Some links to products and partners on this website will earn an affiliate commission.
There are a number of other Points/Miles you can earn for booking cruises (United, American, Marriott, Avios, etc) which are all worth knowing about, but in my experience Hilton is the usually the best option. The reason for this is that the number of Hilton Points awarded is based on the length of the cruise, whereas the other options are based on the cost.
The standard Hilton Honors earnings (per cabin) are:
- 1-5 nights: 6,000 Points
- 6-8 nights: 12,000 Points
- 9-12 nights: 24,000 Points
- 13+ nights: 50,000 Points
You may think there would be a rough correlation between how long a cruise is and how much it costs, but that’s not really how it works. In fact, the best value cruises are often long ‘repositioning’ cruises, where ships are crossing between the Caribbean and Europe in the Autumn and Spring.
Getting a ~14 night cruise for ~£550 per person isn’t difficult at all on these routes and they often stop off at some fascinating places that would otherwise be difficult or expensive to visit (Azores, Bermuda, Bahamas, Caribbean, etc) too.
Do bear in mind that US sites add the taxes separately at the end of the booking process, which can easily be an extra ~$200pp.
The best way to quickly search out the real bargains is to look at cruises of 9-11 nights or 12+ nights and then just put them in price order.
There is usually some sort of double Points or other bonus offer on too (which sometimes depends on the cabin category you book), so you can do extremely well:
In the example above, you would earn 100,000 Hilton Honors Points, if you booked a Balcony Cabin or Suite.
You would, of course, also be getting a 14 night cruise for two people in a balcony cabin, all for ~£1,280 in total (~ £640pp). That includes all your food (food is a big part of any cruise!) and most of the entertainment / activities, as well as 14 nights accommodation in a nice cabin (and transport across the Atlantic!).
The cash value of Hilton Points is relatively easy to calculate since the changes last year and I’m comfortable with a figure of about 0.4p each, so 100,000 is worth ~ £400 (an effective rebate of about 31%!).
In case you think I’ve cherry picked the example above, I recently booked a 2-week cruise with 5* Celebrity Cruises for my parents and the total for both of them in a Balcony Cabin was ~£1,250 (£625pp) and I earned 100,000 Hilton Points in the process. I’ve booked similar itineraries numerous times now for between £600-£750) and always earned a big haul of Points.
What else do I need to know about earning Hilton Points for booking a cruise?
To search the site requires a US Zip Code, but any 5 digit number works fine. If you want to book (from outside the US) you need to give them a call, but as there are sometimes additional bonuses and discounts available you should do so even if you are from the USA.
The best example of this was when I was booking a cruise a couple of years ago and asked the agent to confirm that double Points definitely applied to the Cabin category I wanted – the agent came back and told me there was actually a special triple Points promotion that day! 150,000 Hilton Points was an incredible rebate, worth nearly 50% of the total cost.
That said, don’t be blinded by the Points – always compare prices against what is available elsewhere (including factors like free onboard credit etc too). Other sites I like are VacationsToGo and VivaVoyage, but the internet is a big place and I’m sure there are plenty of great sites I don’t know about.
There seems to be a 110% Best Rate Guarantee offered, but I’ve never had the opportunity to use it, so can’t comment as to whether it’s actually any good or not.
The best value cruises are usually one-way – how do I get there / home?
This might be an article about earning Hotel Points from cruises, but it’s still InsideFlyer!
One of the best things about airline Miles is the ability to book one-way flights cheaply and easily. Combining a flight in one direction in Business or First Class and a cheap cruise in the other direction can be a tremendous way to stretch your Miles and enjoy some luxury – if you have enough holiday time.
It’s also worth bearing in mind the cheap Norwegian Air / Wow Air one-ways you can book to the USA these days, including Florida, where a lot of the repositioning cruises start or finish.
Earning Hilton Points for booking cruises can result in a tremendous rebate on top of what are already excellent deals.
What’s your favourite way to book cruises?