Which Frequent Flyer Program to Double Dip With on Hilton Stays?

Hilton has long been known for “double dipping” — earning both points and miles for a single stay.

It used to be you had to make a choice when staying at a hotel, I remember not even being a member of hotel programs back in 1997 and being pretty excited that I could give my United Mileage Plus number at the checkin counter and earn a few United miles for my stay.

Hotel programs have so many airline transfer partnerships because historically they were the ugly stepchild of loyalty offerings, it was all about airline miles and it was difficult for them to make headway. They moved from just offering airline miles to offering their own programs, but the legacy mileage-earning options remained, and airline transfer options were a weigh station between the two programs — you could earn hotel points without fear you’d made the wrong decision.

Hilton’s method was to say, why not have both?

And then they added on earning extra HHonors points if you wanted in lieu of earning airline miles at all.

And they added choices of fixed miles (a certain number of miles per night or stay) or variable miles (mileage earning based on spending).

You have to select your preference online, you can change at any time, but it becomes cumbersome and confusing. You don’t want fixed mileage earning on a reward stay, for instance, because you won’t earn the fixed miles. So since that my usual choice I’ll switch to double points before a reward stay and then have to remember to switch back.

For a long time my double dip partner of choice was british midland, it was 1000 Diamond Club miles per night (under fixed mileage earning) for up to 3 nights of a stay. With the current double points or double miles promotion running through June 30 you could earn up to 6000 bmi miles for a stay, and I’ve long considered bmi miles to be one of the most lucrative currencies because of their Star Alliance membership and cash & points award chart which stretch miles further (and despite adding fuel surcharges on award tickets).

For now you can still earn the 1000 bmi miles per night, but the airline is on its way out from Star Alliance, it’s been acquitted by British Airways. Those 1000 bmi miles will transfer to 1000 Avios points, worth far less.

In an earlier post, Brady asks in the comments what the best double dip mileage partner is?

Personally I’ll still use bmi, even 1000 British Airways Avios points per night is a decent deal. (And earning bmi miles is better than BA points directly, since Hilton only awards 500 BA miles per night.) At least while that’s an option.

Here’s the list of double dipping partners. The list of partners is huge. I haven’t looked at it in such a long time, I remember when American Express Membership Rewards was a double dip option. And it’s surprising to see Mexicana still listed.

There’s nothing that’s close to as lucrative as the 1000 bmi miles per night up to 3 nights, at least as lucrative as that was.

My own preference is likely to be 1000 Virgin miles per stay. I also earn 1000 Virgin miles on Avis rentals as a default, the 1000 miles applies even on 1-day rentals (for 3-day rentals I use the Avis offer of 3000 US Airways miles). Although I may also just revert to double points.

Which program do you double dip with?

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Gary – it’s unfortunately 1000 VS miles per stay, not per night. And only 200 at Hampton Inn.

    It was pretty good in Q2 2011 with VS featuring a 3x offer (so 3000 miles per stay which made it competitive with BMI) but now its a fairly significant drop from BMI miles.

  2. A timely reminder, I have a rare Hilton stay this week and just switched to Virgin Atlantic. I wish I could figure out if any of their air partners offer good value in economy without crazy fees, seems too boring to go with the standard Hilton 1:2.

  3. I’ve been getting one Skymile for dollar spent, but the chart you provide says Delta members get 500 miles per night. Am I missing something?

  4. @James you are set up to earn ‘points and variable miles’ … 500 per night is ‘points and fixed miles’

  5. @ Gary – does this mean, in theory, If you were planning on staying at a hilton FS property for 30 days, and created 30 individual bookings, that you would get 500 points for each of those bookings aka stays?

  6. Its Virgin Atlantic for me for the reasons you gave – ability to combine with Avis and Hertz.

  7. I’ve decided I’m still doing Diamond Club as well. It’s still far better having 6000 Avios for 3-4 nights (my usual stays) than 1000 miles in another program.

    For multiple single night stays I may choose a *A program where I value the miles more than I value Avios.

  8. BMI was my redemption partner, and through Hilton I’ve managed to accumulate considerable amount of points on BMI.

    For now, at least until Diamond Club will go away, it remain so.

    BMI is one of the few partners that award points per night. BA points are per stay, not per night. So on a 3 night stay I can get 3,000 Avios through BMI, or 500 Avios through BA – the choice is very clear.

    BMI points were absolutely great value for long range business class redemption. Avios are great value for direct short flights. As BMI is gone anyway, I would not mind accumulating some Avios at a great rate.

  9. “it’s been acquitted by British Airways”

    I think more of imprisoned by BA, unless you meant acquired.

  10. Took the BMI 6k points for a 3-night stay last weekend. Will be my only points on BMI ever but good enough for a one way ticket somewhere nearby

  11. @u600213 depends on how much you’re spending! a short cheap stay is going to come out better with points and fixed miles

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