On Thursday we told you about the new Hilton Honors promotion for Autumn 2020.
Called ‘Double Rewards’, you will receive double base points AND double elite night credits. This applies to stays between 8th September and 31st December 2020.
How does this help me get Diamond status in 9 nights?
Hilton Honors has been running a long-term status match programme.
It offers you top-tier Diamond status if you complete 18 nights within 90 days of registration, which is fairly tough.
However, whilst ‘Double Rewards’ is running, you earn TWO elite night credits for each night you stay. This means that you will only need nine nights in 90 days to reach Diamond.
Are you sure this works?
Yes, it’s in the terms and conditions for ‘Double Rewards’:
Will the double night credit count towards Milestone Bonuses or rollover nights?
Yes – the double night credit will count towards Milestone Bonuses, fast tracks, and rollover nights.
I did this match myself in 2017 so I know how valuable it can be. My Diamond status is still actually alive! It was meant to expire in March 2019 but as a goodwill gesture it got rolled over as our spend in 2018 year was fairly high. It was then meant to expire in March 2020 but has now been rolled over due to coronavirus.
How does the Hilton Honors status match work?
I will outline how the status match works below. To summarise:
irrespective of your current status, you receive Gold for a 90 day trial period after you sign up
to keep Gold or Diamond to March 2022 you need to hit a specific number of nights (note nights, not stays) during the 90 days
How do I get a Hilton Honors status match?
Via this link, you can match your existing status with another hotel loyalty programme into Hilton Honors. You must be at least ‘mid tier’ although Hilton will define at its discretion what counts from each particular scheme.
They definitely accept all of the major programmes shown in the dropdown menu on that page. If you have status with a smaller scheme it may or may not be accepted. I seem to remember that Wyndham Rewards is not accepted for some reason but don’t quote me on that.
The match rules are simple:
You will receive Hilton Honors Gold status for 90 days from the date of acceptance (usually 4-5 days after you email your request)
To keep Gold until March 2022, you need to complete 10 nights (cash, not reward) within the 90 days
To be upgraded to Diamond until March 2022, you need to complete 18 nights (cash, not reward) within the 90 days
As well as having status in another programme, you must also have evidence of a stay within the last 12 months with that programme. If, for example, you have hotel status via Amex Platinum, you cannot submit a screen shot of an account with no activity.
Is a Hilton Honors status match worth doing?
Hilton Gold is generally seen as the best mid-tier hotel status because it gets you free breakfast. You don’t get free breakfast with IHG Rewards Club even if you are a top tier Spire Elite member!
Hilton Diamond comes with guaranteed lounge access, where the hotel has a lounge. Again, good luck with that as an IHG elite member.
Timing is key, of course.
Once you are accepted, you get the benefits of Gold status for 90 days. This could save you a LOT of money on breakfast if you are heading to a Hilton property later this year.
It is worth doing this even if you have no intention of completing the full challenge. Free breakfast via Hilton Gold for a couple on a 3-night stay is likely to save close to £100.
If you are planning to do the full 5 (was 10) or 9 (was 18) nights in order to retain status until March 2022, you also need to be confident that you can squeeze them in.
There is a trade off here. Hilton status matches are meant to be ‘once per lifetime’. Whilst it is clearly easier to earn Diamond status, given that you only need nine nights in 90 days, will you get full benefit from it before March 2022?
If you have specific hotels in mind, you should also research how they treat Gold or Diamond members.
Imagine you were planning to stay at Conrad New York next year for example. The match is unlikely to benefit you much here:
Conrad New York has no executive lounge
American hotels in the Hilton chain tend not to offer good upgrades, because the country is awash with status members who receive it via the many Hilton credit cards
Even the basic rooms are suites (it is an all-suite hotel) so an upgrade isn’t even that important
You would get breakfast – breakfast is a la carte and you can choose from a small selection – but New York is not exactly short of options
In this scenario, you may prefer to trigger your status match another time when you know you will get better value.
PS. Remember that free Hilton Honors Gold status is a benefit of the The Platinum Card from American Express.
You may want to get Amex Platinum for a few months (just long enough to trigger the 30,000 Amex Membership Rewards bonus points, worth 30,000 Avios) and trigger Hilton Gold that way. If you later cancel your Platinum card, you should retain your Hilton status until March 2021 and possible even March 2022.
You will also receive status in MeliaRewards, Shangri-La Golden Circle, Marriott Bonvoy and Radisson Rewards. My full review of American Express Platinum is here.
The Platinum Card from American Express
Sign-up bonus and earnings rate:
- Get 30,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend £4,000 within 90 days
- Earn 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 spent
- Points transfer at 1:1 into Avios, Virgin and other airline schemes
- Two Priority Pass cards, each allowing two people into 1,300 airport lounges
- Elite status in five major hotel loyalty programmes
- Comprehensive travel insurance
- Annual fee: £575
This is a charge card, not a credit card. You must clear your balance in full each month. Annual fee £575.
You will receive 30,000 American Express Membership Rewards points as a sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card if you spend £4,000 within 90 days of signing up.
Membership Rewards points are hugely flexible. You can transfer them into Avios, Virgin Flying Club or other airlines (at 1:1) or into various hotels schemes, into Club Eurostar or use them for shopping vouchers.
To qualify for the bonus, you must NOT, currently or in the previous 24 months, have held any other personal American Express card which earns Membership Rewards points. This includes The Platinum Card and Preferred Rewards Gold.
You are OK if you had a supplementary card on someone else’s American Express account.
You are OK if, currently or in the previous 24 months, you have held any other American Express card, including the British Airways, Marriott and Nectar cards. Holding a British Airways American Express card does not disqualify from the Platinum bonus.
If you cancel The Platinum Card at any point, you will receive a pro-rata refund of your membership fee. You will not lose your sign-up bonus.
For clarity, you can still apply for The Platinum Card even if you do not qualify for the bonus. You would still benefit from the long list of other benefits.
The Platinum Card from American Express comes with an unrivalled list of benefits for the keen traveller.
Your personal travel patterns will determine which of these is the most valuable. The key benefits are:
Full comprehensive travel insurance for you, your family and the family of up to five supplementary cardholders, subject to enrolment
Two Priority Pass cards, each of which allows the holder and a guest unlimited free access to 1,300 airport lounges
Elite status in five major hotel loyalty schemes: Marriott Bonvoy (Gold Elite), Hilton Honors (Gold), Radisson Rewards (Gold Elite), Shangri-La Golden Circle (Jade), MeliaRewards (Gold)
Access to Eurostar lounges, irrespective of travel class
£10 per month of Addison Lee taxi credit