Best Way to Accumulate Hilton Honors Points

Now that you’ve managed to amass a significant amount of frequent flyer miles, it’s time to focus on hotel points. It seems that my family favors Hyatt, Starwood, and IHG properties (Intercontinental, Holiday Inn, etc) because their redemption rates, on the whole, are fantastic. The Hilton Honors program, in general, does not interest me as their redemption rates are ridiculously high for average properties. However, they do have a few gems in their arsenal that are worth redeeming points for. For example, the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island and the Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort both are properties that many dream about. Unfortunately, availability can be difficult, so flexibility is key, but the opportunity to redeem 145,000 Hilton Honors points for 4 nights (or 290,000 for 8 nights) at the Conrad Maldives is definitely on my list.

So, how do you acquire such a large amount of Hilton Honors points when you don’t travel for work? I’ll give you one guess… Yep, you got it! Credit cards! Hilton has a direct affiliation with several credit card programs and this affiliation is a useful way to get access to discounted redemption rates (like the one for the Conrad Maldives referenced above). However, there are other credit cards that are more useful in acquiring large numbers of Hilton Honors points quickly.

The current aspirational destination for me and my husband is the Conrad Maldives. For an 8 night vacation, using the most discounted rate we would have access to, we need to come up with 290,000 Hilton Honors points. Hawaiian Airlines offers two credit cards through the Bank of Hawaii and the Bank of America for 35,000 miles each after spending $1,000 in four months for each card ($2,000 in four months). Both cards have $79 annual fees. These Hawaiian Airlines miles transfer at the rate of 1:2 meaning the 70,000 HA miles become 140,000 Hilton Honors points. With just these two cards, we’re almost half way to our dream redemption!

Additionally, Virgin Atlantic has a credit card that gives 50,000 miles for spending $2,500 within 3 months of opening the card along with adding two authorized users to the account. This card does come with a $90 annual fee. Transferring these miles to Hilton Honors points (again a 1:2 ratio), nets an additional 100,000 HH points. We’re now up to 240,000 Hilton Honors points. Lastly, we need to add a Hilton affiliated card to get access to the discounted AXON7 awards. The Citibank Hilton Honors Visa card fits the bill, offersing 50,000 points after spending $1,500 in 6 months. There is no annual fee associated with this card.

So, in total, we need to apply for 4 credit cards and we’ve acquired the required 290,000 points, enough for 8 nights at a category 7 property, including the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island. These credit cards will require us to spend $6,000 across the cards and will cost us $248 in annual fees. Not bad for a hotel that costs at minimum $1,000 a night (and more frequently, $1,400 per night). Keep in mind that you do not need to apply for all four at the same time if meeting the minimum spend requirement in three or four months is not a possibility and your travel plans are not immediate. Also keep in mind that these four cards are attainable for one person. Your spouse can do the same thing and between the two of you, get double the points!

For those inspired by the above, some of the highly regarded Hilton properties other than the above include: Conrad Koh Samui (Thailand), Waldorf-Astoria Dakota Lodge (Park City, Utah), and the Conrad Sanya (China). Any questions?

I’d love to hear what your aspirational property is, regardless of hotel chain, and how you achieved it!

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11 Comments

  1. I am looking for a stay in Munich and Venice. Are there properties in these cities that would be a good choice for a Hilton redemption?

    • Hi Susan, Well… That depends. If you’re looking for a 4 night stay or longer, it’s not bad. If you’re looking for a one night stay, it’s probably not a great way to spend those points. The Hilton Munich is 40,000 points for one night and the the Hilton Venice is 50,000 points for one night. Not great values if you ask me. Let me me know if you’re looking for a longer stay and I can let you know the rates! Good luck!

  2. I have checked the website for the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island – it appears there is no availability for reward stay anytime in the next year at least. Same results with the Conrad Bali. Is it even possible – are there too many reward travelers now?

    • Hi Fatu,

      Hmmm, I’m seeing availability… What are your dates? I’ve found that search for shorter stays back to back garners more availability than trying to find 8 nights in a row. Two 3-4 stays shows availability for me for the random dates I’m searching. Let me know your dates and I’ll see what I can find!

      • I was looking at 7 day stay anytime between March and August 2013. It is far to travel for any shorter of a stay. I did change my search to a shorter stay with the same result:

        There are no HHonors Reward Certificate rooms available for 08 Mar 2013 – 11 Mar 2013 at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island.

        View standard rates at this hotel
        View a list of available dates for HHonors rewards
        Modify Your Search

        I used the link to search for alternate reward dates but no luck. It is a rather ambitious trip for my initial foray into awards travel. Perhaps I should search closer to home – say Costa Rica? I recently got the SPG Amex, Chase Sapphire, Citi AA and United Explorer cards for their bonus points. SPG seem difficult to accumulate whereas Hilton points can be accumulated much quicker. I need to focus on a good holiday plan for my family of 4 from Houston for next year and work towards it.

        I appreciate your help.

        • Hi Fatu,

          Try this link. I was able to find availability on your dates. At the top of the page click on “Make a Reservation.” Choose the Conrad Maldives from the drop down, put in your dates, and availability should come up. Scroll down to the King Beach Villa room – it will show 50k HH points per night but the cost will change if you use a AXON or GLON award.

          http://conradhotels3.hilton.com/en/hotels/maldives/conrad-maldives-rangali-island-MLEHICI/index.html

          The Maldives is a dream vacation so if you’re able to get the miles to get there, it can be quite a trip, relatively low in cost (keep in mind that the connecting flight from MLE to the resort is expensive). Depending on how many miles you have, one option might be to go to Costa Rica this coming year and then tack onto your return from Costa Rica a trip to the Maldives at some point within a year after that… It will cost you less miles but will require some advanced planning. This is what my family is doing. We’re going Costa Rica – Newark (stopping over for 10 months) and then Newark – Maldives the following year…

          Just something to think about! We always try to tie our trips together to get the most out of our miles…

          Let me know if you have any further questions!

  3. Thanks so much for your response. I got as far as the search for the King Beach Villa room, which I see is 50,000 pts. But then once I Select, the next screen states that there are no HHonors Reward Certificate rooms available at the hotel.

    • Hmmm… That is peculiar. I imagine that there are nights available during your desired timeframe. I don’t always trust Hilton’s website and would probably call Hilton Honors to check availability. You are flexible enough that I imagine there will be availability for desired dates. Good luck and let me know if you have any other questions!

  4. Hi,

    I have a question regarding Hotel Credit Cards. I have applied for Hilton American Express Hilton Honors & Citi Hilton Honors Visa Signature cards (both has $0 annual fee) & would like to do the same for my husband as well. Wondering if there is anyway we can merge points from both Hilton account to 1 account. I used my own Hilton account number when I applied for the Cards so the signup bonus from both cards are in my Hilton account. Can my husband also refer to my Hilton account when applying for his cards? What about he adds me as an authorized user while applying for his card & uses my Hilton account number?

    Thanks.

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