I see a lot of offers to buy points with a bonus from programs like Alaska Mileage Plan, United MileagePlus, World of Hyatt, and so on. Sometimes it’s a good deal, but usually not. And other times you have to take a second look, like with the latest deal from Hilton Honors to get a 100% bonus on purchased points through October 22.
Consider at it this way: Most programs overcharge for their points. Frequent travelers can develop a good sense of what their miles and points are worth. In some cases it’s better to pay cash for a trip, and in other cases it’s better to redeem points. That turning point is how you know what a point is worth. With Hilton Honors, I consider a point worth about 0.5 cents — that’s half a cent.
Hilton normally charges 1 cent per point. It’s not a good idea to buy points at that rate if they are going to lose halve their value when you redeem them. But with this limited time bonus offer, however, you get 2 points per penny, or 0.5 cents each. Now we’re back to what I think they’re worth. Still not a great deal since you would be exchanging cash for a loyalty currency with more restrictions, but not a bad deal.
But then I thought again and realized there is some potential here. Suppose you knew you would have an upcoming trip and could redeem points. There is a good reason to buy more Hilton Honors points even if you don’t really get a great deal on the price.
That’s because when you redeem points for the entire stay you won’t pay any resort fees, which can easily be $30 or more per night. You also won’t pay any taxes (remember to factor those into the cost of a free night award). Finally, Hilton Honors lets you redeem for four nights and get the fifth night free. That can increase the value of your points by another 25%.
Perks like these are available from many loyalty programs, not just Hilton Honors. I thought it worth bringing up because you can see even for an offer that didn’t look appealing on its surface is potentially much more valuable when used in the right circumstances.