Guide To Hilton Honors Gold Status Benefits

Guide To Hilton Honors Gold Status Benefits

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Hilton is one of the largest hotel groups in the world, and Gold status is Hilton’s mid-tier elite level in the Honors program. To me, Honors Gold is arguably the most valuable mid-tier status offered by any major hotel group. Best of all, it’s easy to earn.

I recently wrote a post about the benefits of Hilton Honors Diamond status, and in this post I wanted to take a closer look at the benefits of Hilton Honors Gold status.

How to earn Hilton Honors Gold status

There are several pathways to earning Hilton Honors Gold status — you can earn it through stays, you can earn it just for having a credit card, and you can earn it by putting spending on a credit card.

Earning Hilton Gold status with hotel stays

If you want to achieve Hilton Honors Gold status through hotel stays, you ordinarily need to earn any of the following in a calendar year:

  • 40 nights
  • 20 stays (with each check-in and check-out counting as one stay)
  • 75,000 base points (you typically earn 10 base points per dollar at most brands, so that’s like spending $7,500 per year)

For 2022, Hilton Honors has reduced elite requirements across the board, in light of the situation. So you’d only need 28 nights, 14 stays, or 52,500 base points, to earn Gold status.

Note that both award and revenue stays count towards the night and stay total. These requirements are on the high side for mid-tier hotel status, though fortunately there’s a much easier way to earn Honors Gold status with credit cards.

Earning Hilton Gold status with credit cards

Hilton has a suite of co-branded credit cards that can earn you status. Specifically, all of the following cards offer Hilton Honors Gold status for as long as you have them:

On top of that, you can earn Hilton Honors Gold status if you spend $20,000 in a calendar year on the Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express (review), which has no annual fee (Rates & Fees).

Lastly, just to be thorough, I should mention that the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express (review) offers Hilton’s top-tier Diamond status for as long as you have the card.

That card has a $450 annual fee, but offers a slew of other amazing benefits, including an annual free weekend night certificate, a $250 annual Hilton resort credit, a $250 annual airline fee credit, a Priority Pass membership, and more.

Hilton Honors Gold status benefits

With the requirements to earn status out of the way, what are the benefits of Hilton Honors Gold status? Below are the benefits, roughly in the order that I value them.

Complimentary continental breakfast or hotel credit

As far as I’m concerned, the single most valuable hotel elite benefit is free breakfast, and that’s something that Hilton Honors Gold offers… sort of. Across all Hilton brands outside of the United States, Honors Gold members have the option of selecting breakfast as a benefit. While this benefit is technically only for continental breakfast, in practice many hotels will offer Gold members full breakfast.

Hilton Honors Gold members receive complimentary breakfast

For properties in the United States, Honors Gold members receive a hotel credit in lieu of complimentary breakfast. This benefit was introduced in 2021 as a limited time perk, but has since been extended for 2022, so this applies through at least the end of 2022 (and personally I think it will be permanent).

The amount of the credit ranges from $10-25 per person per night, and depends on the brand and location. For full service and lifestyle brands, high-cost markets include Boston, Chicago, the District of Columbia, Key Largo, Key West, New York City, San Francisco, the county of Los Angeles, and the state of Hawaii.

Executive lounge access, subject to availability

The executive lounge access policy for Hilton Honors Gold members can be a bit confusing:

  • Hilton Honors Gold members are entitled to room upgrades up to the executive level
  • If a Hilton Honors Gold member receives a space-available upgrade to an executive-level room, they’ll also receive executive lounge access
  • However, generally speaking if a Hilton Honors Gold member isn’t upgraded to an executive room, they won’t receive lounge access

This is a point of differentiation between Gold and Diamond status, because Diamond members receive lounge access even if they’re not otherwise upgraded to an executive room.

Executive lounges offer complimentary breakfast, evening snacks, and a place to grab a coffee or drink during the day. You can generally expect that executive lounges outside the United States (in particular in Asia) will be significantly better than domestic ones.

Hilton Honors Gold members may receive lounge access

Upgrades to preferred rooms, subject to availability

Hilton Honors Gold members are entitled to room upgrades, though individual hotels have a lot of discretion. As the terms explain, Hilton Honors Gold members may receive upgrades to preferred rooms, and that may include upgrades all the way up to executive rooms.

Suite upgrades are technically excluded from the upgrade pool for Hilton Honors Gold members (they’re available for Diamond members), though I have sometimes received suite upgrades back when I had Gold status, so it’s not totally unheard of.

All of these upgrades are at the discretion of the hotel, and are officially granted on a space-available basis for the entire duration of the stay at the time of check-in. However, Hilton is nowadays sometimes processing upgrades in advance.

This language is a bit different than what you’ll find with Marriott Bonvoy and World of Hyatt, which promise certain types of upgrades subject to availability, rather than at the discretion of the hotel.

Hilton Honors Gold members may receive upgraded rooms

80% bonus points

Hilton Honors Gold members receive an 80% points bonus on Hilton stays. Members ordinarily earn 10 base points per dollar spent, so Gold members earn an additional eight points per dollar spent.

