Award Travel Guide
Award Travel Guide

Award Traveler's Guide to Hilton (1): Hilton Brands and Its Membership Tiers

Hilton is one of the biggest brands you should definitely know if you want to experience some of the most luxury hotels! There are quite a few insight included in this article that you'll regret if you miss it. We've separated this Hilton guide into three part, and it's just the first one - Hilton Brands and Its Membership Tiers. Now let's get started! 

Introduction 

Hilton has more than 5000 hotels in over 100 different countries, that number certainly made me gasp, it basically means that there’s a big chance you’ll run into a Hilton property no matter where you are in the world. Due to an overhaul of award categories, it’s loyalty program, “Hilton Honors” has become less attractive over the last few years, but you can’t deny the attraction of its various brands. “Take me to the Hilton” was on my 18th birthday wish list and remains subliminally positioned as the ultimate place where one wants to be. So you’d better keep your account balance active and accruing points! You’re about to know the perks of Hilton Honors and in terms of earning and redeeming points!

Hilton Conrad Maldives Water Villa Review - Hilton Brands and Its Membership Tiers

Hilton Brand Collection 

Here comes my favorite part, like the Marriott or Hyatt guides we’ve covered, Hilton offers options from the high-end to low-end for budget-savers to the “Make it Rain” types. So let’s see what are the iconic features of each level! We’ve sorted Hilton’s 14 hotels brands into 5 categories: 

  • Ultimate Luxury
  • Upper Scale
  • Upscale
  • Midscale
  • Timeshares 

1. Ultimate Luxury 

It’s Ultimate Luxury choices includes two brands: 

  • Waldorf Astoria 
  • Conrad Hotels and Resorts 

Don’t tell me either The Waldorf Astoria or  Conrad isn’t your dream. Every time I close my eyes, memories of my breathtaking and heavenly stay at Conrad Koh Samui overflow me. The seemingly ultimate private pool and heart-stopping sunset had me at hello. If Waldorf Astoria is Hilton’s more traditional luxury brand, Conrad is its cooler, hipper little sister. Think of it as the Hilton parallel to JW Marriott, for example. We think they’ve been working hard to emphasize the “local”-ness of its properties, and my heart certainly yearns for another trip to one of Conrad’s properties!

Conrad Hotel Reviews on AwardTravel.com:
1.
Review: Conrad Maldives Overwater Villas [Hilton]
2.
Hilton Conrad Maldives Water Villa Review
Superior Overwater Villa at Conrad Maldives Overwater Villas - Hilton Brands and Its Membership Tiers

2. Upper Scale 

Upper Scale includes three brands:

  • Hilton 
  • Curio A Collection by Hilton 
  • Embassy Suites by Hilton 

As its peers are doing, Hilton continues defining what the full-service hotels of tomorrow will look like. The company has invested plenty into its digital offerings related to this brand, and those investments seem to be paying off. 
Though Curio A Collection can’t really parallel with Marriott’s Autograph Collection, its emphasis on local discovery and one-of-a-kind experiences certainly is doing better job than Starwood’s Tribute Portfolio. 
As for Embassy Suites, one of the biggest traits is cooked-to-order breakfast, but I suppose it should use a bit more character and branding to make it more appealing than suites and free breakfasts. 

Hilton Hotel Review on AwardTravel.com:
1.
Review: Hilton Malta
View from the Executive Lounge, Hilton Malta - Hilton Brands and Its Membership Tiers

3. Upscale

It’s Upscale offerings include five brands:

  • Canopy by Hilton 
  • DoubleTree by Hilton 
  • Hilton Garden Inn 
  • Homewood Suites by Hilton  
  • Tapestry Collection by Hilton

Canopy had it’s debut in Iceland 2016, not much to say with its limited number, but the “redefined lifestyle” is worthy of trying, so far so good I’d say. 
DoubleTree aims to provide warm, comfortable, and friendly services, sounds a bit humdrum? It’s not the sexiest hotel brand but it’s reliable, and who won’t fall for their “famous” warm chocolate-chip cookies that greet guests when checking in? 
Hilton Garden Inn is one of Hilton’s biggest brands, representing a 12.4 percent of its entire portfolio, but folks are no longer suffice with free Wi-Fi, which should be a basic amenity nowadays, it really has to push harder for improvement. 
Homewood Suites by Hilton are for those who seek home-like accommodations while being miles away from home. But thinking it can beat out Airbnb or HomeAway? Hilton has its work cut out for them. 
Tapestry Collection is Hilton’s youngest brother, joined not long ago. Only time will tell how far can it go!

