From now till 8 July 2021, 11.59 a.m SGT, Hilton is running another 100% bonus sale on points, with the maximum purchase cap doubled from 80,000 to 160,000 points (pre-bonus).
A minimum of 15,000 points must be purchased to trigger the 100% bonus. Hilton points usually cost 1 US cent apiece, so a 100% bonus means buying points at 0.5 US cents each, the lowest price we ever see available.
Hilton points expire after 15 months of inactivity, but earning or redeeming even a single point resets the clock (so a simple way to renew your balance is to make and cancel a fully-refundable points booking). Hilton has temporarily paused the expiration of all points scheduled to expire between now and 31 December 2021, on account of the COVID-19 situation.
Should you buy Hilton points for staycations?
Nope. Of the three Hilton properties in Singapore, Hilton Singapore and Conrad Centennial have been approved for staycation guests, but the Conrad Centennial has reverted to being a dedicated SHN facility, with no public bookings available till 5 September 2021. The Hilton Singapore has also closed itself to new bookings from 13 June 2021, with no cash or points space available from then.
Even if they were available, here’s how much it’d normally cost to redeem them:
Based on these rates, I don’t think it’s worth buying points to redeem stays, when you could find competitive rates with the periodic Big Dreams sale. You also need to remember that you won’t get any additional inclusions like breakfast or late check-out on points stays (unless you’re an elite member), unlike staycation packages.
What else 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 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 (if you can find a stretch of five nights in a row) would reduce your average cost to US$480. Do note that award space has been severely restricted of late, but it’s possible to find availability in February and May 2022.
The Maldives may not be on many people’s travel radars at the moment, but even within South East Asia you can find a decent number of Hilton Category 1/2 properties, which cost just 5,000/10,000 points a night (US$25/50 if you buy points at 0.5 US cents each).
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/Koh Samui 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 (120,000 each).
What card should I use to purchase Hilton points?
Hilton points purchases are processed by Points.com and charged in USD. You should use the following cards to maximize your returns from buying Hilton Honors points:
|4 mpd||Cap of S$1K per s. month|
|UOB Visa Signature|
|4 mpd||Min S$1K Max S$2K FCY spend per s. month|
|SCB Visa Infinite|
|3 mpd||Min S$2K spend per s. month|
|UOB PRVI Miles|
|2.4 mpd||No cap|
|S. Month= Statement Month | C. Month= Calendar Month|
I don’t recommend using the DBS Woman’s World Card for Points.com purchases, as many people have reported issues with getting the bonus points credited.
Hilton runs 100% bonus sales so often we can more or less take it as evergreen, and there’s no reason why you should ever pay full price for Hilton points.
It’s not particularly good value for Singapore staycations, but could be potentially useful depending on whether travel opens up in the second half of the year.