The Basics Of Hilton Honors Gold Status

Filed Under: Hilton
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While I have my preferred hotel chains with which I have top tier status, for many people I think the best strategy is to just get mid-tier status with one or hotel chains using credit cards, which can be quite easy. I’d argue that the most useful and easy to get mid-tier status is Hilton Honors Gold status, so in this post I wanted to look at the easy ways you can earn it, as well as what the benefits of Hilton Honors Gold status are.

How to easily earn Hilton Honors Gold status

The lowest annual fee credit card that offers Hilton Honors Gold status without any sort of spend requirement is the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card. The card has just a $95 annual fee (Rates & Fees), and offers Gold status for as long as you have the card. That annual fee should more than pay for itself after just one or two stays per year.

Alternatively, The Platinum Card® from American Express and The Business Platinum® Card from American Express both offer Hilton Honors Gold status for as long as you have the card. You have to manually renew the status each year, but there are no other strings attached — as long as you have one of the above cards you can constantly renew Hilton Honors Gold status.

As a point of comparison, earning Hilton Honors Gold status would ordinarily require 20 stays, 40 nights, or 75,000 Honors base points per year (which is the equivalent of $7,500 worth of spend at most Hilton brands).

What benefits does Hilton Honors Gold status offer?

So, how much value should you really expect to get out of Hilton Honors Gold status? Below are what I consider the main benefits to be, ranked in the order in which I value them (from most important to least important):

Free breakfast

The most basic and valuable benefit of Hilton Honors Gold status is that you get free breakfast at many Hilton family brands. I find it slightly annoying that this benefit doesn’t apply at all brands, though both Hilton and Marriott are pretty inconsistent in this regard (unlike Hyatt and Starwood).

At Conrad, Curio, DoubleTree, Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, and Tapestry Collection properties, you receive complimentary continental breakfast for you and up to one additional guest registered to the same room every morning of your stay. Technically the breakfast benefit is for continental breakfast, though in practice many hotels will offer Gold members a hot/full breakfast, especially at properties outside the US.

I love the waffles at Hilton Garden Inn properties

In lieu of free breakfast, you could instead select 750-1,000 Honors bonus points per stay if you prefer.

At other Hilton brands you don’t get free breakfast as an elite benefit. At some brands this is because they offer free breakfast to all guests (ie, Hampton), while at other brands it’s just because they’re not as generous with elite benefits (ie, Waldorf Astoria).

Complimentary breakfast at the Hilton Auckland as an Honors Gold member

Executive lounge access

There’s a further wrinkle to the free breakfast benefit, as if it wasn’t complicated enough already. At Conrad, Curio, DoubleTree, Hilton, and Tapestry Collection properties, you will receive access to the executive lounge, but only if you also get an upgrade to an executive level room.

In other words, you may be assigned a club room pending availability, in which case you get breakfast and evening drinks in the lounge, rather than in the restaurant. However, in the event that you’re not upgraded to the executive level, then you just get the standard restaurant breakfast.

In practice, I’ve had pretty good luck being upgraded to the executive level as an Honors Gold member.

Club lounge at the Hilton Manchester

Preferred rooms

At Canopy, Conrad, Curio, DoubleTree, Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Tapestry Collection, and Waldorf Astoria properties, you receive an upgrade to a preferred room. Don’t expect an upgrade to a suite, though it may happen sometimes. Per the terms, preferred rooms may include upgrades up to an executive floor room, or otherwise the next best available room type, including rooms with desirable views or amenities. As you can see, that’s not a very specific benefit, but usually you do get somewhat of an upgrade.

A room with a view at the Hilton Auckland (which you may get as an Honors Gold member)

25% bonus on base points

As an Honors Gold member, you receive a 25% points bonus for Hilton stays. The bonus is based on the base points you usually earn. At most Hilton properties you earn 10 base points per dollar spent, meaning you’d earn an extra 2.5 points per dollar spent. That’s not a huge bonus, but it does add up.

In general, Hilton is among the best hotel chains when it comes to the ability to earn points for stays, given their excellent promotions.

Late check-out subject to availability

Hilton Honors Gold members receive complimentary late check-out, though it’s subject to availability. This unfortunately isn’t as good as the guaranteed late check-out offered with other hotel groups. As a Gold member I’ve had decent luck requesting 1-2PM check-out, but even that’s sometimes denied, and anything beyond that is pretty unlikely, in my experience.

