Chase Sapphire Reserve℠

How to Maximize Double-Dipping with Hilton HHonors in 2016

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

One unique feature of the Hilton HHonors loyalty program is that members can “double-dip” by earning extra airline miles or bonus HHonors points on eligible hotel stays. To help you choose the best option, TPG Senior Points & Miles Contributor Nick Ewen walks you through the different earning rates.

There are many ways you can double- (or even triple-) dip to maximize your point and mileage earnings. One way to do this is on stays at Hilton properties, as you can earn both Hilton HHonors points and airline miles on eligible stays (unlike other hotel chains that force you to choose between the two). Back in 2012, one of my first posts as a new TPG contributor covered double-dipping with Hilton HHonors, but several things have since changed, so today I want to revisit the program and highlight when it makes sense for you to utilize this earning option.

Hilton-berlin
How can you make the most of double dipping with Hilton HHonors this year?

Let’s start with the basics. As a regular Hilton HHonors member, you’ll earn 10 base points per eligible dollar spent at almost all Hilton properties (excluding Home2 Suites, where you’ll earn 5 base points per dollar spent). These are in addition to any bonus points you’d earn on co-branded credit cards like the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card, which offers an additional 10 points per dollar spent at Hilton properties. You also can boost your earnings by attaining Hilton HHonors elite status.

However, every Hilton HHonors member can boost their earnings by selecting one of two My Way Earning Styles:

  • POINTS & POINTS: Earn an additional 5 Hilton points per eligible dollar spent (2.5 extra points at Home2 Suites)
  • POINTS & MILES: Earn 1 mile per eligible dollar spent (up to a maximum of 100 miles per stay at Home2 Suites)

Note that these earnings are in addition to the base earnings highlighted above. It’s also worth noting that this process is a bit simpler than it was when I first wrote about it four years ago. In January 2014, Hilton HHonors discontinued its Points & Fixed Miles Earning Style, yet another blow to a program that had just annihilated its award chart in March 2013. This was a great option for shorter stays and actually helped me earn a Southwest Companion Pass for two straight years. While it did make things simpler when it comes to double-dipping, it also sapped some value out of the program!

POINTS & MILES Partners

The Points & Points earning option actually isn’t quite as straightforward as the above overview indicates. There are some programs that utilize a different earning ratio, and some don’t award miles across all brands. Here’s a breakdown of the 17 airline partners in the Americas along with the earning rates and limitations:

Airline/Program

Earning Rate

Home2 Suites Limitations

Aerolineas Argentinas

1 AR Plus mile per eligible US dollar spent

Up to 100 miles per stay

Aeromexico

2 Premier Points per eligible US dollar spent

Up to 200 points per stay

Aeroplan (Air Canada)

1 Aeroplan mile per eligible US dollar spent

Up to 100 miles per stay

AIR MILES

1 AIR MILES reward mile per every 8 eligible US dollars spent

Up to 100 reward miles per stay

Alaska Airlines

1 Mileage Plan mile per eligible US dollar spent

Up to 100 miles per stay

American Airlines

1 AAdvantage mile per eligible US dollar spent

Up to 100 miles per stay

Amtrak

1 Amtrak Guest Rewards point per eligible US dollar spent

Up to 100 points per stay

Avianca/TACA

1 LifeMile per eligible US dollar spent

Up to 100 miles per stay

Delta Airlines

1 SkyMile per eligible US dollar spent

Up to 100 miles per stay

Frontier Airlines

1 EarlyReturns mile per eligible US dollar spent

Up to 100 miles per stay

GOL/VARIG

1 Smiles mile per eligible US dollar spent

Up to 100 miles per stay

Hawaiian Airlines

1 HawaiianMile per eligible US dollar spent

Up to 100 miles per stay

JetBlue

1 TrueBlue point per 2 eligible US dollars spent

Up to 100 points per stay

LAN

2 LANPASS kilometers per eligible US dollar spent

Up to 200 KMS per stay

Multiplus

1 Multiplus point per eligible US dollar spent

Up to 100 points per stay

United

1 MileagePlus mile per eligible US dollar spent

Up to 100 miles per stay

Virgin America

1 Elevate point per 2 eligible US dollars spent

Up to 50 points per stay

The program also awards points or miles from 25 partners in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Here are the details for each of these carriers:

Airline/Program

Earning Rate Brand Limitations

Aeroflot

1 Aeroflot Bonus mile per eligible US dollar spent Up to 100 miles per stay at Hampton, Homewood, and Home2 Suites

Air Berlin

1 topbonus mile per eligible US dollar spent Up to 100 miles per stay at Home2 Suites

Air Baltic

1 PINS per eligible US dollar spent Up to 100 miles per stay at Home2 Suites

Air France-KLM

1 Flying Blue award mile per eligible US dollar spent Up to 100 miles per stay at Home2 Suites

Alitalia

1 MilleMiglia mile per eligible US dollar spent Up to 100 miles per stay at Home2 Suites

British Airways

1 Avios per eligible US dollar spent Up to 100 Avios per stay at Home 2 Suites

Czech Airlines

1 OK Plus mile per eligible US dollar spent Up to 100 miles per stay at Home2 Suites

Deutsche Bahn

1 Bahn Bonus point per every 2 eligible US dollars spent Up to 100 points per stay at Home2 Suites

EL AL

1 Matmid Club point per 40 eligible US dollars spent Excludes stays at Hampton, Homewood and Home2 Suites

Emirates

1 Skywards mile per eligible US dollar spent Up to 100 miles per stay at Home2 Suites

Ethiopian Airlines

1 Sheba mile per eligible US dollar spent Up to 100 miles per stay at Home2 Suites

Etihad Airways

1 Etihad Guest mile per eligible US dollar spent Up to 100 miles per stay at Home2 Suites

Finnair

1 Finnair Plus point per eligible US dollar spent Up to 100 miles per stay at Home2 Suites

Germanwings

1 Boomerang Club mile per eligible US dollar spent Up to 100 miles per stay at Home2 Suites

Gulf Air

1 Falconflyer mile per eligible US dollar spent Up to 100 miles per stay at Home2 Suites

Iberia

15 Avios per every 10 eligible US dollars spent Up to 100 Avios per stay at Home2 Suites

Icelandair

1 Saga Club Award point per eligible US dollar spent Up to 100 points per stay at Home2 Suites

Kuwait

1 Oasis mile per eligible US dollar spent Up to 100 miles per stay at Home2 Suites

Miles & More (Austrian, Lufthansa and SWISS)

1 Miles & More mile per eligible US dollar spent Up to 100 miles per stay at Home2 Suites

Qatar Airways

1 Privilege Club Qmile per eligible US dollar spent Up to 100 miles per stay at Home2 Suites

SAS Scandinavian Airlines

1 EuroBonus point per eligible US dollar spent Up to 100 miles per stay at Home2 Suites

Saudi Arabian Airlines

1 Alfursan Reward mile per eligible US dollar spent Up to 100 miles per stay at Home2 Suites

South African Airways

1 Voyager Bonus mile per eligible US dollar spent Up to 100 miles per stay at Home2 Suites

Turkish Airlines

1 Miles&Smiles mile per eligible US dollar spent Up to 100 miles per stay at Home2 Suites

Virgin Atlantic

2 Flying Club miles per eligible US dollar spent Up to 100 miles per stay at Home2 Suites

You also have access to another 23 partners in the Asia Pacific region. Here are the details of those partners:

Airline/Program

Earning Rate

Brand Limitations

AirAsia BIG

2 AirAsia Big program points per eligible US dollar spent

Up to 200 points per stay at Hampton, Homewood and Home2 Suites

Air China

1 Phoenix mile per eligible US dollar spent

Up to 100 miles per stay at Hampton, Homewood and Home2 Suites

Air New Zealand

1 Airport Dollar per every 25 eligible US dollars spent

Up to 100 miles per stay at Home2 Suites

ANA – All Nippon Airways

1 Mileage Club mile per eligible US dollar spent

Excludes Hampton and Homewood; up to 100 miles per stay at Home2 Suites

Asia Miles (Cathay Pacific)

