Hilton is one of the most recognizable global hotel brands. And it’s also one of the largest. There are more than 6,800 Hilton properties across 18 brands participating in the Hilton Honors rewards program.

Hilton’s elite program offers excellent perks at each status level, with top-tier Diamond members receiving tangible benefits like Executive Lounge access and the ability to gift elite status. Hilton Gold has also earned its place as the best mid-tier hotel elite status. Even better, it’s one of the easiest to acquire.


Thanks to strong earning rates on Hilton co-branded credit cards and a generous return on Hilton spending, Hilton Honors points are easy to accumulate. Plus, Hilton features the best points pooling policy of any loyalty program we’ve reviewed. This makes it easy to amass a huge balance of points when working towards a big redemption.

In this guide, we’ll cover how to earn Hilton Honors points, the best ways to redeem points, run through Hilton’s elite program, and dig into the rules and transfer policies.

How to Join Hilton Honors

You can sign-up for Hilton Honors online through the Hilton website. However, before you do, check here to see if there’s a new member bonus for signing up through a special link. Once on the signup form, you’ll be prompted to supply your name, phone number, email, address, and create a password.

Hilton Honors Welcome Page

Hilton provides you with your Hilton Honors membership number immediately after joining. When you are logged into your Hilton Honors account, you can view your account status, upcoming reservations, and book travel using cash or points.

How to Add Your Hilton Honors Account to AwardWallet

This is also the perfect time to add Hilton Honors to your AwardWallet account. AwardWallet will track your Hilton reservations, points balance and expiration, elite status, and any credits or promos associated with your account.

If your Hilton points or elite status expires soon, we’ll send you a series of reminders by email. You can also use AwardWallet to log into your Hilton account with one click — instead of entering your Hilton membership number and password on the Hilton website.

AwardWallet Plus members also see their Hilton Honors earning and redemption history, and their progress towards the next tier of elite status. To track your Hilton Honors account information, just add your Hilton Honors login using this link.

track Hilton Honors with AwardWallet

You can also track accounts for friends and family with AwardWallet. To add a second account or a different program, log in to AwardWallet through a web browser or the AwardWallet app (iOSAndroid). Then click the “Add Award Program to Track” button, and type in the name of the program.

Add Hilton Honors to AwardWallet

Brands That Participate in Hilton Honors

Hilton has a global presence with more than 6,800 properties in 122 countries around the world. The chain offers 18 unique brands — ranging from limited-service Hampton by Hilton to the distinctive luxury of Waldorf Astoria.

hilton brands

Although it’s not Hilton’s premier luxury brand, Hilton Hotels & Resorts is the flagship brand within the portfolio with over 550 properties around the world. It is an upscale full-service brand for both business and leisure travelers.

Other brands in the Hilton Honors portfolio include the Curio Collection of independent boutique hotels, the ubiquitous Hilton Garden Inn, and Homewood Suites by Hilton, one of two Hilton Honors extended-stay hotel brands. Hilton has also been testing the waters with new brands in recent years, such as LXR, Tempo by Hilton, and Motto by Hilton.

Luxury Waldorf Astoria
Boutique/Independent Collections Curio Collection
Tapestry Collection
Canopy by Hilton
Standard Upscale Full-Service Hilton Hotels & Resorts
DoubleTree by Hilton
Signia by Hilton
Embassy Suites
Lifestyle with Limited or Focused Service Tempo by Hilton
Motto by Hilton
Tru by Hilton
Focused-Service or Limited-Service Hilton Garden Inn
Hampton by Hilton
Extended Stay Homewood Suites
Home2 Suites
Timeshare Hilton Grand Vacations

Best Ways to Earn Hilton Honors Points

Hilton award stays typically require more points per night than other hotel programs. The good news: it’s easy to rack up stacks of Hilton Honors points.

Members receive higher than average earning rates on hotel stays. Cardholders earn top multipliers when using co-brand credit cards. Plus, you can leverage lots of travel and dining partner programs. There is no shortage of ways to earn Hilton Honors points!

Earn From Hotel Stays and Incidental Spend

The most straightforward way to earn Hilton Honors points is by staying at a Hilton property. Just make sure that your Honors number is attached to the reservation.

Boulders Resort & Spa Scottsdale, Curio Collection by Hilton | Photo courtesy of Hilton

Members earn 10 base points per $1 spent on hotel stays and most incidental charges, such as parking, food, and beverages. However, at Tru and Home2 Suites, you’ll only earn 5 points per $1 spent.