As they say, “your mileage may vary.”

5th-night free award stays

This benefit isn’t specific to Gold status, but rather is available to all Hilton Honors elite members. Elite members receive a fifth night free on award stays, the value of which can add up pretty quickly. This is an especially good value for aspirational hotels, where a free night would usually cost 95,000 points per night.

Using the fifth night free, you’d pay just 76,000 points per night, which is an excellent deal for a property like the Conrad Maldives.

Bottom line

While there are some other benefits to Hilton Honors Gold status, the above are what I consider to be the most valuable. Given how easy it is to earn Honors Gold status (just by having the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® CardThe Platinum Card® from American Express, The Business Platinum® Card from American Express, etc.), I think this is an extremely useful mid-tier status that a lot of people would get value out of.

While there’s potentially some value in Hilton Diamond status, for someone who just occasionally stays at Hilton properties, it’s tough to beat the value you get out of Gold status, given how easy it is to earn. The way I see it, breakfast and/or lounge access, as well as preferred rooms, are the best benefits of hotel elite status, and you get that with Honors Gold status.

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 Surpass® Card (Rates & Fees).

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  1. Useless status. Not fair to promote it in order to get referral for the credit card. Even diamond is not so rewarding with Hilton.

  2. @Lovetospendit I think it’s pretty well accepted that the breakfast benefit can easily be worth $75/year if you spend several nights/year at Hilton properties.

  3. Would love to see a review of the new Hawaiian Business class. Also saw a Kenya Airways plane takeoff at LHR yesterday..could be another interesting review

  4. @Lovetospendit – we all know that. The point is, Hilton hilariously gives you zero reason to actually stay & spend to get to midtier status when you can do so for under $100 via a CC. And of course, it’s well known that actually doing a full amount of Diamond spend & staying doesn’t even give you that much more, especially when you can’t even bank on the bare minimum like a 4pm guaranteed check-out.

  5. @Lovetospendit

    You’re out of your mind – Gold has been great to me. Got upgraded from a standard room to the presidential suite in Hanoi, dozens of free breakfasts in NYC elsewhere. Consistently more rewarding than Marriott gold or SPG platinum.

    Hilton Gold is *gold* overseas – maybe you should try something besides the Hampton Inn?

  6. My experience as a Hilton Gold member is you are unlikely to get a decent upgrade if you’re staying more than 1 or 2 nights. I stayed at Hilton Paris Opera for 8 nights and my upgrade request was denied even though there were plenty of next category rooms for sale (available for the whole duration of my stay) on the hotel website in real time – while I was checking in at the front desk. The free breakfast is a good deal, especially at the Paris property, however I stayed at one Hilton branded property at Toronto Meadowvale which gave me a Starbucks coupon instead of the nice buffet. I won’t be back to that one. As for earning Gold status without a credit card deal, all I did was call hhonors and ask for a Gold status challenge and they gave me 90 days to complete 4 stays, which was easy because I had to make a business road trip anyway and I achieved it in 2 weeks.

  7. @Lovetospendit I have had decent luck with this status so I do not consider it useless. That being said the more credit cards that offer this status the less chance of getting an upgrade or any benefits from it. If everyone has status then nobody has it. And anyone who gets this credit card thinking having this status will make Hilton employees bow down before them are fooling themselves. Its more of a fringe benefit and I’m not sure why the citi reserve card isn’t mentioned. It gives you gold status and two free nights (which IMO is way more valuable than 100k points assuming you want to redeem at high end properties).

  8. @Charlie yea maybe in low season that would work, but it would be silly for Hilton to tie up a suite for eight days for someone that is only paying a standard rate who has gold status from a credit card. I don’t really fault a hotel for doing that because they could lose a lot of potential revenue that way. 1 or 2 nights is much more reasonable since the chance of someone booking a suite in the next two days is much much less than someone booking one over a week out.

  9. I’m at Hilton Barra Rio de Janeiro at the Moment and I’m granted for late check-out until 6pm.
    Also Gold Member.

  10. Always get an upgrade, at least in large European properties. No, never once a Suite, but a higher floor, with a view. Instead of the bottom floor facing the parking lot, right next to the noisy HVAC units. Or almost as bad, facing the dreary inner atrium right next to the elevator and the maids room.

