Hilton Now Offers Free Points Transfers and Announces Second Quarter Promotion With a Kicker

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Hilton has launched a new feature and announced their next promotion with starts May 1. The promotion is fairly standard — except that Diamond members get a strong additional bonus.

Points Pooling Is Now Live

One of the four changes Hilton announced at the end of January was ‘points pooling’ or the ability to combine points from different member accounts for free.

Starwood lets you transfer points between members at the same residential mailing address. Hyatt lets you transfer points between any two members in order to book a specific award (although in practice the need for an actual award isn’t enforced).

Hilton scales this a bit by putting the process online and quite open.

  • Transfer in increments of 1,000 Points up to 500,000 Points
  • Send up to 500,000 points and receive up to 2,000,000 per calendar year
  • Make up to 6 Points Pooling transactions per calendar year
  • A total of 11 accounts can combine points towards a redemption (receive points from up to 10 members in a single account)


Conrad New York

Any member can pool points 30 days after enrollment provided there’s been some activity in the account (or after 90 days with no activity).

The biggest flag for me in all of this was that it seems to facilitate the sale of points. But as Hilton’s Mark Weinsten explained to me it’s their job to detect fraud and they have systems in place for that. He said it’s “unfair to use a fee as a mechanism to punish members for unlawful or unethical” behavior.

Hilton used to have points pooling for married couples, this was called a ‘mutual fund’ account, and was discontinued for new members to sign up for in early 2004 (although existing accounts were allowed to continue the benefit).

New Double Points Promotion With a Kicker

Hilton is bringing back Double Points as their second quarter promotion ‘Go More Get More’ between May 1 and August 31.

  • All hotels are participating. Hilton solved one of the biggest frustration with their promotions, up to 20% of properties used to not be eligible for bonus earning. (Hampton Inns in mainland China are excluded as they are generally.)

  • Diamond members actually earn triple points, so there’s finally some incremental benefit — even a promotional one — for top tier Hilton status over merely Gold. (Tier at checkout determines whether you earn double or triple points.)

  • Registration required.

Hilton’s PR rep suggested that the booking and stay window for the offer was May 1 through August 31, however the terms and conditions do not include a requirement that bookings must be made May 1 onward (i.e. that you need to cancel and rebook existing stays to earn the points).

Here are the terms:

Offer valid May 1, 2017, through August 31, 2017 (“Promotion Period”) at any hotel or resort within the Hilton Portfolio excluding Hampton by Hilton Hotels in Mainland China. Hilton Honors™ members must first register at HiltonHonors.com/BonusPromotion prior to completing a stay within the Promotion Period. Registered Hilton Honors members will earn Double Points per stay during the Promotion Period, or Triple Points per stay during the promotion period as a Diamond member. The Double Points or Triple Points bonus will be based on tier at time of checkout. Registered Hilton Honors members will only receive Bonus Points for nights completed during the Promotion Period, regardless of a check-in date before the Promotion Period begins or a check-out date after the Promotion Period ends. There is no limit to the total amount of Bonus Points that may be earned during the Promotion Period with this offer. However, there are restrictions on the amount of Base Points that can be earned on a single stay at certain brands. See Hilton Honors Terms & Conditions for more details. Bonus Points earned on Base Points do not count toward tier qualification. Please allow six to eight weeks from completion of your stay for Points to appear in your Hilton Honors account.

Basic earning in the Hilton program is about average. Before a series of devaluations it was overly generous. But with consistent double points promotions Honors is a rich earn and burn program.

In fact if your focus is Hilton points it’s possible to earn up to 52 points per dollar which at a value of $0.004 per point is a 20.8% rebate on hotel stays.

  • 10 base points
  • 5 additional points for ‘points and points’ earning style
  • 10 additional points from the double points promotion
  • 10 more points from this promotion if you’re a Diamond member
  • 2.5 more points as an elite bonus for Golds and 5 for Diamonds
  • 12 points paying with the Hilton Honors Amex Surpass Card

And that doesn’t count 500 points per booking you make with the Hilton mobile app which runs through the end of 2017.

