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Free Room Upgrades, Free Breakfast, and Exclusive Lounge Access at Hilton Hotels. Here Are All Hilton Status Tiers and How They Stack Up

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Free Room Upgrades, Free Breakfast, and Exclusive Lounge Access at Hilton Hotels. Here Are All Hilton Status Tiers and How They Stack Up

Alex CurtisFree Room Upgrades, Free Breakfast, and Exclusive Lounge Access at Hilton Hotels. Here Are All Hilton Status Tiers and How They Stack UpMillion Mile Secrets Team

Signing up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

Imagine if every time you visited a Hilton hotel you got the red carpet rolled out for you, with free room upgrades (when available), bottles of water, bonus reward points, and free breakfast.

With Hilton status, you can enjoy all of these perks and more each time you visit a Hilton hotel.  And you might be surprised how easy it is to earn and maintain this elite status.  It’s a perk of every AMEX Hilton card, including the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend and Hilton Honors Aspire from American Express cards, though which status level you get depends which card you choose.

Here’s a look at all the levels of Hilton status, and what perks each of them offer.  I’ll also share tips on the easiest ways to earn each status tier.

And you can subscribe to our newsletter for more helpful posts like this!

With 4 Different Levels of Hilton Elite Status, Which Is Most Worth the Effort?  And What Are Their Differences?

Hilton Status Tiers

With Hilton elite status, you’ll get an upgraded experience for all stays at Hilton hotels.  There is no cost to get started.  Here is what you can expect from each level of elite status.

Member Tier

How to get it:   As the base tier for all members, you just need to sign-up on Hilton’s website for their rewards program.

Status Benefits:

  • Member discount (a lower room rate exclusively for Hilton members)
  • Earn points toward free nights (10 points per $1 at most hotels)
  • No resort fees on award stays
  • Digital check-in & digital key through the Hilton app
  • Free standard Wi-Fi
  • Late check-out
  • Transfer and pool points with friends & family for free

Our Take:  This is the base tier that you get just for opening a new account.  There is absolutely no reason that you should be staying at a Hilton hotel without enjoying these perks because, again, it costs nothing to sign-up.  Plus, if you are earning points anyway (which of course you want to), then you want to set-up this account.

Silver Status Comes Complimentary With the Hilton Honors American Express Card Which Earns You Benefits Like Late Checkout and Free Water Bottles in Your Hotel Room
Late Checkout Is Offered at the Base Member Elite Status Tier.  Handy!

Overall, there isn’t anything too exciting about this tier.  The most notable benefits are free Wi-Fi and late checkout.  It is actually surprising to me that Hilton offers late checkout for all members as a base tier perk.  Many other hotels reserve this benefit for a higher level of elite status.

The member discount mentioned isn’t anything to get too excited about. It usually matches the price you find from online travel agencies like Priceline or Hotels.com.

You will start by earning 10 base Hilton points per $1 you spend during your stay on room charges (including expenses charged to your room).  Since Hilton points tend to be worth ~0.5 cents each, this is about 5 cents per $1 in value during your stay.

Hilton Silver Status Tier

How to get it:   Complete any one of the following during a calendar year:

Status Benefits:

  • Everything from the Member tier
  • Earn 20% bonus Hilton points (12 total points per $1 at most hotels)
  • Receive the 5th night free on award stays of 5+ consecutive nights
  • 2 free bottles of water
  • Elite tier rollover nights

Our Take:  Silver elite status is relatively easy to earn for most folks.  It’s available after just 4 stays with Hilton (which could be as few as 4 nights if you spend 1 night per stay).  The easiest way to maintain Silver elite status is by having the Hilton Honors American Express card, which makes sure you stay at Silver status as long as you keep the card open.  Plus, this card has no annual fee (See Rates & Fees), so there is no reason to ever close it.

The 20% bonus Hilton points per $1 on Hilton hotel stays helps you earn your next free stay even faster.  This tier also introduces elite tier rollover nights, which makes it easier to maintain your elite status tier the next year.

For example, say you stay 15 nights this year at Hilton.  Because only 10 nights are needed for Silver status, the 5 “extra” nights will rollover and give you a 5-night head start going into the next year.