Hilton Honors also often has global promotions to earn more points, and Hilton’s co-branded credit cards offer an excellent rate of return for Hilton spending.

When you combine all of these factors, racking up Hilton Honors points for hotel stays is quite easy.

Hilton MyWay Benefits

Gold members receive what’s known as a “MyWay” benefit with each stay, which varies by brand. In some cases if you want continental breakfast you’ll have to select that as your choice.

Here’s a breakdown of these benefits by brand:

  • Waldorf Astoria – space-available upgrade to a preferred room, plus your choice of 1,000 Honors bonus points or one in-room movie
  • Canopy, Conrad, Curio Collection, DoubleTree, and Hilton – receive 1,000 Honors bonus points, plus your choice of 1,000 Honors bonus points or complimentary continental breakfast
  • Hilton Grand Vacations – receive 1,000 Honors bonus points
  • Embassy Suites – receive 500 Honors bonus points or two snacks/refreshments
  • Hilton Garden Inn – receive 750 Honors bonus points or a hot breakfast for up to two guests
  • Hampton by Hilton – receive 250 Honors bonus points or your choice of a snack and non-alcoholic beverage
  • Homewood Suites by Hilton – receive 250 Honors bonus points or two bottles of water and a sweet snack
  • Home2 Suites by Hilton – receive 100 Honors bonus points or your choice of a snack and bottled water
Receive bonus points or breakfast at Hilton Garden Inn

Fifth night free on awards stays

While this is a perk for all Hilton Honors elite tiers, I still consider it to be extremely valuable. Hilton Honors elite members receive a fifth night free on award redemptions, which can stretch your Hilton Honors points further.

Late check-out, subject to availability

This is an area where Hilton Honors lags. Technically all Hilton Honors members receive late check-out subject to availability. However, this is entirely at the hotel’s discretion. Unlike at Hyatt and Marriott, no Hilton elite members receive guaranteed late check-out.

Two bottles of water

Again, this is a benefit of all elite tiers — you receive two complimentary bottles of water per stay.

Milestone Bonuses

This will only be of value if you stay with Hilton a lot, but the program offers 10,000 bonus points every 10 nights after you’ve stayed 40 nights in a calendar year.

Differences between Hilton Gold & Diamond status

In helping people decide what status to go for, I think it’s worth just briefly comparing Hilton Honors Gold and Diamond status. Diamond status is Hilton’s top-tier status, and is also offered just for having the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express.

The most significant differences between the status levels are as follows:

  • Gold members receive 80% bonus points, Diamond members receive 100% bonus points
  • Gold upgrades explicitly exclude suites, while Diamond upgrades include suites (though still only at the discretion of the hotel)
  • Gold members only get executive lounge access when upgraded to an executive room, while Diamond members get executive lounge access even if not upgraded to an executive room
  • Gold members receive standard Wi-Fi, while Diamond members receive premium Wi-Fi

Both elite tiers offer free breakfast and some sort of room upgrades, so both can be worth having. However, you will definitely notice a difference in treatment at some properties, especially outside the United States.

If you stay at Hiltons frequently, I do think it’s worth trying to attain Diamond status, at least if it’s easy to do so.

Hilton Honors Diamond members may receive better upgrades

Bottom line

Hilton Honors Gold status is in my opinion the most useful mid-tier hotel status, given that it consistently offers complimentary continental breakfast (or a hotel credit in the United States). Other perks include things like room upgrades, executive lounge access (sometimes), and bonus points.

Given how easy Hilton Honors Gold status is to earn, I think this is a great elite tier. Both the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card and Hilton Honors American Express Business Card offer Honors Gold status for as long as you have the card, so that’s great.

For the more frequent Hilton guest, I absolutely think it’s worth getting the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express in order to earn Hilton Honors Diamond status. This could lead to better room upgrades, more consistent lounge access, and more bonus points.

If you’re a Hilton Gold member, what has your experience been like?

The following links will direct you to the rates and fees for mentioned American Express Cards. These include: Hilton Honors American Express Card (Rates & Fees), The Business Platinum® Card from American Express (Rates & Fees), The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card (Rates & Fees), The Platinum Card® from American Express (Rates & Fees), and Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card (Rates & Fees).

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  1. DRWflyer Guest

    Breakfast as the most important gold benefit? A breakfast at a Hilton last year (Adelaide, Australia) is probably the most disgusting hotel breakfast I’ve ever had. That put me off Hiltons for the rest of the year. Recently I tried a new Hilton in Melbourne. No room upgrade, I had to ask for the bottled water etc. A late checkout was a real problem for them. And the hotel was fairly empty. Very disappointed. I’ll...

    Breakfast as the most important gold benefit? A breakfast at a Hilton last year (Adelaide, Australia) is probably the most disgusting hotel breakfast I’ve ever had. That put me off Hiltons for the rest of the year. Recently I tried a new Hilton in Melbourne. No room upgrade, I had to ask for the bottled water etc. A late checkout was a real problem for them. And the hotel was fairly empty. Very disappointed. I’ll be avoiding Hiltons again for the rest of this year. And I have a lot of travel planned. Hilton’s failure to enforce standards and policies results in poor experiences and will be costing their businesses billions.