The Hilton app is worth checking out anyway for the ability to choose your specific room. Hilton has also introduced beacon-enabled messaging.

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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Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of any advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.

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  1. This is from the purported Thought Leader in Travel: “so there’s finally some incremental benefit — even a promotional one — for top tier Hilton status over merely Gold.”

    Is the “Thought Leader” aware that HH Diamonds already earn 50% more points with every stay than Golds; that HH Diamonds are “guaranteed” access to the exec lounge no matter what, while Golds must first be upgraded to an exec room or equivalent to get lounge access; that Diamonds have 1,000 Diamond MyWay benefit with every stay at most properties that Golds do not have; and that HH Diamonds have the mother of all perks, the powerful “HH Diamond Force” that forces availability of award or revenue rooms under nearly impossible conditions, which Golds do not have…etc..etc?

    Pontificate about matter that you are sort of qualified to pontificate about. HIlton Honors just ain’t a topic you know much about. The facts have been staring you in the face years and you have consistently drawn the wrong conclusions or made bogus claims from them, even when writing about a program offer and new feature that cement the fact the H Honors is hands-down the most rewarding loyalty program out there today…

  2. I’m just frustrated that the sign up page for the promotion still can not handle strong passwords (letters, numbers and symbols). I have to change to a simple one (Upper case, lower case and number) in order to enroll and then go to change back to a strong password.

  3. Why do so many blogs use pictures of the Conrad NY? The former embassy suites property is not up to the Conrad standards and is owned by an evil bank.

  4. @DCS Gary’s written extensively about those Hilton perks you mention. He even points out in his calculation of 52 points per $1 above that Diamond members get 5 points additional and Gold members receive 2.5 additional. He’s certainly aware of the lounge benefit, the breakfast benefit for golds you failed to mention, the Diamond Force perk that’s not helpful to many since the rates are usually exorbitant, etc. Most rewarding? Maybe, if all you care about is the actual total of points. Redemption value? Not so much anymore, less than even the past couple years.

    I’m not thrilled with the opinions and justifications of a lot of bloggers at times, Gary is no exception to that. His knowledge (and even opinions) of Hilton are quite accurate though. Wrong topic on which to call him out on and mock the ‘thought leader’ moniker, I believe.

  5. @AZTravelGuy – I have been “locking horns” with the self-anointed “Thought Leader in Travel” for nearly three years and I am well aware of what he’s written about HHonors because my “crusade” has been to debunk it all. So a lecture about the the Thought Leader I don’t need.

    Out of ignorance of the program or simply willful and pre-established bias about what constitutes a rewarding program, or both, the thought has been peddling a list of HHonors’ “sins” that he won’t let go of no matter how much he is contradicted by objective facts. Despite HH Diamond being the only top elite status that is still standing and remains by far the most rewarding in the business, he will keep repeating the outdated and bogus claim about how it is no better HH Gold. That is utter ignorance. Period.

    G’day!

  6. Having read DCS’s so-called “defense” of his position that Honors Diamond is so much better than Gold (or just about anything out there), there are several takeaways that I glean from it:

    1) He ignores the fact that Honors is more than just Hilton.

    A portion of DCS’s “defense” hinges on the bonus perks that are received by Diamonds – he specifically notes guaranteed lounge access that Diamonds receive. And yes, it’s true – this is a significant benefit for these members.

    The problem, though, is that it’s only a significant benefit where it’s actually available.

    Even ignoring the fact that not all properties have an executive lounge (which is true), DCS fails to point out that this benefit only applies at Hilton, Doubletree, Conrad, Curio, and Tapestry Collection properties. Yes, that’s a lot of brands, but it makes up a minority of the total Hilton portfolio. There are approximately 4,900 Honors-participating properties, yet just over 1,100, or about 22.5%, under these brands (~550 Hiltons,~500 Doubletrees, 34 Conrads, 43 Curio, and 1 Tapestry Collection at the end of June).

