As we covered extensively on Head for Points in February, Hilton Honors underwent a substantial restructuring which totally changed the value basis of the scheme.
You can now use Hilton Honors points to get a free room OR to get a cash discount on a room. The minimum number of points you need is just 5,000.
The big question we all had was what value Hilton would put on a point. I made three mid-range UK Hilton bookings this week which show that the value you get can be OK.
Of the three UK Hilton rooms I booked this week, for stays over the next fornight, this is what I got:
Room 1 – £63.70 or 17,000 Hilton Honors points – value per point 0.37p
Room 2 – £83.30 or 31,000 Hilton Honors points – value per point 0.27p
Room 3 – £78.40 or 21,000 Hilton Honors points – value per point 0.37p
This is the thesis I am using for the rest of this article:
Because you can redeem as few as 5,000 Hilton points for a cash discount, because there are no availability constraints and because the room is treated as a revenue room (you earn stay credit, bonus points etc), Hilton Honors points are now closer to being treated as cash than they used to be.
Before February, when you needed at least 30,000 Hilton points to get a free room in any major tourist destination (unless you wanting a romantic weekend in Sheffield, where the Hampton was always 10,000) – and only then if there was reward availability – you certainly couldn’t treat them as anything like cash. You can now use as few as 5,000 points and you don’t need ‘all points’ reward availability to use them, so as long as you are paying for hotels on a regular basis then they are certainly more ‘cash-like’ than they were.
The Hilton Honors Platinum Visa credit card is free and gives you 2 Hilton Honors points per £1 spent. If it turns out that 0.37p per point of value is going to be generally available (and that isn’t yet certain, it is still early days) then the Hilton card gets you 0.74% of your spending back. That is a very good result given the poor return on most free or low-fee Visa and MasterCard products these days.
American Express Membership Rewards points transfer to Hilton Honors at a rate of 1:2. This means, again, that you’re getting 0.74p per Amex point based on the value I got from Room 1 and Room 3 I booked this week. This is not as good as transferring your Amex points into Avios or other frequent flyer miles, but it is far better than using them for gift cards etc where you get 0.4p to 0.5p of value. For someone with only a small Amex points balance, Hilton Honors becomes one of the best low balance redemptions – just 2,500 Amex points gets you the minimum 5,000 Hilton points required to get a cash discount on a room.
There is no guarantee that Hilton will continue to let you get 0.37p per point when you redeem for a cash discount on a room – you won’t get it all of the time now. You certainly shouldn’t dismiss any small pot of Hilton Honors you may have, and you shouldn’t turn up your nose at the chance to earn a small number.
(Want to earn more hotel points? Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)