7 reasons I’m really excited about the newest Hilton transfer bonus
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I’ll just come out and say something a touch controversial. I love Hilton Honors points.
That may not sound like a statement worthy of a somewhat dramatic build-up, but it’s not always been an especially cool thing to say in miles-and-points circles.
Hilton Honors indeed charges a ton of points for bookings (up to 95,000 to 120,000 points per night for a standard room), the program doesn’t have a published award chart, award rates vary day to day, etc. But, here in 2020, the program isn’t too shabby, to say the very least.
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I’m very excited by the current Amex transfer bonus that awards 3,000 Hilton Honors points for every 1,000 transferred Amex Membership Rewards points. This means that for every Membership Rewards point you earn on a card such as the American Express® Green Card or American Express® Gold Card, you are theoretically earning three Hilton points, if you want to think of it that way.
Related: Choosing the best Amex card for you
That’s 50% more than the normal transfer rate of 1,000 Membership Rewards = 2,000 Hilton Honors points and it opens up the door to some very high-end redemptions at realistic points rates. Since Hilton doesn’t charge resort fees on award redemptions and provides breakfast at many properties to those with easily attainable Hilton Gold or Diamond status, it’s an underrated program that packs a serious punch.
Here are seven reasons I’m pretty excited about this new transfer bonus.
If you want a high-end, private island resort getaway without going to the true other side of the planet, Conrad Bora Bora should 100% be on your award travel radar. Our family’s stay here in a base-level villa that now goes for 89,000 Hilton points per night was outstanding.
The full breakfast buffet here was free for all with Gold status or higher (thanks Amex Platinum for providing mine). With the current Amex transfer bonus, you could book nights here for 33,333 Amex Membership Rewards points per night.
If you make the trip, be sure and budget some cash for a trip to the spa and a boat ride around Bora Bora where you can snorkel, swim with sharks and touch the softest sand you could ever imagine.
Related: Review of the Conrad Bora Bora
The Conrad Punta de Mita hasn’t opened yet, but I have very high hopes for this one. It’s even on the TPG top hotels opening in 2020 list. The Punta Mita area is a pretty remote resort destination about an hour’s drive from Puerto Vallarta. While there are a few resorts in that area, I’ve only stayed at the St. Regis Punta Mita, which was exceptional.
However, I’m all-in on trying the Conrad de Punta Mita once it opens, which is scheduled for May 2020. While opening rates for the first few months are very reasonable — around $220 per night (or 60,000 to 70,000 points per night), those rates shoot up dramatically in the popular winter holiday weeks and months.
For example, around Christmas and New Year’s, rates start at either $1,200+ per night or 95,000 Hilton points. Yes, that’s a lot of points, but keep in mind that the nearby St. Regis Punta Mita charges 70,000 to 100,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night and TPG values Marriott points at almost double that of Hilton points, making the Conrad a comparative bargain.
With this transfer bonus, you can spend just 32,000 Amex Membership Rewards points for a $1,200 per night stay.
Related: Guide to current transfer bonuses
If Mexico just isn’t far-flung enough for your travel tastes, consider cashing in your Hilton points at the Waldorf Astoria Maldives — one of the top, top, top properties under the Hilton flag.
This hotel is one of a handful of Hilton properties that has its own niche carved out on the unpublished Hilton award chart at 120,000 points per night. With “standard rooms” actually being $2,000-per-night 3,000-square-foot villas with private pools and direct ocean access, that points price doesn’t offend me.
That’s especially true with the Amex transfer bonus that drops your rate to 40,000 Membership Rewards points per night.
Square footage is at an absolute premium in Manhattan, so it’s common for standard hotel rooms in the city to ring in under 300 square feet in total size. It’s hard to get excited about burning your hotel points to sleep in a virtual shoebox.
However, at the totally renovated Conrad New York, a standard hotel room is a legitimate suite with a living room and closed-off bedroom — with the most comfortable bed I’ve ever experienced.
If you’re traveling with a family, you can get a rollaway bed delivered to the living room and live it up just a few steps from Central Park, often for about 95,000 Hilton points per night, which is the same as about 32,000 Membership Rewards points with this transfer bonus.
Hawaii is always a good idea … especially on points.
Hilton has many hotel options around the Hawaiian Islands, but one popular choice on points is the Grand Wailea. This oceanfront resort not only has the beach but multiple pools including a 4,850-square-foot pool just for adults, a three-story waterslide, a recently renovated activity pool with pools on six levels that are connected by a “river,” five waterslides, a rope swing and more.
Grand Wailea is usually 95,000 Hilton points per night, which makes this hotel also about 32,000 Amex Membership Rewards points per night with this transfer bonus, which sounds like a steal for some moments in paradise. (Note that this is also a great place to redeem a Hilton weekend award night that you get with cards such as the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
If you’re looking for the best time to go to Disney World, the good news is there are many great times of the year. The bad news — there isn’t much of a slow season anymore. This means that snagging FastPass+ reservations 60-days before the start of your trip is pretty key — especially for popular rides, like Falcon within Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge or the brand-new Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway ride.
For the most part, you have to stay on Disney property to get FastPass+ bookings 60 days out instead of 30, but there are a few exceptions to that rule. Several of the exemptions to this rule are Hilton properties, including:
- DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Orlando-Disney Springs Area
- Hilton Lake Buena Vista-Disney Springs Area
- Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace-Disney Springs Area
- Waldorf Astoria Orlando
- Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek
The points price of these hotels varies dramatically, but on the lower end, you’ll find the Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista – Disney Springs for around 40,000 to 50,000 Hilton points per night. With the current transfer bonus, that’s the same as about 14,000 to 17,000 Amex Membership Rewards points per night for a hotel located very close to Disney that comes with many (though not all) of the same perks as an on-property Disney resort.
We haven’t forgotten about the West Coast — the famous Hotel del Coronado has been on my hotel wish-list, just about forever. Luckily, it’s bookable with Hilton points.
Not surprisingly, this historic beachfront hotel sits toward the top of the award prices, often at 95,000 points per night. By this point in the story, you can do the math. That’s around 32,000 Membership Rewards points per night to stay in a hotel that dates back 131 years — you can even take a ghost tour while you’re there.
If you make the trip to San Diego, here are some cool things to do while you’re there.
If you think this transfer bonus is a snoozer because Hilton Honors is a meh program with some so-so properties, you’ve missed what’s been going on in the last few years. There are many Hilton properties that I am very excited about in destinations I can’t wait to visit either again, or for the very first time. While it’s great if you can rack up your points from the plethora of Hilton credit cards, if you need a boost from your Amex Membership Rewards account to book the property you want, now’s a great time to pull the transfer trigger.
Featured image courtesy of the Conrad Miami
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,600
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
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