Hilton Honors Gold: The Best Value for Money Mid-Tier Status?

Hilton New Orleans St. Charles Avenue

Hilton Honors Gold is a great status in many ways. First of all, it’s relatively easy to get. In most countries there are credit cards such as the American Express Platinum or exclusive Hilton Honors credit cards which include this status. Secondly, the status offers lots of benefits that help you save a lot of money in the long run.

Is this already enough to qualify for the best value for money mid-tier status? Read on to find out.

Qualification

You can qualify for Hilton Honors Gold through the following ways within a calendar year (January 1 to December 31):

  1. 20 stays (stay = one or more consecutive nights in one property)
  2. 40 nights (can also be consecutive in one property)
  3. 75,000 base points (= US$7,500 (~€6,363) revenue in Hilton hotels)
  4. Status match challenge
  5. Credit cards: American Express Platinum or Hilton Honors credit card

The easiest way to get the status is probably through a credit card. Since the local credit card markets in Europe differentiate a lot, we cannot make a general recommendation here. However, the American Express Platinum should be available in your country too in most cases. If Hilton offers a credit card in your country, you can check on Hilton’s website (you can change the country at the bottom of the page).

Benefits

  • Free breakfast for the member and up to one additional guest
  • Upgrade to the next room category incl. executive rooms (if availability permits)
  • Late check-out (already a benefit of the blue status, however hotels are more willing to grant this the higher your status is)
  • 80% more Hilton Honors points (instead of 10 points per USD spend, you will receive 18 points per USD spend)
  • Unlimited milestone bonus (after 40 nights, you will receive extra points)
  • Fifth award night free, so you only need to spend points for 4 nights (a silver status benefit)
  • Two free bottles of water per stay (a silver status benefit)
  • Rollover nights (if you collect more than 40 nights in a calendar year, the exceeding amount of nights will already help you qualify for the status in the following year)

Free Breakfast

The biggest benefit of the Hilton Honors Gold status is most certainly the free breakfast. You and an additional guest in the same room benefit from free breakfast in all Hilton properties that don’t offer free breakfast anyway (such as Hampton by Hilton). You even get free breakfast in Conrad and Waldorf Astoria hotels.

Hilton Tokyo Japanese breakfast
Japanese breakfast

The free breakfast can save you up to €25 per person per day. As a side note: In the US hotels often only give you a breakfast voucher that most of the times hardly covers the expenses for the breakfast. You often end up paying for the breakfast anyway, but of course less. In Europe and Asia I have personally never received a voucher. The hotel is also allowed to give you lounge access, so that you can enjoy a often reduced breakfast buffet there.

You can also waive the free breakfast and receive 1,000 Hilton Honors points instead through your MyWay benefits (you can change these preferences in your settings in the app and on the website).

Upgrades

Generally speaking, you have a right to receive an upgrade to the next room category. But with the exception that availability has to permit such an upgrade. If your hotel is booked out, you will have to accept your initially chosen room.

Tip: Before checking in, you can check if there are still rooms available through a paid upgrade. Sometimes the staff at the check-in desks pretends that no rooms are available anymore for an upgrade. But this way you can proof them wrong immediately.

Conrad Bali Suite Bed
Conrad Bali suite

It is even possible to receive an upgrade up until an executive room which includes lounge access. Most of the times you can find finger food there. In the evenings the small buffet can sometimes replace a dinner. Coffee, tea, soft drinks and alcohol are also free. Therefore you can save a lot of money having lounge access. To be on the safe side, you can book a room with a category just below an executive room. Then the hotel has to give you lounge access. But sometimes hotels are very generous and even upgrade you to an executive room from the lowest room category.

Hilton Tokyo 33
View from the lounge of Hilton Tokyo

Depending on where you are staying in the world, the chances of an upgrade into an executive room differentiate. From 5 stays in Istanbul in the last, I have once been upgraded to a suite and once been upgraded to an executive room. In Western and Central Europe chances are much slimmer. I think the chances for an upgrade into an executive room are at 1:10 to 1:20. In Asia the chances are much better again, especially because the gold status is valued very highly there. In the US chances are probably the worst unless the hotels serve you breakfast there.

