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I bet I know exactly what comes into your mind when I ask the question “which hotel program is best for transferring bank points to.” The majority of people would hedge their bet on transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards to Hyatt.

While the Chase to Hyatt option is a great choice, many people overlook transferring Membership Rewards to hotels. The typical mantra is that Membership Rewards are for flights.

I’m here to tell you, if you’re reserving your Membership Rewards just for flights, you’re missing out on one of the best hotel opportunities out there: Hilton Hotels.

Let’s take a look at why transferring Membership Rewards to Hilton Hotels makes a ton of sense, and should be considered by any points and miles enthusiast out there.

Membership Rewards Transfer Ratio to Hilton

For starters, the biggest thing to pay attention to is the transfer ratio between Membership Rewards and Hilton.

Under normal circumstances, you can get 2,000 Hilton Honors points whenever you transfer 1,000 Membership Rewards. While the ratio isn’t everything, the 2 for 1 definitely beats what you get from other programs, such as Chase to Hyatt.

Occasionally, Amex offers a transfer bonus where you can receive 3,000 Hilton Honors points whenever you transfer 1,000 Membership Rewards. This transfer ratio tends to come around two to three times a year, so keep an eye out for it before transferring your points.

Comparing the transfer ratio to Hilton with others, it’s clear that you get more Hilton Points for every transferable point sent to other hotel programs. Chase transfers 1:1 for both Hyatt and Marriott. Amex transfers 1:1 to Marriott and 1:1 to Choice Hotels.

Keep in mind that not all points are created equal, but when transfer ratios aren’t the same, it can create disparity in the real value of different programs that may not be apparent on the surface. Let’s take a look at what makes transferring Membership Rewards to Hilton such a huge win.

The Point Requirements of Hilton Hotels

The reason many people look to Hyatt Hotels as the ultimate transfer partner is because of their low award rates. Category 1 Hyatt Hotels start at 5,000 points and go all the way up to 40,000 points per night for top-tier Category 8 Hotels. For comparison sake, I’ll exclude specialty properties like the Hyatt all inclusives and Miraval that have their own unique award charts.

Although Hilton doesn’t have an outright award chart, we know that the cheapest Hilton properties cost only 5,000 points per night while the most expensive cost 95,000.

Technically there is the Waldorf Astoria Maldives that costs 125,000 per night, but like the Hyatt properties that deviate from the regular chart, I’ll exclude the Waldorf Maldives as well for the same reason.

On the surface, 95,000 points is obviously more than 40,000. But if you’re transferring points, you have to take into account the transfer ratios. The standard ratio for Chase to Hyatt is 1:1, so you’d transfer 40,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards to receive 40,000 World of Hyatt Points. However, the standard transfer ratio of Amex Membership Rewards to Hilton is 1,000:2,000, meaning you’d need to transfer 48,000 Membership Rewards to Hilton.

When you get into the lower categories, it gets even more compelling. You’d only need to transfer 3,000 Membership Rewards to Hilton to book the lowest point hotels, whereas you’d need to transfer 5,000 Chase to Hyatt.

Program

Lowest Category Points Needed

Amount of Points Needed to Transfer

Highest Category Points Needed

Amount of Points Needed to Transfer

Hyatt

5,000

5,000

40,000

40,000

Hilton

5,000

3,000

95,000

48,000

Point Transfers Needed Using Standard Transfer Ratios

And that’s simply at the standard transfer rate. If you’re transferring during a promotional period where you can get 3,000 Hilton points for every 1,000 Membership Rewards transferred, the comparison gets even better. For a top-tier Hilton now you’d only need to transfer 32,000 Membership Rewards, and only 2,000 for the lowest price Hilton Hotel. During a promotional transfer period, Hilton beats out Hyatt on the amount of transferable points needed.

Program

Lowest Category Points Needed

Amount of Points Needed to Transfer

Highest Category Points Needed

Amount of Points Needed to Transfer

Hyatt

5,000

5,000

40,000

40,000

Hilton

5,000

2,000

95,000

32,000

Point Transfers Needed During a Promotional Period

As you can see, outside of a standard promotional period, it makes more sense to look to Hilton rather than Hyatt for lower tier hotels. When you get into higher tier hotels, transferring Chase to Hyatt makes more sense, but only when Amex is not offering an elevated transfer ratio. If Amex is offering a 3:1 ratio, it will make more sense to transfer Membership Rewards to Hilton.

However, this is really only comparing for a single night stay. If you’re looking to take a trip, you’re likely looking for more than just one night in a hotel. How does staying multiple nights impact things?

Stacking with Hilton’s Fifth Night Free

When you’re looking to stay longer, you have to take into consideration the benefits of each hotel  program. Hilton has 4 status tiers in its award program: Member, Silver, Gold, and Diamond. If you’re at least Hilton Silver, you get your fifth night free on award stays.

Rather than compare an individual night, let’s now compare how many points you would need to transfer to stay 5 nights at a low and high category Hyatt vs a low and high category Hilton.

Before continuing, it is important to understand how Hilton’s fifth night free works. One of the downsides of the Hilton program is that the points needed per night can change depending on demand.