1 Asia Mile per eligible US dollar spent

Up to 100 miles per stay at Home2 Suites

Asiana Airlines

1 Asiana Club mile per eligible US dollar spent

Up to 100 miles per stay at Home2 Suites

China Eastern

1 Eastern Miles point per eligible US dollar spent

Excludes Hampton and Homewood; up to 100 miles per stay at Home2 Suites

China Southern

1 Sky Pearl Club mile per eligible US dollar spent

Up to 100 miles per stay at Home2 Suites

EVA Air

1 Infinity MileageLands program mile per eligible US dollar spent

Up to 100 miles per stay at Home2 Suites

Garuda Indonesia

1 GarudaMiles program mile per eligible US dollar spent

Up to 100 miles per stay at Hampton, Homewood and Home2 Suites

Hainan Airlines

1 Fortune Wings Club mile per eligible US dollar spent

Up to 100 miles per stay at Home2 Suites

Japan Airlines

1 JAL Mileage Bank mile per eligible US dollar spent

Excludes Hampton and Homewood; up to 100 miles per stay at Home2 Suites

Jet Airways

1 Jet Privilege JPmile per eligible US dollar spent

Up to 100 miles per stay at Home2 Suites

Korean Air

1 SKYPASS mile per eligible US dollar spent

Up to 100 miles per stay at Hampton, Homewood and Home2 Suites

Malaysia Airlines

1 Enrich Mile per eligible US dollar spent

Up to 100 miles per stay at Home2 Suites

OK Cashbag

10 OK Cashbag points per eligible US dollar spent

Up to 2,000 points per stay at Hampton, Homewood and Home2 Suites

Philippine Airlines

1 Mabuhay Mile per eligible US dollar spent

Up to 100 miles per stay at Home2 Suites

Qantas

1 Qantas Frequent Flyer point per eligible US dollar spent

Up to 100 miles per stay at Hampton, Homewood and Home2 Suites

Singapore Airlines

1 KrisFlyer mile per eligible US dollar spent

Up to 100 miles per stay at Home2 Suites

SriLankan Airlines

1 FlySmiLes Program mile per eligible US dollar spent

Up to 100 miles per stay at Hampton, Homewood and Home2 Suites

Thai Airways

1 Royal Orchid Plus mile per eligible US dollar spent

Excludes Hampton and Homewood; up to 100 miles per stay at Home2 Suites

Vietnam Airlines

1 Golden Lotus Plus mile per eligible US dollar spent

Up to 100 miles per stay at Hampton, Homewood and Home2 Suites

Virgin Australia

2 Velocity points per eligible US dollar spent

Up to 100 miles per stay at Home2 Suites

As you can see, the Hilton HHonors program has an incredibly diverse set of partners (65 in all). You also have several that offer different earning rates than the standard 1 mile/point per dollar spent. So how do you go about deciding which is the best option?

Analysis

Hilton Conrad Featured
If your main goal is to pursue free hotel stays at properties like the Conrad Bali, it may not make sense to double-dip and earn airline miles.

When it comes to deciding which earning style is best for you, you should start with Points & Points as your baseline and then answer the following question:

“Would you rather earn an extra 5 Hilton HHonors points or 1 extra mile in _____’s program?”

Many of you may have an immediate, gut instinct as to which you’d prefer, and I’d say that’s a probably a good indication of which style you should choose. However, it can be worth crunching the numbers to make sure that your decision makes mathematical sense.

Everyone has a slightly different way of valuing the various loyalty currencies out there, but let’s use TPG’s monthly valuations to help make this decision. In his most recent iteration, TPG pegs Hilton points at 0.5 cents apiece. Since you’d get an additional 5 points per dollar spent by choosing Points & Points, that’s like getting an extra 2.5 cents back on your Hilton stays by going that route. Are there any partners that can eclipse that added value?

At the time of writing, there are 17 airline partners (plus Amtrak) that make TPG’s list each month. In order for Points & Miles to make mathematical sense, the points or miles you’d earn per dollar spent with the partner would need to be worth at least 2.5 cents. Here’s a table that breaks down the numbers for each of these partner programs:

Partner

Earning Rate

Value per Mile/Point (cents)

Total Value per Dollar Spent (cents)

Best Option?

