Hilton Has an Elite Status Level I Didn’t Even Know Existed. Here’s What It Is.

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Prompted by my post on Accor’s loyalty manual, which follows summaries I’ve written of private ‘hotel eyes only’ documents for several chains:

…reader Bryan pointed me to Hilton’s proprietary standards documents for each of their regions and brands which are available unprotected online.

One interesting tidbit that jumps out is a Hilton elite status level I wasn’t even aware of.

Hilton’s levels, as far as I’ve known, are:

  • Blue (base, non-elite)
  • Silver (a few bonus points)
  • Gold (internet, continental breakfast, and avoid the room over the HVAC system)
  • Diamond (virtually indistinguishable from Gold in terms of published benefits)

It turns out there’s also a level called Preferential Gold.

Here’s how the brand standards document explains it,


Preferential Gold VIP is the only awarded (rather than earned) level in the HHonors® program and is available by nomination from a general manager, national sales, or individual of similar stature. In addition to benefits provided to HHonors® Gold VIP guests, HHonors® Preferential Gold VIPs must be offered the following:
l 48-hour guestroom guarantee
l The tier level is valid for three years, and retains all points within the account during this time

Three-year status isn’t especially meaningful, when you get Gold just for having the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card. Instead of having to make 20 stays or 40 nights each year, you keep Gold status as long as you have the card.

What Preferential Gold gets, though, is the same room availability guarantee offered to Diamonds — have a room even when a hotel is sold out, at a very high room rate, unless the hotel has gotten an exemption from offering this benefit for a given night.

For all intents and purposes, then, it’s nominated Gold that lasts awhile. Which means it’s worth $95 a year, the annual fee on the Citibank card (or $75, the fee on the similar American Express card) except that the Citi-issued card also comes with a nice signup bonus.

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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. There’s an unpublished tier above diamond as well. I know a guy who has it and regularly gets upgraded to the largest suite in the hotel — even WA hotels which are notoriously stingy for HH bennies.

  2. You mentioned that published benefits of Gold and Diamond are nearly indistinguishable, but I disagree as Diamond guarantees club lounge access while Gold you only get access if upgraded to a room that bestows the privilege.

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