Today we will take a look at gaining or earning the most amount of Hilton loyalty points (known as HHonors points) as quick as we can. We will look at the different ways of doing so with various options. This is a two part series with part two being the very best ways of using (redeeming) them, including a section on the unusual and exotic you may not have thought of. Guess what? You only have to wait until tonight for part two.
Credit Cards (up to 310,000 points++ total!)
Kicking off here are two lucrative credit cards which both offer 40,000 Honors point bonuses each:
Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card (+40,000 points)
and the Hilton HHonors® Card from American Express (+40,000 points)
Both of these cards come with no annual fee. Which is always a good thing!
The minimum spends are also very similar at the current offerings of $750 for the Amex and $1000 for the Citi Visa within 3 and 4 months respectively.
For me, the Amex is a great card because it earns 6 points per $ on spending at grocery stores, drugstores, home and cellular phone bills, and cable or satellite TV spend. My family has fairly high spend in these categories and this is my card of choice in these arenas. Thus my HHonnors balance grows steadily without any Hilton hotel stays.
On that note with both these cards you will get 6 points per dollar at Hilton Hotels of course. If you have the need or desire to stay in a Hilton these cards are a no brainer to apply for. If you are elite with another hotel chain, always try for a status match. Simply email HHonors customer service detailing your status with the competing chain’ I normally indicate I want to switch my loyalty “to try you out” but don’t want to give up the perks of my other membership while building loyalty over time. The purpose of the status match is to get room upgrades and perhaps more importantly additional points immediately.
Virgin Atlantic American Express® Credit Card from Bank of America (+80,000 points or more)
Here’s an interesting one. This Virgin Atlantic branded card gives a bonus of up to 25,000 miles but these miles can be transferred to Hilton at a 1:2 ratio; so up to 80,000 Hilton points can be gained! This does include a 15,000 mile bonus on the anniversary.
Another card from Bank of America is the Hawaiian airlines branded card for a 35,000 mile bonus also with a 1:2 transfer to Hilton (+70,000 points), or the Bank of Hawaii Hawaiian airlines (+70,000 points) card.
Now you’re not going to get all of these cards at once, but spread them over a little time and you’ll build up your bank significantly!
Ok moving on from credit cards, here’s an easy one. Sign up for a foursquare account and then link your Hilton account to it with Topguest. If you live anywhere near a Hilton property (Doubletree seems to work the best) “check-in” every day on the foursquare smartphone app for 50 points or 1500 a month! It takes 5 seconds of your day and you can be 10 miles away. Be careful not to abuse the system, I know of people being banned from Foursquare for checking in to multiple hotel chains and airlines every day!
Now the Hilton HHonors dining program is one you might want to focus on for Hilton points. The deal here is all the same restaurants are on multiple programs it depends which credit card you link to which dining account (United MileagePlus, American Airlines, Priority Club, etc.). Personally for me now, United miles are more valuable, so if I eat out or get a takeout from a member restaurant I use the credit card linked to United mileage plus dining. However if you are collecting Hilton points for an upcoming reward stay it makes sense to pool your earning into one account. Some great aspects of this program:
- Once you register a card it is seamless and automatic
- The more the use it the more points you get (up to 8 points per dollar after 12 dines in a year which keeps you VIP until the following year)
- If you registered a Chase Sapphire Preferred card you would actually potentially get 8 HHonors points AND 2 United miles per dollar as dining gets double points with the Sapphire Preferred and United is a transfer partner within Chase Ultimate Rewards. Not bad in my book!
- There is a 1000 point bonus for signing up and dining a minimum of $25 in 30 days.
Online Shopping Portal
Another way of earning extra points for everyday normal spend is the Hilton shopping mall where hundreds of retailers participate with a similar system as the dining program, but one difference being is you must go through their site to the retailer and use a registered card. You can earn up to 20 points per dollar and some retailers include Nordstrom, Shoebuy.com, and Macys.com. Check the site for special offers on free shipping and additional discounts. This is a good way of boosting your balance especially if you also use a Hilton branded card of course.
If you implement even some (not all) of these attacks, you should be well on your way to a fabulous free vacation. As I mentioned at the beginning, the evening post today will be about how to redeem your stash for the best value reward stays in the United States and around the world. This might give you the drive needed to get those points firmly tucked into your account!
Stay tuned, travel fans.
Deal of the Day
For today’s Deal of the Day TopCashback is donating $50 cash (to be deposited to your TopCashback.com account) for the best overall travel deal submitted. A great mileage run, mistake fare, partner promo, new card sign-up offer, or the special twist you figured out on a deal today. Add it to the comments section of this post (along with your First Name, Last Initial, and Airport Code) or this afternoon’s Deal of the Day post to be eligible to win.