Aeroplan

1 mile/$

1.5

1.5

Points & Points

Alaska

1 mile/$

1.8

1.8

Points & Points

American

1 mile/$

1.5

1.5

Points & Points

ANA

1 mile/$

1.6

1.6

Points & Points

Avianca

1 mile/$

1.7

1.7

Points & Points

British Airways

1 point/$

1.5

1.5

Points & Points

Delta

1 mile/$

1.2

1.2

Points & Points

Emirates

1 mile/$

1.2

1.2

Points & Points

Etihad

1 mile/$

1.4

1.4

Points & Points

Flying Blue

1 mile/$

1.3

1.3

Points & Points

Frontier

1 mile/$

1.1

1.1

Points & Points

JetBlue

1 point/$2

1-1.4

0.5-0.7

Points & Points

Miles & More

1 mile/$

1.4

1.4

Points & Points

Singapore

1 mile/$

1.5

1.5

Points & Points

United

1 mile/$

1.5

1.5

Points & Points

Virgin America

1 point/$2

1.5-2.3

0.75-1.15

Points & Points

Virgin Atlantic

2 miles/$

1.5

3.0

Points & Miles

Amtrak

1 point/$

2.5

2.5

Even

As you can see, based on TPG’s valuations, there is only a single partner that clearly makes sense to utilize the Points & Miles earning option: Virgin Atlantic (Amtrak is a break-even partner). While Flying Club miles aren’t anywhere near the most valuable loyalty currency out there, the program does offer the best earning rate for Hilton stays, awarding you 2 miles per dollar spent. This gives you an added value of 3 cents for each dollar you spend, beating out the bonus Hilton HHonors points you’d earn by selecting Points & Points.

Of course, you can feel free to adjust the numbers above if you have different values for certain currencies. For example, if you peg Hilton points at 0.4 cents apiece instead of 0.5, that brings Alaska into play.

Is It Really This Black & White?

Emirates-first-830x400
If Emirates first class is your goal, earning bonus miles with JAL may be much more valuable than banking 5 extra Hilton points.

It can be exceedingly hard to give definitive recommendations in this hobby, since everyone places a different value on different things. Sure, the mathematics indicate that you should almost always select Points & Points, but your reality may be a bit different. Here are some times when you might choose Points & Miles:

  • If You Have a Specific Redemption in Mind — In some cases, you may be pursing a specific redemption and would benefit from the airline miles much more than you would from the extra Hilton points. Alaska is a great example of this, given the excellent redemptions available through the Mileage Plan program (like Cathay Pacific first class).
  • If You Are Points-Rich and Miles-Poor — Another time when Points & Miles may make sense is when you are swimming in Hilton HHonors points but are in desperate need of airline points or miles. Earning an extra 5 Hilton points per dollar spent may not be that exciting if you currently have half a million points in your account.
  • If There Is a Bonus of Some Sort — Every once in a while, Hilton will offer a bonus for a specific airline that increases your earning potential. For example, you could’ve earned double Delta SkyMiles plus 250 MQMs for two-night Hilton stays this past fall, which would boost your return to 2.4 cents per dollar spent. Be sure to check the offers page on Hilton HHonors’ website to make sure your preferred carrier isn’t offering any type of bonus.

Choosing/Changing Your My Way Earning Style

One of the nice things about this double-dip with Hilton HHonors is that you’re free to change your earning style as many times as you want. However, be sure that your desired style is set by 11:59pm Central Time on your checkout date. This will ensure that your stay is credited properly. You can view your current earning style by visiting Hilton HHonors’ Account Preferences page and looking at the My Way Earning Style Preference section:

Hilton HHonors double dip setting

To change your earning style, simply click on Change Earning Style and select either Points & Points or Points & Miles. You can also have a confirmation email sent for your records.

The account preferences page is also where you can add your frequent flyer numbers and set your preferred program in which to earn miles:

Hilton HHonors double dip partners

To add additional accounts, simply click on Add New Travel Partner at the bottom and select the radio button next to your preferred partner before clicking Save Preferences down at the bottom.

Bottom Line

The Hilton HHonors program is unique in that you can earn both hotel points and airline miles with one of 65 different travel partners for every stay. While this double dip isn’t nearly as lucrative as it once was, given the elimination of the fixed miles option, it’s nevertheless a nice way to boost your account balances in two different programs in one fell swoop. Hopefully this post has given you some food for thought as you decide which earning style makes the most sense for you!

What are your experiences double-dipping with Hilton HHonors?

Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card

Apply Now
  • Earn 2 weekend night certificates good at select hotels and resorts within the Hilton Portfolio after you make $2,500 in purchases within 4 months of account opening*
  • Earn 10 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points per $1 spent on hotel stays within the Hilton Portfolio*
  • Earn 5 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points per $1 spent on airline and car rental purchases*
  • Earn 3 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases*
  • Enjoy the benefits of HHonors Gold status as long as you are a cardmember*
  • No foreign transaction fees on purchases*
  • Travel with ease and enjoy global acceptance with your Citi chip credit card
Intro APR Regular APR Annual Fee Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Rating
N/A 15.49% (Variable) $95 0% Excellent Credit