If you hold Hilton elite status — which comes complimentary with all Hilton co-brand credit cards — you’ll enjoy the following elite point bonuses:

  • Silver Elite: 20% bonus (total of 12 points per $1 spent)
  • Gold Elite: 80% bonus (total of 18 points per $1 spent)
  • Diamond Elite: 100% bonus (total of 20 points per $1 spent)

Select properties offer additional points at check-in if selected as a Hilton “My Way” benefit. Promotions may provide even more points from hotel stays.

Here’s an example of points earned from one of my previous stays. The nightly rate was $123 before taxes. I also spent $20.13 on food and a cocktail at the hotel restaurant. The final bill, including taxes, came to $164.66, which I put on my Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card. Here’s how many points I earned:

  • 10 base points per $1 as a Hilton Honors member on $143.13 (room plus food) — 1,431 points
  • 10 bonus points per $1 as a Diamond elite member (100% bonus) — 1,431 points
  • Qualifying stay under the 2020 Points Unlimited promotion — 2,000 points
  • 14x points per $1 by using my Hilton Aspire — 2,305 points

The total haul from the stay: 7,167 points, worth ~$36, or a 22% return on spending. Not a bad return for a work stay.

Hilton Honors Credit Cards

American Express issues multiple Hilton credit cards. All Hilton Honors credit cards offer complimentary elite status, bonus points on Hilton stays, and three of the four cards offer free nights and other perks. We cover the Hilton cards in more detail in our guide to earning Hilton points, but here’s a quick recap of the cards and the bonuses on offer:

Hilton Honors American Express Card

Apply Now
Rates & Fees
(Terms apply)

Hilton Honors American Express Card

Annual Fee$0
Welcome OfferEarn 100,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership.  Plus, you can earn up to $100 in Statement Credits on eligible purchases made on the Card at any of the Hilton family hotels in the first 12 months of Membership.

The no-annual-fee Hilton Amex is perfect if you only stay with Hilton occasionally and don’t want to pay an annual fee (Rates & Fees). You’ll earn some extra points and will have access to Hilton’s 5th-night free benefit. Plus, eligible new cardmembers can currently Earn 100,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points.

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

Annual Fee$95
Welcome OfferEarn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points plus a Free Night Reward after you spend $2,000 in purchases on the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership.

The Hilton Surpass is an excellent mid-tier card with a great mix of benefits for the $95 annual fee . Cardmembers receive complimentary Hilton Gold status and 10 Priority Pass Lounge access passes each year. Enrollment is required for select Amex benefits.

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

Annual Fee$450
Welcome OfferEarn 150,000 Bonus Points after you use your new Card to make $4,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Plus, enjoy a free Weekend Night Reward within your first year and every year after renewal.

Hilton Aspire cardmembers receive exceptional value if you stay with Hilton on a regular basis, and it’s the only card to offer top-tier elite status as a card benefit. Plus, you’ll get an Annual Weekend Night Reward good for a free night at almost any Hilton property worldwide.

The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

Apply Now
Rates & Fees
(Terms apply)

The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

Annual Fee$95
Welcome OfferEarn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 in purchases on the Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership. Plus, you can earn up to $130 in Statement Credits on eligible purchases made on the Card at any of the Hilton family hotels in the first 12 months of Membership. Offer expires 7/6/2022.

The Hilton Business Card rounds out the lineup for small business owners who want to accumulate points from company spending, featuring similar benefits to the Hilton Surpass.

Transfer American Express Membership Rewards to Hilton Honors

You can transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to Hilton Honors points at a 1:2 ratio. Points transfer in increments of 1,000 Membership Rewards points. Cards like the The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express and American Express® Gold Card earn Membership Rewards points and offer great earning rates on supermarket purchases.

Generally, transferring Membership Rewards to Hilton doesn’t provide good value. However, the occasional transfer bonus of up to 50% can make this a better value when offered. Click here to see the latest Amex-Hilton transfer bonus.

An example of the regular transfer bonuses we see from Membership Rewards to Hilton Honors

Host Meetings and Events with Hilton

If you’re a meeting or event planner — or just putting together a one-time event at a Hilton property — make sure you don’t miss out on earning points for this spend.

Planners earn 1 Hilton point per $1 spent on meetings and events, on up to $100,000 per event. You’ll need to add Event Planner Points to your contract with Hilton. Not all properties participate. Here is the list of participating hotels in the event planner program.

Hilton Honors Promotions

Hilton Honors promotions can be an excellent way to rack up additional Hilton points. Hilton runs multiple promotions per year, typically offering bonus points per stay or per night.