The Hilton Garden Inn Belo Horizonte Costs Only 5,000 Points per Night! So for Just 20,000 Hilton Points, You Can Stay 5 Nights Here Instead of 25,000 Hilton Points Thanks to the 5th Night Free Perk

Another huge perk that we love with this tier status is the 5th night free perk on award stays.  If you use Hilton points to book a stay of 5+ nights, you can enjoy the 5th night free.  So on a 5-night award stay, it only costs the amount of 4 nights in points.  This perk can significantly increase the value (up to 20%) of your reward stays at Hilton!

Hilton Gold Status Tier

How to Get it:   Complete any 1 of the following during a calendar year:

Status Benefits:

  • Everything from the Member and Silver tiers
  • Earn 80% bonus Hilton points (18 total points per $1 at most hotels)
  • Free room upgrade when available (up to Executive room type)
  • Complimentary breakfast at all hotels
  • Unlimited milestone bonuses

Our Take:   The Hilton Gold status elite tier is arguably one of the best deals in all hotel elite status tiers.  It packs tons of benefits and perks, while still making itself attainable for folks who travel somewhat frequently.

There is a ton of value with this elite status tier.  All of these perks will significantly improve the quality of your stay at a Hilton hotel.

Most notably is free complimentary breakfast at all hotels.  The quality of this breakfast will vary on the hotel brand.  While a Hampton Inn might offer a standard continental breakfast, the more luxurious Conrad or Waldorf Astoria brands will offer a credit for breakfast at the hotel restaurant.

In addition, you can also expect space-available room upgrades.  These upgrades allow up to an Executive room type, which will feel like a great improvement over the standard room that you probably booked.  Generally, these upgrades yield “enhanced rooms”, which often are rooms with better views.  So paying for a standard room in New York City, you might get moved to the same room but facing Central Park, which normally costs extra.

A Surprising Way To Score More Bonus Points With Hiltons Latest Promotion
Free Breakfast Is Offered at All Hilton Hotels for Gold Status Members

There are lots of opportunities to earn tons of Hilton points thanks to the 80% bonus points you earn during your stays.  There are also milestone bonuses which allow you to earn thousands of bonus points for completing certain amounts of nights per year.

The easiest way to maintain this elite status tier is by having the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend or Hilton Honors American Express Business credit cards.  They both offer complimentary Gold elite status as long as you keep the card open.  With 1 of these cards you can enjoy the perks of Hilton Gold status, without needing to build up or maintain 40 nights of traveling per year.

Hilton Diamond Status Tier

How to Get it:   Complete any 1 of the following during a calendar year:

Status Benefits:

  • Everything from the Gold, Silver, and Member tiers
  • Earn 100% bonus Hilton points (20 total points per $1 at most hotels)
  • Free space-available room upgrade (up to 1-bedroom suite!)
  • Free premium Wi-Fi
  • Executive lounge access
  • Diamond status extension
  • 48-hour room guarantee
  • Elite status giving

Our Take:  On the highest end, Diamond elite status offers the best perks for Hilton’s most loyal travelers.  Getting to this tier requires a lot more travel, but Hilton again gives you the opportunity to earn the status just by holding a certain card.

The Hilton Honors Aspire from American Express card allows you to enjoy this status complimentary.  Just keep in mind this premium travel card does have a high annual fee of $450 (See Rates & Fees).

Diamond elite members will enjoy better room upgrades compared to Gold elite members.  Diamond members can be upgraded to premium rooms, up to an actual suite.  In addition, Diamond members have access to “executive lounges” in Hilton hotels that have them.  These lounges are similar to airport lounges, with a small assortment of snacks and drinks, plus a quiet and comfortable place to relax and work.

Another notable benefit is free access to premium Wi-Fi.  While all other status tiers include free Wi-Fi, the premium Wi-Fi option is usually an additional charge (~$7 to $15 per day, depending on the hotel).  Hilton describes it as “up to three-times the speed of standard internet and ideal for high-definition video streaming and large file downloads.”  While they don’t guarantee a specific download speed, they do promise that it is adequate for streaming and heavy internet work.

