Hilton Honors | A guide for Canadians

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Updated: July 17, 2024

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Any hotel chain worth its salt will offer its own rewards points, and Hilton is no different. Called Hilton Honors, its reward program has been running since the late ‘80s, and offers a variety of perks for members along with points that can be collected and redeemed for stays at Hilton and a variety of other travel (or experience) rewards.

Hilton Brands

Hilton has been around for over a century. In that time, it’s built itself a sprawling empire of 24 hotel brands, each with its own flair. Some, such as Hilton’s Hampton brand, are focused on basic accommodations for the cost-conscious traveller. In contrast, others, like their Waldorf Astoria brand, ooze opulence and are meant to entice the “treat yourself” crowd.

  • A full list of Hilton brands

    +

    Hilton has 22 brands including: Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Canopy by Hilton, Curio, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree by Hilton, Embassy Suites by Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton by Hilton, Homewood Suites by Hilton, Home2 Suites by Hilton, Hilton Grand Vacations Club, Hilton Vacation Club, Hilton Club, LXR Hotels and Resorts by Hilton, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Signia by Hilton, Tru by Hilton, Tapestry Collection by Hilton, Tempo by Hilton, Motto by Hilton, and Spark by Hilton.

There are some through lines across all Hilton brands, including one that might appeal to stationary cyclist fans—as of 2022, all 5,400 Hilton-branded hotels in the United States come equipped with a Peloton bike. So now you have no excuse to escape your exercise routine on vacation. Great, right?

How Hilton Honors works

The basic premise of Hilton Honors is this – the more you stay, the more you earn.

You’re rewarded for each eligible stay, thus encouraging you to stay at Hiltons more often. It’s the essence of a loyalty program and is augmented with co-branded credit cards to help you earn points faster, so you can redeem them for free nights, room upgrades, and experiences.

There are also a bunch of perks to being a Hilton Honors member, like free Wi-Fi, a free fifth night and more.

Note: All Aeroplan credit cards give you a 4th night free.

How to earn Hilton Honors points

If the perks sound appealing, you’ll be pleased to learn there’s a variety of ways to earn Hilton Honors points. These include:

  • Hotel stays: The most straightforward way to earn points is by staying at Hilton properties. The amount you earn varies, but the nicer the brand and the longer the stay usually translates to more points and vice versa.
  • Spending points: Like some reward points, you get more bang for your buck spending your Hilton Honors during certain times of the year. There’s no official chart, but traditionally, redemptions have had the most value at luxury properties and during peak season.
  • Milestone bonuses: These only apply to Hilton Honors Gold and Diamond members (see tiers below), so you’ve got to be a real Hilton Head to qualify. If that describes you, expect 10,000 points once you’ve hit 40 eligible nights in one year and 30,000 when you’ve hit 60.
  • Buying Hilton points: Need points fast? You can buy ‘em! Hilton Honors allows members to buy points with deals that drop the per-point cost to as little as 0.5c per point. Buying at full price isn’t a great bang for your buck, so the best advice is to earn them the old-fashioned way.
  • Hilton Honors dining: Hilton has partnered with various restaurants to give Honors members an up to 8x bonus on dining for every dollar spent in the US (Sorry, it's not in Canada)(make sure to use the credit or debit card you have linked to your Honors account).
  • Flexible point transfers/partners: There are several ways to transfer with Hilton Honors, including transferring Amex rewards 2:1 to Hilton Honor points. You can also convert Diners Club International points to Hilton. Transferring the other way, you can convert your Hilton Honors to over a dozen airlines including Hawaiin and Virgin Atlantic (although this list has been shrinking).
  • Hilton credit cards: A good rewards program has good credit card partnerships to accelerate your earnings, and Hilton Honors is no different. They've partnered with American Express to offer three tiers of personal cards and one business card (US only), each with its own annual fee and bonus point potential.
  • Credit card sign up bonuses: The no-fee Hilton Honors Card offers a free night and 70,000 bonus points. The Surpass Card costs $150/year but offers 130,000 bonus points. The top-tier aspire card will set you back $550 annually but offers 175,000 points for its welcome bonus. The Business Card costs $195 annually and pays out 130,000 bonus points.
  • Credit card spending: Each card has its earning multipliers, but for every card, the best bang for your buck is always spent on staying at and purchasing in Hilton properties. Bonus points are also awarded for flights booked through Amex travel, car rentals, and spending at U.S. restaurants.

