When it comes to hotel loyalty programs, Hilton Honors is right up there with the best of them. Given it casts a wide net with the ability to earn and redeem points at more than 7,200 hotels in 122 countries, it’s easy to see why.
On the ever-growing list are properties from brands such as Hilton, Waldorf Astoria, Conrad and DoubleTree by Hilton, in addition to LXR Hotels & Resorts and Curio Collection by Hilton.
Add in enticing benefits such as complimentary upgrades, daily food and beverage credit and solid Points bonuses the higher you climb up the status ladder, and slipping a Hilton Honors card into your digital wallet is worth consideration.
Guests can also earn frequent flyer points alongside their Honors bounty, with partner airlines including Qantas, Virgin Australia, Singapore Airlines and United.
If you’re a Virgin AustraliaVelocity Gold or Velocity Platinum frequent flyer you can get complimentary Hilton Honors Gold or Diamond status as part of your membership.
And for everyone else, there's the opportunity to score free Hilton Honors Gold or Diamond status through the Hilton Honors status match.
The Hilton group has a massive brand portfolio and worldwide footprint.
What is Hilton Honors?
Hilton Honors is the loyalty program of Hilton Hotels & Resorts. Through it, members earn points on eligible stays and in-house purchases at Hilton’s family of brands, which in turn can be redeemed for free hotel stays and other rewards.
Membership is free – to start collecting points, simply head to the Hilton Honors website to enrol.
Which hotels are part of Hilton Honors?
The Hilton Honors portfolio encompasses 19 hotel brands, which cater to a diverse range of travellers across luxury, premium, and midscale properties.
Members can earn and redeem Honors points through stays at Hilton Hotels, Waldorf Astoria, LXR, Conrad, Canopy Signia by Hilton, Curio Collection, DoubleTree by Hilton, Tapestry Collection, Embassy Suites, Tempo, Motto, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton by Hilton, Tru by Hilton, Spark by Hilton, Homewood and Home2 Suites, Hilton Grand Vacations and the newly-released Project H3 by Hilton.
DoubleTree by Hilton properties are very popular with travellers for both work and play.
Being an American program, many of these brands are only available in the United States.
Hilton’s Australian brand presence is rather limited, but it is set to expand in coming years, with the Waldorf Astoria Sydney opening in early 2025. In the meantime, there’s the Hilton, DoubleTree, Hilton Garden Inn, and Curio Collection.
The DoubleTree by Hilton at London Tower Bridge is quite convenient if you have business in The City.
What are the Hilton Honors membership tiers
Beginning at the base-level Member tier, you’ll progress through Silver, Gold and Diamond as you begin to stay more at hotels within the Honors portfolio.
Status levels can be reached in one of three ways – through the number of stays, number of nights or Base Points, which reflect how much you’ve spent in-house.
Here’s how each tier is unlocked:
- Member (entry-level): Immediately upon sign-up.
- Silver: 4 stays (check-ins), 10 nights per year or 5,000 Base Points.
- Gold: 20 stays, 40 nights per year or 75,000 Base Points.
- Diamond: 30 stays, 60 nights per year or 120,000 Base Points.
There’s no requirement to hit the targets of all three. As soon as you’ve reached the minimum threshold in just one of those categories, you’ll automatically move up the ladder.
Every US dollar (or its equivalent in the hotel’s local currency) spent on hotel room rates and folio charges earns 10 Base Points. Importantly, these differ from Bonus Points, which are earned from everything else.
But whether earned as Base or Bonus Points, all Hilton Honors points are treated exactly the same when it comes time to redeem them, and contribute to your total balance of points.
Guaranteed upgrades are a prized perk of Hilton Diamond status.
Benefits of Hilton Honors status
As you progress from Silver to Diamond status, your privileges and benefits as a Hilton Honors member also increase. Here’s a breakdown of what to expect at each of the Hilton Honors tiers.
