Hilton HHonors program allows you Double Dip, which means that you can earn BOTH Hilton HHonors points and airline miles from your Hilton family of hotel stays. This feature of the program is not very well known and it is somewhat difficult to understand.
You have basically FOUR earnings options with Hilton HHonors:
Points (base points)
You will always earn Hilton HHonors base points regardless which one of the following three Double Dip options you choose.
The number of base points you earn is 10 points per eligible dollar spent that includes incidentals. This applies to all other Hilton family of hotels brands besides the three outlined below.
At Hampton Inn and Homewood Suites locations you only earn base (10 per dollar) points on the actual room rate as incidentals do not count.
At Home2 Suites locations you only earn 5 base points per dollar on room rate and incidentals do not count.
Points & Points
Points & Points Double Dip option allows you to earn additional 5 Hilton HHonors points per eligible dollar spent on your room. At Home2 Suites locations this is additional 2.5 Hilton HHonors points.
Points & Variable Miles
Points & Variable Miles Double Dip option allows you to earn airline miles instead of bonus Hilton HHonors points. With most Variable Miles program partners, you will earn 1 mile/point per eligible dollar spent on room rate. This is in addition to the base points.
Note that there are exceptions to the number of points/miles earned per dollar spent depending of the partner and you won’t necessarily earn anything at Home2 Suites locations.
Points & Fixed Miles
Points & Fixed Miles Double Dip option earns you a fixed number of partner miles or points per stay. With most programs, the number of miles/points you earn is 500 per stay at full service hotels and 100 per stay at Hampton Inn, Homewood Suites and Home2 Suites locations.
Note that there are some exceptions here as well.
You earn 1000 Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles per stay instead of 500.
Finnair allows you to earn 500 Plus Points per night for up to five nights at all other locations besides Home2 Suites. Five night stay at Hampton Inn hotel would earn you 2500 Finnair Plus points or 100 American Airlines miles.
Which option to choose?
It is really difficult to say as there really isn’t an answer that would be perfect for everybody.
For relatively inexpensive stays, it makes sense to have Virgin Atlantic as your fixed miles partner as you can transfer the miles back to Hilton HHonors. You earn 1000 miles per stay that translates to 2000 Hilton points. You can read more about this strategy here.
If you really prefer earning airline miles, you need to do calculate the best option for each of your stay. How much would you earn under the fixed miles option compared to variable miles? This depends of the Hilton hotel brand and the airline in question. There are also airlines that don’t participate to variable miles like Finnair and Korean Air, but do for fixed ones.
If you use your Hilton HHonors points wisely, you should always choose Points + Points option for expensive stays.
Airline related promotions
Hilton often runs airline specific promotions for double or triple miles. This can change the value proposition and you should evaluate your earning strategy accordingly.
Airlines sometimes have promotions for partner activity bonuses. You should consider these as well.
Changing earning preference
Make sure that you know what your current choice is. Hilton chooses Points + Points by default account option.
Changing your earning style is quite difficult to find on the revamped website.
You first have to log in
Then click My Account
Then click My Preferences
Then you have to scroll down to “Myway Earning Style Preferences” and click “Change Earning Style”
Then you have some sort of a Pop over with the three choices that you have to choose from
Make sure that you click “Send an email confirming my choice” to make sure that you have something in writing that you have made a choice.
Changing the partner
On the account preferences you have a list of travel partners that you have previously used. You can choose one to be your preferred partner at a time.
Changing the option from stay to stay
Here it can become quite messy if you have back to back stays at different Hilton hotels. The preferences that you have in place at the time of doing the reservation do not matter. The choices that you have on file with the Hilton HHonors on the midnight the day of checkout do, however. You have to be very careful with this IF you would prefer switching between options.
Here’s the current list of Variable Miles partners:
Here’s the current list of Fixed Miles partners:
Note that KingFisher, Mexicana and BMI are all gone, but still listed as partners.
If you want to maximize the earning of miles and points out from your Hilton stays, you should follow the airline related bonus offers that Hilton puts out there and switch between earning preferences accordingly. I cover all Hilton HHonors related promotions here on LoyaltyLobby.
If you always stay at full service properties and folio is less than $400, you will most likely earn most with Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, as you can always move the miles back to Hilton HHonors at the rate of 1 mile = 2 points.
For those that are not that interested in following all the promotions very closely, just choosing the vanilla Points + Points options is probably the wisest thing to do.