  2. dander Guest

    Gold is cool outside the US. We got an executive room on Tokyo and awesome food. We got a view room with a view in Stockholm and got executive lounge access without an executive room

  3. DCS Diamond

    Hmmm...

    We're updating your Hilton Honors tier tracker. Please check back later.

    That is the message that's displaying in my HH account (both on a web browser and on the HH app), now fully 4 days in the new year. In fact, the message started displaying about 2 days before new year.
    Hilton Honors can do better!

  4. Reno Joe Guest

    As a practical matter, as with Diamond, the benefits only include 1) a breakfast coupon and 2) the points pop (earn rate, milestones, 5th night free). As a practical matter, as with Diamond, the room upgrades are elusive -- one can't consider room upgrades as a true benefit. It happens in all of the programs, not just Hilton. Today, there's an article by a TPG staffer who was stiffed on a confirmed suite at a...

    As a practical matter, as with Diamond, the benefits only include 1) a breakfast coupon and 2) the points pop (earn rate, milestones, 5th night free). As a practical matter, as with Diamond, the room upgrades are elusive -- one can't consider room upgrades as a true benefit. It happens in all of the programs, not just Hilton. Today, there's an article by a TPG staffer who was stiffed on a confirmed suite at a Hyatt (when a suite was available). One must accept the unfair and petty nature of the property owners and that hotel loyalty program tier status is of little to no value.

    1. Reno Joe Guest

      PS - As a multi-year Marriott Ambassador, I had a confirmed reservation for a PAID suite at one property. The property assigned me to a standard room and -- get this -- was going to charge me the suite daily rate on the reservation. In spite of acknowledging my paid suite reservation at the property, the Ambassador Team would not honor the "Guaranteed Room Type" benefit and said that it was a pricing dispute that...

      PS - As a multi-year Marriott Ambassador, I had a confirmed reservation for a PAID suite at one property. The property assigned me to a standard room and -- get this -- was going to charge me the suite daily rate on the reservation. In spite of acknowledging my paid suite reservation at the property, the Ambassador Team would not honor the "Guaranteed Room Type" benefit and said that it was a pricing dispute that I would have to work out with the property myself. That experience ended my participation in hotel loyalty programs.

    2. Eskimo Guest

      The "guarantee" is paid out by the property and have nothing to do with Bonvoy side of it. (Nor will they have your back on situations like this). You have to demand hard cash from the property. I would have escalated this to a manager or beyond. (not that you will get compensated).

    3. DCS Diamond

      As a practical matter, as with Diamond, the room upgrades are elusive -- one can't consider room upgrades as a true benefit. It happens in all of the programs, not just Hilton.

      That statement is a bit too dogmatic and is, thus, somewhat disconnected from reality. I think that what you meant is that "suite upgrades" are elusive and not just "room upgrades" because HH Diamonds almost always get upgraded to rooms on the exec...

      As a practical matter, as with Diamond, the room upgrades are elusive -- one can't consider room upgrades as a true benefit. It happens in all of the programs, not just Hilton.

      That statement is a bit too dogmatic and is, thus, somewhat disconnected from reality. I think that what you meant is that "suite upgrades" are elusive and not just "room upgrades" because HH Diamonds almost always get upgraded to rooms on the exec floor (if a property has one or more) or to "better" rooms than those booked (though "better" can be subjective). Such upgrades to better rooms are also generally proactive and the way to find out whether one has been upgraded is to check the "My Stay" tab on the HH app within 24h of a stay, as within that time window and throughout a stay the "My Stay" tab shows the room that has been assigned rather than one originally booked.

  5. Jill Guest

    @DCS
    What do you think of Ben’s breakdown of Hilton Gold?

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DRWflyer Guest

Breakfast as the most important gold benefit? A breakfast at a Hilton last year (Adelaide, Australia) is probably the most disgusting hotel breakfast I’ve ever had. That put me off Hiltons for the rest of the year. Recently I tried a new Hilton in Melbourne. No room upgrade, I had to ask for the bottled water etc. A late checkout was a real problem for them. And the hotel was fairly empty. Very disappointed. I’ll be avoiding Hiltons again for the rest of this year. And I have a lot of travel planned. Hilton’s failure to enforce standards and policies results in poor experiences and will be costing their businesses billions.

0
dander Guest

Gold is cool outside the US. We got an executive room on Tokyo and awesome food. We got a view room with a view in Stockholm and got executive lounge access without an executive room

0
DCS Diamond

Hmmm... <blockquote>We're updating your Hilton Honors tier tracker. Please check back later.</blockquote> That is the message that's displaying in my HH account (both on a web browser and on the HH app), now fully 4 days in the new year. In fact, the message started displaying about 2 days before new year. Hilton Honors can do better!

0
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