    In Europe we’ve always gotten the full buffet at high end Hiltons, which is otherwise priced around $25 to $30 a person. Not sure who would pay that, but it’s a full breakfast, often with custom made omelets, and cappuccinos on request. Fills us up enough that we don’t need lunch, so your food bill is just one meal a day. For folks that only stay at low end Hilton brand properties, like say Hampton Inn, breakfast is already included, so that’s no benefit for them.

    As for whether the HH Res card is better than the Surpass, YMMV. The Res certificates are only good on weekends, which may work for you or not. Right now that 100K would get you three nights at the Paris La Defense Hilton on some dates this August, valid any day of the week. Then again, for some days in the Fall, 100K points would be as much as 40K points short for even 2 nights.

    At any rate, HH Gold is very much worth it IMHO…

  11. Ben,

    I’ve been Diamond for three years with Hilton and I have to say the number one benefit is getting an incredible amount of value back in points through their promotions:

    Example: my recent stay at Doubletree Bristol, CT (2 nights, $440 eligible spend)

    Base: 4,400
    Double points rate: 4,400
    Triple points promo: 8,800
    Diamond VIP bonus: 4,400
    My way bonus: 1000
    Amex bonus: 500
    App bonus: 500

    Total: 24,000 ~ at least $120 in points or a fantastic 27% return on spend.

    I only stay in doubletree, Hilton, and the luxury Hilton honors brands but I am happy as a Diamond member based on the point spread above and often getting upgraded to suites at full service properties. Oh, and I love hyatt too, even if I am just discoverist… I’m often torn if I have good options for both, HA!

  12. You’re forgetting one of the most generous Hilton Honors benefits!

    “Two complimentary bottles of water per stay”

  13. My wife, child, and I just returned from a 5 for 4 redemption stay at the Waikoloa Hilton on the Big Island.

    As Gold, we were entitled to the “Continental Buffet” which, was one of the grander conti spreads I’ve seen: six fresh fruits, Asian fare (miso soup, fried rice, delicious Japanese pickled vegetables), tons of bread & pastries, and… salad (??).

    The most difficult part of not paying the $10 (then $15 – it changed during our stay) was having to walk by the bacon station to enter the conti buffet.

    There was a wait staff to bring coffee, etc. Of course they expect a tip, but I never know what to leave in that situation. It’s not like they’re bringing me my food. The most obnoxious part is he price. If you’re not gold, conti breakfast is $48 (then raised to $56) for two. Sorry, I’m not tipping 20% on that.

    A long way to say it, but Gold provides us a ton of value. That’s $250 “worth” of breakfast on that stay alone.

  14. I had Hilton Gold earned the hard way for 3 years (frequent business trips). Frankly the only benefit I ever got was the free breakfast. No late checkout, no executive floor access, no meaningful upgrades of any kind, though I guess a view of the building next door instead of the dumpster counts as an “upgrade”. I will say, though, that the stackable promos were quite lucrative for Golds. A ~$600 multi-day stay at a mid-level Doubletree would often net close to 25,000 points thanks to all the promos and the Gold base bonus.

    As far as the value of the breakfast, I generally find a free breakfast benefit an overrated perk, at least at U.S. properties. I’d just as soon find a cafe on the street to get a bagel and cappuccino for a few bucks. It’s a substantial benefit in Europe and Asia, though, where the spreads tend to be pretty fantastic. You can stuff yourself sufficiently to skip lunch altogether, so the meal cost savings add up.

  15. @Lovetospendit wrote: “Useless status. Not fair to promote it in order to get referral for the credit card. Even diamond is not so rewarding with Hilton.”

    That statement is both clueless and stupid. How do I know? Simple. I have the SPG Gold status through the AMEX Biz Plat; as UA 1K/1MM/*G I have the MR Gold status through the UA-Marriott JV known as RewardsPlus; and I have the elite in name-only WOH! Discoverist status through the Chase Hyatt visa. None of those lower tier levels, except for MR Gold, comes close to rivaling the benefits that one gets as a HH Gold. So, relative to what is it useless”? See?

