Since mid-2016, Hilton Honors has been offering a status challenge program (prior to that they offered outright status matches). All things considered they’re one of the most generous loyalty programs when it comes to giving out status, whether it’s through a credit card or through a status challenge.
Well, Hilton has announced some significant changes to how their challenges work, including it now being more difficult to earn Honors Diamond status through this program.
Hilton Honors’ new status challenge
Hilton Honors has just modified their status challenge program, where you earn status upfront, and then can maintain that status based on staying a certain number of nights within 90 days.
With these changes, you’ll automatically be matched to Gold for a period of 90 days. Then you can maintain status based on how many nights you stay in a 90 day period:
- Stay 10 nights within your 90 day trial period and you’ll keep Gold status through March 31, 2021
- Stay 18 nights within your 90 day trial period and you’ll be upgraded to Diamond status through March 31, 2021
What has changed?
As a point of comparison, here’s how the challenge previously worked:
- You could be be matched to Gold or Diamond status for a period of 90 days
- If you wanted to extend your status, you had to complete the following number of stays within 90 days:
- 4 stays for Honors Gold status
- 8 stays for Honors Diamond status
So what has changed here is that maintaining status is based on how many nights you stay, rather than how many stays you make. Furthermore, you can no longer get Diamond status up front, but rather only based on your stays over the course of 90 days.
How to request a Hilton Honors status challenge
In order to request a status challenge you just have to fill out the online form with your first name, last name, email address, Honors account number, and the status you’re trying to match.
Then you have to also upload proof of your status, as well as proof of a stay with a competing hotel chain in the past 12 months (which prevents you from matching based solely on status obtained through a credit card, status match, etc.).
Do note that while you have to submit proof of a stay, it’s fine if you earned that status through a credit card. For example, if you have the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card and have stayed at least one night at an IHG property, you can use your Platinum status to start a Hilton Honors status challenge.
Hilton Honors status challenge FAQs
To answer some of the most frequently asked questions I get regarding Hilton status challenges:
- Do award nights count towards the Hilton status challenge? In the past they did, though unfortunately they don’t anymore.
- How often can you participate in a Hilton status challenge? Only once during the lifetime of your account.
- How long does it take to start a Hilton status challenge? The terms state that it takes five to seven business days for status match requests to be processed. In the event that additional validation is required, it could take an extra five to seven business days.
- Who is eligible for a status match? Only members who are base or Silver members. Gold or Diamond members aren’t eligible.
Earn Gold & Diamond Honors status with credit cards
While this is a great opportunity for a status challenge, also remember that Hilton makes it pretty easy to earn status through their US credit cards, if you have access to those. These credit cards even let you earn Diamond status automatically, and not just Gold status.
The following cards let you earn Hilton Honors Gold status:
- Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card — valid for as long as you have the card
- Hilton Honors American Express Business Card — valid for as long as you have the card
- The Platinum Card® from American Express — valid for as long as you have the card, registration required
- The Business Platinum Card® from American Express — valid for as long as you have the card, registration required
- Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express — when you spend $20,000 on the card in a calendar year
Meanwhile, the following cards let you earn Hilton Honors Diamond status:
- Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card — valid for as long as you have the card
- Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card — when you spend $40,000 on the card in a calendar year
- Hilton Honors American Express Business Card — when you spend $40,000 on the card in a calendar year
Hilton has historically been incredibly generous with status challenges, and that will continue to be the case. However, they’ll no longer give you Diamond status up front, and now maintaining status is based on nights rather than stays.
I’d say that I appreciate that Hilton is perhaps trying to make Diamond status more exclusive, but then again they also give it away with a credit card, so…
What do you make of the changes that have been made to Hilton Honors’ status challenges? Fair, or no?