Forget Your Honors Points – It’s Time To Pay Cash For Hilton

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I’ve spent a lot of time recently talking about the value you can get through points-redemption stays at Hilton. The current Hilton bonus works really well with these – you’ll earn the 2K bonus per stay, even on non-cash, reward stays.

However, that’s set to change.

The “Poor Man’s Promo”

The “fixed point bonus” Hilton promo periods, as is currently the case, are the “Poor Man’s Promo”. You get the full benefit of the promo whether you spend 1 night in a Hampton, or two weeks in a Waldorf Astoria. You even get the full benefit if that Hampton stay is paid for with points.

Accordingly, a 1 night stay at a Hampton costing you 5K points would earn you 2K points in the current Hilton promo. You’d also get the same 2K points for a 4 night cash stay at an extravagant Waldorf Astoria or Conrad hotel.

Becomes the “Rich Man’s Promo”

From 3 May 2021, everything changes. Suddenly, we have a position where you are now rewarded for your spend. The new Hilton promo gives you double points, or triple points on stays of 3 nights or more. We are now in “Rich Man’s Promo” territory.

In the new promo, a 5K points redemption, 1 night stay at a Hampton will get you zero bonus points (save in relation to any spend at the hotel). Pay for it in cash, and you’ll get 2X Honors points as a bonus, but that stay is unlikely to cost you very much.

As a result, now is the time to book your opulent weeklong trip to the Maldives and dine in sumptuous style at the restaurant every night. Why? Because rather than getting a fixed 2K points for the stay, you’re having your points doubled (or trebled on 3+ night stays).

The lesson learned

I say the above slightly tongue-in-cheek, of course. However, the general principle is a very sound one…

  • When Hilton offers a fixed point bonus, you generally do very well on points-redemption and low cost stays.
  • When Hilton offers a bonus that’s a multiple of the points you earn, you do very well on higher end cash stays, as the sizeable points haul on that stay is doubled or trebled.

As a result, and it’s not always easy, it does make a lot of sense to try and manoeuvre any more expensive Hilton stay to sit within a “points multiple” promo.

Another crucial lesson is it’s now very important to factor the points rebate into any decision as to whether you use cash or points to pay for a stay. If you have a big haul of points, it may nevertheless be worthwhile holding them back and paying cash during the new promo period, particularly on longer stays, as the rebate is so substantial.

Needless to say, if ever I book an expensive family holiday at a Hilton months in advance, the points promo that eventually coincides with it is a fixed points one.

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