    If the HH Gold status is so valuable, then why does Hilton make it so easy to get? Again, very simple. Hilton is the only program that made an economic decision to place their loyalty program at the center of their money making strategy, which explains why the program is remains vibrant and rewarding when others are faltering. What am I talking about? I am referring the following in Hilton’s mandatory 10K annual filing to SEC:

    “The program [Hilton Honors] provides targeted marketing, promotions and customized guest experiences to approximately 60 million members. Our Hilton Honors members represented approximately 56 percent of our system-wide occupancy and contributed hotel-level revenues to us and our hotel owners of over $17 billion during the year ended December 31, 2016 . Affiliation with our loyalty programs encourages members to allocate more of their travel spending to our hotels.”

    Then it goes to the statement that I want to emphasize”

    “The percentage of travel spending we capture from loyalty members increases as they move up the tiers of our program.”

    Got that? Hilton believes that IF YOU GIVE THEM STATUS THEY WILL KEEP COMING BACK! It is why they give the Gold status away like candies and they even began offering status matches to HH Diamond, which they seldom did in the past (I suspect that it’s to try to capitalize on their rivals’ recent “difficulties” 😉 )

    As for the post itself, at least we were spared this time the bogus claim that there is no “material difference” between HH Gold and HH Diamond – a claim that only one who is clueless about the program or intellectually dishonest would make with a straight face…


  16. — “You have to manually renew the status each year, but there are no other strings attached — as long as you have one of the above cards you can constantly renew Hilton Honors Gold status.”

    That claim may not be correct. Once activated the Gold status that one gets through the AMEX Plat auto-renews. I activated it some years ago and have not manually renewed it since then because I have continuously maintained the Diamond status. Last week, I checked in my AMEX Biz Plat account (under “Benefits”) and it showed me as having the Gold Status…

  17. I’ve had a lot of success being upgraded to a suite or a really nice room as a Hilton Gold. They’ve always offered me breakfast but I’ve never had the time.

    I will be staying at the Conrad Tokyo for 3 nights on a Mon-Thurs. This is when an upgrade would be nice, but I booked it through Amex FHR because they have a complimentary 3rd night offer. I will however, take full advantage of the free breakfast and $125 property credit.

  18. Of course, you can also get Hilton Gold status via a status challenge. I have it for one year based on my Marriott Platinum status. Just received an upgrade to the Club floor at the beautifu new Hilton Tallinn, Estonia, plus before at the Hilton Strasbourg.

  19. Staying at the Hilton Knoxville airport now. Gold status and got lounge access even without being on the executive floor. Maybe because I have stayed here before but I will take it!

  20. Me i pay for my nights and got status the hard way and can tell you : useless. Better with spg or even marriott. Diamond means nothing at Hilton. Spg plat 100 means something for properties. Period

  21. I’m curious why the Citi cards aren’t mentioned here. The basic card (no AF) offers Gold if one completes four stays within 90 days of account opening and/or spending $20k annually (which means Gold can be renewed with that same spend). The Reserve ($95 AF) offers Gold outright plus an annual weekend night as long as you spend $10k during the card year.

  22. Got Hilton Gold status with a one of the Hilton credit cards. I do not travel that much. Stayed at Shanghai Waldorf on the Bund with points. Got room upgrade to a bigger room and the stunning river view. Got free breakfast each day. I asked for neither. They just gave me both perks at the desk when I checked in – unsolicited!

  23. Love my Hilton Gold status, had it for years. We mainly at Garden Inns, but now find ourselves staying more often at the Hilton brand. We have a 13 night stay coming up at the Berlin Hilton; we booked a less expensive suite. I requested an upgrade to a corner suite and we were upgraded, for the entire 13 night stay, with lounge benefits. The larger suite gave us the opportunity to host our grandchildren overnight with us at the hotel and we were assured that our grandchildren could join us for breakfast in the lounge when they stay with us. We stay only at Hilton’s when available. Not worthless status in my eyes.

  24. I am new to elite status so only know for two years. I like Hilton
    Gold and have the Surpass card. Stay at properties every month, so get lots of free breakfast! Get upgraded a lot to bigger rooms. In Chicago got upgraded to Lake room at Hilton Chicago. Lots of big upgrades like that. Have Surpass card. The Reserve is the better card but Citibank is funny if you have too many inqueries.

