Hilton HHonors “Points & Money” Awards

In today’s post, I’m going to illustrate the real value of Hilton HHonors “Points & Money” awards.  These rates are not widely available at this point, but I am hoping that Hilton will expand the number of properties offering these rates as they can offer very good value.  Currently, I’m finding them more often at international properties and we’ll use a booking I just made in London for our example.

London hotels are always pretty expensive and going in the middle of the high season only exacerbates this problem.  One of London’s lower price Hilton properties is the London Olympia located in the Kensington area and I was able to find “Points & Money” options there for my three night stay.  As our baseline, I could book a AAA rate, that allows cancellation, for $228 USD per night.  We’ll use US Dollars for our comparisons for simplicity sake.

At this rate, my total for the three nights would be $820.76 which includes London’s hefty 20% tax rate.  By comparison, I could book the room with HHonors points at 50,000 points per night.  It is easy to calculate the realized return on those points by simply taking the $820.76 I would avoid and dividing it by 150,000 HHonors points required (there is no tax since there is no cash outlay).  The value for this redemption would then come in at .547 cents per point.  This is not a particularly great redemption value but it is summer in London and I’m avoiding over $800 in expense.

Alternatively, I could book at “Points & Money” award for 25,000 points plus $86.82 per night.  This would total to $312.58 which includes tax, which you have to pay on the cash outlay portion of the stay, plus 75,000 HHonors points.  To calculate the redemption value, we subtract the $312.58 outlay from the $820.76 we would have paid without points.  Therefore, 75,000 points are buying us $508.15 in value.  At first glance, this looks like a redemption value of .677 cents per point.  Definitely better but not great.

However, we have not considered the HHonors earnings (think of it as a point rebate) on the $312.58.  With my status as a Diamond member and assuming the stay is in the Q2 promo period where double base points are earned in addition to bonuses, I would earn 9,312 HHonors points.  Plus, by putting the spend on my AMEX HHonors Surpass card, I would earn another 2,813 points for a total of 12,125 points.

So, now my net outlay of HHonors points is down from 75,000 to 62,875.  This brings my per point redemption value up to .8 cents.  This starts to look like a good Hilton HHonors redemption, not great, but not bad for middle of season in London.   I also booked a stay in Munich using similar math and was able to get 1.38 cents per point there.

Of course, there are several variables here – current rate, whether you would be willing to lock into an advance purchase rate, my status as HHonors Diamond that earns me several points bonuses, and the use of the Surpass card.  But, the overall point that “Points & Money” rewards can offer great value, even in high season, remains.

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