This article is our attempt to decide what Hilton Honors points are worth.
Valuing miles and points is a thankless job. We have always published articles on what Avios points are worth, but that Avios article is so complex that it simply proves my point.
In the face of constant reader requests, however, I am launching a series of articles on how we value each of the major hotel points currencies.
The reason I have changed my mind after all these years is that I have found a methodology that works for me. It takes a subjective valuation and then explains the boundaries around it. Or, in plain English:
- I will tell you (without justifying it) what I think a Hilton Honors point is worth
- I will tell you, on the upside, how far wrong I can be (which is good news)
- I will tell you, on the downside, how far wrong I can be (which is bad news)
- I will tell you what Hilton Honors points are worth if you turn them into something else – usually airline miles – which effectively locks in a floor value
Why I think ‘range’ is important when valuing hotel points
When we look at using Avios for business or First Class flights, the ‘cash alternative’ is often a poor comparison. Most HfP readers don’t want to, or simply can’t afford to, pay cash for business or First Class flights. Their choice is Avios or nothing. Even if you can afford to pay, what are you comparing with? A cheap non-refundable sale flight? A pricier flexible ticket? The cost of an indirect flight, not on BA?
Hotels redemptions are different:
- you stay in far more hotels each year compared to the number of premium cabin flights you take, so you can be selective about when you use points
- you can usually afford to pay for a hotel if you choose not to use points
- there are far more options in the hotel market than in the flight market – most people only have a lot of miles in one airline programme, whereas you are likely to hold hotel points in multiple schemes
It is easy to sit on hotel points until you get a good deal
The net result of the three facts above is that it is easy to turn down a hotel redemption when it doesn’t seem like good value. You can pay cash or redeem via another hotel scheme instead.
Here is the crux of what I am trying to say. If you compare two hotel schemes:
- scheme A usually gets you 0.3p per point but if you are lucky you can get 1p
- scheme B usually gets you 0.4p per point but if you are lucky you can get 0.6p
…. scheme A may actually be the best.
Most people who try to ‘value’ hotel points don’t take this into account.
If you redeemed points for every stay you did, regardless of the cash price, scheme B would be the best. No-one does this though. In reality you can pay cash for your stays in scheme A until the day when a bumper redemption arrives and you can get 1p.
Here’s a real example. I value Marriott Bonvoy points at 0.5p as this article explains. If you do 20 Marriott hotel stays and use Bonvoy points for all of them, I think you will average 0.5p, give or take.
However, in December 2020, I redeemed 400,000 points for two villas at The Ritz Carlton Al Wadi Desert in Ras Al-Khaimah. This would have cost £4,800 for cash, which I would have paid if necessary. I got 1.2p per point. It justified all of the Marriott stays where I paid cash rather than redeem for 0.5p per point.
What are Hilton Honors points worth?
With our methodology out of the way, let’s take a look at what Hilton Honors points are worth.
To keep things simple, we do not adjust for the fact that you would earn points back if you paid cash instead. This can have a noticeable impact when generous bonuses are running.
On the upside, Hilton Honors waives resort fees, where they exist, on redemption nights which must be paid on cash nights. Elite members also get ‘five nights for the points of four’ when redeeming.
The HfP average valuation of a Hilton Honors point:
We are not justifying this valuation, except to say that I have looked at enough Hilton redemptions over the years to be happy with it. Anyone who knows Hilton Honors should know that this feels right. A £250 5-star hotel will usually be around 80,000 points. In most cases, hotels do not go beyond 95,000 points.
How high can value go on the upside?
High, which is good.
Each Hilton Honors hotel has a points price cap, which you can see on the ‘Points Explorer’ page of hilton.com here.
In peak season, you can do better than 0.33p.
Over Christmas 2020, I got 1.0p per point at Waldorf Astoria Dubai The Palm. It was such a good deal that I bought most of the points and still made a huge saving as this article shows.
How low can value go on the downside?
Not very low, which is good.
The great thing about Hilton Honors is that whilst the points cost is capped on the upside, it is NOT capped on the downside. The lowest points price quoted in Points Explorer is so low that it is rarely reached.
When cash rates fall, points prices fall. This is especially important at the moment as hotel prices are at historical lows in many places.
You will receive around 0.27p per Hilton Honors point in this scenario, based on a test I ran recently for London hotels.
You can also use points to part-pay ANY cash rate, irrespective of points availability, if Premium Rewards are showing. In this scenario, you receive around 0.20p per Hilton Honors point.
You can’t get much worse than 0.20p per Hilton Honors point, which is what you get from a Premium Reward, and if standard reward availability is there you won’t do much worse than 0.27p.
If Hilton Honors devalues hugely tomorrow, what is my escape route?
This is our floor price. What can you do with your points if Hilton Honors devalues massively overnight?
With Hilton Honors, the best value is to convert your points to airline miles:
- with Avios, the rate is 10,000 Hilton points to 1,000 Avios
- with Virgin Points, the rate is 10,000 Hilton points to 1,500 Virgin Points
If we assume an airline mile is worth 1p, then you are getting 0.1p (Avios) to 0.15p (Virgin) in the worse case scenario.
In summary …. what do we think Hilton Honors points are worth?
- on average: 0.33p per point
- on a very good day: 0.45p-0.5p per point in cities, up to 1.5p for the top resorts at peak times
- on a bad day: 0.27p per point (value of a point when the hotel has reward nights available and is not at its category cap) or 0.2p (if a hotel has no reward nights showing and you use points to pay for a cash room)
- if you transfer out to airline miles in a worse case scenario: 0.1p to 0.15p per point
As to how this should impact your behaviour:
- if you tend to visit prime hotels in prime locations at prime times of the year, it makes sense to reject redeeming your points until you can achieve a redemption valuation of 0.5p or more per Hilton Honors point (those who may visit luxury beach resorts should hold out for nearer 1p)
- if your travel style is more about travelling off peak and staying in mid range hotels, or you are worried about long-term devaluations, any Hilton Honors redemption which gets you above 0.33p per point is worth taking
How to earn Hilton Honors points from UK credit cards (August 2021)
There are various ways of earning Hilton Honors points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.
Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Hilton Honors Gold status for as long as they hold the card? It also comes with Marriott Bonvoy Gold, Radisson Rewards Gold and MeliaRewards Gold status. We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.
Did you know that the Virgin Atlantic credit cards are a great way of earning Hilton Honors points? Two Virgin Points can be converted into three Hilton Honors points. The Virgin Atlantic cards are the only Visa or Mastercard products in the UK which can indirectly earn Hilton Honors points. You can apply here.
You can also earn Hilton Honors points indirectly via American Express Gold, the American Express Rewards Credit Card and – for small business owners – American Express Business Gold and Business Platinum.
(Want to earn more hotel points? Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)