When should I buy Hilton points is a common question I see. It usually comes up when Hilton offers 80% or 100% bonuses on Hilton points and people are tempted to not miss out on a “deal.” For the most part you don’t need to feel pressure to jump on these deals but this article will walk you through when you might want to buy Hilton Honors points.
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Where can I buy Hilton points?
You can buy Hilton points from the official Hilton website or via written request, phone or e-mail to Hilton Reservations and Customer Care.
For online purchases, you’ll need to log-in and then you’ll see a drop down window for selecting the amount of points to purchase. If there is a special promotion going on, you should see that bonus rate in the drop down menu.
How many Hilton points can I buy?
According to the official Hilton Honors terms and conditions, Hilton allows you to purchase up to 80,000 points per calendar year and the points must be purchased in 1,000 point increments.
These 80,000 points do not include the additional bonus points you’re given with promotional offers. So if there’s a 100% bonus for buying 80,000 points, you can receive a total of 160,000 Hilton points from your purchase.
Also, Hilton might raise this 80,000 point cap, such as when they offer Daily Getaway packages that don’t count against that limit.
Keep in mind that you can pool your points with others so you can get around this limitation very easily by having others purchase points and just pool them with you.
When you purchase points, they should instantly show up in your Hilton account.
It’s also worth noting that new members have restrictions on purchasing points.
New members may purchase points 30 days after enrollment if the account reflects activity including a stay or earning Hilton Honors Points through a Hilton Hilton Honors Marketing Partner. After 90 days of enrollment, a new Member can purchase points regardless of their account activity.
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How much do Hilton points cost?
The cost of Hilton points will vary based on whether or not there’s an ongoing promotion.
Typically, you can purchase Hilton points at a standard rate of 1 cent per point but with promotional offers these rates vary from about .5 to .6 cent per point.
Keep in mind the value of Hilton points is usually around .5 cent per point.
When should I buy Hilton points?
Like most situations, you generally don’t want to purchase points unless you need to top-off your points for a specific redemption or there is a fantastic promotion going on. And even when there’s a promotion going on, you still want to have redemption plans.
Hilton point promotions
Hilton constantly runs promotions on purchased points throughout the year. So unless you have to receive your points ASAP, you should consider holding off until there is a promotion.
I regularly see Hilton promotions for 80% or 100% bonuses throughout the year so you should try to time your purchases with those promos if possible. With a 100% bonus, you’ll likely be purchasing points for about .5 cents per point which isn’t bad in many cases.
Know how much Hilton points are worth
You need to have a good sense of how much you value Hilton Honors points so that you can make an informed decision when it comes time to decide if you want to purchase.
Many people value Hilton Honors points at around .4 cents per point. But if you use your Hilton points for more upscale properties like the Conrad, Waldorf, Curio, etc., you’ll find that the average value is closer to .5 or .6 cents per point.
I personally don’t like to purchase points unless I’m paying for about the same or better value that I’m using points for and have a plan to use them. For example, if I purchase Hilton points for .5 cents per point and then plan to use those points at a property where I’m getting .6 or .7 cents per point in value then I’m generally a happy camper.
Topping off balances
When you need to top off your Hilton points balance it could make a lot of sense to purchase points even when the purchase rate is not ideal. For example, if you only needed 10,000 points to complete a booking for a 5 night stay and you’re paying 1 cent per point for those 10,000 points, that purchase rate is bad but it’s like paying $100 to cover your award stay and get the 5th night free so it would often be worth it in that case.
The cents per point value on the purchase is not always the deciding factor when purchasing points. Sometimes it comes down to the practical need for those points.
Of course, the alternative to purchasing points is also transferring points to Hilton. Amex recently improved the transfer ratio for Membership Rewards to Hilton Honors to 2:1. This is still not a great transfer ratio in most cases and I’d only recommend when getting decent value from topping off an account.
How long does it take to transfer points to Hilton?
The transfer time to Hilton should be instant from American Express Membership Rewards.
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Buying points for redemptions
If you’re thinking about staying at a top Hilton property, it can sometimes make sense to purchase points to cover 100% of that stay due to the fact that you’ll be receiving outsized value from your points.
For example, take a look at the below cost to stay at the Hilton Conrad for one night during peak season. It’s $3,283 per night for a water villa but that can be booked with 95,000 Hilton Honors points.
Let’s say you wanted to cover a 5 night stay at the Conrad Maldives. You would need 380,000 points which could be purchased with three people pooling accounts. If you could purchase those for .5 cents per point, you’d be paying $1,900 for a 5 night stay that would normally cost over $16,000.
So in some instances, it actually could make sense to purchase all of the points needed for a hotel stay when the hotel cash price is high and there’s a good promo on purchased points.
You generally don’t want buy Hilton points unless you have a specific redemption in mind that you need to top off points for or there is a promo going on for purchased points that allows you to maximize value on those purchased points. These promos come around all the time so if you can be patient and wait for the right time to jump on one of these deals.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. Since 2014, his content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.