Hilton Honors has launched its latest points sale, with a 100% bonus on points purchases till 8 December 2021, 11.59 a.m SGT.
Now, Hilton runs 100% bonuses all the time; what’s so different about this one? What’s different is that we can actually travel now. Thanks to the expanded VTL scheme, fully vaccinated Singapore residents will be able to enjoy two-way quarantine-free travel to nine countries by 19 October 2021, with South Korea joining the scheme from 15 November 2021.
That opens up a whole range of possibilities for using Hilton points to save on stays, especially around peak periods where hotel rates shoot up.
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. A total of 160,000 points (pre-bonus) can be purchased per year.
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). In any case, Hilton has temporarily paused the expiration of all points scheduled to expire between now and 31 December 2022.
What can you do with Hilton points?
To illustrate some VTL situations where buying Hilton points might be useful, consider London. A flexible rate at the Conrad London St. James costs US$473 per night, or 80,000 points. Buying points at 0.5 US cents each yields a nett price of US$400, or a 15% saving.
Alternatively, consider New York City, where hotel prices spike around Christmas. Even a modest Hilton Garden Inn is going for US$560! Buying 70,000 points (US$350) would be a much better option.
If you fancy something nicer, the Conrad New York Midtown is going for 95,000 points a night (US$475), versus US$671 with cash.
Otherwise, 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).
The Maldives is now a Category III country, meaning returnees can do a 10-day SHN at home, provided they’re fully-vaccinated.
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’s 100% bonus sale coincides nicely with the expansion of the VTL scheme, and is definitely worth a look if you’re travelling to a high-cost city. I’ve seen some excellent opportunities for using points around Christmas time in New York, and there may be deals lurking in other VTL countries too.