How to earn Hilton Honors points with credit cards in Canada

Ok, so there are many ways to earn Hilton Points, but in Canada, the best way to earn on a regular basis is with American Express credit cards and transfer your Membership Rewards (MR) points to Hilton Honors points. 

A minimum of 1000 MR points is required transfer to Hilton Honors, and the transfer amount must be in increments of 100 MR points. 

➡️ 1,000 MR points = 1,000 Hilton Honors points

Here are some great Amex credit cards 

Best for lifestyle

American Express Cobalt® Card

Apply now

5.0

15,000 pts

Welcome offer

Fair

Suggested credit score

Earn up to 15,000 Membership Rewards points

Pros

  • High earn rates (up to 5% return on spending!)

  • Flexible month-by-month fee structure

  • Free supplementary cards

  • 1:1 points transfer with selected hotels, airlines and frequent flyer programs

Cons

  • Accelerated earn rates only apply to purchases in Canada (not to purchases made abroad)

  • Amex has a more limited merchant acceptance rate than Visa and Mastercard

  • Slightly higher than average annual fee

Eligibility

Recommended Credit Score

Fair

Required Annual Personal Income

$0

Required Annual Household Income

$0

Pros

  • High earn rates (up to 5% return on spending!)

  • Flexible month-by-month fee structure

  • Free supplementary cards

  • 1:1 points transfer with selected hotels, airlines and frequent flyer programs

Cons

  • Accelerated earn rates only apply to purchases in Canada (not to purchases made abroad)

  • Amex has a more limited merchant acceptance rate than Visa and Mastercard

  • Slightly higher than average annual fee

Eligibility

Recommended Credit Score

Fair

Required Annual Personal Income

$0

Required Annual Household Income

$0

Earn 5 times the points on eligible eats and drinks in Canada, including groceries and food delivery. Spend cap applies.

5x

Earn 3 times the points on eligible streaming subscriptions in Canada.

3x

Get 2 times the points on eligible ride shares, transit & gas in Canada.

2x

Earn 1 additional point on eligible hotel and car rental bookings via American Express Travel Online

1x

Earn 1 point for every $1 in Card purchases everywhere else

1x

Get up to $100 USD hotel credit to use on amenities when charged to the room for a stay of 2 or more consecutive nights through The Hotel Collection from American Express Travel.

$100 USD

Purchase APR

21.99%

Cash Advance APR

21.99% - 2.75%

Annual Fee

$155.88

Foreign Transaction Fee

2.50%

Best for no fee and cash back rewards

SimplyCash® Card from American Express

Apply now

3.5

up to $100

Welcome offer

Good

Suggested credit score

Earn up to $100 in Statement Credits in your first 10 months as a new cardmember

Pros

  • No annual fee for primary or additional cardholders

  • Big welcome bonus

  • Solid regular cash back rate on all eligible purchases - up to 2% cash back on all eligible purchases

  • No limit to the amount of cash back you can earn at the base rate

Cons

  • Cash back is only applied as a statement credit once a year

  • Amex cards aren’t accepted by every merchant

Eligibility

Recommended Credit Score

Good

Required Annual Personal Income

$0

Pros

  • No annual fee for primary or additional cardholders

  • Big welcome bonus

  • Solid regular cash back rate on all eligible purchases - up to 2% cash back on all eligible purchases

  • No limit to the amount of cash back you can earn at the base rate

Cons

  • Cash back is only applied as a statement credit once a year

  • Amex cards aren’t accepted by every merchant

Eligibility

Recommended Credit Score

Good

Required Annual Personal Income

$0

Earn 2% cash back on eligible gas purchases in Canada, 2% cash back on eligible grocery purchases in Canada (up to $300 cash back annually)

2%

Earn 1.25% cash back on all other eligible purchases—the only stuff that won’t get cash back are non-purchases, like cash advances, balance transfers, etc.

1.25%

Purchase APR

21.99%

Cash Advance APR

21.99%

Annual Fee

$0

Foreign Transaction Fee

2.50%

Best for luxury

The Platinum Card

Apply now

4.5

70,000 pts

Welcome offer

Excellent

Suggested credit score

Earn 70,000 Membership Rewards® points1*

Pros

  • Earn 5X Rewards Points for flights and on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel

  • Access to a wide range of luxury perks, including premium concierge service

  • Complimentary lounge membership providing access to over 1,200 airport lounges worldwide

  • Annual statement credits: $200 airline fee credit, $200 hotel credit, $240 digital entertainment credit

  • Special insurance coverages like trip cancellation/interruption, flight delay, lost or stolen baggage and rental car theft & damage.