4. Midscale 

Hilton’s Midscale options includes three brands:

  • Hampton by Hilton 
  • Home 2 Suites by Hilton 
  • Tru by Hilton 

In its iconic “Hamptonality” style, Hampton is certainly ubiquitous, but what personality does it got? Free hot breakfast and Wi-Fi don’t count. 
But if you’re looking for traditional hotel and suite accommodations, Hampton Inn & Suites is right here for you! Home2 Suites is comfy, stylish and savvy, they even have a pet-friendly policy! It’s a more budget-friendly version of Hilton’s Homewood Suites, Home2 Suites definitely fills its niche as a value-driven extended stay brand. 
Tru by Hilton is around two years old by now, you can say it’s Hilton’s first attempt of a modern hostel. This brand is wallet- and Millennial-friendly, which should bode well for its success.

 5. Timeshares 

Timeshares includes one brand: 

  • Hilton Grand Vacations 

Timeshares is the old-school output of the 20th century, no one really does it anymore, and even if they do, not quite successful if you ask me. So… Hilton might need to overhaul this one or at least make its character more attracting. 

Hilton Brands - Hilton Brands and Its Membership Tiers

What is Hilton Honors 

Hilton Honors might not be the hottest earn-and-redeem option compared with Marriott, but there’s no harm learning more about it right? Guess what, it was the first hotel program to offer both points and air miles! OK, time to cut to the chase. 

1. Hilton Membership Tiers 

It’s a four-tier elite structure: Member, Silver, Gold and Diamond. Below are the details of benefits you can earn. But, insights first, basically Hilton Honors Gold is considered a “status sweet spot” because it offers the prized benefit of continental breakfast at most of their full-service properties. If your lucky, some hotels will generously upgrade the complimentary breakfast to a full hot one. Besides, hotels with Executive Lounges sometimes upgrade Gold members to the Executive floor, where they can enjoy breakfast and often evening drinks and snacks. Lounge access is not guaranteed, and Gold members must receive a room upgrade, which is subject to availability and decision by the specific hotel.As for Hilton Honors Diamond, it’s like a small upgraded version of the Gold, so Gold should be sufficient for the majority.

Hilton Status - Hilton Brands and Its Membership Tiers

Basic membership is given to anyone who signs up for the Honors program. For being a completely free status, unlike Hyatt’s base membership, it actually offers a couple of decent benefits. You get:

  • Free standard internet in your room and the lobby
  • 10 points per $1 USD Spent on Stays
  • Late checkouts
  • 2nd guest stays free at hotels that charge extra for adding guests

Silver membership is earned after 4 stays or 10 nights in a calendar year. Silver members receive:

  • All member benefits, plus 
  • 12 points per $1 USD Spent on Stays
  • 5th night free on standard room when booking a reward stay of five nights or more using all Points.

Gold membership is earned after 20 stays, 40 nights or 75,000 base points earned in a calendar year. In addition to Silver benefits, Gold members receive:

  • 18 points per $1 USD Spent on Stays
  • Continental breakfast at most full-service properties
  • Room upgrades (subject to availability)
  • My Way Gold Membership hotel benefits

Diamond membership is earned after 30 stays, 60 nights or 120,000 base points earned in a calendar year. In addition to Gold benefits, Diamond members receive:

  • 20 points per $1 USD Spent on Stays
  • A guaranteed room when making a reservation 48 hours in advance
  • My Way Diamond Membership Hotel benefits
  • Executive Lounge access at Hilton, Conrad and DoubleTree properties (regardless of room types)
  • One-year Diamond status Extension 
Perks of the Statuses

2. How much are Hilton Points Worth?

As we know, the value of points for any loyalty program depends on how the points are used. In a pure-revenue-based program, the value of points is almost always fixed; in category-based programs, the value is variable because the cash rate depends largely on the date/season and room availability, while the award rate depends on the category. In Hilton Honors, we used historical data from Pointimize to determine the value for all major hotel points, and the estimated value for Hilton Honors points for its categories is listed below. I’m sure most of you already know, the lower the category, the better the redemption rate. (This statement is consistent with the result we analyzed from Hyatt Point). Category 1’s median is 1.12 cpp, which is even above the double of other medians in general.In case this report is too complicated to you, or TL;DR, just take this away: the less the category, the better the deal when booking Hilton Honors’ hotels by points, as the amount you are redeeming are relatively small.

Hilton Honors cpp Median by Category – Hilton Honors Points Valuation Report

Whoop, time to take a break, you've come a long way! This is just the first part of the Hilton Guide, two more to come, be patient! In the next two articles you'll know how to earn and redeem points at your best interests. Stay tuned! Goodies always lie at the end.


Have you ever earned or used World of Hyatt points? Share with us your experience. More travel inspirations at @awardtravel. If you would like to share your travel ideas or experience with more people, please send us a message at [email protected]

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