Why You Should Never Book Hilton Stays Via the Hilton App

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But the app offers a 500 Honors points bonus!, I hear you say. You’re absolutely right, too. The key point here, however, is that by using the Hilton app and bagging those 500 Honors points, you are denying yourself three much more lucrative options.

hilton app

Before we look at those other options, it’s worth first of all valuing those 500 bonus Honors points you get per stay. In accordance with Craig’s excellent “value of miles/points” article here, 500 Hilton Honors points are worth £2.

That, I hope, puts things into pretty stark perspective.

So what are those more lucrative options?

Option 1 – hard cash via TopCashback

Users of the excellent TopCashback can get 4% cashback (8% if they’re not Hilton Honors members) on bookings made at Hilton hotels in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Accordingly, and assuming the 4% cashback rate (frankly the loss of 4% additional cashback is likely to be more than made up for by Hilton Honors benefits), any stay over £50 will benefit more from the cashback than from the 500 points.

Option 2 – Avios via Avios eStore

You can currently earn 6 Avios per £1 spent at Hilton hotels, if you book via Avios eShops. Per Craig’s valuation (which, for the record, all of us at InsideFlyer UK agree with), these are worth 1 pence each, so you are getting 6 pence in value per £1 spent. That means any Hilton stay over £34 will be better value than the 500 points via the app.

This is my current preferred route for Hilton bookings, as you can see from my account statement below:

Option 3 – Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Miles via Shops Away

Finally, you can also earn 4 Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles per £1 spent at Hilton hotels, if you book via Virgin’s Shops Away. Per Craig’s valuation, these are again worth 1 pence each, so you are getting 4 pence in value per £1 spent. Like the Topcashback example, that means any Hilton stay over £50 will be better value than the 500 points via the app.

Personally, I’d take the cashback over the Virgin miles, as you’re getting the same effective value, and clearly cash is more flexible than miles, but if you’re in desperate need of Virgin points or are just a Virgin Atlantic junkie, this is an option for you. As noted above, however, the 6 Avios per £1 is, for me, the overall best value option.

So many options!

Indeed. Here’s my ranking of them:

  1. Avios: at 6p in value, I think this is the clear winner, albeit without the global flexibility of hard cash.
  2. 4% cashback
  3. Virgin miles
  4. 500 Honors points via the app

I haven’t included the 8% cashback in the rankings above as I simply don’t think that being a non-member of Hilton Honors and getting 4% more cashback is advisable.

One other point to bear in mind is that reward stays (i.e. stays paid for with points) will obviously not earn cashback (or Avios etc) because you’re not spending any money. In these circumstances, you should book via the app as you will get 500 points, versus zero cashback or miles!

Anything else?

Yes, sign up via this link, and you’ll get £10 when you spend £10+ at any merchant on TopCashback (so yes, you could spend £10 with someone and get all your money back).

It’s also worth remembering that there’s currently a 25% off sale at Hilton hotels in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and 35% off in Asia Pacific.

One final, but important, point – the analysis above is based purely on a valuation basis and then a direct comparison. There may be compelling reasons why you are desperate for Hilton points (to top up an account to make a redemption, for example). If that’s the case then obviously you need to factor this into the equation. 


  1. Craig Sowerby says

    Booking award nights with the App is good though. No missing out on cashback there…

    Also would be interesting to see what kind of cashback tracks (and is ultimately paid) for the new Points & Money, which is really rather similar to a paid stay in most respects.

  2. Ben says

    Perhaps a silly question but does the estore acts as a travel agent? If so, will I still receive the Honors benefits? They don’t tend to offer these when the booking is not direct. Thanks.

    • Tom Sumner says

      Not a silly question at all.

      These are absolutely all seen as direct bookings, don’t worry. You will get full Honors benefits.

  3. Tim says

    Is the above not a bit out of date? TopCashback.co.uk no longer give cashback for Hilton bookings. Topcashback.com do – 7% for blue members, but only 1% for diamonds.

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