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How to Earn Hilton Points

hiltonFor those of you who are lucky enough to frequent Hilton hotels during your travels, your points could add up quickly. But in terms of what you’ll be able to get for those points, Hilton HHonors points are better for some things than others. In particular, using your HHonors points for air miles isn’t the best use of your points – but if your goal is to earn free stays at Hilton properties, then these points will work just fine.

Like any hotel rewards program, the Hilton HHonors program has many ways to earn points. Some of the methods are things any business traveler is going to be familiar with and use often, while others may be less intuitive. Here, then, is a list of all the ways to earn Hilton points.

How to Earn Hilton Points

Hotel Stays
Depending on the hotel you stay at in the Hilton family, you’ll earn points for different expenses. The good news is that you’re earning points no matter which Hilton property you stay in, but in some hotels you’ll earn more than others.

In participating Hilton, Conrad, Doubletree, Embassy Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, and Hilton Grand Vacations Club hotels you’ll earn 10 Base Hilton HHonors points for every US dollar charged to your room (like telephone charges and room service). In Hampton Inn, Hampton Inn & Suites, and Homewood Suites by Hilton hotels you’ll earn 10 10 Base Hilton HHonors points for every US dollar spent on room rate only. And because the Waldorf-Astoria Collection hotels are partners in the HHonors program, you’ll earn 10 Base HHonors points for each dollar spent at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, and La Quinta Resort & Club. Another partner, the Grand Wailea Resort Hotel & Spa, also gives you 10 Base HHonors points for every dollar spent.

Car Rentals
There are several car rental companies which partner with Hilton in order to help you earn HHonors points, but some of them only give you points if you’re also staying in a Hilton hotel.

Renting a car with Alamo, National, or Thrifty (in conjunction with a stay at an HHonors hotel) will earn you 250 bonus points. Avis, Budget, Europcar, and Sixt give you 250 bonus points on a qualifying rental, regardless of what hotel you’re staying in.

Rail Travel
If you travel frequently via train, thanks to Hilton’s “Double Dipping” program (which is explained below), you can not only earn points on that rail network’s rewards program but also on Hilton’s HHonors program as well each time you stay in a participating Hilton property.

You’ll earn either Amtrak Guest Rewards points or Deutsche Bahn “bahn.bonus” points for stays in participating Hilton hotels, along with your HHonors points, when you show your rail network rewards card at check-in.

Credit Cards
Residents in four countries can now earn HHonors points just by using certain credit cards. In the United States, there are two options.

The Hilton HHonors Card from American Express earns you 6 HHonors points for every US dollar spent at participating Hilton Family properties; 6 points for every dollar spent at grocery stores, drugstores, gas stations, and on home and wireless phone, cable and satellite TV, and Internet service providers; 3 points for every dollar spent on all other purchases. If you use your HHonors AmEx to book a stay at a Hilton hotel online, you get a bonus of 500 points. After you make your first purchase with the card (during the first year of membership), you get 20,000 bonus points – and you can earn an additional 10,000 points total for the first four Hilton Family stays that you pay for with your HHonors AmEx.

The Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card from Citibank lets you earn 6 HHonors points for every US dollar spent at participating Hilton Family hotels, along with the points you’re already earning for staying at a Hilton property. You’ll earn 3 points for every dollar spent at supermarkets, drugstores, and gas stations, and 2 points for every dollar spent anywhere else. And if you make $150 worth of purchases within the first two months after opening your account, you’ll get an additional 15,000 bonus points.

There are credit card point-earning options for residents of the United Kingdom, Germany, and Japan as well.

If your business travel means you’ll be using your mobile phone overseas, you can earn HHonors points in the process. You can use OneSIMCard or register your mobile number with one of the participating mobile networks in the Hilton partnership program.

Registering for OneSIMCard earns you 100 HHonors points right away, and then you’ll get one point for every minute of both incoming and outgoing calls on your phone when you’re using OneSIMCard. Alternately, registering your existing mobile number with one of Hilton’s partner networks around the world can earn as many as 10 points per minute of calling. And if you’re a business owner, you can register up to four numbers on one HHonors account – so your employees’ calls can earn you points, too.

There are a couple online programs that will earn you HHonors points as well – e-Rewards (where you earn points for participating in market research surveys) and e-Miles (where you earn miles for reading and responding to marketing messages).

Shopping & Dining
In addition to the more obvious method of using your HHonors credit card whenever you go out to eat or go shopping as a way to earn more Hilton points, there’s a way to earn points even if you pay with cash or with a different card altogether. By registering for the Hilton HHonors Dining program, you’ll get an automatic 5 bonus points for every dollar spent at restaurants that participate in the HHonors Dining program.

Additionally, there are some merchants that partner with Hilton to earn you bonus points on your purchases with them. With Fleurop-Interflora, Teleflora, or FTD, you’ll earn 500 bonus points for every purchase you make online. Anything you buy online from Golden Moments earns you a bonus of 1000 points. When you subscribe to home or office delivery of USA Today you’ll get 1,000 HHonors points – and every month when your subscription renews, you’ll earn another 300 points.

Airline Travel
With the HHonors program you can earn either points or miles, and if your goal is to redeem your points for a flight somewhere then it’s a good idea to know which airlines participate in the HHonors program. As mentioned above, Hilton’s program isn’t the best when it comes to quickly racking up miles (it’s better for earning free hotel stays), but if the choice of rewards programs isn’t entirely yours then you’ll make do with what you’ve got.

The miles you’ll earn depends on which of the Hilton family of hotels you’re staying in. You can earn miles directly with the participating airline of your choice by presenting your mileage reward number at the desk of the Hilton property you’re staying in, and with “Double Dipping” (explained below) you can earn both miles and HHonors points for your stay.

“Double Dipping”
Hilton allows HHonors Rewards members to earn both points and miles for the same dollar spent, which is a program they call “Double Dipping.” You’ve got three “Double Dipping” options.

  • HHonors Points + Variable Miles – Earn 10 base points, plus 1 airline mile, for each eligible US dollar spent
  • HHonors Points + Fixed Miles – Earn 10 base points for each eligible US dollar spent, plus 500 miles per stay (or 100 miles per stay at Hampton Inn, Hampton Inn & Suites, or Homewood Suites by Hilton)
  • HHonors Points + HHonors Points – Earn 10 base points, plus 5 bonus points, for each eligible US dollar spent

You can change which of these three options you’re earning at any time, and as often as you like.

To learn more about any of these ways to earn Hilton points, see the official Hilton HHonors program website here.

photo by Extranjero Chapin