For example, if you’re traveling to Rio de Janeiro during Carnival, you may expect to pay a few more points per night than during the regular travel season. If the points needed per night varies, Hilton will take the average cost of all 5 nights and deduct that amount from the total number of points needed.

For simplicity sake, I’m going to assume the points cost is the same across each night. This can vary, but typically when you see different pricing it is over a few weeks time, rather than one night here and there.

Utilizing the fifth night free benefit, to stay 5 nights at the lowest category hotel, you’d need 20,000 points. For the highest category Hilton, you’d need 380,000 points. Transferring Membership Rewards at a standard rate means you’d need to transfer 10,000 points for the lowest category and 190,000 for the highest category. If you’re transferring during a promotional period, you’d only need to transfer 7,000 points for the lowest category and 127,000 for the highest category.

Program

Lowest Category Points Needed

Amount of Points Needed to Transfer

Highest Category Points Needed

Amount of Points Needed to Transfer

Hyatt

25,000

25,000

200,000

200,000

Hilton

20,000

10,000

380,000

190,000

You’ll Always Use Less Points With Hilton’s 5th Night Free Program

Comparing this to Hyatt, 5 nights at a category 1 hotel will require 25,000 points whereas a Category 8 would need 200,000 points. These transfer only 1:1 from Chase, meaning you’d need to transfer 25,000 and 200,000 points respectively. Even without a promotion, you’d need to transfer less Membership Rewards to Hilton than UR to Chase if you’re booking 5 nights.

Program

Lowest Category Points Needed

Amount of Points Needed to Transfer

Highest Category Points Needed

Amount of Points Needed to Transfer

Hyatt

25,000

25,000

200,000

200,000

Hilton

20,000

7,000

380,000

127,000

You’ll Transfer Even Less Points to Hilton During a Promotional Transfer Period

If you’re comparing a promotional transfer period, things get even better. For 5 nights at a low tier Hilton you’d only need to transfer 7,000 Membership Rewards to Hilton vs 25,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards to Hyatt. If you’re comparing top tier hotels, a 5 night stay at a Hilton would only require 127,000 Membership Rewards vs 200,000 Ultimate Rewards for a Hyatt.

When comparing points needed per night and taking into account reward program perks, such as a 5th night free and a favorable transfer ratio, we can see that the real king of hotel programs is Hilton Honors, not World of Hyatt.

Hilton has one of the Largest Hotel Portfolios

To add more favorability to Hilton over its competitor, Hyatt, you have to consider the available hotels as well. Worldwide, Hilton has 6,125 properties that you can choose from. Comparatively, even with its many recent acquisitions, Hyatt only has 900 properties worldwide.

What does this mean for you as a traveler? Well you can look at it one of two ways.

One the one hand, you’re much more likely to find a Hilton than a Hyatt wherever you’re traveling.

The opposite way to look at it is there are many more HIltons in places you won’t likely be traveling too. There’s a Hilton hotel in Longview, Texas, but I doubt many of you are planning a getaway to Longview.

Most major destinations that you would travel to will have both a Hilton and a Hyatt. Bali, Paris, etc all have both hotel footprints there, but you may find more options in Hilton vs Hyatt. That isn’t always the case, but it makes for a compelling reason. You’re unlikely to find a destination where there’s a Hyatt but no Hilton, but the opposite is less likely to be true.

The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on the Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

LEARN MORE 

Hilton Diamond Status is Significantly Easier to Obtain than Hyatt Globalist

When comparing all the benefits, it’s important to compare which hotel program is easier to obtain status with for the best perks while traveling.

Hyatt Globalist takes some serious work (although, for the next 2 years you can earn Hyatt Globalist a bit easier than usual) – you can’t get it from a credit card. The best you can do is Discoverist, but you’ll still need 60 elite nights to earn Globalist. Without Globalist, don’t expect free breakfast at every Hyatt property or good room upgrades. At best you’ll get a free bottle of water at check in.

For comparison, Hilton Diamond is relatively easy to obtain. You can get it simply by having the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card. Yes, the card does come with a hefty $450 annual fee, but if you’re going to be staying in Hilton Hotels frequently it can be worth it.

Hilton Diamond will entitle you to suite upgrades, including premium suites, along with free breakfast. Free breakfast can add up, especially at expensive destinations such as the Maldives. Saving money and spending fewer points is a win-win.

Final Thoughts

It’s time we change the narrative that the only worthwhile program to transfer points to is Hyatt. Instead, it is time we recognize the real winner for the best hotel program to transfer points to: Hilton.

When you consider the transfer ratios, the fifth night free, and the numerous other benefits that you can get from easy top tier status with Hilton, it is easy to see why transferring Membership Rewards to Hilton can be more beneficial than transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards to Hyatt.

Add in Hilton’s portfolio that is about 6 times as large as Hyatt’s, and you may reconsider whether or not you should be looking to stay at a Hyatt or stay at a Hilton. After all, no matter where you are, the fewer points you spend, the more you can travel and  enjoy.

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