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Reader Questions

Reader Question: How To Keep Hilton HHonors Points Alive For Free

I love getting FFU Reader questions because many times there are other Readers who have similar questions.

Melissa from Portland wrote:

Hey Parag! I have a question that I hope you can answer.

So I got 10,000 Hilton points from that New England Hampton Inn Facebook Promo that went viral last year, and I got 2,500 points from another promo that Hilton was running.

I’ve also got free Hilton Gold Status from the awesome promotion you talked about earlier in the year.  AwardWallet says that my Hilton points are expiring in July, and that I can spend $13 to add 1,000 points to my account and keep my points active.

My question is: Are there any free methods for me to keep my points active so they won’t expire?

First of all I’d like to congratulate Melissa on being proactive and using AwardWallet to keep track of her miles and points.

Unfortunately, most of the Reader emails I get pertaining to how to keep miles / points from expiring are sent after the miles / points have already expired!

Overall, Melissa seems like she is on the right track by using AwardWallet and trying to figure out how to have activity in her Hilton account without spending any money.

Melissa didn’t say in her email when her Hilton points were set to expire, however if they were to expire within the next month, then I would suggest not risking it and just spend the $13 to keep her Hilton Points alive.

Since she originally got the Points for free, having to spend $13 isn’t a bad trade for 13,500 Hilton Points!

If Melissa’s Hilton Points don’t expire for a couple of months, then there are a ton of great free and easy options to generate some activity in her Hilton HHonors account.

Top Guest

TopGuest would be my first suggestion because it is free and easy really to use.

I’ve written about the TopGuest program before but basically for “checking in” at Hilton Properties on Facebook, Twitter, or Foursquare and sharing your status with your online friends, you can earn 50 Hilton HHonors Points per a check-in.

The great thing TopGuest is that you don’t even need to technically be at the property to “check-in”.

I originally got Melissa’s email while I was in Montreal last weekend, so as I was thinking about strategies for Melissa, I remembered TopGuest.

Thinking I better follow my own advice, I simply powered up Foursquare and “checked in” to a near by Hilton and got 50 free Hilton points which should keep my Hilton account active for another year!

This technique can also be used at TopGuest’s other partners including Priority Club (Holiday Inn, Intercontinental, etc), Wyndham, and Virgin America.

United Airlines was at one time a TopGuest partner and you were able to get United Miles for “checking in” at airports but it seems they have since discontinued that program : (

Anyways with TopGuest the points typically post within a week and they will email you every time you earn points, which is nice.

Link To TopGuest

Hilton HHonors Dining

Similar to other Airlines and Hotels, Hilton also has a dining program that you can earn Hilton Points in.

I’ve talked about these dining programs before and how valuable they can be, but what I like most about these dining programs is that once you set them up, you can forget about them and continue to earn miles.

For any these Airline and Hotel dining programs, all you have to do it register your Credit Card with the program of your choice, and then when you use your Credit Card at participating restaurants, you automatically earn Points for your dine. No coupons or anything else is required!

Hilton currently is running a promotion where if you register, dine at a participating restaurant within 30 days and spend $25, and then fill out a quick review online, you earn 1,000 bonus Hilton Points.

If you don’t want to spend $25 or fill out a review, you can also search online for participating quick service delis and simply go in and buy a bag of chips or soda. By simply spending $1, you will earn a few Hilton Points which will keep your Hilton account active.

Link To Hilton Dining Program

eRewards

The final recommendation for Melissa to keep her Hilton HHonors Points alive would be to join eRewards.

eRewards offers “money” for completing online surveys.

They typically email you a couple surveys a week and you earn eRewards “money” for completing them.

The eRewards “money” has no cash value but can be converted into Points or Miles.

For every $25 in eRewards “money” that you earn, you can convert it into 1,000 miles or points for any of the following programs:

  • Hilton
  • United
  • American Airlines
  • Delta
  • Air Tran
  • Priority Club
  • Virgin America
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • Southwest
  • US Airways
  • Etihad
  • Jet Blue
  • Frontier
  • Alaska Airlines
  • Iberia
  • Spirit
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • Emirates
  • AeroMexico
  • Air France / KLM

As you can see, eRewards has a huge variety of transfer partners.

