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 Honors American Express Surpass® Card (review) – $95 annual fee (Rates & Fees)
- Hilton Honors American Express Business Card (review) – $95 annual fee (Rates & Fees)
- The Platinum Card® from American Express (review) – $695 annual fee (Rates & Fees), registration required
- The Business Platinum Card® from American Express (review) – $695 annual fee (Rates & Fees), registration required
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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 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).