Should You Buy Hilton HHonors Points with an 80% Bonus?
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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here
Now through August 31 (next Monday), Hilton is offering an 80% bonus when you buy HHonors points up to a maximum of 80,000 points (144,000 with this promo). Instead of the usual 1 cent per point, this drops their price down to 0.556 cents per point.
While that might seem like a great deal, Hilton points can be worth far less than some other hotel currencies, including those of Hyatt, Marriott and Starwood. In fact, in his latest August points valuations, TPG pegged the value of Hilton HHonors points at slightly less than this promo price: 0.5 cents apiece. That’s because Hilton’s HHonors program underwent a massive devaluation back in 2013 when it raised award redemption rates and introduced peak seasonal pricing.
However, 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 and 8 Low-Level Hilton That Make For Awesome Awards back in May. So 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.
Conrad Maldives: TPG visited this property back in 2013 (staying in both a deluxe beach villa and a water villa). It’s a top-tier Category 10 property, requiring 95,000 Hilton HHonors points for a free night. However, thanks to certain promo packages, a beach villa is going for about $562 a night, just slightly more value per point (about 0.59 cents) than you’d be paying for points to redeem, and none of the hassle of searching for award availability. Otherwise, rooms are going for about $750 per night to start, giving you a value closer to 7.9 cents per point, so if lower promotional rates are not available and you can square away the award space, it might still be worth it.
Conrad Tokyo: Now for a high-end city property. The Conrad Tokyo is also a Category 10 property, requiring 80,000 – 95,000 points for a free night. Awards in September are priced at the lower end of that spectrum (80,000 points). Paid rates for a standard King Bay View are about 66,300 yen (about $525) next month, though. So you’d be getting a per-point value of 0.66 cents. Probably worth it, in terms of this promo.
Here is where you’re more likely to find better values and redemptions that make buying bonus points more sensible.
DoubleTree Kuala Lumpur: This Asian property is practically a steal at just 10,000 points per night since it’s a Category 2 property. It’s located in the heart of the Malaysian capital, 10 minutes from the Petronas Towers, and a short walk from the Ampang Park LRT metro station. Rates in October start at 495 MYR (about $118) a night, giving you a value of 1.2 cents per point.
Hampton Inn & Suites Mexico City – Centro Historico: This Hampton Inn & Suites property is near Zócalo, the city’s main square. It occupies a beautifully restored 18th-century building, complete with a six-story stained-glass atrium and rooftop terrace. This is another Category 2 property, requiring 10,000 points for a free night. Rates in October start at $118 per night, giving you a value of 1.2 cents per point — far above your cost with this promo.
Other Ways to Earn
Whether or not this promo is worth taking advantage of depends on the value you will reap from any redemptions. Speculative points purchases are rarely worth it. However, if you have a specific, imminent award in mind and know you can get more value by redeeming your points than the cost of purchasing them with this promo is, then you might want to consider it.
Also keep in mind that you can 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. If simply 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 those programs’ partners instead. You may also be able to earn double or triple points on paid stays through the end of the year — this promo wouldn’t apply if you’re redeeming points.