  • Provides extended warranty (2 years) and purchase protection (120 days).

Cons

  • High annual fee of $799, one of the heftiest among Canadian cards

  • The rewards system can be complicated, especially for users not familiar with maximizing credit card points

  • Requires good to excellent credit for eligibility

Eligibility

Recommended Credit Score

Excellent

Pros

  • Earn 5X Rewards Points for flights and on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel

  • Access to a wide range of luxury perks, including premium concierge service

  • Complimentary lounge membership providing access to over 1,200 airport lounges worldwide

  • Annual statement credits: $200 airline fee credit, $200 hotel credit, $240 digital entertainment credit

  • Special insurance coverages like trip cancellation/interruption, flight delay, lost or stolen baggage and rental car theft & damage.

  • Provides extended warranty (2 years) and purchase protection (120 days).

Cons

  • High annual fee of $799, one of the heftiest among Canadian cards

  • The rewards system can be complicated, especially for users not familiar with maximizing credit card points

  • Requires good to excellent credit for eligibility

Eligibility

Recommended Credit Score

Excellent

Earn 2 points for every $1 in Card purchases on eligible dining and food delivery in Canada

2x

points for every $1 in Card purchases on eligible travel

2x

point for every $1 in all other Card purchases

1x

Purchase APR

21.99%

Annual Fee

$799

Foreign Transaction Fee

2.50%

¹ Conditions Apply.

If none of these suit your fancy, check out our best Amex credit cards page. 

How to redeem Hilton Honors points

While not exactly jaw-dropping in value, there’s still a number of ways you might be enticed to spend your Hilton Honors points.

  • Hotel stays: The most popular and best-value option is to use your points for stays at Hilton Brands. The variable pricing structure means this will cost different points every time, but you can stay at certain brands for as little as 5,000 points per night.
  • Points and money awards: This perk allows you to combine points and money to reduce the cost of your Hilton stay.
  • Hilton Honors experiences: You can redeem your points for a variety of experiences including concerts, sporting events, and dining experiences.
  • Amazon purchases: Hilton Honors points can be spent on Amazon for, well, practically anything.
  • Fifth night free: Staying at Hilton longer term? Book a room for five nights or more on points and every fifth night is free.
  • Transfer points from Hilton: You can transfer your points to a dozen partner airlines including United, Delta, Cathay Pacific and more. You can also transfer to Aeroplan and over 40 other loyalty program partners but the conversion ratio is poor at around 10,000 Hilton Honors points to ~1,250 airline miles or points. 
  • Family pooling: Hilton allows you to pool points with your family or friends to speed up your points collection.
  • Car rentals: You can redeem your Hilton Honors points with Alamo, Enterprise or National. 
  • Lyft: Hilton Honors has partnered with Lyft to earn you bonus points for every dollar spent on a Lyft ride (but the value is poor). 
  • Ticketmaster: You can also use your points to book concerts and events through Ticketmaster.
  • Other ways to redeem Hilton Honors points: Hilton will occasionally offer special promotions or membership surveys you can participate with to earn additional bonus points.

Do Hilton points expire?

The unfortunate answer is – yes. But it takes 24 months to do so, and only if you’ve been completely inactive. So, earning or spending will keep them fresh and usable.

What are Hilton points worth?

The long and short of it is that Hilton points aren’t worth much, and the value is variable, so it’s hard to pin down. Conventional wisdom says they’re about 0.5c per point, at least when used for hotel redemption – this drops even further when transferred or used 

A closer look at good and bad redemptions

✅ Good Hilton points redemption options ❌ Bad Hilton points redemption options
Far and away, the best bang for your buck will be on hotel stays, especially expensive hotels, especially during peak season. The more expensive the stay, the better the points translate. And if you can stay for over five nights, that would be even better because that fifth night is free. The worst way to use your Hilton Honors points is on shopping, Amazon, or gift cards. Here, the points dramatically dip in their overall value (like many Hotel rewards programs). It's best to stick to travel redemptions.

How to maximize your rewards

If you want to make the most of your Hilton Honors, the best way is to dive all the way in.

  • Sign up for a partnered credit card, and nail that welcome bonus.
  •  Stay exclusively at Hilton brands and try to achieve elite status, which also helps you qualify for milestone bonuses.
  •  Also, use the Hilton Honors app, which often has promotions where you can earn a few extra points.