    While there is some differentiation of benefits between Gold and Diamond at some of the other properties (for example, Diamonds have higher MyWay benefits at Embassy Suites locations than do Golds), the bulk of the properties under the Honors umbrella have little differentiation between benefits between Gold and Diamond:

    * At Hampton Inns, which make up about 40.8% of the total (~2,000 properties out of the 4,900), both Golds and Diamonds receive the same MyWay benefit – 250 points or a snack and drink) – but Diamonds receive free premium internet, while Golds get free standard internet.

    * At Hilton Garden Inns, which make up about 12.7% of the total (~625 properties out of the 4,900), both Golds and Diamonds receive the same MyWay benefit – 750 points or free breakfast. As with Hampton Inns, though, HGI Diamonds also get free premium internet, while Golds get free standard internet.

    Yes, there is differentiation between Gold and Diamond at some properties. Executive Lounge access is one of those perks, but that applies to less than a quarter of the properties in the portfolio (and again, that even assumes that all of those properties have a lounge, which we all know isn’t true). 1,000 bonus points and breakfast for a Diamond, versus 1,000 points or breakfast for a Gold, is also an improvement, but it’s again only applicable at less than 1,000 properties.

    I would venture that this omission is not intentional, which ultimately becomes the subject of my second point.

    2) He has no problems with bending the truth (or otherwise painting an incomplete picture.)

    Just as he did in his cherry-picking of statistics to try and paint the latest C+P change as positive, DCS has picked and chosen the benefits that make his position look good, while ignoring the fact that, for the bulk of properties, there is no significant increase in benefits that justifies his position. (The executive lounge argument I already discussed is a good example).

    Another example of DCS not telling the full story is in his argument that Diamonds “already earn 50% more points with every stay than Golds.” This, in reality, only becomes true when the Q2 promotion becomes effective.

    Under the terms of the Q2 promotion (which awards triple points to Diamonds and double points to all other members), a Diamond, who currently earns 15 points per dollar at most brands (10 base points plus 5 points for the 50% Diamond bonus), will end up earning 35 points per dollar (10 base points, 5 Diamond bonus points, and 20 bonus points for the triple points bonus). A Gold, on the other hand, who currently earns 12.5 points per dollar (10 base points plus 2.5 bonus points for the 25% Gold bonus), will end up with only 22.5 points per dollar (10 base points, 2.5 Gold bonus points, and 10 bonus points from the Q2 bonus).

    The difference between the two? A Diamond earning 35 points per dollar will earn 55.6% more points than the Gold will under this promo, all other earning (i.e. MyWay points) held constant. This only occurs because of this particular bonus, which is the first that I can recall in a while (if ever) that gave more points to a Diamond than it did to a Gold or any other member.

    Subtract that bonus, and you are left with the normal earning – 15 points per dollar for Diamonds, and 12.5 points per dollar for Gold. On pure regular earning based on room spend, that is a difference of 20 percent, not 50.

    If DCS wants to come back and throw MyWay point differentials into the equation to justify his statement, that argument largely fails as well since, at the bulk of properties, there is no difference in the earning for MyWay points between Golds and Diamonds. As I already stated before, HGI and Hampton Inn (which by themselves make up the majority of Honors properties worldwide) offer 750 and 250 MyWay points, respectively, to every Gold and Diamond member. And as I already noted, at Hilton, Doubletree, Conrad, Curio, and Tapestry Collection, the difference between Gold and Diamond is zero if the Gold chooses the points over breakfast.

    Where there is a difference in the MyWay points between tiers, the difference only becomes significant enough to turn the 20 percent difference into a 50 percent difference at low spend. For example, at a Canopy or Embassy Suites (where Diamonds can earn 1,000 points, compared to 500 for Golds), the difference becomes greater than 50 percent only when the total folio for the stay is less than about $67 before tax. For HGVC stays, where Diamonds earn 2,000 points, but Golds earn only 1,000, the net difference drops below 50 percent as soon as the folio gets above $134 before tax.