Hilton More Nights More Points banner

We regularly update the blog with the latest Hilton promos. So, keep checking back before you book to ensure you are maximizing the number of points earned on every booking.

Purchasing Hilton Points

Hilton sells points at a standard rate of $10 per 1,000 points. Given that the value of Hilton points averages just 0.61 cents per point, this isn’t a good deal.

However, Hilton frequently runs promotions on buying Hilton points. Hilton normally caps members at buying no more than 80,000 points per year, before promotional bonuses. This rule is often relaxed during promotional events.

Based on AwardWallet tracking, Hilton points take roughly nine hours to hit your account after purchase.

Pooling Hilton Points: A Unique Program Feature

Hilton allows members to pool Hilton Honors points with up to 10 other people into a single account, which is a unique option among hotel loyalty programs. One member has to initiate the “pool”, and other members can choose to contribute points to it. This is essentially a transfer of points to one member’s account, as no separate pooled account is created.

Hilton Honors Points Pooling

Members can transfer up to 500,000 points to other members via points pooling in a calendar year. A single member can receive up to 2 million Hilton points in a calendar year from others into their account. Points pooling is free, and you can participate in as many points pools as you’d like.

Anecdotally, I have had numerous technical issues trying to pool and transfer points. It worked flawlessly the first time I initiated a points pool. However, I’ve never been able to successfully receive points since then, even after reaching out to Hilton multiple times.

Shopping and Dining Portals

Hilton offers a shopping portal where you can earn Hilton points on purchases from select merchants online. However, it is no longer available to people living within the United States. If you live overseas, check out the Hilton shopping portal to see what is offered.

If you eat our frequently, dining programs can be a great way to rack up extra points and miles. If you join Hilton Honors Dining and opt into marketing emails, you’ll earn 5 Hilton points per $1 spent dining out at participating restaurants. You can search by ZIP code at Hilton Honors Dining. Make sure you check to see if a participating restaurant is offering rewards on a given day. Check here to see if Hilton is offering a new member bonus.

Hilton Travel Partners

Hilton partners with a number of other travel brands, including:

Check out additional detail on each of these in our separate post on the best ways to earn Hilton Honors points.

Best Ways to Redeem Hilton Honors Points

Hilton free nights start at just 5,000 points at a number of select properties around the globe. However, most require many more points than this. Hilton moved away from an official award chart and now prices award nights dynamically. When the cash rate is higher, award rates are typically higher.

The general range for standard room awards is between 5,000 and 95,000 points per night. However, more and more properties are being added to the list of properties costing more than 100,000 Hilton points — including the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi and Hotel del Coronado, Curio Collection by Hilton.

You can find the price range for all Hilton properties through its Points Explorer tool, filterable by brand, points price, and location.

hilton dynamic award pricing

Note that the min and max values listed are based on recent bookings made. You might find lower award rates when you search your dates. For example, in 2021, the Conrad Makkah was listed at a minimum of 34,000 points. But, we found award nights available for just 29,000 Hilton points on some dates:

Hilton Standard and Premium Room Award Pricing

The referenced list provides the standard room pricing for Hilton properties around the globe. However, Hilton allows Honors members to book other room types with points. Typically, if a room is available at a cash rate, the room will also be bookable as an award night as a premium room reward. This includes anything from rooms with a better view to suites.

Premium room reward pricing can vary significantly and is typically correlated with the cash rate. These awards may be both better or worse deals than standard room rewards. Here are sample premium room prices at the Conrad Bali:

One thing to note: to be able to use your Annual Weekend Night Reward certificates earned from Hilton credit cards, you must be able to book a standard room reward. If only premium room rewards are available, you will not be able to use the certificate.

Pay with Points and Money

Hilton offers a unique feature that allows you to price stays in both cash and points using a sliding scale. You can use any combination of points and money for your stay. Something to keep in mind is that Hilton waives resort fees for 100% award stays. So, you may forfeit some savings should you choose to use the Points and Money option.

Hilton 5th Night Free Benefit

One of the best perks of being an elite Hilton Honors member is the 5th Night Free benefit on award stays. This benefit allows you to get 5 award nights for the price of 4 on stays of 5+ consecutive nights at the same hotel.

Rather than simply pricing the fifth night at 0 points, however, Hilton gives this to you as a deduction of the average cost of one night. The 5th-night free benefit works on stays of five or more nights. You’ll receive one free night for every five booked for stays of up to 20 nights.

Hilton Free Weekend Night Certificates

One of the benefits of the Hilton Aspire and Hilton Surpass cards is the ability to earn free weekend nights every year. These are redeemable at any Hilton property worldwide with a small list of exclusions.