    Has been nice being Hilton gold with surpass card but only had elite status last two years so maybe don’t know. Love you get elite status with just a credit card.

  25. I love the totally free Gold status, not useless at all per other commenters. The last three Hiltons I have stayed at, I got late checkout, a club level room, drinks and breakfast. Just for having a premium credit card (Citi Prestige in this case, can’t remember), a card which I was going to get anyway. Not hearing a downside for free stuff!

  26. Really have to agree with many others–Hilton status is very meaningful economically to me. Spent several years as a Gold and have been Diamond for the last three years. The guarantee of lounge access and better room upgrades make Diamond worth it to me. Easy example–6 nights at the Tokyo Hilton on points. Reserved a room for the fewest number of points and received a suite two levels higher. Real time pricing on the Internet was $300 for the room I reserved and $600 for the suite I received. So that is $300 x 6 = $1800 of value in the room. Then I can easily get $75 per person per day value (including breakfast, dinner, alcohol, and mid-day drinks) out of a good lounge, so since I was with my wife, add another $150 x 6 = $900 of savings. Now also factor in that the fifth night did not require any points. Consider further that there are no taxes on rooms paid for with points. I can give similar numbers with our five night stay at the Hilton Phuket on points. Maybe someone can’t get good value out of this program, but I can. I realize that your mileage may vary, but I have been very happy with Hilton.

  27. I think the verdict is clear. Anyone who claims that the HH Gold status is “useless” is simply not making the most of theirs — likely because they are not playing the game with a “full deck”, as is almost invariably the case when such claims are made. In fact, the claim is even worse coming from someone like @Lovetospendit who apparently earns the status “the hard way”. Why pay to earn a status that’s given away for almost nothing? Forced by your company to stay at Hilton properties on business? Why should you care?! It’s, in fact, the ideal situation!!! Take the points that the company pays for and use them on your own award travel. Can’t beat that!

    Those who would disparage a loyalty status, when it’s clear that the real culprit is their own inability to take full advantage of it, aren’t playing the game with a “full deck” and need to hang it up…

  28. Sadly in Canada Hilton does not have a bank branded credit card. The AMEX platinum does offer it as part of the benefit.
    We only have 3 hotel cards in Canada.
    1- AMEX SPG card
    2- Chase Marriott card
    3- MBNA best western card
    In 2016 the Capital one IHG card was terminated.
    Needless to say we could use some competition.

  29. As an international traveler Gold Status is a great perk. Another easy (but pricey) way of getting Gold Status is through Founder’s Card.

  30. One big plus for Hilton is they give you free breakfast even at resort properties. With a family we often travel to different hotel resorts and have to think twice about Marriott’s because their top tier elites dont get free breakfast at resort properties. Also with our Kids 6 and 8, they typically dont get charged for breakfast either, but every once in a while we get charged a nominal fee for them since technically only 2 people per room eat free.

  31. This thread just re-confirms what the “wisdom of the crowds” has been saying:
    – Hilton Gold via a cheap CC is an affordable way to get a lot of benefits
    – Hilton Diamond via a ton of spend and staying doesn’t give you much more, especially given the lack of any hard-coded benefits in the program

  32. “Hilton Diamond via a ton of spend”

    More stupidity. Let me put an end to it once and for all.

    Hilton Honors Diamond is the least expensive top elite status to earn, and, get this and learn, Hilton Honors is the only program that offers 4 — yes, four! — different ways to earn elite status, including Diamond. Status can be earned based on (a) the number base points or spend (just $12K or 120K base points for Diamond), (b) the number of nights, (c) the number of stays, and (d) CC spend on cards from two different issuers.

    What’s refreshing about this thread is that readers are finally coming out to state, proudly, how they truly feel about Hilton Honors. Without a doubt, the reason for the change is that with the demise of SPG and HGP, readers are no longer being bombarded daily with posts about how the two subpar programs are the “best in the business”. When I stumbled on this blog about 3 years ago, it was considered an insult to be labeled a “Hilton fanboy”. I will take you down memory lane for a vivid glimpse of how I was greeted by the host of this site back then. It was, like, “Is this Hilton’s biggest fan?” [wink, wink]:

    “One of the most prolific commenters I’ve had the past couple of months has been DCS. What is he radically passionate about, you ask? Hello Kitty? One Direction? Hot nuts? Macadamia nuts not being served in packages?

