Now that you’ve managed to amass a significant amount of frequent flyer miles, it’s time to focus on hotel points. It seems that my family favors Hyatt, Starwood, and IHG properties (Intercontinental, Holiday Inn, etc) because their redemption rates, on the whole, are fantastic. The Hilton Honors program, in general, does not interest me as their redemption rates are ridiculously high for average properties. However, they do have a few gems in their arsenal that are worth redeeming points for. For example, the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island and the Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort both are properties that many dream about. Unfortunately, availability can be difficult, so flexibility is key, but the opportunity to redeem 145,000 Hilton Honors points for 4 nights (or 290,000 for 8 nights) at the Conrad Maldives is definitely on my list.
So, how do you acquire such a large amount of Hilton Honors points when you don’t travel for work? I’ll give you one guess… Yep, you got it! Credit cards! Hilton has a direct affiliation with several credit card programs and this affiliation is a useful way to get access to discounted redemption rates (like the one for the Conrad Maldives referenced above). However, there are other credit cards that are more useful in acquiring large numbers of Hilton Honors points quickly.
The current aspirational destination for me and my husband is the Conrad Maldives. For an 8 night vacation, using the most discounted rate we would have access to, we need to come up with 290,000 Hilton Honors points. Hawaiian Airlines offers two credit cards through the Bank of Hawaii and the Bank of America for 35,000 miles each after spending $1,000 in four months for each card ($2,000 in four months). Both cards have $79 annual fees. These Hawaiian Airlines miles transfer at the rate of 1:2 meaning the 70,000 HA miles become 140,000 Hilton Honors points. With just these two cards, we’re almost half way to our dream redemption!
Additionally, Virgin Atlantic has a credit card that gives 50,000 miles for spending $2,500 within 3 months of opening the card along with adding two authorized users to the account. This card does come with a $90 annual fee. Transferring these miles to Hilton Honors points (again a 1:2 ratio), nets an additional 100,000 HH points. We’re now up to 240,000 Hilton Honors points. Lastly, we need to add a Hilton affiliated card to get access to the discounted AXON7 awards. The Citibank Hilton Honors Visa card fits the bill, offersing 50,000 points after spending $1,500 in 6 months. There is no annual fee associated with this card.
So, in total, we need to apply for 4 credit cards and we’ve acquired the required 290,000 points, enough for 8 nights at a category 7 property, including the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island. These credit cards will require us to spend $6,000 across the cards and will cost us $248 in annual fees. Not bad for a hotel that costs at minimum $1,000 a night (and more frequently, $1,400 per night). Keep in mind that you do not need to apply for all four at the same time if meeting the minimum spend requirement in three or four months is not a possibility and your travel plans are not immediate. Also keep in mind that these four cards are attainable for one person. Your spouse can do the same thing and between the two of you, get double the points!
For those inspired by the above, some of the highly regarded Hilton properties other than the above include: Conrad Koh Samui (Thailand), Waldorf-Astoria Dakota Lodge (Park City, Utah), and the Conrad Sanya (China). Any questions?
I’d love to hear what your aspirational property is, regardless of hotel chain, and how you achieved it!