Hilton is one of the largest hotel groups in the world, and Diamond status is the top tier status in the Hilton Honors program. What makes Diamond status unique is that it’s also the easiest top tier status to earn with any US-issued credit cards.
In this post, I wanted to take a closer look at the benefits of Hilton Honors Diamond status, including the easiest ways to earn it. I figure this is especially valuable due to the changes we’ve seen to this status lately.
How to earn Hilton Honors Diamond status
There are several pathways to earning Hilton Honors Diamond status — you can earn it through stays, you can earn it just for having a premium credit card, and you can earn it by putting spending on certain credit cards.
Earning Diamond status with hotel stays
If you want to achieve Hilton Honors Diamond status through hotel stays you ordinarily need to earn any of the following in a calendar year:
- 60 nights
- 30 stays (with each check-in and check-out counting as one stay)
- 120,000 base points (you typically earn 10 base points per dollar at most brands, so that’s like spending $12,000 per year)
However, in 2021, Hilton Honors has reduced elite requirements by 50% across the board, in light of the situation. So you’d only need 30 nights, 15 stays, or 60,000 base points, to earn Diamond status.
Note that both award and revenue stays count towards the night and stay total.
These requirements are in line with other top tier status programs, though fortunately there’s a much easier way to earn Diamond status if you have access to US credit cards.
Earning Diamond status with credit cards
The Aspire Card offers Diamond status for as long as you have the card, in addition to a slew of other amazing benefits that more than justify the annual fee. These benefits include an annual free weekend night certificate, a $250 annual Hilton resort credit, a $250 annual airline fee credit, a Priority Pass membership, and more. The Hilton Aspire card carries a $450 annual fee.
Alternatively, you can earn Hilton Honors Diamond status for spending $40,000 in a calendar year on either of the following 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)
If you’re unable to meet the $40,000 calendar year spend requirement, keep in mind that both the Hilton Surpass and Hilton Business card come with Hilton Honors Gold status for as long you are a cardmember.
There are several credit cards that offer Hilton Honors status
Hilton Honors Diamond status benefits
With the requirements to earn status out of the way, what are the benefits of Hilton Honors Diamond status? Here are the benefits, roughly in the order that I value them:
Executive lounge access
For Hilton-family properties with executive lounges, Diamond members receive access. This applies regardless of whether or not there’s availability to upgrade the Diamond member 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 Diamond members receive executive lounge access
Complimentary continental breakfast or hotel credit
For properties outside of the United States without executive lounges, Honors Diamond members are entitled to complimentary continental breakfast. At a minimum, this is a choice you can select at all properties in eligible regions.
There are a couple of things to note:
- While the benefit is technically only for continental breakfast, in practice many hotels will offer Diamond members full breakfast
- Technically this benefit only applies at properties without executive lounges, though there are also hotels that will give Diamond members the option of dining either in the restaurant or in the lounge
For properties in the United States, Honors Diamond members receive a hotel credit in lieu of complimentary breakfast. This benefit has technically been introduced for the remainder of 2021 and is intended to be temporary, but frankly I’d be surprised if this isn’t made 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, New York City, San Francisco, the county of Los Angeles, and the state of Hawaii.
When it comes to breakfast benefits at major hotel chains, I’d say World of Hyatt wins (Globalist members receive a hot breakfast at all properties globally), Hilton Honors is second (Diamond members receive a continental breakfast or hotel credit at all brands), and then Marriott Bonvoy is third (Platinum members receive continental breakfast at some brands, while EDITION, Ritz-Carlton, etc., are excluded).
Hilton Diamond members receive complimentary breakfast outside the United States
Hilton Honors Diamond members are entitled to room upgrades, though individual hotels have a lot of discretion. As the terms explain, Hilton Honors Diamond members may receive upgrades to preferred rooms, and that may include upgrades to junior, standard, or one-bedroom suites.
All of these upgrades are at the discretion of the hotel, and are granted on a space-available basis for the entire duration of the stay at the time of check-in.
This language is a bit different than what you’ll find with Marriott Bonvoy and World of Hyatt, which promise suite upgrades for top tier elite members subject to availability, rather than at the discretion of the hotel.
As a Hilton Honors Diamond member, I don’t expect (or ask for) suite upgrades, and that way I’m not disappointed. However, I do find that I’m upgraded to suites fairly often. It doesn’t happen much within the US, while I’d say outside the US I get a suite upgrade about 50% of the time.
I get suite upgrades fairly often as a Hilton Diamond member
100% bonus points
Hilton Honors Diamond members receive a 100% points bonus on Hilton Honors stays. Members ordinarily earn 10 base points per dollar spent, so Diamond members earn an additional 10 points per dollar spent.
When you combine all of these factors, racking up Hilton Honors points for hotel stays is quite easy.