    Nope, of all things… Hilton HHonors!”

    That’s the sort of wink-winking that went on back then when one identified oneself as a Hilton Honors loyalist. There was hardly anyone brave enough to say anything nice about HHonors, for fear of being ridiculed. Not one to run away from a good “fight”, especially when I was sure I knew better, I became the “Crusader”, who would debunk blogosphere’s myths, one by one.

    What a difference just 3 years make, ey? Clearly, it is no longer an affliction be a fan of “of all things… Hinton HHonors!” Along the same vein, the claims about how Hilton Diamond is not rewarding now ring completely hollow because the competition has been revealed for what they always were: emperors with no clothes!


  33. 4 different ways to earn a top tier = a mediocre top tier, as consistently noted by both bloggers with a whole lot more credibility, as well as posters.

    Occam’s Razor at work.

  34. The Hilton bashing is kind of funny to read about. I’m a longtime Hilton loyalist. I don’t get the Hyatt or SPG affection. I understand the value of SPG points being a transferable currency but I’m not going out of my way to stay at SPG properties.

  35. I agree with @Jeff–I don’t understand the Hilton bashing. I’m currently Hilton Diamond, Marriott Platinum and Starwood Platinum, and until last year, Hyatt Diamond. So I think I have had at least a bit of exposure to all of them. Top level in Hilton (truthfully, Marriott too) gets you more free stuff than you may otherwise be entitled to. Free breakfasts. Free lounge access (which covers a lot more than just breakfast). Mixed drink coupons. More impressive rooms. I did nicely as a Hilton Gold for several years (great upgrade in Cape Town), but I do even better as a Hilton Diamond. It’s not just what the T’s and C’s state–it is how they treat you (not just “nice to see you” but economically) when you show up at the door and during your stay. Before I retired, I was a finance guy, so I spreadsheet everything related to this hobby. Literally everything. To me, there is quantifiable value in getting to Hilton Diamond–if not, I wouldn’t do it. Simple as that.

  36. …”as consistently noted by both bloggers with a whole lot more credibility.”

    Only a stupid moron would vouch for the “credibility of bloggers”, who, as mindless as a herd of bulls, echoed one another in vouching for two mediocre programs that were headed for the precipice and they did not even know it, when I’d called correctly back in December 2014 in the post I’d quoted from earlier, the two programs that would left standing:

    “Gold Passport as a loyalty program is lacking because it is clearly still trying to find its way. If you want a mature program, go with Hilton Honors (unlimited suite upgrades for Diamonds + “Diamond Force”) or Marriott Rewards, in that order…” — DCS, 29 December 2014

    I’d promised that I would have the last laugh, and I am now ROTFLMAO!

  37. Hilton Honors Gold is pretty much useless in North America, however in Europe and Asia I have gotten an Upgrade to at least Exec almost every single time and breakfast is always full american breakfast. I actually notice very little difference between Diamond and Gold. Had been Diamond for a while and dropped to Gold this year and can’t tell a difference.

  38. @DSK – “Free breakfasts. Free lounge access (which covers a lot more than just breakfast). Mixed drink coupons. More impressive rooms” are not differentiators at the top tier for any status program.

    Of course, things like a 4pm guaranteed checkout (and of course, the ability to go later than that), a dedicated representative, advance confirmable suite upgrades, 24 hour check-in/-out cycle, suite upgrades that are actually hard-written into top-tier benefits (and not just a 4 point font line item buried on page 87 of the T&Cs) etc. ARE all real differentiating benefits that would never show up w/Hilton Diamond (since you’re at the whim of a respective property).

  39. Nothing like parroting bogus standards based on self-anointed travel gurus’ biases that have now been thoroughly discredited by the spectacular fall from grace of the two subpar programs that they’d shilled for supposedly for epitomizing those very standards.

  40. DCS’ argument is as usual, all hat and no cattle.

    The “bogus standards” he parrots are living breathing benefits I enjoy and no HH Diamond can ever bank on.

