How Is It Even POSSIBLE That I Don’t Have Hilton Gold Status?

In 2013 (and in prior years) I was a Hilton HHonors Diamond member by virtue of spending $40,000 on their premium co-brand credit card.

I had somehow internalized that Hilton offers their elites soft landings. I figured I would be a Gold in 2014 without any spending or credit card membership.

I was recently downgraded to Silver.

Here’s why I care. In general the smaller hotel chains are more rewarding. I love Hyatt Gold Passport and I think that Starwood Preferred Guest is pretty good too (albeit somewhat ungenerous with earning for in-hotel spend). But they aren’t everywhere and so I need another program — like Marriott, Hilton, or IHG Rewards Club.

Of those, Hilton offers the most generous and easy to reach mid-tier status level as a ‘backup’ to receive decent treatment on those occasional stays. So despite their absolutely gutting the HHonors reward chart a year ago, I’ve viewed Hilton HHonors as a backup program.

HHonors Gold means free breakfast and internet and the possibility of a modest upgrade, or at least a good shot at avoiding the worst room in the house.

HHonors Silver means eligibility for fifth night free on a five-night award redemption.

There are so many paths to Hilton Gold that it’s sort of amazing I don’t have it.

  1. At the end of 2013 the American Express Platinum card was offering cardmembers complimentary Hilton Gold status. However that benefit offer had a short window and went away December 31.

      I have an American Express Platinum card, but when they were offering Gold I was already Diamond with an expectation of at least Gold.

  2. I cancelled my American Express Hilton Surpass Card since I didn’t figure on needing to pay the annual fee to keep Gold status. Just holding that card would have given me Gold.

  3. Hilton Gold was a benefit of Milepoint Premium membership on offer at the end of the year. You could even have purchased a package for $49 and waited to redeem the benefit. I gave away packages in November and I gave away more packages in December. In all I gave away at least 13 Milepoint Premium packages, which included as a result at least 13 Hilton HHonors Gold statuses.

Here I was, with at least three paths to Gold and not expecting to need any of them. At least 13 readers now have Gold because of blog giveaways.

And I don’t. Don’t I feel like a schlub! I suppose a credit card signup is in my future.


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 InsideFlyer.com, 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 »

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  1. I know I might sound like a lunatic here by suggesting this, but have you ever considered maybe just staying at one of the huge chunk of hotels that actually provide things like internet and breakfast without needing to have status? Although I know one doesn’t derive the same benefit if they know everybody gets it too

    ‘ducks for cover as tomatoes are thrown in his direction’

  2. Whatever happened to the old fashioned concept of earning status by actually staying there?

  3. @Sean M – that would, umm, require me to STAY at Hilton that many nights. And when they make it so darned easy via other methods?? 🙂

  4. @Sean M-Indeed, “earning” status, by staying or flying, has become quite old fashioned. Much better/easier to buy it directly or get it through a credit card.

  5. Don’t you have Milepoint premium membership? I would think, as a co-founder, that you’d be entitled. That carries Hilton Gold status.

  6. @Robert Even if he did, there’s a long delay in getting the Gold status activated. My HH status lapsed at the end of March and I’m still waiting for the MP Premium perk to kick in.

  7. Do you, perchance, have MM on UA? If so, perhaps you could get Marriott Gold through UA and use that for your backup program rather than HH?

  8. Thanks for reminding me that I have Hilton HHonors Gold status from the MilePoint Premium package.

    I had forgotten.

    Just checked and sure enough – HHonors Gold elite.

  9. @Sam – not a million miler. I could get the Ritz-Carlton card for Gold status, and I would if they’d just bring back one of those great offers they had for it back in late 2012…

  10. @Sam when did you request your Milepoint Premium HHonors Gold? The terms do say it’s quite a wait but in practice it usually isn’t.

  11. @Robert Concord – I *gave away* all of my Milepoint Premiums on this blog, I think I gave away 13 packages and then I gave away the Gold status from the premium package I had attached to my own account. Milepoint has more HHonors Golds I believe, but only an amount to cover those that haven’t redeemed theirs yet.

  12. @Gary – I was successful late Nov in getting the RC with no first year annual fee and 70k points, untargeted.

  13. Might as well make lemonade out of lemons and use your referral link for a hilton credit card (if you have an affiliate relationship for a card that offers hhonors gold status).

  14. How about making a decision simply on principal and walking away from Hilton? They need to feel the pain!

  15. More importantly it is not a link to a hotel program that matters anymore………..

  16. @Gary – Ironically, I have had >30 nights already in 2014 at Hilton properties but every single one of them has been at airline staff rates so no stay credits! I keep my Gold status via the MilePoint Premium membership (and I also can get it via my Visa Infinite card).

  17. Yes, HH gutted their program. But it was hands down the most generous program. Now, it’s “only” a good program (and in many ways, a very good program – can upgrade rooms with points which is difficult/impossible with other programs where you are stuck with basic rooms).

    While HH Diamond doesn’t officially have the perks Hyatt Diamond has, on my international stays at Conrads, I’ve had great upgrades and found the lounges to be good – as good or better than Park Hyatts I’ve stayed at.

  18. @Gary – perhaps two weeks ago? It would have been after 31 March, but I think it was immediately after. Maybe 3 April?

  19. Just ask them for a status match to Diamond. They’ll give you a diamond challenge, but also with free Gold status for a year or so. Don’t bother with actually completing the challenge of course.

  20. @FrequentMiler good advice but I’ve assumed that’s not a repeatable strategy and don’t know if i want it now most vs later, they won’t do challenges year after year right?

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