I highly doubt many people are in the market to buy points now, but if you are, Hilton has just launched another 100% bonus on points purchases. This runs from now till 28 May 2020, 11.59 a.m SGT.
The 100% bonus applies if you purchase at least 10,000 points (pre-bonus) in a single transaction. Hilton points usually cost 1 US cent apiece, so a 100% bonus means you’re buying them at 0.5 US cents per point, the lowest price we ever see available.
Normally, you can purchase up to 80,000 points a year, pre-bonus. With this promotion, Hilton has doubled that cap, so you can buy 160,000 points a year, pre-bonus.
The cap shouldn’t be an issue anyway, because Hilton lets you combine points across accounts for free. So there’s nothing stopping you from creating a few more accounts and consolidating them, or pooling them with a friend or family member.
Hilton points expire after 12 months of inactivity, but earning or redeeming even a single point resets the 12 month clock. Hilton has temporarily paused the expiration of all points scheduled to expire between now and 31 December 2020, on account of the Covid-19 situation (see below).
Hilton’s Covid-19 cancellation policy
For any reservation booked up till 30 June 2020 with any future arrival date, Hilton will allow cancellations up to 24 hours before arrival with no penalty. This includes reservations made by points.
So you might consider booking travel for 2021 (assuming this all blows over by then), knowing that any reservation made during this period will have an enhanced cancellation policy.
That said, it goes without saying that absolutely no one should be travelling out of Singapore until the government gives the all clear. By going overseas now, you endanger not only yourself, but the health of everyone around you. Moreover, should you contract the disease after traveling overseas, you’ll be on the hook for the full, unsubsidized hospital charges.
There’ll be other opportunities to travel, I promise you. Now’s just not the time.
What can you do with Hilton points?
The classic use case for buying Hilton points is to snag a stay at a luxurious property for much less. Take for instance the Conrad Maldives (do have a read of Louis’ recent trip report), where an award night at goes for 95,000 Hilton Honors points. Paid rates can cost as much as US$990+ a night before tax.
If you purchase Hilton Honors points at a 100% bonus during this sale and use them at the Conrad Maldives, you’ll effectively be paying only US$475 a night. Remember that if you’re a Silver member or above, you get the 5th night free on awards, reducing the overall cost to US$380 a night. Hilton Honors Silver status is offered to all AMEX KrisFlyer Ascend cardholders.
What’s even better is that using Hilton Honors points to book your stay gives you a flexible reservation, compared to paying the lowest available rate which is usually a non-refundable rate.
Another idea is to try your luck booking the Waldorf Astoria Maldives, which costs 120,000 points a night. That’s a hefty US$600, but this is a property that charges upwards of US$1.5K a night, plus the 5th night free benefit would reduce your average cost to US$480.
There may be situations where you can try looking at the lower end of the spectrum for good value too. Hilton Category 1/2 properties cost just 5,000/10,000 points a night, or US$25/50 if you buy points at 0.5 US cents each. You can see a listing of these properties here.
Don’t buy points speculatively
You should not be buying any sort of points or miles speculatively, and Hilton is no exception. Back in June 2019, it was reported on Flyertalk that Hilton had quietly raised the redemption rates on numerous hotels worldwide without any notice.
Fortunately, this didn’t affect the top-tier properties (so the Conrad Maldives still costs 95,000 points for example), but it just goes to show the dangers of “dynamic pricing”. My advice is that you confirm award pricing and availability at the hotel you want before buying points.
My sense is that the best value Hilton redemptions are for properties in the highest tier (80-95,000 points). Remember, Hilton no longer publishes award charts and can change hotel categories at will; it’s a lot easier for them to move lower tier hotels between bands than it is to increase the highest cost redemption band. This is still fixed at 80-95,000 points, with the exception of the Waldorf Astoria Maldives and Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos.
What card should I use to purchase Hilton points?
Hilton points purchases are processed by Points.com and charged in US$. You should use the following cards to maximize your returns from buying Hilton Honors points:
|Citi Rewards Visa
|4 mpd||S$1K per statement period|
|UOB Visa Signature
|4 mpd||S$2K per statement period||Min FCY spend of S$1,000 per statement period|
|DBS Woman’s World Card
|4 mpd||S$2K per calendar month||Use caution- may require an appeal for 4 mpd|
|SCB X Card
|3 mpd||None||Until 30 Jun 20. Min spend S$2K per calendar month|
|SCB Visa Infinite
||3 mpd||None||Min spend S$2K per statement period|
|BOC Elite Miles
I don’t know when the Covid-19 madness will end, but I do know that Hilton will hold another 100% bonus sale a few more times this year. Buy points if you want to lock in 2021 plans early, but don’t feel bad if you’d prefer to sit this one out.