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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.