Hilton Honors is currently running a promotion where you receive an 80% bonus on any 5,000+ Honors points you buy from now through February 17, 2017 in 1,000-point increments. You can buy a maximum of 144,000 points (80,000 + 64,000 bonus) for $800 with the promotion. Now, 80% certainly sounds like a big bonus, but is it actually worth converting your cash into Hilton Honors points, even with the bonus?
The Short Answer
If you have a specific award night(s) redemption in mind within the next couple of months, and you’re pretty sure you’re going to end up a few points short, this promotion is a decent, although far from extraordinary, opportunity to pick up the Honors points you’ll need for the redemption. Otherwise, this is promotion that you can let come and go without too much regret.
The Longer Answer
Real World Machine values Honors points at 0.6 cents each. With the 80% bonus promotion, you can buy points at a rate of 0.56 cents each. So basically, you can buy points at about the same rate as their actual value.
Still, when you’re buying points, all you’re getting in the end are points. Put another way, you’re buying points at a rate of 180 Honors points to $1 and getting nothing but points. Since you are buying the points through Hilton’s partner, Points.com, you also won’t get any special credit card bonus for Hilton/hotel spending.
Without any elite status or other promotions, you can earn 15 Honors points per dollar spent at the Hilton family of properties. With the current triple-points mobile booking promotion which ends January 31 (double-points for non-mobile bookings), you get 35 points per dollar spent at Hilton. With Diamond status (5 extra points per $1), the co-branded Hilton Surpass credit card from American Express (12 points per $1), and the current triple-points mobile booking promotion, you’re pulling in 52 points per dollar spent at Hilton, 500 points per stay through the AMEX card, and up to an additional 1,000 points per stay depending on the Hilton brand.
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Assuming the conditions above and an eligible spending rate of $150/night for a 2-night stay at a full-service Hilton, you’d get 17,100 Honors points for $300 in spending, for an effective rate of 57 points per night. Unlike points purchasing, you also get an actual hotel room and possibly some food for your spending. And if you’re just short, say 20,000 points, of your potential award nights redemption goal, you can see how you can easily pick up those points from just a few stays, even if you’re not an elite member.
Overall, I’d suggest holding off on purchasing the points, unless you’re pretty certain you’re going to want to use award nights (and perhaps utilize the fifth-night-free-on-points elite benefit), and that you’re pretty sure you’re going to fall short on collecting enough points during your upcoming stays. It’s also worth noting that Hilton has also offered 100% bonus points purchase promotions in the past (often late in the calendar year), so while this 80% bonus promotion isn’t bad, it does fall short of some of the past promotions.