The Hilton Honors hotel loyalty scheme offers the alluring-sounding “double dip” option. Double Dip allows you to not only earn Hilton Honors points on your Hilton stay, but also airline miles in a number of programmes (including Avios, Virgin Flying Club, Emirates, Etihad, Lufthansa etc).
That sounds great, but it doesn’t generally stand up to a mathematical analysis.
“A mathematical analysis?“, I hear you say, “I thought this was a light-hearted travel blog, aimed at making my life easier (while simultaneously maximising the value I get from my loyalty miles)“. Well it is, but just bear with me (and my GCSE maths) for a moment.
The “mathematical analysis”…
If you elect to earn airline miles on Hilton stays, you need to select the “Points and Miles” earning option (or “My Way Earning Style”). However, and this is the crucial bit, in doing so, you forego the imaginatively named “Points and Points” earning option.
Not altogether surprisingly, electing to go with Points and Points does not mean you simply earn the standard Hilton points but then miss out on the bonus airline miles you would have received via Points and Miles.
Instead, via Points and Points, you get your standard Honors points plus bonus Honors points. Bonus Honors points that you don’t get with the Points and Miles option.
Now this is the key point – these bonus points with Points and Points are, almost without exception, worth more than the bonus miles you get with Points and Miles.
Crunching the numbers
Let’s put some more precise figures on my claim:
With Points and Miles, you will generally get 10 Honors points plus 1 airline mile per $1 spent at Hilton (the major exception to that is Avios, where you can earn 1.5 Avios per $1 spent via Iberia Plus, see further below).
With Points and Points, you will get 10 Honors points plus 5 Honors points per $1 spent at Hilton.
Based on a semi-scientific valuation, I consider Hilton Honors points to be worth around 0.4 pence each. Therefore 5 Honors points are worth two pence.
My Avios valuation is around 1 pence each. Other airline miles will tend to settle around that mark.
So, as you can see, the 5 Honors points is worth double one bonus Avios (and many other airline miles). Regardless of which airline you credit to, you are going to struggle to ever realistically value those miles at two pence each. As such, I submit that the Points and Points option is clearly better value.
Yes. The exception to the general rule that Points and Points is better value generally applies with the periodic bonuses offered in certain mileage schemes.
For example, Hilton are currently offering triple Avios via Iberia Plus and BA Executive Club (see below for why you should credit to Iberia Plus, not BA). That means, for every $1 spent you will earn 10 Honors points plus 4.5 Avios. Using the above value of 1 pence per Avios, clearly 4.5 pence is worth more than the 2 pence worth of Hilton points you would receive via points and points.
So, as a general rule, set your Hilton earning preference to Points and Points, but keep an eye out (or an eye on UKtravelpoints) for any bonus miles promotions, as these may tip the ordinary balance in favour of miles earning.
Some additional factors to consider
Clearly, the strict mathematical position suggests that in the absence of a bonus, the Points and Points option is the “better value”. However, value in the “miles and points” game depends enormously on individual circumstances. So, for example, if you are a few Etihad miles away from an amazing redemption opportunity, it may well be “better value” for you to earn Etihad Guest points on a Hilton stay than it would be a greater “value” in Hilton Honors points.
There is also a key side point here in relation to Avios specifically, if you insist on earning airline miles.
As a very definite rule you should almost certainly never earn BA Executive Club Avios with Hilton (1 Avios per $1 spent), as the earning rate is less than Iberia Plus (1.5 Avios per $1 spent). The only caveat to this is that your Iberia Plus Avios are capped at 1000 Avios, so if your stay cost totals more than $1000, go with BA Avios.
We refer to earning Avios with Iberia Plus and BAEC above interchangably as, via the “combine my Avios” option in any of your Avios accounts, you can transfer Avios interchangeably.
Ultimately, I love the flexibility and value Hilton Honors points bring me, plus the absence of the eye-watering taxes and fees on redemptions (versus airline loyalty schemes) is refreshingly wonderful. With that in mind, it takes a seriously good miles bonus to tempt me to change my earning preference from Points and Points.