The Hilton HHonors program is a great way to earn points to stay at Hilton hotels for free. But without a Hilton HHonors-affiliated credit card in Canada, it can be harder to earn points.
Hilton has more than 4,700 properties in 104 countries and territories. The company operates 13 different brands: Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Canopy by Hilton, Curio, DoubleTree by Hilton, Embassy Suites by Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton by Hilton, Tru by Hilton, Homewood Suites by Hilton, Home2 Suites by Hilton, and Hilton Grand Vacations.
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How to earn Hilton HHonors points
While there isn’t a Hilton HHonors credit card in Canada, you can convert American Express Membership Rewards points to Hilton HHonors points on a one-to-one basis. There’s a minimum of 1,000 Membership Rewards points required for each transfer and transfers must be made in 100-point increments.
You can also earn points for staying at a Hilton hotel or resort. You’ll earn 10 base points for every US$1 you spend on your room (including room service and telephone calls). However, at Hampton by Hilton or Homewood Suites by Hilton, you’ll earn 10 base points for every US$1 you spend on the room only. And at Home2 Suites by Hilton, you’ll get just five points for every US$1 you spend on the room.
Hilton HHonors lets you earn bonus points or miles in one of two ways. If you choose the Points & Points option, you’ll earn 10 HHonors base points plus five bonus points for every eligible US$1 spent on your room (or five HHonors base points plus 2.5 bonus points for every US$1 spent on your room).
If you choose the Points & Miles option, you’ll earn 10 HHonors base points plus one airline mile (with most partners) for every eligible US$1 spent on your room. For example, you can earn one Aeroplan mile (up to 10,000 annually) per eligible US$1 spent at Hilton hotels and resorts (up to 100 miles per stay at Home2 Suites). You can also earn one Air Miles reward mile (up to 1,000 annually) for every eligible US$8 spent at Hilton hotels and resorts (up to 100 miles per stay at Home2 Suites). You can earn also earn 500 HHonors bonus points and save up to 25% when you rent a car from Alamo, National, Avis, or Budget.
You can also change the way you earn points at any time. If you’re not happy with the Points & Points option, you can switch to the Points & Miles option or vice versa.
To earn points faster, you’ll need to improve your membership level. There are four membership level: Blue, Silver, Gold, and Diamond. When you enroll in the Hilton HHonors program, you’ll automatically be at the Blue level. But there are ways to reach a higher level.
Silver—To achieve/retain your Silver status, you need four stays or 10 nights in a calendar year. At the Silver level, you’ll automatically get a 15% bonus on all the HHonors base points you earn. Also, Silver, Gold, and Diamond members receive every fifth night free on standard room reward stays of five nights or more.
Gold—To achieve/retain your Gold status, you need 20 stays or 40 nights or you have to earn 75,000 HHonors base points in a calendar year. At the Gold level, you’ll automatically get a 25% bonus on all the HHonors base points you earn.
Diamond—To achieve/retain your Diamond status, you need 30 stays or 60 nights or you have to earn 120,000 HHonors base points in a calendar year. At the Diamond level, you’ll receive a 50% bonus on all the HHonors base points you earn.
How to redeem Hilton HHonors points
Redeeming points is easy. You can sign into the Hilton HHonors website and see what’s available. The table below shows the number of points needed for a one-night stay:
Category 1 hotels aren’t high-end hotels and not usually located in the downtown area of a city. If you’re looking for something more luxurious, the Waldorf Astoria is more likely to be a Category 9 or 10 hotel.
The number of points you need varies by the hotel, room, booking, and stay date. For categories with a point range, the hotel may have seasonal pricing. The number of points can vary depending on whether the stay is during a peak or off-peak period. If you don’t have enough points, sometimes you’ll have the option of paying with both points and cash.
Points can also be redeemed for merchandise, on-property rewards (spa treatments, dining, golf lessons), or food and culture experiences.
The value of a Hilton HHonors point
The value of a point varies depending on the hotel you redeem for. Below are some examples of how you can determine the value of your Hilton HHonors points before they’re redeemed. All the examples are for the same night (Nov. 25, 2016) at three different Hilton hotels.
Category 4: Hilton Toronto/Markham Suites Conference Centre & Spa
Price of the lowest standard room: $214.90 (including service charges and taxes)
Hilton HHonors points required: 30,000
Value of a Hilton HHonors point: $214.90/30,000 = $0.0072
If you redeem 30,000 points for this Category 4 hotel (about 30 km from downtown Toronto) in Markham, Ont., your Hilton HHonors points will be worth $0.0072 each. But most rewards points are worth $0.01 each. This isn’t a good value, especially when compared to the next example.
Category 6: Hilton Toronto
Price of the lowest standard room: $522.59 (including service charges and taxes)
Hilton HHonors points required: 50,000
Value of a Hilton HHonors point: $522.59/50,000 = $0.0104
For this Category 6 hotel, which is located in the heart of downtown Toronto, your Hilton HHonors points are worth $0.0104 if you redeem 50,000 points. This gives you a much better return on your points.
Category 9: Hilton Times Square
Price of the lowest standard room: $505.47 (including service charges and taxes)
Hilton HHonors points required: 80,000
Value of a Hilton HHonors point: $505.47/80,000 = $0.0063
If you were to pay in cash, one night at this New York City hotel is cheaper to stay at than the one in Toronto even after the currency conversion. But because it’s a Category 9 hotel, you’ll need to redeem more points (80,000 in this case) and they’re worth just $0.0063 each.
The bottom line
The Hilton HHonors program is a good way to earn rewards points for future hotel stays. But you should only redeem them if you’re going to get a good return on your points (use the calculation above). Since most rewards points are worth $0.01 each, you should make sure they’re valued at that amount or higher before booking your next room.
- $150 annual fee (waived for the first year)
- Receive a welcome bonus of 25,000 Membership Rewards points after making $1,500 in purchases in the first three months
- Earn two points for every $1 in card purchases on eligible travel and everyday purchases
- Membership Rewards points can be converted to Hilton HHonors points on a one-to-one basis
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