Since mid-2016, Hilton Honors has been offering a status challenge program (prior to that the program offered outright status matches). All things considered, Hilton is 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.
Hilton Honors has just published its status challenge policy for 2021, and with this we’re seeing the program cut requirements in half. Let’s talk about what you need to know.
Hilton Honors status challenge basics
Hilton Honors has a published status challenge program, where you earn Gold status upfront, and then can maintain Gold or Diamond status based on staying a certain number of nights within 90 days.
With the current Hilton Honors status challenge program, you’ll automatically be matched to Gold for a period of 90 days, and then you can maintain status based on how many nights you stay in a 90 day period:
- Stay five nights within your 90 day trial period and you’ll keep Gold status through March 31, 2023
- Stay nine nights within your 90 day trial period and you’ll be upgraded to Diamond status through March 31, 2023
As you can see, if you apply for a status match challenge now, status would be valid for well over two years, which is a long time.
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 (review) 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, so if you’re currently a Gold member you couldn’t use a challenge like this to get Diamond status.
Earn Hilton 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 its suite of 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 (review)— valid for as long as you have the card
- Hilton Honors American Express Business Card (review) — valid for as long as you have the card
- The Platinum Card® from American Express (review) — valid for as long as you have the card, registration required
- The Business Platinum Card® from American Express (review) — valid for as long as you have the card, registration required
- Hilton Honors Card from American Express (review) — 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 (review) — 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 Honors is one of the only hotel loyalty programs to consistently have a publicly available status challenge promotion (for what it’s worth, Marriott Bonvoy is offering one right now as well, for a limited time).
The requirements for a Hilton Honors status challenge are usually quite reasonable, but they’ve now even been cut in half, so you can earn Diamond status by completing just nine nights in 90 days. Best of all, the status earned through a match is now valid through March 2023.
While this is a great opportunity, for those in the US there shouldn’t be all that much need to even get a status challenge, given the credit cards that offer status. The Hilton Honors Aspire Card is my personal favorite, as it offers Diamond status for as long you have the card, along with so many other perks.
What do you make of Hilton Honors’ status challenge promotion? Do you plan on taking advantage of it?