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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available – Citi Hilton Honors Reserve Card
Through June 17, Hilton is offering a 100% bonus when you buy HHonors points. That sounds great on the surface, but Hilton’s currency is worth far less than its Hyatt, Marriott and Starwood counterparts. But you’ll pay less to buy points, too. If you max out this promo with a 80,000-point purchase, you’ll net 160,000 HHonors points for $800, bringing the cost down to 0.5 cents each. In his May valuations, TPG pegs the value of each HHonors point at that same 0.5 cents, so if you have a specific redemption in mind, it might make sense to buy.
TPG Senior Points & Miles Correspondent Nick Ewen outlined several properties that could be worthwhile for award stays in his 8 Hilton Properties that Make for Awesome Award Redemptions post from March, including the Conrad Maldives (95,000 points per night) and the Conrad Tokyo (80,000 – 95,000 points per night). Let’s take a look at a few of these hotels to see if it makes more sense to book using cash or using purchased points.
The Conrad Maldives, which TPG visited in 2013 (staying in both a deluxe beach villa and over-water villa), is a Category 10 property, requiring 95,000 Hilton HHonors points for a free night. For a stay at a Beach Villa starting this week, expect to pay $790 a night, giving you a value of 0.83 cents per point (before taxes). With points costing just 0.5 cents with this promotion, buying points and redeeming for a stay would make more sense than paying cash.
Another fantastic Hilton hotel, the Conrad Tokyo is a Category 10 property, requiring 80,000 – 95,000 points for a free night. Nights in May are priced at 95,000 points, while nights in June are going for 80,000 points. To maximize our return, let’s pick one of the cheaper redemptions. The base room, a King Room City, is available for 80,000 points on June 5, or ¥42,000 (about $340). That would give you just 0.43 cents in value for each point redeemed, so even with a 100% bonus you’re going to be losing out.
Finally, the Grand Wailea in Maui, Hawaii, is generally another great hotel for maximizing redemptions. It’s also a Category 10 property, requiring 70,000 – 95,000 points for a free night. Only one night is available at a sub-100k point rate within the next few months, but we’ll give the hotel the benefit of the doubt and do the math based on that 80,000-point redemption. The cash rate for that same night is $459, giving you a redemption value of 0.57 cents. With the 100-percent bonus bringing the cost of HHonors points to 0.5 cents each, you’ll save a bit by purchasing points.
Other Ways to Earn
Of course, you can also earn free Hilton nights by taking advantage of a credit card bonus, such as the two weekend nights you’ll earn after spending $2,500 in the first four months with the Citi Hilton Reserve card. For a limited time, you’ll also earn a $100 statement credit after spending $100 or more on a Hilton stay within the first three months. If you’re looking to boost your points balance, you can transfer from American Express Membership Rewards or Citi ThankYou at a 1:1.5 ratio, but you’ll generally get more value out of transferring to other partners instead.
H/T: One Mile at a Time