    3) DCS, for all of his “defense,” probably doesn’t understand the Honors program as much as he thinks he does. He mentions a 1,000 point MyWay bonus that Diamonds get but Golds don’t, and gets it wrong on three levels:

    * It’s not 1,000 points, as he claims, at “most properties.” This bonus applies at many of the brands (Hilton, Doubletree, Conrad, etc.), but again, these properties make up less than a quarter of the total portfolio.

    For the bulk of the Honors portfolio (keeping in mind that HGI and Hampton Inn make up over 50 percent of properties total, and adding Homewood Suites pushes the total closer to 60 percent), the MyWay earning is lower (750, 250, and 100 points, respectively).

    * Golds get the 1,000 point earning at Hiltons as well as Diamonds, so long as they choose it as their MyWay perk.

    * As already noted, for the bulk of properties, the MyWay earning is identical between Gold and Diamond in terms of points – Canopy and HGVC have different earning for Diamonds versus Golds. There are no instances, though, where a Gold will not earn points and a Diamond will, unless the Gold specifically chooses to forego points as his or her MyWay bonus.

    One of the other benefits he does mention (which is, indeed, significant) is the so-called “Diamond force,” which has allowed Diamond members, barring extraordinary demand events, to obtain a room in a sold-out property up to 48 hours before check-in.

    Where DCS gets this wrong, though, is that it doesn’t apply to reward stays. Once upon a time, it did, but Hilton specifically disallows this in their terms and conditions now:

    “Guaranteed reservations availability, subject to the restrictions stated herein, at hotels within the Hilton Portfolio when paid reservations are made before midnight hotel local time, two or more days (48 hours) prior to intended arrival. RESTRICTIONS: This guarantee does not apply to reservations paid for in part or in full by Hilton Honors Points, or free night certificates issued by Hilton.”

    Being insulting and condescending is one thing when you get facts right. Acting that way when you’re not even correct, though, is quite another.

    I have been an HH Diamond for a decade now, and before that, I was a Gold for five years, so it’s not like I am not speaking from experience here. Comparing the two, I do recognize that being Diamond is better than being Gold. But the reality of the difference, though, which I think DCS completely misses, is that how much better Diamond is than Gold really depends on personal experience. A Diamond who stays only at full-service Hiltons is going to have a different view than someone whose stay pattern is more reflective of the brand population, and that person is going to have a lot different of a point of view than someone who has 30 stays a year at Hampton Inns only.

    Again, though, I’d venture that, rather than acknowledge this, I’ll get insulted by DCS again because he is the only person who can be right about anything.

  7. To correct my own typo above, Homewood Suites’ MyWay benefit is 250 points, not 100. Either way, it’s certainly less than the 1,000 that is claimed (and yes, it applies to both Golds and Diamonds).

  8. Thanks Gary for the heads up! Just sharing data points!

    The transfer through Hilton pooling benefit happens instantaneously – the missus just transferred 150K to my account and as I logged in, the points were already there. Here are the steps lacking from the above article:

    – Log into your account
    – Under MY POINTS on the left column
    – Go to More Ways to Use Points
    – Click on Pool Points
    – Invite as many as 10 people
    – Invitees will have to click the link in the invitation email to pool their Hilton Honors Points with you
    – They have to follow the easy prompts
    – voila, points show on your account

  9. @Mike — I’ve debunked every claim in your screed ad nauseam. If HH Gold is really that great, then by all means get it and be happy with your occasional upgrades to the exec floor and associated lounge access, breakfast, and rare suite upgrades, less points per stay, etc… Diamond Force is alive and well, even on award stays. You want to point at one who knows nothing about HHonors? Just look in the mirror.

    Btw, go back to grade school because your math is awful…”Mike.” LOL.

    G’DAY

  10. How long does it usually take Hilton to post points from a stay? I’ve got a $3300 stay booked at Hilton Amsterdam, so i’ll get a fair amount of miles, and wondered if I could use those later in that same trip or if it takes longer than that to post.

