Earn easy Hilton points by eating at your favorite restaurants

Jun 16, 2020

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Many of the major hotel and airline loyalty programs participate in a Rewards Network-operated dining program. If you’re looking to earn a few extra Hilton Honors points on dining purchases, you’ve come to the right place. You’re hopefully already earning credit card rewards on restaurant spending by using one of the best dining credit cards. And perhaps you’re earning restaurant rewards through individual restaurant loyalty programs. But, there’s a third way you can earn rewards while dining out: dining rewards programs. Today, we’ll dive into the Hilton Honors Dining program.

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In This Post

(Photo by Nick Ellis/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Nick Ellis/The Points Guy)

Hilton Honors Dining overview

The Hilton Honors Dining program allows you to earn Hilton Honors points when you dine at select restaurants. These points are on top of the rewards you’d normally earn through your credit card or the restaurant’s rewards program.

(Image courtesy of Hilton Honors Dining)
(Image courtesy of Hilton Honors Dining)

To get started with the Hilton Honors Dining program, you need to join the program, enroll at least one card and then search for eligible restaurants. The remainder of this guide will walk you through everything you need to know.

Related reading: The award traveler’s guide to Hilton Honors

How to join

To join the Hilton Honors Dining program, simply go to the Hilton Honors Dining website. You’ll fill out a short form with your first name, last name, zip code and email address. You’ll need to agree to the program’s terms and conditions. You’ll likely want to opt-in for emails to maximize your earning potential.

(Image courtesy of Hilton Honors Dining)
(Image courtesy of Hilton Honors Dining)

On the next page, you’ll need to create a username and password. You’ll also need to provide your Hilton Honors number as well as your address.

(Image courtesy of Hilton Honors Dining)
(Image courtesy of Hilton Honors Dining)

Finally, the last step required to join Hilton Honors Dining is to link a card to your account. You are only required to link one card, although you can add up to five cards to your account.

(Image courtesy of Hilton Honors Dining)
(Image courtesy of Hilton Honors Dining)

When adding a card to Hilton Honors Dining, that card will be automatically removed from any other dining programs you’ve registered it with. For example, within a few minutes of adding a card to my Hilton Honors Dining account, I received an email noting that the card had been removed from my Alaska Mileage Plan Dining account.

Related reading: Maximizing redemptions with Hilton Honors

How to use Hilton Honors Dining

Once you’ve joined Hilton Honors Dining, you’ll want to search for a restaurant, bar or club near you that participates in the program. You can do so by using the search function.

(Image courtesy of Hilton Honors Dining)
(Image courtesy of Hilton Honors Dining)

Type your city into the search bar to see a wide range of results. Or, click on advanced search to look at eligible restaurants around a particular address. You can also use filters to limit your options.

(Image courtesy of Hilton Honors Dining)
(Image courtesy of Hilton Honors Dining)

For example, when I searched for various cuisine types within 15 miles of Austin, TX, here are the results I was served. Note that one of the restaurants doesn’t participate in the rewards programs on Mondays.

(Image courtesy of Hilton Honors Dining)
(Image courtesy of Hilton Honors Dining)

When you dine at an eligible restaurant, bar or club, simply pay with a credit card (or debit card used without entering a PIN) that you’ve registered with Hilton Honors Dining. You’ll automatically earn bonus Hilton points on this purchase, including taxes, fees and tip.

Note that each credit card can only be enrolled in one Rewards Network operated dining program at a time. So, if you add a card to another Rewards Network operated dining program, it will be automatically removed from Hilton Honors Dining.

Related reading: Can I earn miles with a dining portal and credit card at the same time?

