Here is a beginners guide series to the Hilton Honors program. The series will include: 1) Earning Status with Hilton; 2) What Does Hilton Status Get You? 3) Earning Points with Hilton and the Double-dip Option; 4) Redeeming Points with the New Hilton Honors Program; 5) Redeeming Points Utilizing Hilton’s 5th Night Free Awards
With Hilton you are able to qualify for status three different ways: 1) Number of stays, 2) Number of nights, or 3) Base points. There are three different status levels all having a different threshold you must meet and maintain to earn status. Additionally, with the four Hilton credit cards available, each carry a different status opportunity, which I’ll discuss later in this post. Also, anyone can automatically earn Blue status just by enrolling in the Hilton program. This really won’t do much for you, but worth enrolling in the program and earning points even if you are staying just once.
Nights, stays, and base points are all calculated on the calendar year. Stays are based on check-in and check-out, so a 3 night stay will only count once. However, you are able to stay at one hotel the first and third night and another hotel on the 2nd night, for example. This will then count as 3 stays. Base Points are calculated as the points earned from a stay not including any bonus points.
Earning status by staying at a Hilton branded hotel:
- Silver (lowest level status)
- Nights: 10
- Stays: 4
- Base Points: N/A
- Gold (mid-level status)
- Nights: 40
- Stays: 20
- Base Points: 75,000
- Diamond (top level status)
- Nights: 60
- Stays: 30
- Base Points: 120,000
Earning status by having a Hilton credit card:
While top level status (in this case Diamond) is always nice, Hilton has great perks for their guests at the mid-status level (Gold). They actually have the best mid-level status perks when compared to all the other major hotel chains. The next post will highlight these perks, but for the time being, take my word on it. Gold status will guarantee you free internet, complimentary breakfast for you and a guest (which I highly value), and the possibility to gain access to the club lounge (although not guaranteed – if you are put on the club floor level you are given access, however, many will still give you club lounge access even if there are no rooms available on that floor).
Complimentary breakfast alone can be huge. A family of four staying in a European hotel for example might be able to get a $100 value/day out of the executive lounge. Eating breakfast and dinner and packing a lunch to go (although maybe excessive) can be a huge cost savings. I would sooner go for Gold and email a hotel manager ahead of time requesting an executive floor room or at least access. While Diamond is nice, it does require essentially living at a Hilton hotel or putting a ton of spend on a Hilton hotel.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links for some of the credit cards. As always, thanks for your support and happy traveling on a deal!