Skip to content

This is what I'd like to see from a Hilton Diamond+ elite tier

Sept. 16, 2022
7 min read
Overwater bungalows at Hilton Moorea
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card comes with the program's top-tier Diamond status. On paper, Diamond status offers suite upgrades, a food and beverage credit to cover the cost of breakfast (or free breakfast, outside the U.S.) for two daily and a 4 p.m. late check out.

The information for the Hilton Aspire card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

When I opened the card two years ago, little did I know I would seldom receive any of these benefits. This is largely due to inconsistency among Hilton properties and the sheer mass of Hilton Diamond members around the globe.

Here's why Hilton needs a Diamond+ tier, and this is what it should include.

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

As a Hilton Diamond, you're one of many

KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY

Let's face it — for a top-tier status level, Diamond status is too easy to earn.

When you check into a Hilton hotel in the U.S., you're bound to find yourself in a lobby full of other Diamond members. And with so many Diamond members, hotels can't differentiate you from everyone else, even if you earned status outright.

This, in itself, is the single biggest reason why Hilton needs a Diamond+ tier in my book.

Related: The award traveler’s guide to Hilton Honors

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Suite upgrades — for real

KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY

While I've enjoyed Hilton's massive footprint, suite upgrades are far and few between.

As my colleague pointed out, Diamond elites “may” receive suite upgrades, but they’re currently not guaranteed, even if available. About a year ago, Hilton started offering upgrades 72 hours out, but in my experience, Hilton properties just haven't been offering their creme de la creme suites to Hilton elites.

Further, once you complete check in on the Hilton Honors app, you're almost always given a specific room number, which is seldom an upgraded room. Despite the app assuring you that an upgrade has been requested, once you have a specific room number, it's often the final nail in the coffin for another un-upgraded stay.

A Diamond+ tier should provide waitlisted upgrades to the best available room — then follow through with said upgrades.

Additionally, I'd like to see Diamond+ provide at least five annual nightly suite upgrade certificates that could be used to confirm a suite upgrade at the time of booking. That would bring the program more in line with top-tier Marriott Bonvoy and World of Hyatt status, both of which offer a path to advanced confirmed suite upgrade certificates.

Related: Your ultimate guide to Hilton hotel brands

A proper breakfast

KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY

At the end of 2021, Hilton replaced the daily elite continental breakfast with a food and beverage credit at properties in the U.S.

However, this credit seldom covers a hotel breakfast. My colleague, Ryan Smith, recently stayed at a Hilton Garden Inn property with his wife in Southern California. With his Diamond status, Ryan was offered a $20 food and beverage credit — $10 per person. Unfortunately, breakfast was $14.95 per person at this property.

While paying $4.95 per person for breakfast isn't the end of the world, it cheapens Diamond status and might make an elite member feel nickel-and-dimed.

This problem extends outside of the U.S., too. On a recent stay at the Conrad Punta de Mita in Mexico, I was offered a $17 daily breakfast credit even though the breakfast buffet cost was $34 per person, plus tax. This was despite Diamond status officially offering a full continental breakfast outside of the U.S.

A Diamond+ tier would provide a proper breakfast, no questions asked, at all Hilton properties globally.

Related: Which hotel has the best free breakfast? TPG ate 10 meals to find the winner

Guaranteed 4 p.m. checkouts

HILTON

As a Diamond member, I've been told "no" time after time when asking for a late checkout. And on the rare occasion when it's not a full "no," it's often "how about 1 p.m.?"

A Diamond+ tier should offer guaranteed 4 p.m. checkouts. Again, this would bring Hilton's top-tier status closer to Marriott Bonvoy and World of Hyatt.

Related: How and when to ask for late checkout at a hotel

Personalized support

HILTON

This is an easy one. When you call the Diamond line, it's common to run into lengthy hold times before being transferred to an overseas call center.

Last month I tried to redeem two free night certificates from my Aspire card, which must be done over the phone. I was on hold for 25 minutes before being transferred to an agent who was completely unfamiliar with Hilton free night certificates. He insisted that I must have been mistaken and went as far as to suggest that I should just use my points, since I have enough.

After my request to speak with another agent was declined, I called back, waited on hold again and was connected with an agent who was able to help.

Top-tier Hyatt Globalist status entitles you to the My Hyatt Concierge, while top-tier Marriott Ambassador Elite status gives you a designated Ambassador line. In turn, a Diamond+ tier should have its own support line.

Related: 7 ways to redeem points with the Hilton Honors program

Partner benefits

ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

Hilton leaves you hanging when it comes to partner benefits. Marriott Titanium and Ambassador Elite members are eligible for a status match to United Airlines Premier Silver. In contrast, Hyatt members are eligible to earn bonus points World of Hyatt points on American Airlines. Hyatt and American also periodically run status challenges for partner elites.

A Diamond+ tier should provide partner benefits, too — such as an elite status match on Delta Air Lines, one of the major U.S. carriers without a close hotel ally.

Related: 13 ways to earn more Hilton Honors points

Waived fees

KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY

World of Hyatt is the leader in waiving fees for top-tier elite members, and it would be nice to see Hilton catch up.

While Hilton waives resort fees on award stays, it would be nice to see that benefit extended to stays booked with cash. Similarly, it would be nice to see a Diamond+ tier comp parking fees, which Hyatt Globalist status offers when redeeming points or free night awards.

Related: How I’m spending 4 million Hilton Honors points

Bottom line

When I applied for the Aspire card two years ago, I opened the card primarily for the Diamond status. Fast forward and now, due to the scarcity of late check-outs, skimpy food and beverage credits and near-nonexistent suite upgrades, I'm not feeling the love from Hilton Honors.

A Diamond+ status tier with more robust elite benefits would make road warriors like myself feel more appreciated for their spending at Hilton properties. This would likely have a positive outcome for Hilton too, as frequent travelers could move their stays to Hilton properties to earn Diamond+ if its benefits beat the competition.

Featured image by You'll get the best returns with Hilton purchases on your card.
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site

Rewards

3 - 4X points
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.

Intro offer

60,000 bonus points
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

Annual Fee

$250

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent/Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees