Keep Hilton Points from Expiring
Following on from a recent review of the updates (or more realistically lack of updates) to the Hilton Honors issued credit card, I’ve had a couple of queries from readers about Hilton Honors points and in particular ‘do Hilton Honors points expire?’ and also ‘how to check when Hilton points expire?’.
As such, today I’ll be looking at the rules around the expiration of Hilton points and suggesting a couple of methods to keep Hilton points from expiring.
With over 5,200 properties and 14 brands, it’s no surprise that Hilton has in excess of 60 million Hilton Honors members across 4 levels of elite status (Blue, Silver, Gold and Diamond). Each of these members will be earning points on every stay at a Hilton property but only a small number will actually know that these Hilton points expire after 12 months of inactivity on the account.
As such if you’ve built up a small war chest of points by either staying with Hilton or through the Hilton-branded credit card, it’s important you keep your account active. This used to be relatively easy for Hilton credit card holders as every purchase would generate points, keeping the account active. With the Hilton Barclaycard no longer accepting new customers, Hilton Honors members are having to look elsewhere. Let’s take a look at some possible options…
When Do Hilton Points Expire?
Full T&Cs on when Hilton points expire can be found on the Hilton website here. Don’t worry, you won’t have to trawl through the small print, we’ve summarised the most important points about Hilton point expiration below.
Period of Inactivity: If a member doesn’t have any eligible activity in a 12-month period they may be removed from the programme with forfeiture of all accumulated points. Hilton does have the discretion to allow members to remain in the programme for up to 5 years.
Eligible Activity: This comprises of one of the following actions:
- Stay at a hotel within the Hilton portfolio
- Earn Hilton Honors points through a third-party source
- Purchase Hilton Honors points
- Donate points through The Hilton Honors Giving Back Program
Preventing Hilton Points from Expiring
We’ve now seen when Hilton Honors points expire so let’s take a look at some of the easiest ways to generate some ‘eligible activity’ through your account.
- Book a Hilton hotel room. You could either redeem points or pay to stay at a hotel within the Hilton portfolio. This option only really works if you plan on staying at a Hilton hotel anyway, otherwise it’s likely to either cost money or be a waste of points. Unfortunately unlike other hotel loyalty schemes, simply booking then cancelling a room doesn’t count as eligible activity.
- Donate to one of 30 charities through the Hilton Honors Giving Back Program. You’ll need to transfer a minimum of 10,000 points, which would give $25 to your chosen charity.
You can generate eligible activity by earning points directly from Hilton Honors or any third-party source of Hilton Honors points. Examples of this would include:
- Transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to Hilton. This is our preferred and recommended route for anyone with Membership Rewards Points. You only need to transfer a minimum of 200 reward points, which convert at a rate of 1 reward point to 2 Hilton Honors points. You can collect reward points through the likes of the (free for the first year) American Express Gold card which offers a market-leading sign-up bonus of 10,000 reward points when you spend £3,000 in the first 3 months. This can be increased to 12,000 points using this link (the equivalent of 24,000 Hilton Honors points!).
- Buy a Priority Pass for Airport lounge access. You can earn Hilton Honors points if you purchase a Priority Pass. We don’t however believe the Priority Pass provides good value for money as discussed here.
- Transfer Virgin Flying Club points. It’s possible to transfer Virgin Atlantic Flying Club points to Hilton with a minimum of 10,000 Flying Club points converting to 15,000 Hilton Honors points. We value 10,000 Flying Club points at approximately £100 and 15,000 Hilton Honors points at roughly £45, so in this instance you’d be losing value. As such probably one to avoid!
- You can pay to transfer points at a rate of $12.50 for 5,000 Hilton Honors points which would count as an eligible activity and prevent Hilton points expiry. As discussed in my recent Hilton credit card review, I’m of the opinion that Hilton Honors points are worth in the region of 0.3p each. So with 5,000 Hilton Honors points having a possible value of £15 this option isn’t great either I’m afraid (but may be better than watching points expire!)
- Whilst this next method doesn’t prevent your Hilton account from expiring it does allow you to move the points to a friend’s account which isn’t expiring completely free of charge! You are allowed to ‘pool points’ with up to 10 friends and are limited to 6 pooling transactions a year. Simply invite a friend, transfer your points across and then book your stay using their account in due course.
Let’s Wrap this Up!
As we’ve seen, Hilton points expire after 12 months of no eligible activity on the Hilton Honors account. One of the easiest methods to prevent this is to ensure you allocate all of your hotel stays to your Hilton Honors account.
A further alternative method would be to transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to Hilton Honors. You’ll only need to transfer 200 points across which allows you to retain the vast majority of your points in your Amex Membership Rewards account (which provides a far greater number of spending opportunities than the Honors account!).
We also like to hear your thoughts, so please do reach out in the comments section below.
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