Despite the headline, it’s not hard to get elite status with Hilton Honors: nearly every one of their credit cards issued by American Express comes with Gold or Diamond status. But you might still want the status without getting another piece of plastic. That’s where elite status matches come into play. Hilton Honors just announced that they’re changing the rules if you want to get a status match from a competing chain.
First off, what Hilton is providing is a status challenge rather than an outright match. You’ll receive status for a trial period, and if you complete certain target criteria that status will be extended for the full year. Actual status matches (without the catch) are becoming rare. I have not seen a good match program from a major hotel or airline in a while.
The rule changes mean that matches to Diamond status are no longer possible, and Hilton will be changing their qualification criteria to focus on the number of nights instead of the number of stays to keep the trial status offered during the challenge.
- Every eligible member will be matched to Gold status for a trial period. There will no longer be an option to be matched to Diamond status. The trial period will last 90 days.
- If they complete 10 nights within those 90 days, members will have their Gold status extended through March 31, 2021.
- If they complete 18 nights within those 90 days, members will have their status upgraded to Diamond and extended through March 31, 2021.
Readers interested in Hilton’s new status match program can read up at statusmatch.hiltonhonors.com.
I don’t see a huge problem with these new rules. Gold status already has almost every perk you could want. Upgrades, even for Diamond members, may include a better view but rarely result in a suite. Gold benefits include breakfast and a lot of bonus miles already.
The new rules will probably make it harder for the average person to reach the criteria for Diamond status. Achieving 18 nights in 90 days is a high bar — over one week of travel every month! That’s probably by design. I imagine a few people may have been getting status matches right before a big vacation, never intending to keep it.
One of the advantages of earning and keeping elite status is that Hilton offers extra bonus points. Beginning at 40 nights, Hilton Honors provides 10,000 bonus points every time you reach 10 qualifying nights in a calendar year. Diamond members also get a one-time bonus of 30,000 points when they reach 60 nights.
But I do appreciate the ease of the credit card approach. Those who really want Diamond status without putting in the work should just go for the Hilton Honors Aspire credit card from American Express. My wife and I each have one, with a free weekend night award each year, a $250 resort credit, and $250 in airline fee credits among other benefits. I’m writing this post right now on my way to the Del Coronado Hotel in San Diego, where my wife and I will be saving over $2,000 thanks to these cards.