Could Free Hilton HHonors Gold STILL Be Working??

Here’s the offer, targeted at Visa Infinite cardholders, and it’s been around in one form or another since December.

They keep tweaking the website, from no longer accepting the first four digits of Russian Visa Infinite cards to later requiring a full sixteen digits of the card number in order to unlock the form (and validating that the numbers entered could be an actual card, though not verifying the account entered itself).

Each time they’ve tweaked the form, enterprising commenters have shared their experiences here.

Matt in the comments of my March post writes:

Hello all. Just wanted to confirm that as of 9:52PM ET on 05/28/12 this is still working. Here’s what I did. First logged into my Hilton Honors account and changed my country to Australia and my Province/State to AP. I then went through the link to verify the card number. I tried dozens of card numbers but finally got this one to work -4423942965985959. I was then prompted to log into my HH Account. I logged out and back in and I went from Blue to Gold! Hope this helps someone else!

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. […] Hilton has 3 levels of status.  Silver, like the base levels in other programs, doesn’t offer a lot.  Gold is their mid-grade status.  I first got Hilton Gold by doing 3 stays within 2 months.  That was pretty easy as I had a trip to Nashville for work and hotel hopped to get 2 of them.  I did the 3rd personally.  There are other techniques that come and go like this one. […]


  1. @Grandma as I said the last time i posted on this I find it absolutely fascinating, the IT responses rather than working out a system to verify actual cardholders with their partners. Fascinating. (And for what it’s worth, I’m already a Hilton Diamond)

  2. don’t post crap like this- no wonder it is harder to get an upgrade at a hilton for a legitimate gold

    as a diamond- doesn’t matter to me but it does to a lot of your readers

  3. Gary, keep up the good work, most of us appreciate the effort you put into keeping us informed of all the different program options out there.

  4. Thanks Gary. You’re always gold standard as far as I’m concerned.

    I hope this will still work next march when I will likely lose gold hilton status (which I’ve maintained for about the past 5 or 6 years).

    (although I just read about a pretty good hilton gold 90 day challenge out there that I will probably blog about).

    Kathy (

  5. I can also confirm it is still working, however, says I need to stay 4 times by May 31st, 2012 🙁 Don’t think that will happen!

    My status hasn’t yet changed though 🙁

  6. Great post Gary! I’m HHonors Diamond thanks to V Australia. Do you know if HHonors gives soft landing?

  7. A word of warning. CS can detect this and revoke it if you ever call in. I made the mistake of doing so but had another track to gold and immediately called back to get it back. I think there’s just a non-enforcement policy unless you call in for assistance and they take a look at your profile.

  8. It seems like Hilton offers enough legitimate ways to earn Gold fairly easily, and several times per year, as well. This seems like a case where faking it is not a good idea to do or to publish.

  9. I sometimes wonder if things like this loop hole get left open on purpose, as something that essentially amounts to low-cost marketing.

    For example, it’s a great opportunity for someone in another program to try out Hilton. Works out similar to a status match for that person, which isn’t uncommon.

    If it’s someone who’s a leisure traveler making a few stays a year, how many “real elites” are really going to be negatively impacted by their stays? Probably not very many. Plus, that leisure traveler is now going to try to stay at Hiltons, so that’s a win too.

    There’s a reason they don’t just give status away to everyone, but I don’t think there’s too much incentive to close up a hole like this one. There’s aren’t too many downsides.

  10. While I’m certainly a fan of hidden deals and great finds, I think posting a full credit card number on the blog crosses the line. That number could belong to some unsuspecting person, and they now have had their credit card number compromised on a widely-read public blog. This could certainly create a nightmare for that person, if it is a working CC number. Additionally, I would think by reposting a number like that you’d be opening yourself up to some liability of the number is stolen/used/abused. I’m no lawyer though.

    Anyway, I love legitimate deals and finds, but this is really starting to seem quite sleazy to me.

  11. @Cdiddy – It’s not a real CC #, it is a theoretically valid one. No one is being charged or abused. Also, Hilton isn’t stupid… given that they tweaked the requirements several times instead of just shutting down the promo, it is clear they know what is going on and don’t mind the free and ongoing publicity. Anyone motivated enough to go through the hassle is likely someone who will want to make use of the status, and that requires making some stays with Hilton.

  12. @Mooper & Zach- I heard Hilton marketing was mad/upset about this whole thing. Yes, they tried to tweak this promo several times. Hilton gold status is not a “free” thing. When a gold member stays at a hotel (Conrad, Hilton, Doubletree) Hilton Honors must pay the hotel for the free breakfast, free internet, and room upgrade. Thus, it is not free for Hilton. The promotion would have been pulled except Hilton has a marketing contract/agreement with Visa. Further, Hilton has tried to manually weed out people who falsely obtained gold status thru this promo. There has been a number of cases of people getting gold thru this promo that Hilton later took away.

    Also, people fraudulently obtaing gold status dilutes the value of gold status for people that actually earned it. Personally I would not have given anyone one yr of gold status just because the have a Visa Infinite card, a 90 day trial would have been fine.

  13. @Mooper – You have no way to know if it’s somebody’s real credit card number or not. It very well could be, given that the poster said he tried (and failed with) “dozens” of valid combos before this one worked. That could clearly be an indication that Hilton is limiting this to only “real” credit card numbers and owners. People can claim ignorance to this possibility if it helps them sleep at night, but at some point, I personally set a moral boundary that I’m unwilling to cross, and certainly using someone’s potential credit card number is past that line for me. Apparently it is not for others.

    @MilesQuest – You certainly wouldn’t need the expiration date. I’m not a credit card expert, so I can’t comment on how and when a CCV is required for verification. But, let’s put it this way…would you be willing to post up your 16 digit Visa number on the front page of this blog or others? If so, I say have at it. But I’m guessing both you and Gary won’t do it. It’s even worse if this person’s number is compromised, broadcast to thousands, searchable, and they don’t even know it yet.

  14. @John – Could you cite where you heard Hilton was mad? That would be like having your wallet stolen from the front seat of your car because you leave your window down and door unlocked, and trying to solve the problem by locking your door but continuing to leave the window down. In other words, Hilton could have easily fixed the “leak” if they wanted to – they chose not to.You cite the costs of honoring Gold, but don’t mention the revenue. How much revenue do they gain from providing “fraudulent” (of course it’s not fraud) members with access? What does this revenue do in terms of Hilton’s profits and how greater profits turn into greater perks down the road for existing “real” members? Analyze the complete picture before concluding.

    @CDiddy – The ratio of active numbers to valid format numbers is low, but let’s assume it is an actual live account. First, it requires an expiration, name, zip, etc to be useful for charges. Let’s go nuts and say someone guessed all that info as well… the account holder wouldn’t end up paying, the bank would, and the people who are using the card to steal would be criminally liable. In reality, all we’re talking about here is the equivalent of giving out a combination lock number that could theoretically open a door somewhere in the world at some time, without actually disclosing the time or location. No one is being harmed in the least.

  15. I didn’t try it but I appreciate it & keep up the good work. Enterprising spirit is to be encouraged. Business and individual should keep the bottom line in mind, not worrying about making the world more ethical. In this society that’s one’s own responsibility.

  16. Tried the Luhn algorithm end of Feb/2013 and it worked. I got instant gold status.
    I thought it was creepy to go online and get a “valid” credit card number generator though. thinking someone could hit on my credit card numbers one day, not for a trick like this but to actually shop on my behalf… hmmmm

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *