When we cover Hilton Honors on Head for Points, we usually make reference to the fact that it offers the best mid-tier status in the industry.
Whilst Hilton Honors Diamond Elite status requires a bit of effort, Hilton Honors Gold Elite is relatively easy to achieve:
- it comes free with The Platinum Card from American Express
- in 2021, you only need to stay 20 nights or 10 stays to achieve it, instead of the usual 40 nights or 20 stays
The key benefit of Hilton Honors Gold Elite is free breakfast at the majority of brands, either given directly or as something you can choose as your ‘My Way’ brand benefit.
Another benefit is some sort of upgrade. These are rarely spectacular as a Gold, but most mid-tier hotel statuses don’t even try to upgrade you.
As a Diamond member, you can expect better – although you won’t get it very often. The rules say that upgrades for a Diamond “may include upgrades up to “junior”, “standard” or “one-bedroom” suites”
Not all Hilton Honors brands offer upgrades
You might be surprised to find that not all Hilton Honors brands offer upgrades.
This is written down, fair and square, in the terms and conditions, but most of the time we don’t know or forget.
These are the Hilton Honors brands which do NOT offer upgrades to Gold or indeed Diamond members:
- Embassy Suites
- Hilton Garden Inn
- Hampton by Hilton
- Tru by Hilton
- Homewood Suites by Hilton
- Home2 Suites by Hilton
- Hilton Grand Vacations
- Motto by Hilton
As a UK-based Hilton Honors member, most of these exclusions won’t concern you most of the time.
By far the most important exclusion is Hampton by Hilton. Hampton properties have been springing up across Europe in recent years and I am generally positive about them.
Hilton Garden Inn has also seen UK growth recently, most noticeably with the Hilton Garden Inn Heathrow T2/T3 which we reviewed here. This was the second Hilton Garden Inn at Heathrow, after the rebranded Jurys Inn at Hatton Cross.
Which Hilton Honors brands do give upgrades?
The Hilton Honors rules specifically state that Gold and Diamond members are eligible for upgrades at the following brands:
- Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts
- LXR Hotels & Resorts
- Conrad Hotels & Resorts
- Canopy by Hilton
- Hilton Hotels & Resorts
- Curio – A Collection by Hilton
- DoubleTree by Hilton
- Tapestry Collection by Hilton
Does the ‘no upgrades’ rule really matter?
It is debatable whether these rules matter much. Hampton and Hilton Garden Inn hotels often do not have larger rooms to which you could be upgraded.
On the other hand, they definitely do have ‘better’ rooms – perhaps on higher floors, or with better view. Would this count as an ‘upgrade’?
Some hotels will ignore the brand rules anyway, of course. It would be very short-sighted of any hotel to fail to recognise the status of a regular brand guest, as opposed to, say, a tour group or someone who has booked through an online travel agent.
Someone has to be given the better rooms (and the worse rooms, of course) and it would be odd not to reflect status in the daily allocation.
How to earn Hilton Honors points from UK credit cards (August 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 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 into three Hilton Honors points. The Virgin Atlantic cards are the only Visa or Mastercard products in the UK which can indirectly earn 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.)