Hilton Honors points rack up really quickly as a Diamond member
Hilton MyWay Benefits
Diamond members receive what’s known as a “MyWay” benefit with each stay, which varies by brand:
- Waldorf Astoria – choose two of the following: 1,000 Honors bonus points, one in-room movie, or a spa, golf or restaurant discount
- Canopy, Conrad, Curio Collection, DoubleTree, and Hilton – receive 1,000 Honors bonus points
- Hilton Grand Vacations – receive 2,000 Honors bonus points
- Embassy Suites – choose one of the following: 1,000 Honors bonus points or three snacks/refreshments
- Hilton Garden Inn – choose one of the following: 750 Honors bonus points or a hot breakfast for up to two guests
- Hampton by Hilton – choose one of the following: 250 Honors bonus points or your choice of a snack and non-alcoholic beverage
- Homewood Suites by Hilton – choose one of the following: 250 Honors bonus points or two bottles of water and a sweet snack
- Home2 Suites by Hilton – choose one of the following: 100 Honors bonus points or your choice of a snack and bottled water
Receive bonus points at DoubleTree hotels
As a Hilton Honors Diamond member, you receive premium lobby and in-room Wi-Fi at Hilton brands. Interestingly Hilton doesn’t offer premium internet to mid-tier elite members, unlike some other programs.
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.
Receive a fifth night free on award redemptions as a Hilton elite member
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, Hilton’s top tier members don’t get guaranteed 4PM check-out.
Two bottles of water
Again, this is a benefit of all elite tiers — you receive two complimentary bottles of water per stay.
Guaranteed room availability
Hilton Honors Diamond members can receive guaranteed room availability when booking at least 48 hours in advance. There are a couple of reasons this isn’t particularly valuable to me, though:
- When taking advantage of this benefit you can expect to pay the highest possible rate, so you’re not going to get a discounted rate with this deal
- There are limits to this benefit, like when a hotel is overbooked, so don’t expect this to work during major conventions, sporting events, etc.
Receive guaranteed room availability at least 48 hours out
Elite status gifting
Hilton Honors Diamond members can gift elite status to others, but only if they actually earn a certain number of elite nights (in other words, you don’t get this if you earn status through a credit card):
- If you achieve 60 elite nights, gift Gold status to another member
- If you achieve 100 elite nights, gift Diamond status to another member
Diamond status extension
Honors Diamond members have a one-time opportunity to extend Diamond status if they didn’t qualify in a particular year. This isn’t available to those who earn Diamond status through a credit card, but rather only applies to those who earn it via nights, stays, or base points.
In order to be eligible you need:
- At least three total years of Diamond status (they don’t have to be consecutive)
- At least 250 elite nights or 500,000+ earned base points
Earn lifetime Diamond status
Hilton Honors offers lifetime Diamond status, which has the following requirements:
- 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
What are the differences between Hilton Diamond & Gold status?
Gold is Hilton Honors’ mid-tier status, so what are the major differences between Gold and Diamond? I’d say there are a few most significant differences:
- Diamond members receive a 100% points bonus, where Gold members receive an 80% points bonus
- Diamond member upgrades include standard suites (at the discretion of the hotel), and Gold member upgrades exclude standard suites
- Diamond members get executive lounge access regardless of the room they’re in, whereas Gold members only get executive lounge access when upgraded to an executive room
- Diamond members receive complimentary premium Wi-Fi, however, Gold members receive free standard Wi-Fi
The differences between the two elite tiers aren’t huge, though you’ll definitely notice some differences if you stay at Hilton properties often, especially outside the United States, where treatment is more differentiated.
Hilton Gold members also receive free breakfast
Is Hilton Honors Diamond status worth it?
Is earning Hilton Honors Diamond status worth it? It depends on how you’re earning it, what the opportunity cost is, and what you’re hoping to gain from status.
Let me put it this way — if earning Hilton Diamond status through actual stays, I’d say:
- It might not be worth the incremental nights compared to Gold status
- Personally I like the Marriott Bonvoy Platinum and World of Hyatt Globalist offer more guaranteed benefits, at least on paper (this applies to suite upgrades and late check-out)
That being said, I think Hilton Honors Diamond elite status is the all-around best value top tier status you can earn, when you consider that you can get the status just by having the Hilton Honors Aspire Card.
You’re paying $450 per year for a card that not only gets you top tier Diamond status, but also gets you up to $500 in credits, a free night certificate, and more. Personally I value the perks of the card at more than $450 not even factoring in the Diamond status, so I basically consider the Diamond status to be “free.”
I used my free night certificate at the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills
If you have a similar valuation, then yes, Diamond status is oh-so-worth-it.
So yes, I absolutely think Diamond status is worth it if you’re earning it through a co-branded credit card. However:
- For actual stays I’d probably prefer going for status with Hyatt or Marriott
- Hilton Honors Gold status is great as well, for someone who only stays at Hiltons every once in a while
Diamond is Hilton Honors’ top tier status, and comes with perks like free breakfast (or a food & beverage credit in the United States), lounge access, bonus points, and room upgrades. While the benefits of Diamond status aren’t quite as “guaranteed” as they are with other programs, I’ve consistently gotten great value with my status.
Getting Diamond status with the Hilton Honors Aspire Card is a phenomenal value, in my opinion, as this is no doubt the easiest way to get top tier status with any major hotel program.
If you’re a Hilton Honors Diamond 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: The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card (Rates & Fees), and Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card (Rates & Fees).