    My biggest frustration with Hilton is that 3 of the 4 credit cards have foreign transaction fees. Even the Amex Hilton that has a fee. Since I mainly use hotels out of the country, I won’t get extra Hilton points for Hilton stays without paying the fee.

  11. Other than to point out that the response was just as I predicted it would be, the remainder of DCS’s so-called “rebuttal” does not deserve any further reply (mainly because I’m not qualified to make a clinical diagnosis).

  12. And we are grateful for sparing us another dissertation-length mambo-jumbo nonsense! The thoroughly debunked claim the “HH Diamond Force” is no-op on award stays, when it is precisely to force availability of awards that the perk truly perks up is all one needs to know to just be thankful for being spared.

    HH Diamond Force is alive and well even for award stays: https://goo.gl/ECjzyA …”Mike”

  13. Have been HH Gold, have been Diamond. If there is a lounge, fantastic. Otherwise, except for a few extra points, I see zero meaningful difference between the two levels. Never had anything more than an upgrade to a marginally better room, not a suite. I rarely even get club level rooms as a Diamond when I stay.

  14. @DCS: First of all, I don’t see why you insist on putting my name in quotes – that actually is my name.

    Second of all, the “evidence” that you provide is just you saying the same thing, which is nothing more than you saying that I’m wrong because you said that I’m wrong. Until you can come up with a concrete example that the T&Cs don’t mean what the T&Cs actually say, I can therefore add circular logic to the growing list of DCS-style logical fallacies that are used here and elsewhere.

  15. Oh, and I should also note that, by a concrete example, I mean one that isn’t nearly two years old.

  16. @Mike — I linked to the overwhelming evidence showing that you are wrong about Diamond Force no longer being good on award stays. Did you miss that? I did not just say it: I provided examples that anyone could replicate on their own. Evidence is what I drink, eat, shit for a living. I know what it is and I provided plenty of it. When a claim is just an opinion it should be evident or I will say it is my opinion.

    Bye bye!

  17. @DCS – First of all, you provided evidence in the form of a post that was dated September 2015, or more than eighteen months ago, and are trying to tell people here that it still applies. The fact that you are satisfied with potentially outdated information as evidence to make your claims is pretty amusing.

    Secondly, even if I were to grant that you are correct here (which I’m not), that still doesn’t change the fact that the remainder of your defense was either wrong, misleading, or otherwise focusing on things that may not matter to the average Diamond, depending on where they might be staying.

    Then again, it was obvious from the outset that you never even read what I posted, and decided to attack me as being automatically wrong for daring to disagree with you. Whether you like it or not, that is wholly a reflection upon you, and it has nothing to do with anyone else.

    “When a claim is just an opinion it should be evident or I will say it is my opinion.”

    Considering that everything you post is your opinion, that statement is completely laughable, given the lengths to which you try and defend your opinions as irrefutable facts that no one can disagree with.

  18. You are ridiculous. I will never address you again. The evidence provided in 2015 was updated 18 months later to show that it was still valid. You can check even now and confirm that “Diamond Force” is alive and well by doing a dummy booking as I did, if you are even a HH Diamond.

    Have a nice life.

  19. @DCS – “You are ridiculous. I will never address you again.”

    That’s the best thing to come out of this thread yet, to be honest, although given the fact that you really haven’t addressed the meat of my argument, the only thing this shows is that you are trying to avoid any real discussion about how faulty your arguments are.

  20. @DCS: On the contrary — there is absolutely nothing sad to me about never having you never address me again. Trust me — you’re not as special as you think you are.

  21. How did you arrive at 52 points per dollar?
    10+10+10+5+2.5+12=49.5 and not 52.

    Am I missing something?

  22. @Ankur – The last 2.5 in your calculation should be 5 – as Gary notes in his post, Diamonds get the 50 percent bonus on points, as opposed to the 25 percent bonus that Golds get.

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