What’s Better – 6 Hilton HHonors Points Or 5 Club Carlson Points Per Dollar?

Jun 23, 2013

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TPG follower Joanna tweeted this week asking if she should earn Hilton or Club Carlson points on grocery shopping:

@thepointsguy should I use my Amex Hilton HHonors Surpass or Club Carlson card for grocery shopping? I am curious if 6 Hilton HHonors points or 5 Club Carlson points per dollar makes more sense.”

Personally, I value Club Carlson points more highly than Hilton HHonors points, so if you’re just basing your decision on that I  would take the 5 Club Carlson over 6 Hilton points.  Before making your decision, however, there are a couple other things you should consider.

The Club Carlson cards can be very valuable because it carries the unique cardholder benefit of a bonus award night when you redeem Gold Points for 2 or more consecutive award nights – meaning you could get awards for as low as 50% off the normal amount of points if you redeem for two-night stays. That essentially lets you double the value of your points. The Hilton HHonors program, on the other hand, has a lot more properties where you can redeem your points and a lot more aspirational properties, which is what I look for in a program.

Hitlon HHonors point requirements.
Hilton HHonors point requirements.

In the end, your question amounts to: would I rather have a boatload of Hilton HHonors points saved up or a boatload of Club Carlson points? For my travel, I would prefer Hilton because there are a lot more high-end properties in a lot more places that I can redeem my points for. What takes away from Hilton is their major devaluation that recently took place in March and gutted the HHonors program and the value of those points. After these changes were made, redeeming for a top night will now cost you up to 95,000 points per night. So solely in terms of grocery shopping, you’d have to spend $15,834 for a single free night at a top-tier Hilton property.

By contrast, with Club Carlson points you can get top-tier hotels for 50,000 points per night, although you can’t really compare a top Carlson hotel with a top Hilton property like the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island for example. Still, just going off the 50,000-point figure, you’d only need to spend 10,000 for a free hotel award night – and since you would have the Club Carlson card, you could actually redeem those 50,000 points for two free nights instead, doubling your value.

Club Carlson point requirements for a free night.
Club Carlson point requirements for a free night.

Although I value Club Carlson points more and I think that the card is better overall, with the Hilton card you can spend your way to top-tier status and get a lot of other perks as well. Really it depends on your needs and travel preferences so I would recommend that you try to map out some future trips that you would like to take and decide which program would be best for you and see where you can get the most value.

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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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