It typically takes about 1 month to earn $25 in “money”, and you can still earn “money” even if you don’t fully complete the surveys.

It then typically takes a couple weeks for eRewards to deposit the miles or points into your frequent flyer account account after you initiate a transfer.

Since there is such a delay in earning and crediting the miles to your frequent flyer account, I’d would suggest that everyone sign up for eRewards today.

That way when you actually need the miles or points to transfer, you will have enough “money” in your eRewards account for when you want to initiate a transfer.

Also for those of you that are planning on partaking in the US Airways Grand Slam Promotion later on this year (if you have no idea what I am talking about, you will find out in the near future), I would also suggest starting to earn some eRewards “money” right now so you can use it as a “hit” in the US Airways Grand Slam Promotion in the Winter.

Link To eRewards

Recap

Anyways I hope this answered Melissa’s question and gave everyone else some great ideas on ways to earn some extra miles / points for free.

While it is easy to pay $13 to extend the life of your miles / points, as you can see it is also fairly easy to do the same thing for free!

While Melissa’s question was specific to the Hilton HHonors Programs, the strategies outlined above can be adapted to almost any Airline of Hotel program in which you have points that are set to expire.

Just remember to start the process early, and not wait until the last minute or all your miles / points might accidentally expire while you wait for the activity to post to your account!

If you have any questions that you would like answered or to be covered in a future post, feel free to email me at FrequentFlyerUniversity@gmail.com!

-Parag

Reader Question: How To Keep United Miles From Expiring

“Hi Frequentflyeruniversity,
In addition to your post I was wondering, I’m thinking of transferring my dad’s miles 21,572 to my account 10,786. If that’s not enough I might get my dad to take out the united credit card that supposedly promises some amount of bonus miles since I’m an unemployed full-time student. I’m going to Europe either way but the miles expire at the end of January and I’d hate to lose them. Keep up the good work”

It’s always great to help new-comers navigate the maze of becoming a frequent flyer. This is a great question because a lot of people wonder about how to keep miles from expiring and how to transfer miles between two people.

Unfortunately, there isn’t any free way to transfer miles from one person’s United account to another without incurring heavy fees (You can transfer from your United to your Continental account for free). When transferring between two people, United and Continental charge $15 per 1,000 miles transferred. I was in a similar situation last year where I needed 10,000 United miles so I could redeem a Business Class flight to India. I ended up transferring the miles from my Mom’s account and paid $150 in transfer fees. While not terribly cheap, in that example spending $150 was the difference between flying in Coach for 15 hours or flying comfortably in Business.

Using United / Continental’s current transfer rates, in your example to transfer those 21,000 miles would cost you about $315. Not really a good deal.

My best advice for your particular situation would be to have your father sign up for either the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card with the 50,000 point bonus after spending $3,000 in 3 months. Those points can be transferred to United or Continental. Once he has all the miles, I would suggest that you book your ticket with his miles.

If the $3,000 spend requirement is a bit much, the other option would be to have your Father sign up for the Continental OnePass Credit Card that offers 25,000 miles after the first purchase and an additional 5,000 miles for adding another card holder. This would bring your total haul to 30,000 miles. Those 30,000 miles combined with your Father’s 21,572 miles will get you 51,572 miles. Since you need 60,000 for a Saver Coach ticket to Europe,  you would then transfer your 10,786 miles from your United account into your Father’s account and pay the $150 in transfer fees. This will get you 61,572 miles! Although there are some fees associated with this second option, it is far cheaper than paying for a ticket out-of-pocket during the peak Summer European travel season. (Side note: I once booked a summer flight to Europe for a friend and it was $1,500 in coach).

In terms of keeping miles from expiring, you just need to have some qualifying activity. If your miles are set to expire at the end of January, I’d just transfer 1,000 miles between you and your Father’s account. Yes, it will cost you $15, but it is better than the alternative of losing all those miles!

Hope that helped!

If anyone else has any travel questions, feel free to email me at FrequentFlyerUniversity@gmail.com or leave a comment!

-Parag