More Benefits

Next to the free breakfast and the upgrades, you are enjoying more benefits with the gold status (in parts already with blue and silver status).

If you book an award stay, your fifth night is free. You therefore can save up to 20% on your award stays.

Additionally, you already receive the possibility of requesting a late check-out from the lowest status (already with just registering with Hilton Honors) . Of course, the probability that your late check-out request is granted increases with your status level. Until 2 PM (instead of 12 PM) is usually no problem at all. Even 4 PM Is sometimes possible.

Furthermore, a second guest will stay with you for free in your room. Many hotels offer the room at a more expensive rate if you book with 2 persons instead of 1. You can even just book a room for 1 person, arrive with 2 persons and won’t have to expect a surcharge. But this only applies to the pure room costs, booked breakfast or half board for example would not be included in this. But of course you would still receive free breakfast through the gold status for the second guest.

Hilton Single vs Double occupancy Deutsch markiert
Single versus double occupancy at Hilton Berlin

Moreover, standard WiFi is free for all Hilton Honors members. Fast premium Wifi is unfortunately only available as a Diamond status holder. Some hotels sadly are slowing down the speed of the standard WiFi artificially to make you buy additional internet packages.

Another added benefit is surely the good customer service of Hilton. This applies to all customers of course but I am certain that Gold members are treated with more care. From my own experience I can honestly say that all requests that I ever had have been take care of well whether I reached out by phone or via email. If a stay wasn’t very good, which rarely happens, Hilton customer service really tries to make up for it. IF a non-member was treated in a similar way? I doubt that.

What’s the Value of the Benefits?

It is hard to put a monetary value on most of the benefits but some definitely have a specific financial advantage.

As mentioned earlier, the free breakfast can save you up to €25 per person per day. Therefore you can save up to €50 per night if you travel with someone. This can add up to a lot of potential savings in a year!

An upgrade from a standard room to an executive room could be valued at around €50 a night in my opinion. Sometimes the value can be even higher. If you book the category just below the executive room, you still save about €15-30 a night.

Hilton Room below Executive English
Price comparison between room category below executive room and executive room at Hilton Amsterdam Schiphol

A late check-out, that you will definitely receive as a Gold status holder, can be worth a lot of money, especially if you only travel in the evening of the day of the check-out. A late check-out at 2 PM has always been granted since I am a Hilton Honors Gold member. Sometimes but rather rarely I even received a late check-out at 4 PM. A 4 PM late check-out can be valued at 50% of the price per night for sure.

Comparison With Other Programs

If you look at other popular hotel programs such as Marriott Bonvoy, IHG Rewards Club or World of Hyatt, then you will quickly notice that Hilton is pretty generous with their benefits. The qualification requirements are quite average.

QualificationHilton GoldMarriott GoldIHG PlatinumHyatt Explorist
Stays20
Nights40254030
RevenueUSD 7,500USD 4,000-16,000approx. USD 9,550
Meetings & events10

With Marriott Bonvoy, you will not receive free breakfast as a Gold status holder but with Platinum status (which requires 50 nights and is significantly harder to achieve than the Hilton Honors Gold status).

There is no free breakfast with the Gold Elite status by IHG Rewards Club either. The other benefits are also rather average. However, the status qualification requirements are quite low and easy to achieve.

Lastly, also the Exploits Membership in the World of Hyatt program doesn’t offer free breakfast. The other benefits are not worth a mention except that a late check-out at 2 PM is for sure guaranteed.

BenefitHilton GoldMarriott GoldIHG PlatinumHyatt Explorist
Free breakfastβœ”
Lounge access
Late check-outIf availability permits2 PMIf availability permits2 PM
Premium WiFiβœ”βœ”
Upgradeβœ”
1 category higher, up to executive
βœ”
up to executive
βœ”
if availability permits
βœ”
no suites and no Club Lounge access
In-Room spa voucherβœ”
$30

Conclusion

The Hilton Honors Gold status offers a lot of benefits. Much more than comparable status with other hotel programs. It is also pretty easy to get the status through credit cards. And because of that, the status is such a great deal. If you are only sleeping 2-3 nights in a Hilton per year, it can already be worth it to look into ways to get the status in your country. I have become a Hilton fan because of the great hotel program and the Gold status.

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