28, 2013, your points will not post in time to be redeemed before the devaluation. You can always call American Express or Citi to ask them to close your statement earlier (to align with other bill due dates).
- 6 Hilton HHonors points per $1 spent at Hilton Worldwide properties
- 6 Hilton HHonors points per $1 spent on grocery stores, drugstores, gas stations, home and wireless phone, cable and satellite TV, and Internet service providers (less returns).
- 3 Hilton HHonors points per $1 spent for all other eligible purchases
- 12 Hilton HHonors points per $1 spent on Hilton spend
- 6 Hilton HHonors points per $1 spent on grocery stores, gas stations, home and wireless phone, cable and satellite TV, and Internet service providers (less returns).
- 3 Hilton HHonors points per $1 spent on all other spend
- 10 Hilton HHonors points per $1 spent on hotel stays within the 3,800 properties in the Hilton HHonors Portfolio in addition to base points normally earned for stays
- 5 Hilton HHonors points per $1 spent on airline and car rental purchases
- 3 Hilton HHonors point per $1 spent on all other purchases
Maximize Points With Hilton HHonors Dining: Hilton HHonors Dining allows members to earn HHonors bonus points at thousands of participating restaurants, bars and clubs. Once your credit card (any credit card, whether it’s Hilton co-branded or not) is registered with a program and you dine out at participating restaurants, you’ll automatically get points deposited in your account about a week or so after you dine. Registration is free and you can earn 5 points per dollar spent, but once you hit 10 dines you get VIP status where you earn 8 points per dollar. One trick to getting VIP status quickly is simply go to a participating bar or restaurant and order 10 cheap items and ask them to swipe them separately. The current sign-up offer for new members is 1,000 bonus Hilton points after spending $40 or more on a single dine in the first 30 days – so go out and eat and earn as many points as possible.
Earn Bonus Hilton Points With The Hilton HHonors Earnings Mall: The Hilton HHonors Shop to Earn Mall is Hilton’s shopping portal where members can rack up tons of bonus points. This is one of the easiest ways to rack Hilton points. All you have to do is click their link to the website of the retailer you want and they’ll automatically award you a certain number of bonus points per dollar you spend based on where you shop. Right now, for instance, you can earn 6 points per dollar at Fedex Office, 3 points per dollar Nordstrom, and tons of other bonuses.
Earn Hilton Points Through Car Rental Partners:
Alamo: Save up to 25% and earn triple HHonors bonus points now through December 31, 2013 – up to 750 HHonors points per rental by using Contract ID 7015298 and presenting your HHonors number at time of rental.
Avis: Earn 250 HHonors bonus points on all qualifying rentals at participating Avis locations worldwide. Also, save up to 25% off your rental each time you rent by using the Avis Worldwide Discount (AWD) number K851000.
Budget: Earn 250 HHonors bonus points on all qualifying rentals at any participating Budget airport or off-airport location. Plus, Budget also offers HHonors members up to 20% off each time you rent. Simply provide your Budget Customer Discount (BCD) number U106100.
National: Now through December 31, 2013, save up to 25% and earn triple HHonors Bonus Points. That adds up to 750 points per rental. Be sure to use contract ID 5028125 and present your HHonors number at time of rental.
There are tons of ways to rack up a few extra HHonors miles before the major program changes take place at the end of next month, so if you’re short a few (or a few thousand) points of your desired pre-devaluation redemption, now is the time to be diligent about your points-earning strategy and maximize both the ins and outs of Hilton’s program itself, as well as all its partners so that you can rack up the bonus points you need to stay where you want before award redemptions go through the roof.