When I first encountered hotel rewards programs, I was a bit hesitant. They seemed confusing, and I wasn’t sure that I could figure out how to navigate their wordy descriptions to figure out what I would get at the end of my journey. But then, I came across the Hilton Honors program.
Reading through the offers and benefits listed for members of the Hilton Honors program, I realized I could grasp what they were saying. I even concluded that if I joined this program, it could teach me the basics of rewards programs, and I could take that knowledge with me if I wanted to try out a different program. I joined right away and have never looked back.
Today, I look at the Hilton Honors program as both a great travel companion and a rewards program tutor. I gained a lot of knowledge by becoming a member, and I want to share some of that knowledge with you in this article.
Of course, I also gained plenty of rewards as a member, and I want to showcase what benefits you can expect if you join the program. So, if you enjoy learning and need a new travel companion, then let me introduce you to the Hilton Honors program.
Bottom Line Up Front
I completely understand the enormity of the learning curve involved with rewards programs. For that reason, I have included a brief sum-up of all that I will discuss in this article.
Joining the Hilton Honors program is done by filling out a simple online form. It will only require some basic information about you and then, some security protocols. There’s no fee, and you are not required to stay at Hilton for a certain number of nights in order to qualify. It’s just so simple to get started.
The benefits of joining the Hilton Honors program are that points earned with Hilton can be used to stay at Hilton properties, to purchase Lyft rides, to rent cars, to purchase airline miles, and to enjoy Hilton-sponsored events and experiences.
Hilton Honors program points are easy to earn. Points are earned when you stay at Hilton properties, use Hilton-sponsored credit cards, purchase Lyft rides, or dine with the Hilton Dining rewards program. As you can see, there are plenty of wonderful reasons to join this particular rewards program.
Before I walk you through the steps to join the Hilton Honors program, I want to take a moment to show you why you should even bother joining. I believe that once you read all the benefits of membership, you’ll be ready to walk through the rather easy steps of becoming a member.
Motivation #1: Points
When you become a member of the Hilton Honors program, you begin earning valuable reward points. That’s right, membership alone allows you to accrue points that can later be redeemed for a variety of fun and exciting things. I think we should talk about what some of these things are because they will really motivate you to join.
Redeem Points For
- Airline miles: Let’s turn those points into an unforgettable trip to Montenegro!
- Amazon purchases: If you can’t travel, you can still benefit from a shopping spree.
- Car rentals: This can be a big help when you need transport around a city.
- Exclusive events and experiences: I haven’t tried this benefit yet, but I know other travelers who live for these.
- Free nights at a Hilton property: This is by far my favorite and most frequently used Hilton Honors membership benefit. I used this benefit to stay five nights at the Conrad London St. James. Not only did it cost less to stay here using points rather than revenue, but I also got the fifth night free after I stayed four nights. You can’t beat this benefit.
- Lyft rides: I don’t use Lyft very often when I travel, but it’s nice to know I have this option as a Hilton Honors member.
- Status Upgrades: What’s not nice about getting a status upgrade? Now that I’m a Diamond status member, I know I’m going to the get the best the hotel has to offer. I highly recommend using points to upgrade your status.
One thing to remember about using points to stay at a Hilton property is that each property will cost you a different amount of points per night/stay. There are very reasonably priced Hilton properties for those times you need something inexpensive but comfortable. And then, there are the luxury properties that will require more points than visible stars. Okay, maybe not that much, but a lot.
Unfortunately, there is no longer a chart listing what each Hilton property costs in rewards points per night/stay.
This is because they have recently moved to dynamic pricing, which is a fancy way of saying that each property keeps the cost of a night at nearly the same price regardless of whether you pay with revenue or with points. But, Hilton hasn’t left us without a resource! Just click over to Hilton’s Honors Points Explorer page and look for a hotel anywhere in the world at any price range you want.
Now that you know what amazing things Hilton Honors reward points can get you, let’s talk about how you earn points in this program. The points-earning process is very intuitive and actually quite fun.
Earn Points By
- Applying and getting approved for a Hilton Credit Card: This is the quickest and easiest way to earn points and upgrade your status.
- Purchasing something on Amazon: Why not earn while you shop?
- Purchasing more points when they are on sale – I have bought points on sale more than I can count. This is a benefit because the cost of purchasing points is often less than the cost of using revenue on a hotel room.