Hilton Honors Member level benefits
Entry-level members get access to special members-only rates, waived resort fees on rewards stays, free in-room Internet when booking directly with Hilton and room selection up to 24 hours in advance.
Being a member also facilitates access to online check-in and check-out via the Hilton Honors app, which doubles as your digital room key to save time upon arrival.
Additionally, you’ll gain access to exclusive members-only experiences and the ability to earn 10 Base Points per eligible US dollar spent on any of the brand’s hotels and resorts.
Hilton Honors Silver benefits
Silver members earn a 20% status bonus on Base Points, and get the fifth night free when making a Standard Room Reward booking of five nights or more.
Plus, with Elite Rollover Nights, any excess qualifying nights at the end of your membership year will be counted towards your elite status qualification for the following calendar year, allowing you to potentially reach elite status faster.
Two free bottles of water are also given per visit, although many hotels grant this perk on a daily basis – particularly those across Asia.
Hilton Honors Gold benefits
Gold is the real ‘sweet spot’ in Hilton Honors, serving up benefits like 80% more points on hotel stays, a choice of a daily food and beverage credit or a continental breakfast on select hotel brands and free room upgrades up to Executive room types – subject to availability.
If you’re bumped up to the Executive floors, you’ll be able to relax in a hotel’s Executive Lounge throughout your stay (where available, of course), although lounge access isn't offered if you aren't upgraded to a room type that’d typically include this.
Hilton Honors Gold members will also receive a Milestone Bonus of 10,000 points upon completing 40 eligible nights within a calendar year, plus an additional 10,000 Bonus Points for every 10 eligible nights thereafter.
Hilton Honors Diamond benefits
Over and above the Gold-level perks, Diamond guests receive a 100% bonus on all Base Points earned, in addition to guaranteed rooms in already-full hotels if booking at least 48 hours before arrival.
Although that benefit is restricted when hotels are already considerably oversold, it’s very handy when hunting for a room during major events or peak travel season.
Access is also guaranteed to hotel Executive Lounges, regardless of the room type booked or received, as well as to a faster Internet connection wherever available.
Hilton Diamond members enjoy access to club or executive lounges across the Hilton group.
Complimentary room upgrades are boosted up to Suites for Diamond members, who will also receive a complimentary Gold and Diamond membership to gift to a family or friend upon reaching 60 and 100 lifetime nights, respectively.
Also included is an additional 30,000 points – on top of the 10,000 Milestone Bonus Points achieved at that threshold – as a Milestone Bonus for reaching 60 eligible nights during one membership year.
Members who’ve held Hilton Honors Diamond status for at least three years and have stayed 250 nights – or earned 500,000 Base Points – will also receive a one-time Diamond status extension of one year.
Alternatively, you can lock in Hilton Honors top-tier Diamond status for life by earning Hilton Diamond status for at least 10 years (not necessarily consecutively) and staying at least 1,000 paid nights or earning two million Base Points.
How do I earn Hilton Honors points?
Hilton Honors points can be earned around the world – and even if you don't travel abroad often, you'll find plenty of ways to rack up your points balance within Australia.
Earn Hilton Honors points on hotel stays
Hilton Honors has properties in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Cairns, Darwin, Surfers Paradise (Gold Coast) and Alice Springs.
At 10 Honors points per dollar spent, an overnight stay with a A$200 room rate and $25 spent on room service would earn around 1,505 Base Points at any of these hotels, based on the exchange rate at time of writing.
In addition, Silver members would earn 301 Hilton Honors Bonus Points, while Gold and Diamond guests reel in bonuses of 1,204 and 1,505 points, respectively.
Hilton's Curio Collection is a set of upscale properties where hotels retain their own individual branding.
Earn points with Hilton Honors MyWay
Hilton Honors offers members the opportunity to customise the program's benefits according to their individual needs through Hilton Honors MyWay.
With this feature, Gold and Diamond members can select to earn either additional points or on-property benefits during qualifying stays. However, this varies by hotel.
