Hilton Increases Elite Qualification Requirements

by on December 3, 2012 · 12 comments

in Elite Status, Hilton

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Over the weekend, Hilton HHonors surreptitiously increased the number of stays, nights and base points needed to qualify for its elite status tiers. The increase only seems to effect the  Hilton Gold and Hilton Diamond elite tiers.

If you’re just going for Hilton HHonors Silver status, the good news is you will still only need 4 stays or 10 nights earned during 2012 and 2013.

Hilton Gold will not require 20 stays, 40 nights or 75,000 base points to requalify.

During calendar year 2012, Hilton HHonors Gold Elite membership will be awarded to Members with 16 stays, 36 nights, or 60,000 Base Points. However, beginning January 1, 2013, Hilton Gold will be awarded to members with 20 stays, 40 nights or 75,000 Base Points earned during any calendar year.  Bonus Points earned on Base Points do not count toward Elite tier qualification.

Hilton HHonors Gold status comes with perks like a 25% bonus on base points, complimentary room upgrades (and executive club lounge access if the upgrade is to an executive club room), the choice of 1,000 bonus points at check-in or complimentary continental breakfast for two daily, free internet access, and GLON reduced-rate redemption opportunities. In my opinion, it is probably the most generous overall mid-tier hotel elite status out there.

Hilton Diamond status will now require 30 stays, 60 nights or 120,000 base points to re-qualify.

During calendar year 2012, Hilton HHonors Diamond Elite membership will be awarded to members with 28 stays, 60 nights, or 100,000 Base Points. However, starting January 1, 2013, Hilton Diamond membership will be awarded to members with 30 stays, 60 nights or 120,000 Base Points earned during any calendar year.

Hilton HHonors Diamond status offers a host of additional perks including a 50% bonus on all base points, free internet, a dedicated reservations center, room upgrades, access to the executive club lounge regardless of whether they are upgraded to a club room, 1,000 bonus HHonors points, complimentary continental breakfast daily for two, and other welcome amenities.

Although these changes aren’t huge – 4 nights or stays for Gold Status and 2 nights for Diamond Status – it would have been nice of Hilton HHonors to send out an email or otherwise notify their members of the changes instead of tacitly incorporating them into the program with no notice at all.

I’m addicted to top-tier hotel elite status, but between my SPG 75 Night Platinum status and Hyatt Diamond status, that doesn’t leave a lot of extra time to go for Hilton Diamond status. Instead, for me the easiest way to get Hilton elite status instead of staying the required nights or stays is by using my Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve since cardholders receive complimentary Hilton Gold status just for having the card, and I plan on using it to pay my taxes (more on that in a later post) to aim for the $40,000 spend threshold at which the card confers Hilton Diamond status as well. Plus, I have yet to take advantage of the card’s sign-up bonus of two certificates for weekend night stays at any of Hilton’s 3,800 properties worldwide after spending $2,500 within the first four months of cardmembership, which I already met. These are good at category 1-7 hotels and select Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts – so there are some Hilton stays in my future, though I won’t be going for their new elite qualification thresholds! The Amex Surpass Hilton card also gives Diamond status with $40,000 in spend, but Amex has too many other good cards and offers out, so I’d rather have the Citi Hilton Reserve card, which also gives me a free weekend night at $10,000 in spend.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Youseffrelish

    hilton is the worst program ever, maybe even over IHG’s program….starwood is the best. The end.

  • Garrett

    If you spend all your time traveling to major cities. I spend a lot of time on the small towns and HHonors connection with Hampton Inn and Garden Inn help me run-up the stays quickly. Couldn’t do that with Starwood.

  • Matt

    Or you can just live in Australia ;)

  • Greg

    Actually I did get an email from Hilton this morning, subject, “An important message from Hilton HHonors”. Basically it said how they’ve improved upgrades lately (upgrades, internet, breakfast, etc.) and then explained their rationale: Periodically, we need to adapt our program based on industry trends. For the past ten years, we have not changed the qualifications for Gold and Diamond status. As of January 1, 2013, we will adjust the requirements to qualify for elite status in 2014. To qualify for Gold status, HHonors members must complete 20 stays, 40 nights, or attain 75,000 Base Points within the calendar year. To qualify for Diamond status in 2014, members must complete 30 stays, 60 nights, or attain 120,000 Base Points in 2013. All other tier level qualifications, as well as elite status received through Hilton HHonors credit cards and partners, will remain the same. ”
    Industry trends – whatever.

  • Heather @ passthedressing

    I just got my email.

  • Allen

    When the land down under quits working, there is also the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve credit card which gets you gold.

  • Nick

    I have to agree with Garrett here. I spend a lot of time in the Midwest (NE and IA in particular), and unless I am in Des Moines or Omaha, I am down to Hilton, Marriott (possibly), IHG, or even Wyndham or Choice. I just hit Platinum with Starwood for the first time but have retained my Diamond status with Hilton and plan to do the same in 2013. I have found that my treatment as a top-tier elite at both have been very comparable, though I have been able to rack up points at a much faster rate at Hilton properties.

    Keep in mind that these changes do nothing to Hilton’s “ranking” in the elite qualification hierarchy. Hyatt and Starwood still have the “easiest” mid- and top-tier qualification standards, while Marriott is still harder for both.

  • Sammy

    so who is catherine hallmarkowitz?

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  • Schmege

    Hilton HHonors Silver status is essentially NO status; the chasm between that and GOLD is huge.

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  • Robert Weich

    Can someone tell me what Elite points are? I have 200,000 hilton points but only 8,400 elite points. I am gold because of the Citi Reserve card.

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