- Staying at a Hilton property: I absolutely love staying at Hilton properties so this is a win-win method for earning points.
- Taking a Hilton Guest Opinion Survey: This is a super simple and completely free way to earn a few extra points.
- Taking a Lyft ride around town: This is not something I use very often, but if you are apt to need transport around a city, I think this is a great idea to earn more points.
- Turning AmEx points into your Hilton Honors reward points – Yes, this is a method to earn more Hilton rewards points, but honestly, I don’t recommend it. Your points are more valuable as AmEx points and can be traded at a better exchange rate for other rewards, such as airline miles.
- Using Hilton Dining Rewards when you eat out – If you love eating, and I think we all do, this is an awesome way to add to your points inventory.
If the points program has you intrigued, but you still want a little more to convince you to sign on the dotted line, then let me tell you about another great perk offered by Hilton.
Motivation #2: Status
When you join the Hilton Honors program, you get the ability to earn different levels of status. Status is basically a position within the program that earns you better perks. Don’t worry about fully understanding status levels at the moment; once I explain each of Hilton’s statuses, you should get it.
I love having Diamond status with Hilton and I think everyone who travels should at least look into getting it too. It really isn’t complicated to achieve this status and the benefits it can bring are numerous. With my Diamond status, I got room upgrades in Puerto Rico, London, and Montenegro.
Plus, I got free meals and snacks in the hotel’s Executive suite. My trips with Hilton Diamond status have saved me time and money while allowing me to relax in luxurious rooms in some of the coolest places around the world.
Hilton offers three types of status. These are Silver Status, Gold Status, and Diamond Status. Status levels can be earned through the natural process of earning points or by being approved for a Hilton Credit Card. Let’s look at each Status in detail so you can understand what benefits they offer members.
To gain Silver Status via points, you will first need to be a member of the program. Then, you will need to complete one of the following required tasks:
- Earn 17,500 points
- Stay at a Hilton property for 7 nights
- Stay at a Hilton property for 3 stays
To earn Silver Status through an expedited process, you will need to apply and be approved for a Hilton Honors Card.
The Benefits of Silver Status
- An exemption from resort fees when using reward points
- Digital room key
- Free WiFi
- Hilton Honors discount rate
- The ability to check in and check out digitally
- The ability to choose your room
- The ability to earn a free night after paying for four nights with points
- The ability to acquire status for the next calendar year by transferring unused nights from the previous calendar year
- The ability to use Hilton spas at a 15% discount
- The opportunity to access exclusive experiences offered by Hilton Honors
- The opportunity to earn up to 12 points for every dollar spent on a stay at a Hilton hotel (Points earned will vary based on property and location. Check with the specific hotel you intend to stay at to find out how many points are earned per night.)
To gain Gold Status via points, you will first need to be a Silver Status member of the program. Then, you will need to complete one of the following required tasks:
- Earn 52,500 points
- Stay at a Hilton property for 28 nights
- Stay at a Hilton property for 14 stays
To earn Gold Status through an expedited process, you will need to apply and be approved for a Hilton Honors American Express Surplus Card.
The Benefits of Gold Status
- Everything offered to Silver Status members
- Credit for breakfast at U.S. hotels
- Free Continental breakfast at non-U.S. hotels
- The opportunity to earn up to 18 points for every dollar spent on a stay at a Hilton hotel (Points earned will vary based on property and location. Check with the specific hotel you intend to stay at to find out how many points are earned per night.)
- The opportunity to upgrade your room when space is available (any available room up to an Executive room type)
- The opportunity to earn more bonus points when you stay at a Hilton property for more than 30 nights in a calendar year. The offer is for 10,000 bonus points for every 10 nights stayed at a Hilton property once the minimum qualifying nights have been reached.
To gain Diamond Status via points, you will first need to be a Gold Status member of the program. Then, you will need to complete one of the following required tasks:
- Earn 84,000 points
- Stay at a Hilton property for 42 nights
- Stay at a Hilton property for 21 stays
To earn Diamond Status through an expedited process, you will need to apply and be approved for a Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card.
The Benefits of Diamond Status
- Everything offered to Silver and Gold Status members
- Access to premium WiFi
- If the hotel has one, access to the Executive lounge (these lounges offer a quiet place to work, and sometimes, meals and snacks)
- The guarantee of a room when the hotel is contacted at least 48 hours before the room is required (restrictions do apply to this benefit so be sure to check with the specific hotel you intend to stay at for more information)
- The opportunity to earn up to 20 points for every dollar spent on a stay at a Hilton hotel (Points earned will vary based on property and location. Check with the specific hotel you intend to stay at to find out how many points are earned per night.)
- The opportunity to extend your Diamond status when it has been kept for three years and either you have stayed a minimum number of nights at a Hilton hotel or have accrued a minimum number of points
- The opportunity to gift another Hilton member with either Gold or Diamond status. This benefit requires that you stay at a Hilton property for a minimum number of nights in a calendar year.
- The opportunity to upgrade your room when space is available (any available room up to a 1-bedroom suite)
Motivations #3: Extras
The Hilton Honors program comes with a few little extras that may sway you into joining. These extras include:
- Access to Hilton’s exclusive events and sponsored activities
- Points pooling with friends and family members – My husband and I do this with our points all the time; it’s a great way to build a bigger stash for a better trip.
- Points transferring from other reward programs such as AmEx and Diners Club International
- Points transferring to airline miles, Lyft rides, or rental cars
- The ability to earn free nights at Hilton properties
Now that you have been motivated to join the Hilton Honors program, it’s time to get set up. In four easy steps, you’ll have access to all this program offers. Plus, there is no fee for joining.
Go to Hilton Honors and fill in the membership form. Click join at the bottom of the screen.
Log in to your Hilton Honors account using either your username or assigned membership number and selected password.
Edit or complete your profile information. Take some time to ensure that the information on your profile is correct. Also, this is an opportunity to edit your username, password, security preferences, or payment options, if you want.
Begin earning and redeeming points. Make the most of your membership and get a room booked.
There you have it – four easy steps to get into the world of rewards programs. There’s no hassle, no fee, and no complicated verbiage to untangle. This is a fun and easy way to make travel even more enjoyable.
You can take the slow and methodical route to get a Hilton membership and upgrade your status level, or, you can skip ahead. Rather than signing up for a basic Hilton Honors membership, you can get immediate status by applying and being approved for one of their AmEx credit cards. If you want to skip ahead in the process, then here are some links you need to follow:
- Skip to Silver Status by applying for Hilton Honors Card
- Skip to Gold Status by applying for Hilton Honors American Express Surplus Card
- Skip to Diamond Status by applying for Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
Question: Do Hilton Honors Points Expire?
Answer: Yes, unfortunately, they do. Hilton points expire when an account has been inactive for 15 months. An inactive account is described as an account where no transaction has taken place for a certain period of time. Transactions that will keep an account in an active status include earning points, redeeming points, transferring points, pooling points, gifting points, purchasing points, or donating points.
The main thing to learn here is to keep your points moving a little bit throughout the year. You don’t have to do a lot because the smallest activity will keep your points from expiring before you get the chance to use them.
Question: Do Hilton Statuses Expire?
Answer: Yes, unfortunately, these expire as well. To prevent your current Hilton status from expiring, you will simply need to earn the minimum quantity of points required for that status throughout the calendar year.
For example, if you earned Diamond Status at any point during 2022, you will keep that status level until the end of 2023. However, if you want to hold onto your Diamond Status in 2024, you will need to earn points to reach that status level again throughout the 2023 calendar year. If you do not earn enough points to reach Diamond Status throughout 2023, you will not retain this status in 2024. It will have expired.
Question: Will Hilton Match My Rewards Status With a Different Hotel Rewards Program?
Answer: Yes, Hilton offers a status match. You can apply for a status match here. Once you are approved, you can begin enjoying the wonderful benefits provided by Hilton.
You may have noticed my excitement about the Hilton Honors program as you read this article. I absolutely love being a part of this rewards program. When it comes to my travels, I enjoy getting into Executive lounges for tasty treats and complimentary meals.
I relish the idea that I could walk into a hotel and get a special room upgrade just because of my status. And I’m thrilled to be able to use my Hilton points for airline miles, car rentals, and one-of-a-kind events. This is a rewards program that I can get behind and highly recommend.
Now, the ball is in your court, so to speak. You have all the details about this program, including its perks and benefits and the steps to join. All you need to do is decide if it is the right rewards program for you. Here’s to many wonderful travels with a rewards program that suits your travel style!