Earning rates

Your earning rate with the Hilton Honors Dining program varies based on a few factors. Specifically, you’ll earn:

  • 8 bonus points per dollar when you dine 11 or more times in a year and opt-in for email notifications from Hilton Honors Dining. This earning level is referred to as VIP level, and you maintain this level for the year you earn it as well the entire following year.
  • 5 bonus points per dollar when you dine 10 or fewer times in a year and opt-in for email notifications from Hilton Honors Dining
  • 2 bonus points per dollar when you don’t opt-in for email notifications

TPG values Hilton points at 0.6 cents each. So, earning 8x points would get you a 4.8% return on your spending. Meanwhile, 5x points would equate to a 3% return and 2x points would provide a 1.2% return.

As such, it’s worth opting in to receive email notifications if you plan to use the Hilton Honors Dining program. You’ll get emails about once a week, including restaurant recommendations, alerts when new restaurants in your area join the program and various administrative emails.

If you initially didn’t opt-in to receive email notifications, you can do so now by logging in to your Hilton Honors Dining account. Click on “account information” and select “change your email address and email preferences”. Then uncheck the box labeled “I no longer wish to receive emails from Hilton Honors Dining” and then click “update.”

Related reading: Don’t miss out on dining bonuses by deleting emails

Which cards to use with Hilton Honors Dining

You’ll want to enroll one or more of the best credit cards for dining when you set up your Hilton Honors Dining profile. Here are some of the best cards to use:

The information for the Citi Prestige has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

If you’re looking to accrue Hilton Honors points quickly for an upcoming redemption, you may want to enroll your Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card. When dining at eligible restaurants, you would earn 7x Hilton Honors points due to the credit card’s restaurant bonus category, plus 2x to 8x Hilton Honors points from Hilton Honors Dining. This means you could earn up to 15x Hilton Honors points on eligible dining purchases made with your Hilton Aspire, which equates to a 9% total return based on TPG’s valuations.

If Hilton Honors Dining is the only Rewards Network operated dining rewards program you’ll use, then you’ll want to enroll all of the credit cards you generally use for dining. Keep in mind that each card can only be enrolled in one Rewards Network program at a time. So if you plan on enrolling in multiple dining rewards programs, be sure to link a different card to each one.

I’d recommend marking each card with its associated dining program, so you know which one to use when dining at an eligible restaurant.

Related reading: Choosing the best Hilton credit card for you

Can you use Hilton points at restaurants?

You generally can’t redeem Hilton points at restaurants. However, you can redeem your Hilton points for select experiences in your hometown and around the world through Hilton Honors Experiences.

When I searched, I found 19 food experiences worldwide including chef tasting at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles for 50,000 Hilton points. I also found the ultimate mezcal tasting experience in Cancun, Mexico for 25,000 and a Balinese cooking class on the beach for 10,000 Hilton points.

Bottom line

As with all dining rewards programs, the best way to maximize Hilton Honors Dining is to know which restaurants around your house, office and frequently traveled areas participate in the program. But, you’ll only earn at elevated rates when you obtain and maintain VIP level status in the Hilton Honors Dining program.

While dining rewards programs are free to join, you should definitely go with one that offers you the most rewards possible. So you’ll want to consider whether the Hilton Honors program is the best dining rewards program for you before diving in. After all, each credit card can only be enrolled in one Rewards Network dining program at once.

Based solely on TPG’s valuations, some of the airline dining programs may provide better value than the Hilton Honors Dining program. But, in the end, it comes down to which points and miles you want to focus on earning.

Featured image by Nick Ellis/The Points Guy

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

This card is currently offering a welcome bonus of 150,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card after you use your new Card to make $4,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Plus, enjoy a free Weekend Night Reward within your first year and every year after renewal.
  • Earn 14X Hilton Bonus Points when you make eligible purchases on your Card at participating hotels or resorts within the Hilton Portfolio.
  • Earn 7X Bonus Points for eligible purchases: on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com, on car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies & at U.S. restaurants.
  • Earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.
  • Enjoy up to $250 in Hilton Resort Credits on your Card each anniversary year, when you stay at participating resorts within the Hilton portfolio.
  • Enjoy complimentary Diamond status with your Hilton Honors Aspire Card.
  • $450 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
15.74% - 24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$450
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Good,Excellent
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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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