Update: Hilton has revamped their co-branded credit card products, and the cards mentioned in this post are no longer available. You can find information on the new Hilton credit cards here.
Back in March I shared my thoughts as to whether it’s worth earning Hilton HHonors Diamond status through the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card. I picked up the card earlier this year and found it worthwhile for the two free weekend nights at any Hilton property worldwide after completing minimum spend. I redeemed these nights at the Conrad Hong Kong, a stay that would have otherwise cost me 80,000 HHonors points per night through Hilton’s post-devaluation award chart.
At the time I also found the card worthwhile for HHonors Gold status, which you get for as long as you have the card. One of the issues with Hilton is that they don’t do much to differentiate between Gold and Diamond status. As a Gold member you get complimentary internet and breakfast/lounge access, which as far as I’m concerned are the two single most valuable hotel elite benefis.
So earlier in the year I decided to (creatively) spend $40,000 on the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card, as I wanted to see whether there was any noticeable difference between Gold and Diamond status. On paper there are two major differences between Gold and Diamond status as far as I’m concerned:
- Diamond members are guaranteed executive lounge access, while it’s based on availability for Gold members. That being said, in practice I’ve never been denied lounge access as a Gold. Maybe I was just lucky.
- The terms & conditions of the program give Diamond members suite upgrades at the hotel’s discretion. I don’t think there are many Hilton Diamond members getting suite upgrades anywhere close to a majority of the time.
So several Hilton stays later, what are my thoughts? The funny thing is that my first stay as a Hilton Diamond member was exceptional. I stayed at the Hilton Budapest, which admittedly is in dire need of a renovation, but was both proactively recognized for having my first stay as an HHonors Diamond member and given a suite upgrade.
So naturally I figured “wow, Hilton Diamond status is awesome.” Unfortunately that’s the only stay where I received any recognition I don’t think I would have otherwise received as a Gold member. Since then I’ve received at best executive rooms with all my stays, including at the Conrad Hong Kong, Hilton Frankfurt Airport, Hilton Frankfurt, Hilton Singapore, Hilton Paris Charles de Gaulle, etc.
So for what it’s worth I don’t think it’s worth going for Hilton Diamond status, as there are so many easy ways to earn Hilton Gold status:
- You receive Gold status for as long as you have the Hilton Honors Ascend Card from American Express
- You receive Gold status for as long as you have the The Platinum Card® from American Express
Personally, I maintain Gold status by holding on to my Platinum Card. Long term, putting $40,000 spend in a calendar year on the Ascend Card doesn’t make sense for me.
For those of you that are Hilton Diamond members, how does your experience with upgrades compare to mine?