    And of course, he flat out lies as SPG continues to thrive, and the superior benefits are slowly migrating to MR.

    #FactsMatter little man

  41. How does it feel to be an increasingly lonely and dissonant voice?

    It’s over. Hang it up because there is now a new order in hotel loyalty based on real standards for evaluating how rewarding a program is, and not on bogus and self-serving standards peddled for years by self-anointed travel gurus.

  42. @UA-NYC. Thanks for the information but all I said was that I get a lot of value out of Hilton Honors and I perceive that the value of reaching for Diamond to me is worth it.

    I am writing now from my hotel room in a college town I have been visiting several times per year. There are three Hiltons and three Marriotts in this town. When I am staying for one night, I compare rates among the six hotels and choose the least expensive (Marriott happened to win tonight). All six hotels are clean, relatively new and perfectly fine. There are no Hyatts and no Starwood hotels in this town or anywhere within 60 miles. I got a free upgrade to a suite tonight due to my Marriott Platinum status. Without asking. Again. Same thing happens at Hilton. I really would consider staying at a Hyatt or a Starwood if there were any near me, but there aren’t. Again.

    You are correct that I am at the whim of the respective property. But, there are Hiltons and Marriotts everywhere I go, and it always seems to work out OK.

  43. @DSK – a fair point…Hyatt (especially) and to a lesser extent Starwood just didn’t have the same footprints, thus the outsized benefits they offered to top tiers relative to the larger Hilton/Marriott properties. Of course Hyatt butchered their program, but Starwood has never been stronger.

    And as a former finance guy, you probably appreciate black and white calculations and can rationally think through the benefits offered in different programs. Hilton has a good rebate %, but a smaller “delta” in terms of benefits between a largely-free mid-tier and a harder to achieve higher level. Hey, it works for some, YMMV.

    Nice to talk to a rational Hilton person BTW 🙂

  44. @DSK said: “You are correct that I am at the whim of the respective property”.

    But so is anyone who patronizes any other loyalty program!!!

    Travel bloggers have been peddling falsehoods for years to try to make their preferred programs seem above the rest and in the process they poisoned uncritical souls like the commenter you are addressing who won’t stop regurgitating the same falsehoods no matter the evidence. Through I already debunked the claim that SPG plats are “entitled” to suite upgrades whereas HH Diamonds aren’t, and bloggers no longer push that meme, your commenter won’t let it go! Also, bloggers went on and on about how Hilton’s benefits are at the whim of each property ,unlike those of their preferred programs, and your commenter just regurgitates the claim, but one does not have to look too hard to find following, e.g., in the SPG T&C: “BEST ROOMS ARE IDENTIFIED BY EACH PROPERTY.”


  45. I’ve enjoyed the Gold status that came with the Amex Surpass/Citi Reserve HHonors cards. IMO the status is more valuable when used overseas. Recently just stayed 2 nights at the Hong Kong Conrad (thanks to the Citi Reserve sign-on bonus). The breakfast spread at the Conrad was amazing. We wouldn’t have paid to eat breakfast at the hotel but def took advantage of it being free. Where the Conrad HK is located, there’s not a quick or easy way to get in/out of the hotel for a quick or local breakfast (if you can find any at all nearby). I asked nicely if there was any upgrade availability upon check in. Even though they didn’t put us on the executive floor, we were given access to the executive lounge which has amazing view of the Victoria Harbour. If I didn’t have gold status I seriously doubt the staff would be this accommodating.

  46. For what it is worth I have had a few upgrades to suites in Canada at HGI with my Silver status. No breakfast.

  47. The Final Word on upgrades (to use a particularly DCS-douche capitalization) – loyalty program T&Cs are just a CYA for the program. It doesn’t speak to the actual benefits & mindset of the program. This is something anyone with half a shred of intelligence can understand.

    Here’s the third bullet point on the SPG Plat landing page, written in big 14 point font:
    – An upgrade to best available room at check-in — including a Standard Suite.

    Of course, we all know there’s no corresponding benefit listed anywhere on the SPG Diamond pages. And that’s why you wave your laminated copy of the fine-print T&Cs in their faces when they don’t upgrade you.

    Seriously, get a life already. You are more intellectually dishonest than Trump & his cronies.

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