Diamond Members Get Premium Wi-Fi, Which Allows You to Reliably Work and Stream With the Best Wi-Fi Speeds that Hilton Offers

As with the Gold tier, you can expect to earn lots of Hilton points.  Diamond members earn 100% bonus points, meaning 20 total Hilton points per $1 spent at most hotels.

In addition, there is also the option to gift Gold elite status to someone else after you stay 60 nights with Hilton and that same gifted status will be upgraded to Diamond after you stay 100 total nights within the same year.

Which Hilton Status Tier Is the Best Value?

Overall we think Hilton Gold status is the best overall value.  Silver elite status doesn’t offer that many significant benefits other than Hilton’s 5th night free perk.  But Gold members enjoy significant benefits which can greatly affect the quality and enjoyment from your hotel stay.

Gold status is also easy to earn because it is offered complimentary to cardholders of the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend (See Rates & Fees) or Hilton Honors American Express Business (See Rates & Fees) credit cards.  Both of these cards have $95 annual fees, which the perks of having Gold status easily justify.

In addition, you’ll earn 12 Hilton points per $1 when you use either of these cards at Hilton hotels PLUS base Hilton points (10 points at most Hilton hotels) AND the 80% bonus.  This means at most Hilton hotels, you will earn a whopping 30 Hilton points per $1 (10 base points + 80% bonus = 18 Hilton points + 12 Hilton points = 30 total Hilton points).  With a value of 0.5 cents per Hilton point this is like getting 15 cents back per dollar, which is amazing!

Pro Tip:   Always charge everything to the room.  Whenever you go to dinner at the hotel, grab a drink, buy a round of golf, or even buy a pack of gum from the gift shop, always ask if you can charge it to your room.  Because these charges will earn you 10 to 20 points per $1 when paid for as part of your room charges.  Plus, you still earn the bonus points from your credit card on top of that.

Bottom Line

Hilton offers great value for its elite status members.  Getting started is easy, and you immediately receive benefits with the lowest tier.

The Hilton elite status tiers are:

  • Member Status:   Free standard Wi-Fi, late checkout, and more
  • Hilton Silver Status:   Free bottles of water and 5th night free perk
  • Hilton Gold Status:   Space-available room upgrades, milestone bonuses, free breakfast, and tons of bonus points
  • Hilton Diamond Status:   Premium Wi-Fi, executive lounge access, free room upgrades up to 1-bedroom suites

You can maintain any of these status levels just by keeping the right credit card open:

This offers a great way to enjoy the perks offered by elite status without needing to achieve the minimum number of nights required for that tier.

Do you use any cards to enjoy the perks of elite status?  Let me know which Hilton card is your favorite!

Here’s more information about Hilton:

 

And subscribe to our newsletter for more easy-to-understand miles & points posts:

For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express, please click here.

For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend, please click here.

For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Business, please click here.

For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors Aspire from American Express, please click here.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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Here’s my take. It appears today everyone has some level of status. Substantial upgrades actually are few and far between. Gold means very little at Embassy Suites or Hampton Inns.

I think to each their own. A lot of people I know who don’t have credit cards don’t have status, and sometimes those perks even at the basic levels can be pretty nice to have if utilized 🙂

Been Hilton Diamond for years. Decided not to pursue this year. My last stay @ the Hilton, Aruba (formally Radisson) was a disappointment @ every turn. My upgrade was in a shabby room, frayed carpet as you entered, poor location, no more executive lounge and they give you a $12.50 voucher for breakfast. Really, $12.50 in high priced Aruba. Since that stay, which I paid about 40K pts. per night, they have now doubled the amount of pts. required per night to 80K during the same season. What is odd is that the cash price didn’t change. I switched to Hyatt Globalist where the pts. have value. 25K per night in Aruba, has lounge and I can use a suite upgrade award. Plus, the hotel is much nicer. Hyatt may not have the footprint of Hilton but they are where i want to go.

Whoa! HORRIBLE! But, thanks for the Hyatt recommendation!

That doesn’t sound like a good experience at all. Sorry you went though that David.

Hopefully this was just a one-time thing, but it sounds like although you had Diamond status before, the perks still weren’t really worth it for you?