Hilton Honors has just announced further changes for members, protecting your status and points until 2022.
Changes were initially announced in March this year, when we expected covid to be over by Christmas! With those extensions coming to an end, Hilton has decided to go further.
Due to these changes, there is an amazing opportunity to earn Hilton Diamond Elite status FROM SCRATCH by doing just 15 nights. You would keep your status until March 2023!
Before I explain how you can get Hilton Honors Diamond Elite status in 15 nights, let’s look at all of the changes Hilton has just announced.
Full details are on the Hilton Honors covid website here.
What is Hilton doing about your status due to Covid-19?
Hilton is implementing a range of measures to protect your status and points whilst travel remains subdued.
Any Silver Elite, Gold Elite or Diamond Elite members who were set to be downgraded this year or in 2021 will have their status frozen until March 2022. This was already the case for some members but not all – everyone now has the same cut-off.
Points expiry extensions
No Hilton Honors points will expire before December 2021. This was previously December 2020.
Status qualification reduced by 50%
Here is the big change. Status qualification requirements are being reduced by 50% in 2021.
This is a huge move. The changes apply across the board – including stays, nights and base points. This will let you achieve status in half the time you would normally need.
|Previous requirements||Requirements in 2021|
|Silver||10 nights, 4 stays or 25,000 points||5 nights, 2 stays or 12,500 points|
|Gold||40 nights, 20 stays or 75,000 points||20 nights, 10 stays or 37,500 points|
|Diamond||60 nights, 30 stays or 120,000 points||30 nights, 15 stays or 60,000 points|
You can read about the different status benefits in our full review of the Hilton Honors programme here.
Lower Milestone Bonus night thresholds
In addition to lowering the status thresholds, the Milestone Bonus threshold is also being reduced. You will now earn 10,000 bonus points after 20 nights (previously 40) as well as an additional 10,000 bonus points for every 10 nights thereafter.
The additional 30,000 points Milestone Bonus at 60 nights remains unchanged.
Note that elite nights rolled over from 2020 do NOT count towards these totals.
Status gifting threshold reduced
Diamond Elite members are able to gift Gold Elite or Diamond Elite status to a friend or relative.
The threshold for this benefit will also be reduced. Any Diamond Elite member who stays 30 nights (previously 60) in 2021 will be able to gift Gold Elite status. Alternatively, stay 60 nights and you can upgrade the gift to Diamond Elite. This was previously set at 100 nights.
Note that elite nights rolled over from 2020 do NOT count towards the 30 or 60 nights required.
How can doing 15 nights in 2020 get me Diamond Elite until March 2023?
In itself, halving the qualification requirements for status in 2021 would be an exceptional deal.
However, there is MUCH more. Remember what Hilton has already promised – all 2020 elite nights will automatically roll over into 2021.
This means that anyone who ends 2020 with 30 elite nights will automatically trigger Diamond Elite status in January when the rollover nights hit. This status would be good until March 2023.
But there’s more, which is why this is such a crazy deal ….
At the moment, Hilton is offering double elite night credits via their current promotion – see here – for stays until the end of 2020.
Every night you stay during the current offer counts for TWO elite nights. These elite nights, remember, will roll over in 2021.
What does this mean when you put it all together?
You can earn Diamond Elite until March 2023 with just 15 nights.
Let’s recap why:
If you do 15 nights (nights, not stays) before 31st December, you will end 2020 with 30 elite nights. This is because, under the current Hilton Honors promotion (register here), each night counts double.
In January 2021, Hilton will add your 2020 elite nights to your 2021 total. This means that you will immediately have 30 nights.
Because the Diamond Elite threshold is being reduced to 30 elite nights, you will immediately acheive Diamond Elite. You will have this for the rest of 2021, all of 2022 and until the end of March 2023.
And don’t forget the American Express cashback deals ….
Many Head for Points readers will have been targetted for a Hilton cashback deal as we explained here. Many will receive £50 cashback on £200 of cumulative Hilton spend.
When you factor this in too, it is worth seriously thinking about pushing for Diamond Elite.
Here’s a worked example
Here is an example to show you what an exceptional deal this could be.
Assume that you currently have 16 Hilton Honors elite night credits for 2020. If you can get this up to 30 nights by 31st December, you will earn Diamond Elite status until March 2023 as soon as your 2020 nights are rolled over in January.
As you earn two elite night credits per stay until the year end, as long as you opted in to the ‘Double Rewards’ promotion, you would need (30-16/2) seven additional nights to hit the 30 you need for Diamond Elite.
Outside London, you should be able to get stays for £40 per night if you include a weekend. In Central London, £50-£55 is easily achievable. Let’s assume you do seven nights at £40 = £280. (You don’t need to STAY at the hotel of course – just check in and check out a week later.)
American Express will give you £50 cashback if you were targetted for their offer, so you pay just £230.
If you currently have no status, £280 of spending will earn you (£280 – 5% VAT = £267 = $340 x 20 points per $1 with ‘Double Rewards’) 6,800 Hilton Honors points. At my valuation of 0.33p, that’s worth £22.
Your net cost to earn Hilton Diamond Elite status until March 2023 would be £280 – £50 Amex cashback – £22 of points = £208. This works out at £7.70 per month for the 27 months that you would be Diamond Elite!
Obviously the numbers will be different for everyone but you can see here how nicely this could work out.
Remember that you MUST register to earn double elite night credits for your 2020 stays. It is not automatic. You can register here.
PS. Don’t forget Hilton’s status match if you already have status elsewhere
There are some excellent opportunities to bump up your status relatively easily here.
It gets even more lucrative if you have a status you are able to match to Hilton via their status challenge. As outlined in this article, you only need NINE nights to achieve Diamond Elite via this route and there is no need to go through the process above. Your status only runs to March 2022 instead of March 2023 however.
PPS. Hilton is still offering a 100% bonus on points purchases until the end of the year if you want to top up your balance.
How to earn Hilton Honors points from UK credit cards (January 2021)
There are various ways of earning Hilton Honors points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!
Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Hilton Honors Gold status for as long as they hold the card? It also comes with Marriott Bonvoy Gold, Radisson Rewards Gold, Shangri-La Golden Circle Jade and MeliaRewards Gold status. We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.
Did you know that the Virgin Atlantic credit cards are a great way of earning Hilton Honors points? Two Virgin Points can be converted in three Hilton Honors points. You can apply here.
You can also earn Hilton Honors points indirectly via American Express Gold, the American Express Rewards Credit Card and – for small business owners – American Express Business Gold and Business Platinum.
(Want to earn more hotel points? Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)