The Hilton brand was founded in 1919 when Conrad Hilton purchased his first hotel in Texas. Since that time, many things have changed with the brand, including the introduction of the Hilton Honors loyalty program in 1989. Serving both business and leisure travelers with more than 600 properties in a total of 118 countries, Hilton is one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing hospitality companies.
One of the many benefits of the Hilton Honors program is free breakfast (soon to be a food and beverage credit). For those who earn Gold status, breakfast (soon to be a food and beverage credit) is included as a benefit, among other perks. This can mean substantial savings, particularly in markets where dining out adds up to a material amount of spend.
We’ll dive into all of the details you’ll need to know about the program in this Hilton Honors elite article. You’ll walk away with an understanding of both the loyalty program and associated benefits. Most importantly, you’ll be able to determine which, if any, elite tier makes sense for you to earn.
Hilton Honors Elite Status Levels
0 to 9 nights/year
10 to 39 nights/year
40 to 59 nights/year
60 to 74 nights/year
|Points Towards Free Nights||X||20%||80%||100%|
|No Resort Fees on Award Stays||X|
|Fifth Standard Rewards Night Free||X||X||X|
|2 Bottles of Water||X||X|
|Elite Tier Rollover Nights||X||X|
|Space Available Room Upgrade||Up to Executive Room Type||Up to 1-Bedroom Suite Room Type|
|Complimentary Breakfast at all hotels (soon to be a food and beverage credit)||X||X|
|Unlimited Milestone Bonuses||X||X|
|Executive Lounge Access||X|
|Diamond Status Extension||X|
|48-Hour Room Guarantee||X|
|Elite Status Gifting||X|
|72 hour early upgrade||X||X|
Update: See how Hilton Honors has adjusted 2022 points and status expiration, elite qualification, free night awards, and more in our article: Coronavirus (COVID-19): Hotel Elite Status Extensions, Changes, and Updates.
Hilton Honors Silver
Silver status is the lowest elite tier in the Hilton Honors program. One way a member can earn this status is by completing 4 stays or 10 nights (or 2 stays or 5 nights in 2022). Another way to earn this status is to hold the Hilton Honors American Express Card. The card comes with complimentary Silver status as long as you have the card.
Fifth Night Free
When redeeming points for a stay, Silver members receive a fifth night free. This benefit is available for reward stays up to 20 nights. If you find yourself booking these longer stays, this benefit can add up to substantial point savings.
Members with Silver status receive a 20% bonus on the base points that you earn. Silver members earn 12 points per dollar spent versus 10 points per dollar spent for a Member.
Hot Tip: The 20% Silver bonus equates to 2 more points per dollar spent than a basic Hilton Honors Member with no elite status.
For stays at Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Curio Collection by Hilton, DoubleTree by Hilton, Embassy Suites by Hilton, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Hilton Garden Inn, Hilton Grand Vacations, LXR Hotels & Resorts, Tapestry Collection by Hilton, and Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, members receive 2 complimentary bottles of water. Stays at Hampton Inn by Hilton, Homewood Suites by Hilton, and Home2 Suites by Hilton exclude this as a benefit and bottled water is not a stated benefit at Canopy by Hilton and Tru by Hilton properties.
Bottom Line: The elite benefits for Silver members are limited. If you’re wanting more value from the Hilton Honors program during your stays, consider earning higher Hilton Honors elite status via hotel stays or by holding credit cards that come with Gold or Diamond status.
Hilton Honors Gold
Gold status is the middle elite tier in the Hilton Honors program. Members earn Gold status in 2 ways. One way is to have 20 stays, 40 nights, or 75,000 base points in a calendar year ($7,500 in spend), or 10 stays, 20 nights, or 37,500 base points in 2022. A second way to earn Gold status is by holding certain credit cards.
Cardmembers of The Platinum Card® from American Express, The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, and The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card receive complimentary Gold status as a benefit.
Keep in mind that Gold status includes all of the benefits of Silver.
Preferred Room Upgrade
Subject to availability, Gold members receive upgrades to a preferred room up to Executive Floor room types (suites are excluded) at Canopy by Hilton, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Curio Collection by Hilton, DoubleTree by Hilton, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, LXR Hotels & Resorts, Tapestry Collection by Hilton, and Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts.
The caveat with upgrades is that the upgrade is only for 1 room. If you book multiple rooms for your stay, only 1 room is available for an upgrade. Embassy Suites by Hilton, Hampton by Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Hilton Grand Vacations, Home2 Suites by Hilton, Homewood Suites by Hilton, Motto by Hilton, and Tru by Hilton are excluded.
An 80% bonus is what you’ll earn as a Gold member. This bonus percentage equates to an additional 8 points per dollar spent than a Hilton Honors Member. Gold members earn 18 points per dollar spent versus 10 points per dollar spent for a Member. Stays at Home2 Suites earn 4 additional points per dollar spent.
Points or Breakfast
Continental breakfast for the member and 1 guest at Canopy by Hilton, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Curio Collection by Hilton, DoubleTree by Hilton, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, LXR Hotels & Resorts, Tapestry Collection by Hilton, and Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts is a Gold member benefit. Hot cooked-to-order breakfast is offered at Hilton Garden Inn. If the Member doesn’t want breakfast, you can elect to receive 500 to 1,000 bonus points, depending on the property. However, Hilton has announced that properties in the U.S. will soon replace their breakfast offering with a food and beverage credit that can be used throughout the day.
