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I'm going to taking a trip next week where I've booked a room with rewards points. When I look at it some more though, I'm starting to think that it might make more sense to use Hilton's Points and Cash option since the room is normally 20,000 points but would be 8,000 points + $40 otherwise. At the same time, I'm one stay away from moving up to the next level of elite status and I'd like to do that before a trip I have planned later in the year so I have a shot at an upgrade there.

My question is: if I stay with Points and Cash, does that still earn an elite status stay credit or is that only if I pay for the room entirely with cash?

  • Somehow my dyslexia made me think this was a question about Paris Hilton. – Flimzy Aug 14 '14 at 22:41
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You've stated that your main interest is status. Good news here, all Hilton stays booked through Hilton (Hilton website, Hilton HHonors call centre, hotel themselves etc) qualify for nights and stay credit. Doesn't matter if it's a money (cash) booking, reward (points) booking, or points+cash booking, all will count towards status by nights or stays.

It's largely only bookings made through third parties (eg OTAs) that won't count. As a general rule, if you book it with Hilton themselves it counts, if you book elsewhere it won't. (Exact rules are a little more complicated, as there are some edge cases, see the FlyerTalk HHonors forum for the gory details...)

Speaking of FlyerTalk, there's a Points and Money definitive thread there, which will have all the answers you could ever want, hidden somewhere amid lots of discussion. (That's FlyerTalk for you!)

There's a slight wrinkle on points earning though. While your points+money booking will earn you nights and stay credit, it is counted as a reward booking. As such, you can earn points on extras you spend at the hotel (eg restaurant meals, drinks in the bar), but not on the cash portion of the points+money booking. If you were trying to make status on points earning (instead of by nights or by stays) this would be an issue. (See the HHonors site for what those different thresholds are, and the HHonors Terms and Conditions for the full details on what you can and can't earn on)

In summary:

  • Status (stay / nights) credit - yes
  • Points on the cash portion - no
  • Points on extras (food / drinks / etc) - yes
  • Note that there's a catch to be aware of. If you have one reward night (including C+P), and one or more paid nights at the same hotel, then the entire stays is not eligible for points (other than incidentals). eg, have 4 paid nights, followed by 1 free night, and you get no points for any of it. On occasion this isn't enforced, but it normally is. – Doc Aug 15 '14 at 5:52
  • It's a huge pain, yes, has bitten me before :( Only workaround is to do 3 paid nights in your name, 1 paid night in someone else's name, then the C+P night. Tell the hotel what you're doing so you get the same room throughout, but from HHonor's perspective there's then a gap so it's two stays so you get the points for (most of) the first – Gagravarr Aug 15 '14 at 7:48

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