Most major hotel programs offer a way to earn lifetime elite status, which is a way for hotel groups to reward those who have been exceptionally loyal over the years. In this post I wanted to take a look at how you can earn lifetime status in the Hilton Honors program.
Hilton Honors’ lifetime status program
While Hilton Honors has three elite tiers — Silver, Gold, and Diamond — the program only offers lifetime Diamond status, meaning there’s no way to earn lifetime Silver or Gold status. Lifetime status is still a relatively new concept to the Hilton Honors program, as it was only introduced back in 2015.
In order to earn Hilton Honors lifetime Diamond status:
- Members must have maintained Hilton Honors Diamond status for 10 years (the years don’t need to be consecutive)
- Members must have stayed a total of at least 1,000 nights (either paid or award) OR must have accumulated at least two million base points since joining the Hilton Honors program
As you can see, everyone needs to earn Diamond status for 10 years, and then complete one of the two other requirements. For some context on those requirements:
- Hilton Honors Diamond status ordinarily requires 60 elite nights per year, so 1,000 nights is the equivalent of earning Diamond status for over 16 years
- Hilton Honors members earn 10 base points per dollar spent at most hotel brands, meaning earning two million base points is the equivalent of $200,000 in eligible Hilton Honors spending; base points don’t include any sort of points earned through promotions, or points earned through co-branded Hilton Honors cards
Hilton Honors Diamond status is Hilton’s top-tier status, and it includes perks like room upgrades subject to availability, complimentary breakfast and/or executive lounge access, bonus points, premium internet, and much more. Read my full guide to Hilton Honors Diamond status here.
Can you earn Hilton Honors lifetime status with credit cards?
One of the things that I love about the Hilton Honors program is how easy it is to earn status with credit cards, including top-tier Diamond status:
- The Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express (review) offers Hilton Honors Diamond status for as long as you have the card
- The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card (review) and Hilton Honors American Express Business Card (review) offer Hilton Honors Gold status for as long as you have the card, and Hilton Honors Diamond status when you spend $40,000 on the card in a calendar year
Can the Diamond status earned through co-branded credit cards count toward lifetime Diamond status? Yes and no:
- Diamond status earned through credit cards does count toward the 10 year Diamond status requirement for lifetime status
- However, you’d still need to rack up either 1,000 nights or two million base points, which is the much bigger hurdle
So yes, credit cards can help with one metric of lifetime status, but not with the biggest hurdle that needs to be overcome.
Is Hilton Honors lifetime status worth it?
Yes, go check into a Hampton Inn for 1,000 nights, it’s totally worth it. 😉
In all honesty, the answer is much more nuanced than that:
- Generally speaking I don’t think lifetime status is worth going out of your way for too much, given the extent to which loyalty programs are in control — they can change both the qualification requirements and benefits of status at will
- I don’t value the concept of lifetime Hilton Honors Diamond status that much, given how easy it is to earn Hilton Honors status otherwise; I can maintain this status every year just by holding onto a fantastic credit card, so there’s nothing I’m really missing out on
- The one lifetime hotel status that gets me most excited is lifetime World of Hyatt Globalist status, both due to the general perks associated with Globalist status, and also because benefits stack for lifetime Globalist members, which is to say they receive an extra four suite upgrade awards per year, more free night certificates, etc.
- As a point of comparison, lifetime Marriott Bonvoy Platinum status is much easier to earn, and Marriott Platinum perks are roughly comparable to Hilton Diamond perks, in my opinion
If you happen to find yourself staying at Hiltons a lot then lifetime status is definitely worth keeping in the back of your mind, though it’s not worth doing anything too drastic to earn the lifetime status, in my opinion.
The Hilton Honors program gives members the opportunity to earn lifetime Diamond status by qualifying for Diamond status for 10 years, and then earning either 1,000 elite nights or two million base points (equivalent to at least $200,000 in spending at Hilton hotels).
Hilton has some fairly steep lifetime status requirements, especially given how attainable Diamond status is otherwise, and how the benefits aren’t that generous, compared to the competition.
What’s your take on Hilton Honors’ lifetime Diamond status? Are any OMAAT readers lifetime Diamond members?