Good morning everyone, happy Monday! I had a great time in Minneapolis this past weekend at Frequent Traveler University (FTU) Advanced. I enjoyed catching up with old friends, meeting readers, and networking with fellow travel hackers. If you missed FTU, the next travel conference I will be at (and speaking at) is Chicago Seminars, on October 20-22.
Last week, I wanted to book a 5 night Hilton stay, but I only had enough Hilton Honors Points to cover the first night. I could have booked the first night and then racked up the remaining Hilton Honors Points over the next several months to book the rest of the nights, but I wanted to take advantage of Hilton’s 5th Night Free feature, where when you book a stay of 5 nights or longer, you do not need to pay points for the 5th night. I reached out to my travel hacker friends on Facebook and Twitter and asked if someone would let me borrow 91,000 Hilton Honors Points so I could book the 5 night stay. Luckily, 1 of my friends agreed to help me out and we were able to test out Hilton’s new point pooling feature. Here is how you can pool Hilton Honor Points into 1 Hilton account.
As you can see, I only had 69,365 Hilton Honors Points, but I was short 90,635 Hilton Honors Points needed to book a 5 night stay that cost 160,000 Hilton Honors Points. Rates were 40,000 Hilton Honors Points per night, but since the 5th night was free, I only needed to pay 160,000 Hilton Honors Points (4 x 40,000 = 160,000). To get started pooling Hilton Honors Points, sign into your Hilton account and click on More Ways to Use Points under the My Points section on the left side on the page.
Then click the Pool Points link under the Pool Points header.
On this page, you can enter the names and email addresses of up to 10 people who you want to pool Hilton Honors Points with. The person who wants the Hilton Honors Points in their account (aka Pool President), is the one who should fill out the form. According to the Hilton Honors Points Pooling FAQ page, “a member can transfer a minimum of 1,000 Points and a maximum of 500,000 Points into a pool in a calendar year. A member can receive up to 2 million Points in a calendar year.” All Hilton Honors Point pooling transactions are instant, free, and processed by Points.com.
After you send out the Hilton Honors Points pooling invitations, the Pool President will receive the following email from Hilton.
The Hilton Honors Points pool sharer (aka Pool Sharer) will receive the following email from Hilton. The sharer then clicks the link in the email and signs into their Hilton account.
As you can see, the Point Sharer has 101,078 Hilton Honors Points. The Point Sharer then selects the number of Hilton Honors Points they want to share from the drop down menu, in 1,000 point increments. The Pool President’s Hilton account name and email address are automatically displayed below. Double check that the number of Hilton Honors Points and the name are correct, then click the Submit button.
You have one more chance to double check the number of Hilton Honors Points you are sharing before you click the Transfer Points button.
Congratulations, the Hilton Honors Points pooling / transferring / sharing transaction is complete.
The Pool Sharer’s Hilton account balance will now reflect their new Hilton Honors Points balance. You may need to sign out and sign back in to see the new Hilton Honors Points activity. If that still doesn’t work, wait up to 24 hours for your account activity to refresh.
The Pool Sharer will also receive the following email from Hilton.
Simultaneously, the Pool President’s Hilton account will now reflect their new Hilton Honors Points balance. You may need to sign out and sign back in to see your new account activity. If that still doesn’t work, wait up to 24 hours for your account activity to refresh. Even if your Hilton account does not reflect the new Hilton Honors Points activity, you can still redeem your new Hilton Honors Points.
The Pool President will also receive the following email from Hilton.
After the Hilton Honors Points pool transaction was complete, I was able to book my 5 night Hilton stay for 160,000 Hilton Honors Points. After all is said and done, I have less than 1,000 Hilton Honors Points in my Hilton account right now. I will work on earning 91,000 Hilton Honors Points through credit card spend and upcoming stays and then I can send the Hilton Honors Points back to my friend.
For completeness, here is the current Points Pooling FAQs section (as of June 12, 2017):
What is Points Pooling?
Points Pooling will allow Hilton Honors Members to combine their Points with family and friends to book a stay. With this perk, a Member (and up to 10 others) will now be able to combine their Points. For example, if a group of friends are taking a trip together and individually don’t have enough Points to cover their entire stay, they will now be able to combine their Points, free of charge, into one account to unlock new redemption opportunities.
Is there a fee to participate in the Points Pooling program?
No, there is no fee to participate in Points Pooling.
How many people can contribute to Points Pooling?
A total of 11 Hilton Honors Members can pool their Points together. One Member initiates the pooling and up to 10 other Members can contribute.
Do I need to create a new “pooled” account?
No. Members can use their existing account.
How many Points Pools can I be in?
There is no limit on the number of pools a member can be in at a given time.
Can you use Pooled Points for just room rates or can it be used for non-room rewards including shopping and experiences?
Yes, once Points are pooled, they can be used for any room or non-room reward product, including the experiences available on the Hilton Honors auction platform, Hilton Honors Shopping Mall and any other non-room reward products.
Can you combine Pooled Points with money?
Once Points are pooled they can be used for any room reward product, including a Points & Money Rewards™ reward reservation.
What is the minimum/maximum number of Points that can be pooled?
A Member can transfer a minimum of 1,000 Points and a maximum of 500,000 Points into a pool in a calendar year. A Member can receive up to 2 million Points in a calendar year.
Are there particular qualifications you must meet to be able to pool Points?
To use Points Pooling, you must be an active Member, be in the program for 30 days, and have a minimum Points balance of 1,000 Points.
When will Points Pooling be available?
Points Pooling is now available. Start pooling your Hilton Honors Points here.
When will the Points be shown in the other Member’s account and be ready for use?
The transferred or pooled Points will be available for use at the time of transfer, but please allow up to 24 hours for pooled Points to show up when you log in to your account.
Where and how do I Points Pool once I have a group of Members that want to combine Points?
All Points Pooling activities will be transacted online via HiltonHonors.com.
Where do I go to transfer my Points to the Points Pool initiator?
The Points contributor must access the transfer page through the Points Pool invitation email sent on behalf of the Points Pool initiator.
What’s the difference between Points Pooling and Points Transfer?
Points Transfer is a 1:1 transaction, while Points Pooling allows for combining Hilton Honors Points with up to 10 other people (11 including yourself).
After I send Points to a friend for Pooling, what happens if he/she cancels the trip? How can I get my Points back?
If your friend has to cancel his/her trip, he/she can simply transfer the Points back to your account for free.
If you have any questions about pooling Hilton Honors Points, please leave a comment below. Have a great day everyone!