Hilton Honors vs. competitors

Hilton Honors vs. Marriott Bonvoy

Marriott is a tough brand to beat, no matter which program you pit them against. It offers more brands, more properties, more countries and generally better low-to-mid-range redemptions than Hilton. Only at the tip-top of luxury redemptions does Hilton Honors compete and even edge out Marriott Bonvoy.

Marriott Bonvoy® American Express®

Apply now

4.0

up to 50K pts

Welcome offer

Good

Suggested credit score

New Marriott Bonvoy® American Express®* Cardmembers earn 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points after you charge $1,500 in purchases to your Card in your first three months of Cardmembership. Subject to change at any time

Pros

  • Annual free night award — Receive an Annual Free Night Award for up to 35,000 points†

  • Earn points with every eligible card purchase

  • Complimentary upgrade to Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status

  • Flexibility to transfer to other frequent flyer programs

  • Includes travel accident insurance†

  • Generous welcome bonus

Cons

  • Annual fee—$120

  • Travel medical insurance not included

Eligibility

Recommended Credit Score

Good

Required Annual Personal Income

$0

Required Annual Household Income

$0

Pros

  • Annual free night award — Receive an Annual Free Night Award for up to 35,000 points†

  • Earn points with every eligible card purchase

  • Complimentary upgrade to Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status

  • Flexibility to transfer to other frequent flyer programs

  • Includes travel accident insurance†

  • Generous welcome bonus

Cons

  • Annual fee—$120

  • Travel medical insurance not included

Eligibility

Recommended Credit Score

Good

Required Annual Personal Income

$0

Required Annual Household Income

$0

points for every dollar in eligible Card purchases at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®

5

points for every $1 in all other Card purchases

2

Annual Free Night Award for up to 35,000 points at eligible hotels and resorts worldwide every year after your first anniversary

1

Automatic Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status membership

1

Elite Night Credits each calendar year with your Marriott Bonvoy® American Express®* Card.

15

Purchase APR

21.99%

Balance Transfer Rate

3.00%

Cash Advance APR

21.99%

Annual Fee

$120

Foreign Transaction Fee

2.50%

Hilton Honors vs. Hyatt

Hilton beats or matches Hyatt in most categories, exceeding them in properties, ways to earn points and elite status bonuses. The one thing Hyatt does offer that may tempt those fond of reliability is a fixed-value system for their points, which Hilton does not offer.

How to find Hilton Honors hotels around the world

Check out the Hilton locations page to see if they offer a property in your region. It  has particularly extensive coverage throughout North America.

Hilton Member and elite benefits

Hilton Honors members can access various perks like free Wi-Fi, late checkout and the occasionally discounted rate. We’ll dive into elite status more below, but benefits get even better with room upgrades, complimentary breakfast and more.

Hilton elite status

For frequent-stayers Hilton Honors offers three tiers of elite status with associated perks. 

What is Status Match

Hilton (under certain conditions) will actually offer to match the elite status you’ve achieved with another hotel brand, in order to tempt you to stay at Hilton properties.

Hilton Status Description
Hilton member status Just the basics here – free Wi-fi, occasional discounts and room selection.
Hilton Silver elite status Silver perks include free bottled water, spa discounts and the fifth night free bonus. You can reach Silver status after accumulating 10+ nights.
Hilton Gold elite status Gold gets you major points bonuses on stays, room upgrades (contingent on space) and free breakfast. This status is accessible after accruing 40+ nights.
Hilton Diamond elite status For the serious Hilton-stayer, Diamond nets you perks like executive lounge access, premium Wi-fi and the ability to gift another Hilton Honors member elite status. Diamond is attainable with 60+ nights.
Hilton Lifetime Diamond status If you’ve been a Hilton member for at least 10 years and either earned two million points or completed stays totalling 1,000 nights, you’re eligible for the big-time – lifetime Diamond status, which will never expire.

How to sign up for Hilton Honors

Hilton makes it easy-peasy to become an Honors member. They have a landing page here that’s also accessible through their website to collect your info. It’s free to fill out and bingo-bango – you’re a Hilton Honors member.

Cameron Smonk Freelance Writer

Cam is a content marketer with a passion for saving, financial independence, and pulling off elaborate credit card point schemes. He has worked in Fintech and Finserve (specifically Group Retirement) and loves researching and writing about finance.

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