Hilton HHonors is running what appears to be a targeted promotion that allows HHonors members to purchase points with a bonus of up to 80% (I haven’t heard of any reports of bonuses higher than that). With an 80% bonus Hilton HHonors members are effectively being offered points at around 0.56 cents each.
This current offer, which runs through 1 April, is very similar to the generally available offer Hilton ran back at the beginning of February and, as the bonus isn’t tiered (i.e. you get the bonus regardless of how many points you buy), the cost per point is the same if you were to buy the minimum amount of points (1,000) or the maximum (80,000). To see what you’ve been targeted for (or if you’ve been targeted at all) log into your HHonors account and head to the “buy points” page as normal. If you’re lucky you’ll see a banner like the one below.
An 80,000 points purchase would give a 64,000 points bonus (if you’ve been targeted for the 80% bonus) at a cost of $800 including taxes…
As I said the last time this kind of bonus came around, I don’t value Hilton HHonors points too highly (usually at around 0.35 – 0.40 cents per point) so, at this price, I’m not inclined to buy.
However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t opportunities to make the most of this offer if you’re prepared to put a little bit of work in.
Take the Hampton Inn Chicago Downtown as an example:
Picking a random date in May (Chicago is way to cold for me before then!) the Hampton Inn Chicago Downtown can be booked for $276.57:
While the same room on the same date would cost 40,000 Hilton HHonors Points:
If you were to purchase 40,000 Hilton HHonors points with an 80% bonus (i.e. at 0.56 cents/point) you would be getting this room for $224 (40,000 x $0.0056).
That’s a saving of over $50 per night so it’s hardly inconsequential.
And this doesn’t just work a the middle-of-the-road properties, it can work at premium properties too.
Take the Hilton Bentley Miami South Beach which, on a random date in April, will set you back $458 + tax or 80,000 Hilton HHonors points:
The with-tax rate comes to $522/night while, if you had purchases points at 0.56 cents, you could get the room for, effectively, $448/night – a $74/night saving!
Keep in mind that the maximum number of Hilton HHonors points you can purchase in a year is 80,000 (excluding bonuses) so you’re not going to be able to buy a lot of cheap nights with a “buy points promotion”.
The first thing to do is to work out what you’d like to do with your points and then perform similar calculations to the ones I’ve illustrated above. If the math works for you then purchasing points should be a perfectly valid thing to do, if it doesn’t then don’t try to persuade yourself otherwise. Math is impartial, you are not.
If you only need a few more thousand points (to add to your existing balance) to be able to redeem an award you’ve been thinking about, then paying a little more for the points than you would otherwise be happy to pay would also be ok….just don’t go overboard.