Hilton Increases Elite Qualification Requirements
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here
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.
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.
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.