Free weekend night certificates can be used to book one night that is a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday night, and must be used for stays that occur prior to the expiration date listed on the certificate. However, certificates issued through December 31, 2022 can be redeemed for any night of the week.

To book a free weekend night, you need to call 1-800-4HONORS and have your certificate number ready.

Hilton Honors Award Sweet Spots

With over 6,800 properties around the globe, there are plenty of Hilton hotels where award nights are an excellent value. In general, Hilton awards that approach a 1.0 cent per point value are a great find. Here is a very brief list of 10 properties that stand out, including both some budget and luxury picks:

  • Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi — It goes without saying that Hilton’s flagship Maldives property is an excellent award deal (rooms for $1,700?!). The trick is finding standard room availability.
  • DoubleTree by Hilton at the Entrance to Universal Orlando — Rooms are often cost over $200 per night, which makes the ~30,000 points per night award cost a good deal.
  • Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills — Rooms for $1,000 per night or 120,000 points? I’ll choose points.
  • Grand Wailea, a Waldorf Astoria Resort — Again, rooms for $1,000 or 110,000 points? Points make paradise free.
  • Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam — Amsterdam can be crazy expensive. Rooms easily climb over $800. I’d happily book for 110,000 points per night.
  • Hilton Tokyo Narita Airport — Yes, it’s a transit hotel. But when room prices approach $150, I’d happily shell out 23,000 Hilton points instead.
  • Conrad Bora Bora Nui — I’ll take the lagoon view for just 120,000 points, thank you.

How to Book a Hilton Award

The easiest way to book a Hilton award stay is online at hilton.com or via the Hilton app. You don’t need to log into your Honors account to search for award nights. However, you’ll need to log in once you select a room and rate at a particular hotel.

To search for points rates, simply check the “Use Points” box in the Special Rates options. Enter your destination and dates and click the “Find a Hotel” button.

I did a sample search for London, England where there are numerous Hilton properties. I have mixed feelings about the changes to Hilton’s search display, although the list and map displaying together is a plus. You can see that there are 89 Hilton hotel options in the Greater London area.

Hilton hotel search results in London

Once you settle on a property, click the “View Rates” button. This will take you to the page displaying various award rates for different room types at this particular property. You’ll see which are standard room rewards versus those that are premium room rewards.

Once you settle on a room type, you will have to log in (if not logged in already). Then you can enter the reservation details, use the Points and Money slider to customize the rate, and finalize the booking.

Other Ways to Use Hilton Points

Using Hilton points for free hotel stays will definitely provide the best value for your points. However, I want to touch on a number of other uses. You can redeem Hilton points for:

Pretty much all of these uses are a poor value compared to most hotel stays. Amazon lets you cash out Hilton points at 0.2 cents each. The value for redeeming points for Lyft rides is similar. Transferring miles to airlines yields just 1,500 miles/points per 10,000 Hilton points.

The only potential I really see in any of these is the ability to use Honors points for experiences, and that’s because you can find some unique activities at times for decent value.

How to Achieve Hilton Honors Elite Status

Hilton offers a fairly strong elite program that rewards loyal members with perks such as complimentary breakfast, bonus points, room upgrades, and executive lounge access. The Honors loyalty program offers three elite tiers: Silver, Gold, and Diamond. In addition, there’s a basic Member tier, which offers some basic perks

Hilton Elite Status Tiers and Benefits

The benefits you enjoy as a Hilton elite increase as you climb through the tiers from Silver to Gold to Diamond. Here is what you can expect at each of the three levels:

Check out the Hilton Honors terms and conditions for more details.

Rollover Nights and 2022 Elite Status Updates

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hilton has again reduced its elite status requirements for 2022. First, Hilton extended whatever elite status you earned in 2019 through 2022. Hilton also is rolling over every night stayed in 2021 to 2022 to help you qualify for elite status next year.

Hilton has reduced the qualification requirements to earn elite status. That means you earn top-tier Diamond with 42 nights or 21 stays in 2022:

  • Silver: 7 nights, 3 stays, or 17,500 Base Points
  • Gold: 28 nights, 14 stays, or 52,500 Base Points
  • Diamond: 42 nights, 21 stays, or 84,000 Base Points

Rollover nights are normally a benefit of Hilton Honors elites. But usually, you only get to roll over any nights accrued in excess of status requirements to the next year. In this case, Hilton is rolling over all nights to give everyone a jump start on Hilton Honors elite status for 2022.

