My Frustrating Experience Buying Hilton Points (14-24 Hour Turnaround Time)

Good afternoon everyone.  Gather around, I have a story to tell.  I needed to book a 5 night stay for an upcoming trip and I decided to book a Hilton Garden Inn.  Hilton has a 5th Night Free feature that is part of their loyalty program – “When you book a standard room reward stay, every fifth night is free.”  The total price for the first 4 nights came to 274,000 points (and the 5th night was 0 points).  At the time, I had a little more than 174,000 points, so I went to the Hilton Buy Points page since they are currently running a 100% bonus promo.  I purchased 50,000 points for $500 and received 50,000 bonus points for free.  I expected the points to be deposited to my account immediately after purchase and I would complete my 5th Night Free hotel reservation.  Unfortunately, I learned that when you buy Hilton points, the points do not post to your account instantly.  Read on to hear more about my ordeal…

I had a $300 Visa Gift Card from a Quill / Chase Offer, so I did a $300 purchase for 30,00 points + 30,000 bonus points.  I then made another $200 purchase for 20,00 points + 20,000 bonus points.  After spending $500, I would receive a total of 100,000 points.  As you can see by the email timestamps, the first order was placed at 9:00pm on 8/23 and the second order was placed at 9:08pm on 8/23.  I refreshed my Hilton account a few times that night, but the points didn’t show up.

I then went back to the Hilton Buy Points page and scrolled down to read the terms and conditions.  In the terms, it says, “Points will be posted to the recipients Hilton Honors account within 48 hours of the completed transaction.”  48 hours?! I can’t wait that long!

The next day, I received an email that the first batch of points posted to my account at 11:12am on 8/24 (roughly 14 hours after my purchase).  2 hours later, I received another email that the second batch of points posted to my account at 1:15pm on 8/24 (roughly 16 hours after my purchase).

Unfortunately, due to the delay, the price of the hotel increased.  The total price for the first 4 nights increased to 280,000 points (and the 5th night was still 0 points).  Since I was 6,000 points short, I went back to the Hilton Buy Points page.  To get the 100% bonus, you have to purchase at least 5,000 points, so I bought 5,000 points for $50 and received 5,000 bonus points.  As you can see by the email timestamps, my third order was placed at 10:48am on 8/24 and I received an email that the third batch of points posted to my account at 10:12am on 8/25 (roughly 24 hours after my purchase).

I logged into my Hilton account and went to the Activity Page and saw all the points I purchased.  My Hilton account now had 284,543 points.

I then went through the process of booking the 5 night stay for 280,000 points.  Finally, I was done.

I’m frustrated at Hilton for 2 reasons.  I wish Hilton would process the buy points transactions right away, there is no reason for it to take 14-24 hours for the points to post to my account.  Secondly, due to the delay, the price of the hotel stay went up 6,000 points, costing me an additional $30 in points.  If I had to buy all 280,000 points for $1,400, I would still come out ahead by close to $1,000 vs. what the cash price of the hotel would have been.  All in all, I still got a good deal, I just wish the process were simpler and faster.

After dealing with this issue, I will set my expectations accordingly for next time by assuming that all future Hilton buy points purchases will take about 24 hours to process.  This is good to know in case I ever need a last minute hotel stay and I don’t have enough Hilton points – don’t count on Hilton points being available right away.  I will also add in an additional 10,000 point buffer to the number of points I need just in case the price of a hotel night increases.

If you have any questions about buying Hilton Points, please leave a comment below.  Have a great day everyone!

14 thoughts on “My Frustrating Experience Buying Hilton Points (14-24 Hour Turnaround Time)

  1. Danny

    Oh man that sounds like a total nightmare. I am so sorry you had to go through that.

    I think when you’ve been in points long enough, stuff like this happens. For me recently I was transferring points to get a deal but the transfer is two days also.

    Out of curiosity, how much was the nightly rate at the Hilton Garden Inn?

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      Sorry your transfer took so long, that’s frustrating too!

      The HGI ranged from $280-$450 per night, I believe when I last checked.

      Reply
  2. Carl WV

    Although it would be nice, I don’t assume anything will be instant (except the deduction when you redeem points). Some would look at it as they said it could take 48 hours, and it only took a third of that time.

    A question… Can you reserve initially with a credit card & then change the payment method to points (thereby locking in point value)? With Hilton or anybody?

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      Hey Carl, that’s definitely a glass half full kind of perspective :)

      I don’t believe there is any way to lock in the points price unless you book with points. I can’t think of any hotel program that offers that feature. I know you can change between cash and points, but the price readjusts every time based on the current price.

      Reply
  3. Ty

    Sorry Grant! Thanks for sharing. I was super nervous when I bought points, and I read something about adding the payment method to your Hilton Honors Profile might help or something so I added my Hilton AMEX and then used that same card to buy the points and thankfully it posted instantly. Guess I got lucky!

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      Hi Ty, thanks for sharing your experience. I didn’t try to use my AMEX Hilton CC since that earns 3x HH vs 2x MR on my BBP. I got the text alerts that the charges went through right away, but I guess I wasn’t lucky enough to get the points right away.

      Reply
  4. Lori L.

    I also can’t understand why I can’t see the entire post in my feedly without having to click read more. Most every other site can manage the full rss feed, but in this day and age some sites still can’t.

    Reply
  5. harv

    You can transfer MR to Hilton points currently at I MR for 2 Hilton points. Was buying points cheaper than transferrring MR to Hilton points?

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      Hi Harv, with the 100% Hilton Points bonus, I was buying Hilton points for 0.5 CPP. I value AMEX MR Points around 1.5 CPP, so I think buying points was a better deal than converting points 1:2 from AMEX.

      Reply
  6. Danny

    I wish more places would allow you to put it on hold for a day or two. The AA policy of 2 days or 5 day holds is really just awesome when you’re trying to gather points together.

    Reply
  7. Myi

    Interesting experience I must say. Always happens when you need it, it’s delayed a few hours. And then when you don’t need it, it ends up posting instantly to your account.
    I guess I should be thankful for my points posting right away, though it was with Marriott Bonvoy.
    I had booked 2 night at a Marriott Hotel with award points, as points used for the booking came out cheaper than the cash rate, with the bonus when buying points, so a no brainer for that. And wasn’t worth transferring from Amex or chase.
    Now after two nights I decided to stay at the same hotel for another 3 night. Making my stay a 5 night stay, which would give me the 5th award night free, I didn’t realize you have to book one consecutive stay and not add on to your existing stay as that wouldn’t trigger the 5th night free.
    But against all odds I ended up getting the last 3 nights free, versus just the 5th night. Don’t ask how, about I’m happy for that.

    Now on the reverse side of the coin, When calling and making sure that I have enough points to book the rest of my stay I had to load up my account so I can potentially book the other 3 nights with awards. Even opened up an Amex MB card for $450 hoping I can make use of that card, and hoping a point purchase would trigger the $300, as I need to spend a bit more while buying points.
    So all in all, the points posted right away but ended up buying from points that I never ended up using because they added 3 extra nights for me for free.

    I got an email about your post, Caught my eye since I just purchased points and was curious to know how I went with a different company, I ended up opening it in the browser but I didn’t have a chance to read it until 2 days later. Wink!
    Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      Thanks for sharing your experience buying Marriott Bonvoy points. Pretty crazy that you got 3 free nights at Marriott, I wish that error will happen to me too someday :)

      Reply

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