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A couple of days ago I wrote about how you can stack a bunch of different Hilton Honors deals together to theoretically stay at some Hilton Hotels for free using Honors Points. Although that post was fun, it wasn’t very practical for most readers – particularly given the small number of Category 1 hotels available these days. I thought it would be more useful to turn my attention to maximising rebates on Hilton stays paid for with cash this time, and the results are excellent…
As with most of the best ‘travel hacks’, the secret is to keep thinking about what else you can add to make a deal better – even when you’ve started out with a pretty good deal.
I’m going to use the example of a relatively cheap 1-night stay before a flight from Heathrow, as that’s something a lot of readers actually do – let’s say £50 to keep the maths easy to follow.
Standard Hilton Honors Points earning
Base earnings for Honors members is 10 Points per $1USD, so a £50 stay would net you ~700 Honors Points at current exchange rates.
I value Hilton Honors Points as being worth ~0.4p each, so 700 works out at about £2.80. A slow start, but it will soon add up I promise!
Members with Gold Status will earn an extra 25% and Diamonds an extra 50%, of course.
Hilton ‘Points Unlimited’ promotion
The current Hilton Honors promotion offers the following bonus until the end of April:
For each stay, members earn 2,000 bonus Points. Members receive an additional 10,000 Point bonus for their fifth stay. In other words…
- Stay 1 – 2,000 bonus Points
- Stay 2 – 2,000 bonus Points
- Stay 5 – 12,000 bonus Points
- Stay 6 – 2,000 bonus Points
- Stay 10 – 12,000 bonus Points
- etc. etc. with no upper limit
Basically, you will earn 20,000 bonus Points for every 5 stays you make.
I don’t think 5 stays over the promotion period is an unreasonably heavy stay pattern to use as our example, so I’m calling this as an average of 4,000 Points per stay (if you wouldn’t have 5 Hilton stays, use 2,000 Points for your calculations).
Given my valuation of Hilton Honors Points at ~0.4p each, 4,000 is worth ~£16.
‘Double Dip’ with Lufthansa Miles&More
Until 25th March, 2018, Hilton Honors members can earn some very chunky bonus ‘Miles&More’ Miles from their Hilton stays, on top of earning Hilton Honors Points:
- 1,500 bonus Miles for first stay
- 2,000 bonus Miles for second stay
- 2,500 bonus Miles for the third and subsequent stays
If we could squeeze our 5 theoretical stays in by 25th March, each stay would therefore earn an average of 2,200 Miles.
I value M&M Miles at about 1p each, so that’s another £22 per stay into the kitty!
Book via Avios shopping portal
The cashback rates for Honors members aren’t great, but the Avios eStore offers a decent 6 Avios per £1, simply for clicking through to Hilton from there when booking.
£50 x 6 = 300 Avios.
Again, I value Avios at roughly 1p each, so that’s another £3 back.
I think everything I’ve covered so far is broadly applicable to most readers, regardless of elite status etc. For the really frequent Hilton guests though, there’s even more on offer.
MyWay bonus Points
Diamond members receive 1,000 bonus Honors Points as a welcome gift for each stay at Conrad, Curio, Hilton, Doubletree, Waldorf Astoria, Canopy and Tapestry brand hotels. They can also choose between 250-1,000 Points at other brands like Hampton and Hilton Garden Inn, instead of picking a free drink/snack etc.
1,000 Points are worth about £4.
Gold members have similar options too, but would have to select the Points instead of free breakfast at most brands, which probably doesn’t make sense in most circumstances.
As part of the most recent changes to status benefits, Hilton Honors is introducing ‘Milestone bonuses‘. Members receive:
- 10,000 point bonus when reaching your 40th night.
- An additional 10,000 bonus points every 10 nights after that, with no cap.
- Another 30,000 points bonus at 60 nights (I’m unsure whether you get the recurring 10,000 for nights 50-60 on top of the 30,000)
Although the changes aren’t being brought in until April, stays completed in 2018 before April do still count towards these targets.
If you are likely to stay 60 nights over the course of the whole year with Hilton, you would therefore earn an additional 50,000-60,000 bonus Points – which averages out at 833-1,000 more Points per night. That’s worth about £3.33 – £4 by my valuation.
Yep – if you add it all up and squeeze the maximum possible out of your Hilton stays, you could potentially earn slightly more back in Points and Miles ‘value’ than you actually pay – if you have Diamond status, stay 60 nights this year, your stays are 1-night and cost about £50.
Let’s stick with just 5 of these sort of stays over the course of the overlapping promotions though, as that’s a bit more realistic for most people:
Cost = ~£250
- Hilton Honors Points = 23,500 (value: ~£94.00)
- ‘Miles&More’ Miles = 11,000 (value: ~£110)
- Avios = 1,500 (value: ~£15)
Total rebate = ~£219 worth of Points/Miles.
In other words, that’s an 87.6% rebate!
You may have slightly different valuations for the various types Points and Miles, but I think most people would accept the ones I’ve used as sensible ballpark figures.
Stacking deals is great!
Have I missed anything?