Hilton Milestone Bonuses

Hilton offers milestone bonuses once you hit a certain number of nights stayed in a calendar year. The first bonus of 10,000 Honors points is awarded when you hit 40 nights. You’ll earn an additional 10,000 Honors points for every 10 additional nights after 40 nights, with an extra 30,000 Honors points awarded when you hit 60 total nights.

Hilton Honors typical Milestone Bonuses

But, Milestone Bonuses will continue to work a bit differently in 2022. You’ll start earning bonus points at just 20 elite nights and score 10,000-point bonuses every 10 nights. When you hit 60 elite nights, you’ll earn a 40,000-point bonus instead of just 10,000. That’s a total of 90,000 bonus Hilton points by the time you reach 60 elite nights.

Hilton Honors 2021 Milestone Bonuses

Complimentary Elite Status from Co-Branded Credit Cards

All Hilton credit cards offer some level of complimentary elite status:

  • Hilton Honors American Express Card — Silver elite
  • Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card — Gold elite
  • The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card — Gold elite
  • Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card — Diamond elite

This status can be enjoyed for as long as your card remains open. You do not need to meet any stay or night requirements each year. The Hilton Aspire is the only card that offers Hilton Diamond status and the only hotel credit card that offers free top-tier elite status of any hotel chain.

Status Matching

Hilton also offers a status match program for elite members of other hotel programs. The requirements have changed over time as well. Currently, you can match to either Hilton Gold or Hilton Diamond — depending on your status in other programs. You’ll need to provide your name, email, Honors number, and proof of elite status in the other program. You’ll need to show proof of at least one stay in the other program within the past 12 months.

After signing up, you’ll be automatically upgraded to Hilton Gold status. Typically you need to meet the challenge requirements of 10 nights within 90 days to extend this elite status. Or, if you pull off 18 nights in the trial period, you’ll be upgraded to Diamond for the duration of that period.

However, Hilton temporarily slashed the night requirements on its elite status challenge. If you sign up now, you need to earn just 5 nights within 90 days to keep Gold through March 31, 2023. Or, stay 9 nights to earn top-tier Diamond elite status through March 31, 2023.

Hilton Honors 2021 elite status match requirements

Hilton Lifetime Diamond Status

Hilton offers a lifetime status program — but for only its Diamond elite tier. The requirements for lifetime Diamond elite status requires you to have earned Diamond status for at least 10 years (do not need to be consecutive) and either:

  • completed stays totaling at least 1,000 paid and/or reward nights
  • earned at least 2 million Base Points over the life of your membership

Hilton Honors Rules and Policies

Hilton Change and Cancellation Policies

Under normal circumstances, Hilton Advance Purchase reservations are completely non-refundable. These offer the lowest rate, but you are locked into your reservation and will forfeit the entire amount should you cancel. Like most hotel chains during the pandemic, Hilton’s policies have changed several times during Covid. For the latest rules, check out Hiltons dedicated notifications page.

Previously, flexible rate Hilton stays (both cash and award) could be canceled free of charge up until 48 or 72 hours prior to arrival, depending on the property. However, there have been some outliers to these change and cancellation policies, with specific properties requiring even more advance notice. Change and cancellation policies have previously been up to the individual hotel.

Hilton Price Match Guarantee

Hilton offers a Price Match Guarantee that ensures you will find the lowest publicly available rate through official Hilton booking channels. If you find a lower rate at another site, Hilton will both match the lower rate and provide an additional 25% discount off the lower rate.

However, there are some hoops to jump through. You must make your claim within 24 hours of booking through an official Hilton channel. The booking must also be for the same hotel, same room type, and have the same amenities (breakfast, view, check-in time, etc.). If there are any discrepancies between these, Hilton does not consider this a lower qualified price and will likely reject the Price Match.

If you think you have a Hilton Price Match Guarantee to claim, you can use the online claim form.

Hilton Points Expiration Policy

Hilton Honors points expire if your account doesn’t have eligible activity in a 24-month period. However, point expiration is paused until December 31, 2022, due to COVID-19.

There are a number of ways to extend your Hilton Honors points expiration date. Most earning and redemption activities will extend the expiration date. However, points pooling and Membership Rewards transfers notably will not extend the expiration date.

Final Thoughts

Hilton Honors is an excellent hotel loyalty program and one from which I have personally gotten great value. With the ability to quickly rack up points from paid stays and promotions, a suite of excellent co-branded credit cards, and a solid elite program, Hilton Honors has often been a top choice. As an interesting metric, Hilton is the chain for which my ratio of award stays to paid stays is highest. A whopping 92% of my nights with Hilton have been on points. Now that is value.

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