Reader credit card question: Should I convert my Hilton points to American Airlines miles?

Mar 6, 2020

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TPG reader Kevin recently emailed us asking whether he should convert his Hilton Honors points to American Airlines AAdvantage miles. He said:

I find the value of Hilton Honors points to be markedly lower than most any other loyalty/affinity program. We made extensive use of Aadvantage miles and Bonvoy points on a family trip to Spain and France last summer taking all three of our teen/20s kids with us. Attempts to use Honors points were pointless. With American and Hilton parting ways, I am considering converting all of my Honors points (just over 100K) to AAdvantage miles. Any other suggestions?

Kevin

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We learned at the end of January that American Airlines would be discontinuing the ability to convert Hilton, Best Western and Choice Hotel points to AAdvantage miles effective Apr. 1, 2020. So, the last day to transfer these hotel points to AAdvantage miles will be Mar. 31, 2020.

With this impending deadline, some travelers may have the same question as Kevin: should I transfer my Hilton Honors points to AAdvantage by March 31? So, let’s dive in.

Related reading: The best uses of American Airlines AAdvantage miles

What is the transfer rate?

You can transfer Hilton Honors points in increments of 10,000 points to American Airlines through Hilton’s website. However, the transfer ratio is 10,000 Hilton Honors points for 1,500 AAdvantage miles. So, Kevin would trade his 100,000 Hilton points for 15,000 American Airlines AAdvantage miles.

Based on TPG’s valuation of Hilton Honors points at 0.6 cents each and American Airlines miles at 1.4 cents each, Kevin would be trading $600 worth of Hilton points for $210 worth of American Airlines miles. Of course, based on Kevin’s email, his experience hasn’t been great using Hilton points so perhaps he values them less than TPG does.

But, for this transfer to make sense —  assuming he values American Airlines miles at 1.4 cents each — he’d have to value Hilton points less than 0.21 cents each, which is about one-third of TPG’s valuation.

Related reading: Why mile and point valuations don’t always rule my world

Other suggestions for Hilton points

(Photo by Katie Genter / The Points Guy)
You can stay at the DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Fiji for between 22,000 and 40,000 Hilton points per night. (Photo by Katie Genter/The Points Guy)

Admittedly, I too have struggled to find high-value opportunities to use Hilton points for hotel stays. Despite my husband having Hilton Diamond status as a benefit of the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express, using Hilton points hasn’t been the right choice for most of our stays based on TPG’s valuations, the cash rates for possible Hilton stays and other lodging options.

Even so, I wouldn’t consider transferring Hilton points to AAdvantage miles because I’ll still get more value from Hilton points, even on sub-optimal redemptions.

For example, here are some more valuable options for using 100,000 Hilton points:

Realistically, you can expect that 100,000 Hilton points will get you between one and five nights on most trips — especially since Hilton provides every fifth night free on award stays of five to 20 nights for Silver, Gold and Diamond elite members.

Last summer Hilton offered the opportunity to spend 10,000 Hilton points for a pair of concert tickets, so there are other appealing options for using Hilton points.

Even if you don’t maximize your Hilton points, I expect you’ll get more value from them than from 15,000 American Airlines miles.

Related reading: Great ways to use 150,000 Hilton Honors points

Related reading

Featured image of the DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Fiji by Katie Genter/The Points Guy.

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.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.