At Conrad, for example, Gold and Platinum travellers can opt to trade complimentary continental breakfast for 1,000 additional bonus points, which may be particularly appealing to those who find themselves pressed for time during mornings.
Earn Hilton Honor points on credit card spend
Credit cards can also prove handy when earning Hilton Honor points, as they allow you to rack up points on purchases that are already part of your regular spending.
While Hilton Honors doesn't offer co-branded credit cards with any Australian bank, some loyalty programs operated by Australian banks allow you to convert your earned points into Bonus Points.
With American Express, for instance, you can transfer reward points earned with your AMEX Platinum card to Hilton Honors at a 2:1 rate.
Buy Hilton Honor points
Hilton sells points at a standard rate of $10 per 1,000 points – up to a total of 80,000 (a total of $800) points per year. However, with a cost of one cent per point, this option may only make sense when used for a points boost to reach a particular redemption.
In any case, Hilton often dishes out special promotions which can half the standard price per point, so it's worth keeping an eye on their website if you’re planning to buy points at some point.
Hilton lounges are a great place to get work done and hold information meetings or catch-ups with clients and friends.
How to spend and redeem Hilton Honors points
One of the main drawcards of the Hilton Honors program is its flexibility in redeeming points, and with a presence in 122 countries, members can easily reap the rewards of their points wherever their travels take them.
Book free award nights
The best way to redeem Bonus Points is to trade them in for a hotel stay, which can be done through the Hilton Honors website.
When hunting for reward nights, search for a hotel room as you normally would, but tick the ‘use Points & Money’ box.
If awards are available, you’ll see something like this:
Points can either be used to make a stay completely free through a ‘standard room reward’, or a smaller number of points can help fund a ‘points and money reward’ with a co-pay on the side.
Not every hotel offers this better-value combo, but it pays to seek them out on your travels.
Hilton Honors points can also be swapped for Premium Room Rewards’, which are used for securing higher-than-basic rooms in advance. However, since Gold and Diamond members enjoy upgrades at no charge, we’d suggest keeping your points for something else.
Redeem Hilton Honor points for free flights
Hilton Honors offers the opportunity to convert your points into a range of airline currencies, enabling you to exchange them for complimentary flight rewards.
Altogether, Hilton partners with 37 frequent flyer programs, including Qantas Frequent Flyer, Virgin Australia’s Velocity, Singapore Airlines’ Krisflyer, Emirates’ Skywards and Cathay Pacific’s Cathay, among others.
However, with transfer rates sitting at 10:1 for most airlines, the conversion rates on offer represent extremely poor value for your points, even when compared to those of other hotel loyalty programs.
Spend on online shopping and experiences
Hilton partners with Amazon to allow members to redeem their Bonus Points for purchases made at the popular e-commerce platform.
If you are more into collecting memories, the Hilton Honors Experiences platform provides a variety of activities suited to a wide range of interests, including sports activities, spa treatments, and culinary events.
Again, using points for experiences or shopping are a poor value compared to booking Hilton hotel stays, so we’d suggest saving them for that instead.
Best ways to spend Hilton Honor Points
When it’s time to put your hard earned points to good use, some of the ways you can spend them provide better value than others.
On hotel stays, for instance, you’ll typically get the most out of your Hilton points by staying at high-end rooms, as they often come with additional features and amenities that are otherwise inaccessible.
Of course, you’ll have to amass a significant amount of points for that, as some of these rooms come at an eye-watering 150,000 points per night.
However, Hilton Honors members can pool their points with up to 10 other members, providing a strategic way to save for a particular award at no extra cost.
Alternatively, Hilton’s Fifth Night free benefit for Silver members and above is also a great way of getting additional value when booking premium rooms. The best part? You'll still earn points for that complimentary night.
Do Hilton Honor points expire?
The Hilton Honors points you earn are valid for a period of 24 months, and as long as you earn or redeem them at least once within that period, they’ll never expire.
That can be easily done by staying at any participating hotel and by earning or redeeming points with any Hilton Honors partner, for instance.