Hilton Honors Loyalty Program Review

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CONRAD MALDIVES – RANGALI ISLAND

100-year-old Hilton brand is one of the largest luxury hotel chains in the world with 5900+ hotel network in over a 100+ countries. You will find one of the 15 Hilton Hotel brands nearly everywhere you plan a visit. Hotels range from the uber luxury brands like Conrad & Waldorf Astoria to budget friendly options like Hampton Inn & Homewood Suites.

The Hilton Honors has a dedicated range of credit cards some of which even include upto 150,000 points as welcome offer. Unfortunately these credit cards are reserved only for the North American markets. However, the registration to the rewards program is free and open to global audience.

Comparison with Marriott Bonvoy Program:

As Hilton and Marriott hotels are often compared by luxury travellers, so are their rewards programmes. Hence you will see some glimpses of this comparison below to understand the subtle differences between the two programs.

Want to know more about the Marriott Bonvoy Program? Read it here

Membership Tiers:

Every Member enjoys Membership status under the base category or elite categories. Elite categories are classified as Silver, Gold & Diamond. Much simpler than the 5 Different Elite Levels of the Marriott Bonvoy program. As you move higher up the Elite Tier, you get additional benefits, room upgrades, free breakfast, welcome gifts etc. amounting to more value for money. Details in the table below

The only major credit card in India to provide an Elite status in Hilton Honors is the Amex Platinum Charge Card. Just the ownership of the Platinum Charge card gets you the Gold status (To Primary & Add-On Cardholders).

Earning Points:

If you were in the US, you probably would have had a Credit Card which can earn you Hilton Honors points directly. Unfortunately, we do not have it here in India and hence we need t depend on other ways to earn Hilton points for us like:

  • Hotel Stays – 10 Points per $1 spent on stays
  • American Express Points Redemption – American Express Reward Points can be converted to Hilton Honors Points. 1000 Rewards Points will get you 900 Hilton Honors Points.
  • Air-miles to Hilton Point Conversion

Based on the Membership Tier, Bonus points are earned by member as under:

  • Silver – 20%
  • Gold – 80%
  • Diamond – 100%

Purchasing Points:

Like Marriott Bonvoy, Hilton Honors too offers an option of purchasing points. Points can be purchased in Multiples of 1000 Points @ $10 per 1000 Points, marginally cheaper than Marriott Bonvoy Points.

Hilton is currently running a generous ‘100% More Points’ offer till 27th May 2020. A member will be able to get a maximum of 80,000 points as bonus points in this offer. This brings down the cost of buying one Hilton Honors Point from 1 Cent to 0.5 cent. However, purchasing points should be considered as the last option to accumulate the number of points required to do the booking.

Redeeming Points:

Hilton Points are versatile. You can redeem them for free stays across the 5900+ network of Hotels or you can redeem them under different Airline Mileage programs majorly in a ratio of 10:1.

To give you an indication of the versatility, here’s what you can redeem Hilton Honors Points for:

  • Free Stay
  • Room Upgrades
  • Hilton Experiences
  • Car Rentals (Not in India currently)
  • Amazon US
  • Charity
  • Air Miles
  • & Many More

Unfortunately, & unlike Marriott Bonvoy Program, Hilton Honors does not have a standard Redemption Stay Award chart. You have to search for the property you are looking for, enter the details of the expected stay and find out how much points will it require for that specific hotel.

This makes us think twice about committing hard-earned credit card reward points to Hilton Honors Points

If you book 4 Redemption nights, the 5th night is free. But this is applicable only for Gold Status and above which is sad. Competition Marriott Bonvoy offers this to every member.

Some more key points to note about the Program:

  1. Hilton Honors Program allows pooling of points through Family & Friends. It also allows gifting of Points from one member to another
  2. Hilton Honors Points expire after 15 months of Inactivity. However, if you keep the account active by doing one of the following at least a year: make a paid (or redemption) stay at any of the participating hotels worldwide; redeem points; or purchase points, converting credit card reward Points to Hilton Honors Point.

Hilton Honors with its impressive portfolio of luxury hotels, is one of the best loyalty programs in the world. But the Marriott Bonvoy Programs fares slightly better in terms of transparency of points redemption.

Let us know what you think of Hilton Honors Program. Till next time Ciao.

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