Hot Tip: For those who value breakfast, this is one of the top benefits for members who earn Gold status. What’s interesting to note is that even luxury brands like Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts offer breakfast to Gold members. Breakfast at luxury brands can be expensive, so this benefit offers the potential for substantial savings during your stay.
When a member stays 40 nights, the member will earn 10,000 bonus points for every 10 additional nights beyond 40 nights with no cap. On the sixtieth night in a calendar year, the member will earn an additional 30,000 bonus points, in addition to the 10,000 bonus points that member will earn at 60 nights.
For those of you familiar with the World of Hyatt program, Hyatt offers a similar milestone structure. The key difference is that the World of Hyatt program offers a cash or points option, among other benefits, when milestones are achieved.
Points or Amenity
For stays at hotels that do not include breakfast, Hilton Honors offers Gold members the following benefits:
- 500 bonus points or 2 snack/refreshment choices at Embassy Suites by Hilton
- 250 bonus points or 1 snack and non-alcoholic beverage at Hampton Inn by Hilton and Tru by Hilton
- 250 bonus points or 2 bottles of water and snack at Homewood Suites by Hilton
- 100 bonus points or 1 snack and 1 bottled water at Home2 Suites by Hilton
- 1,000 bonus points at Hilton Grand Vacations
Bottom Line: Upgrades and breakfast are 2 elite benefits that can be useful for Gold members. While room upgrades to suites are not included, upgrades to preferred rooms can make your stay more comfortable.
Hilton Honors Diamond
Diamond, the top tier status in the Hilton Honors program, can be earned 3 ways:
- 30 stays, 60 nights, or 120,000 base points ($12,000 in spend) in a calendar year (or 15 stays, 30 nights, or 60,000 based points in 2022)
- Spend $40,000 on the Hilton Surpass Card or the Hilton Business Amex card
- Hold the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
Diamond also includes all of the benefits of Silver and Gold.
Preferred Room Upgrade
Subject to availability, Diamond members receive upgrades to preferred rooms, including “junior,” “standard,” or “1-bedroom” suites. Executive suites, villas, and specialty accommodations/floors/towers upgrades are excluded. Upgrades are only for 1 room and do not include any additional rooms booked by the member. Embassy Suites by Hilton, Hampton by Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Hilton Grand Vacations, Home2 Suites by Hilton, Homewood Suites by Hilton, Motto by Hilton, and Tru by Hilton are excluded.
Hot Tip: The key difference with upgrades between Gold and Diamond members is that suite upgrades are included as a benefit for Diamond members.
A 100% point bonus is what you’ll earn as a Diamond member. This equals 10 more points per dollar than what a Member would earn. Diamond members earn 20 points per dollar spent versus 10 points per dollar spent for a basic Member.
Points or Welcome Amenity
Diamond members receive these additional benefits at the following properties:
- 1,000 bonus points or 3 snack/refreshment choices at Embassy Suites by Hilton
- 250 bonus points or choice of 1 snack and 1 non-alcoholic beverage at Hampton by Hilton
- 250 bonus points or choice of 1 snack and 2 bottles of water at Tru by Hilton
- 250 bonus points or 2 bottles of water and 1 sweet snack at Homewood Suites by Hilton
- 100 bonus points or choice of 1 snack and 1 bottled water at Home2 Suites by Hilton
- 2,000 bonus points per stay at Hilton Grand Vacations
Executive Lounge Access
Executive floor lounge access is offered to Diamond members at Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Curio Collection by Hilton, DoubleTree by Hilton, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, LXR Hotels & Resorts, and Tapestry Collection by Hilton. Some of the lounges at these properties offer hors d’oeuvres and alcoholic beverages that are available at designated times during the day.
Stays at Canopy by Hilton, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Curio Collection by Hilton, DoubleTree by Hilton, Embassy Suites by Hilton, Hampton by Hilton, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Hilton Garden Inn, Hilton Grand Vacations, Homewood Suites by Hilton, Home2 Suites by Hilton, Tapestry Collection by Hilton, Tru by Hilton, and Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts include premium internet access.
Hot Tip: It’s important to note that complimentary internet is offered to Silver and Gold members during their stay.
On paper, Hilton offers a 48-hour guarantee for Diamond members. However, when you read the terms and conditions, the number of restrictions make this a challenging benefit to utilize.
Bottom Line: Upgrades to suites are the highlight of the benefits offered to Diamond members. Executive lounge access can also come in handy if you’re looking to pick up food and/or drinks in the afternoon during your stay.
With its global footprint, the Hilton Honors program resembles the Marriott Bonvoy program in terms of its global footprint. When you’re traveling domestically in the U.S. or abroad, it’s highly likely you’ll be able to book a stay at a Hilton property.
What’s apparent about the Hilton Honors program is the lack of benefits at each elite tier and the number of points required for award stays. On the elite status front, Silver status leaves much to be desired. Gold status essentially offers free breakfast as its premier benefit and Diamond status comes with space-available upgrades to suites.
With respect to the number of points required, Hilton requires a boatload of points to book stays at its popular properties. Even when taking into account how easy it can be to earn points, 90,000 to 120,000 points per night doesn’t make one interested in wanting to book a stay.
The way to unlock the most value with minimal cash and time investment is to hold the Hilton Aspire card. The card comes with Diamond status, meaning that you can receive all of the benefits of a Diamond member without needing to hit the stays, nights, or points threshold every year.
If Hilton is your brand of choice and you want to know more about the best credit cards for Hilton loyalists, you’ll find our detailed article helpful.