Feb022016

Where I find buying HHonors points at $5.56 per 1,000 points a good deal

There have been a number of blog posts in the past 24 hours about Hilton HHonors limited time offer to February 8 for 80% bonus points on HHonors points purchases. What really prompted a reaction from me are seeing blogs who generally focus on high end hotel properties talking about what a great deal this is for an HHonors category 1 hotel at $28 room night.

Pretty weak analysis.

Here is an article I wrote on HHonors category 1 hotels in 2013. It would require very little editing to update that post to February 2016. The article is still relevant for today’s traveler. Most of the HHonors category 1 hotels from 2013 are the same category 1 hotels today.

Loyalty TravelerWhere 35 HHonors category 1 hotels are (Oct 17, 2013)

HHonors limited time offer through February 8 is 80% bonus points when you purchase any amount of points at the regular $10 per 1,000 points rate.

  • Buy HHonors points at rate $10 = 1,800 points.
  • Purchase price = $5.56 per 1,000 points, regardless if paying any amount in the $10 or $800 price range.
  • You can buy up to 80,000 HHonors points in a calendar year.
  • Maximum purchase with 80% bonus means $800 buys 80,000 + 64,000 points for 144,000 points. That breaks down to $5.56 per 1,000 points.

Seriously, how many hotels are a good value paid with points?

Hilton HHonors has 10 hotel reward categories from category 1-10 with price points from 5,000 to 95,000 points per night.

HHonors Standard Rewards

HHonors Category 1 hotel = $27.78 (5,000 points x $5.5556)

HHonors Category 2 hotel = $55.56 (10,000 points)

HHonors Category 3 hotel = = $111.12 (20,000 points) 

Purchasing points for hotel stays at HHonors category 1 and category 2 hotels will probably be a good value for nearly all category 1 and 2 reward nights. At category 3 and higher HHonors reward categories, there will likely be far fewer hotels offering much savings at HHonors Standard Reward rates.

Price of HHonors Standard Rewards buying points at $5.56 per 1,000 points

  • 30,000 points x $5.5556 = $166.68 for HHonors Standard Reward.
  • 40,000 points = $222.24
  • 50,000 points = $277.80 (at this point there are likely few hotels you will find with room rates over $275 per night).
  • 60,000 points = $333.36
  • 70,000 points = $388.92
  • 80,000 points = $444.48
  • 95,000 points = $527.82

Sure, you can find hotels at 80,000 or 95,000 points where the room rate is higher than $450 to $550 per night. That has no potential value to me as someone who rarely spends over $120 per night for a hotel, I find no value in getting a $600 hotel night for $450. That is way out of my travel budget range.

There are likely to be some great deals in the category 1, 2 and 3 hotel rewards, but you have to find a hotel at that category where you desire to stay. There are far fewer good values in the hotels priced at 30,000 to 95,000 points per night for HHonors Standard Rewards.

A route to better value for HHonors points at high category hotels is likely to be found with Points & Money rewards.

Hilton Points & Money Rewards increase points value

Hilton HHonors Points & Money rewards require 40% points of a standard reward, plus a cash copay..

HHonors P-M Amsterdam

DoubleTree Amsterdam NDSM Wharf = 99 EUR (about $110)

  • 50,000 points HHonors category 7 standard reward = $277.80 to buy HHonors points = BAD DEAL.
  • 92 EUR + 20,000 points HHonors Points & Money reward = 92 EUR + $55.66 = BAD DEAL.

Hilton Amsterdam Airport Schiphol = 219 EUR (about $238.90) 

  • 50,000 points HHonors category 7 standard reward = $277.80 to buy HHonors points = BAD DEAL.
  • 75 EUR + 20,000 points = 75 EUR ($81.81) + $111.12 = $192.93 = Good Deal $46 savings.
  • While I personally avoid paying more than $120 per room night, for this analysis I’ll go up to $200 per room night as a good deal, if there is overall room rate savings.
  • Purchased Points Room Rate Savings = $46. Good deal.

HHonors Reward Nights in Portland, Oregon

HHonors points Portland OR

Embassy Suites Portland Washington Square $152 for $167.31 after 10% hotel tax.

  • Paid rate = $167.31
  • HHonors category 5 Standard Reward = 30,000 points = $166.68 (no savings)
  • Points & Money = $50 + 12,000 points ($60.68) = $110.68 Great Deal $56 savings.

DoubleTree Portland – Tigard $143 for $157.41 after 10% hotel tax.

  • Paid rate = $157.41
  • HHonors category 4 Standard Reward = 30,000 points = $166.68 (Bad Deal).
  • Points & Money = $50 + 12,000 points ($60.68) = $110.68 Great Deal $47 savings.

Embassy Suites Portland Airport $189 ($216.46 after 10% hotel tax).

  • Paid rate = $216.46
  • HHonors category 5 Standard Reward = 30,000 points = $166.68 (Good Deal $50 savings).
  • Points & Money = $50 + 12,000 points ($60.68) = $110.68 Great Deal $106 savings.

There are good hotel rate discounts to be found buying HHonors points instead of paying the prevailing Hilton room rate.

The potential to get a good deal correlates well with the availability of HHonors Point & Money rewards, requiring only 40% of points needed for a Standard Reward free night. In the absence of Points & Money Reward availability, Standard Rewards are far less likely to offer a significant savings on published room rates, except for HHonors lower category hotels at the 10,000 to 30,000 points level or at some of the high category pricey hotels in Hilton Worldwide.

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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  1. I think you need to factor in that, with the “Paid Rate” you earn points, progress towards status, cashback (if using shopping portals) – all of which offset the cost.

    Also, there are always sales, promotions, discounted rates etc so no one ever really pays the listed rate

    Given that, the savings are pretty minimal

  2. I am looking at the absolute value of buying points for reward nights and hotel rate savings.

    Earning points, elite stays, cashback are all complicating factors each member needs to make on his/her own. It is always a matter for me to balance paid stays and reward stays to get the best value from my money and points.

  3. Speaking of Hilton category 1 and 2, there is an interesting new category 2: Hotel Vienna South — looks like a re-brand from a Holiday Inn.

  4. Hey Ric, thanks again for the heads up on the Chicago low fare in December, really helped me out!

    I know most won’t be able to take advantage or believe me even on this one… But….

    The Conrad Maldives is in my opinion the flagship of the whole Hilton company. It’s beyond amazing luxury and service in a stunning island paradise.

    95k a night of course but with 4 or 5 night increments down to 75k and hence $400 with this promo. Still too rich for my blood too, even though that’s a fraction of paid rates north of $1000 even $2000+ peak!

    I supplement my HH earnings from spend there (50 points per $ racks up a lot of points with their constant generous promos and generous Amex) by buying these sales and average a very low out of pocket cost there for effective nightly rate.

    If you like out of this world Snorkeling better than half the dives I’ve done in The Great Barrier Reef, incredible 5 star food/ service and superb everything in a tropical location second to nowhere, the Conrad Rangali is the place to be.

    Oh…. And after 6 visits now over the years, trust me, ignore the politics and scaremongering about Islamic issues blah blah, it’s complete BS unless you’re planning on becoming a politician during your stay or smuggling drugs perhaps. Its possibly safer than staying at home, with shootings every month or so in the US. The people are amazingly warm genuine peaceful individuals.

    Just my 2 cents, if anyone’s interested. Probably not 😉

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