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This is post #3 of a series regarding the Hilton HHonors hotel program.
- Introduction to a new Hilton Credit Card – Citi® Hilton HHonorsTM Reserve Card
- Hilton Credit Card Comparison
- Earning Status with Hilton
- What does Hilton Status Get You?
- Understanding the Double-dip Option
- Utilizing Hilton GLON Awards (GLON awards have been discontinued)
- Utilizing Hilton AXON Awards
- GLON vs. AXON – Which One is Better? (GLON awards have been discontinued)
- Utilizing Hilton’s 5th Night Free Awards
- AXON vs. 5th Night Free Award – Which One is Better?
- Understanding Hilton Cash and Points Redemption
With Hilton you are able to qualify for status three different ways: 1) Number of stays, 2) Number of nights, or 3) Base points. There are three different status levels all having a different threshold you must meet and maintain to earn status. Additionally, with the four Hilton credit cards available, each carry a different status opportunity, which I’ll discuss later in this post. Also, anyone can automatically earn Blue status just by enrolling in the Hilton program. This really won’t do much for you, but worth enrolling in the program and earning points even if you are staying once a year.
Nights, stays, and base points are all calculated on the calendar year. A few years back this was changed as previously it was a rolling 12-month basis. Stays are based on check-in and check-out, so a 3 night stay will only count once. However, you are able to stay at one hotel the first and third night and another hotel on the 2nd night, for example. This will then count as 3 stays. Base Points are calculated as the points earned from a stay not including any bonus points.
Earning status by staying at a Hilton branded hotel:
- Silver (lowest level status)
- Nights: 10
- Stays: 4
- Base Points: N/A
- Gold (mid-level status)
- Nights: 40
- Stays: 20
- Base Points: 75,000
- Diamond (top level status)
- Nights: 60
- Stays: 30
- Base Points: 120,000
Earning status by having a Hilton credit card:
While top level status (in this case Diamond) is always nice, Hilton has great perks for their guests at the mid-status level (Gold). They actually have the best mid-level status perks when compared to all the other major hotel chains. The next post will highlight these perks, but for the time being, take my word on it. Gold status will guarantee you free internet, complimentary breakfast for you and a guest (which I highly value), and the possibility to gain access to the club lounge (although not guaranteed – if you are put on the club floor level you are given access, however, many will still give you club lounge access even if there are no rooms available on that floor). If you stay at Hilton’s often, but not enough to earn status, the new Citi Hilton Reserve credit card can give you this yearly status. While it is a $95 fee after the waived first year, for many, the savings in internet and breakfast will outweigh the cost. (P.S. – You earn two free weekend nights at any Hilton brand hotel for new card applicants, so make sure when applying you have usage for these valuable free nights as they expire after 12 months). Note: The Amex Hilton Surpass now gives Gold status annually (in the past you got it just for the first year of cardmembership and then had to earn it yearly by hitting a spend requirement).
Now, if you want to go full force and get Diamond status without actually living in a Hilton hotel, you can get this, but only after $40,000 in spend on the credit card. I personally think this is a lot to put on a card, but if you stay at Hilton hotels often and can benefit from the value, this might be a great opportunity for you. A family of four staying in a European hotel for example might be able to get a $100 value/day out of the executive lounge. Eating breakfast and dinner and packing a lunch to go (although maybe excessive) can be a huge cost savings. I would sooner go for Gold and email a hotel manager ahead of time requesting and confirming an executive floor room or at least access. Again, the Reserve card is the way to go since you are automatically given Gold status while trying to hit the $40,000 threshold.
Now for Silver status. While it is something, I personally would not go out of my way for it. The cards that offer Silver status have no annual fee, so this is a quick and easy way to always ensure you maintain Silver status.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links for some of the credit cards. All of these are the best offers available. As always, thanks for your support and happy traveling on a deal!