Hilton Gold and Diamond status has always been relatively easy to achieve, thanks to the Hilton credit cards. It’s why I recently picked up a Hilton Aspire Card from American Express. I wanted Diamond status without having to divert $40,000 worth of spending towards the Aspire Card. When I shared the news on Twitter, a few people asked me why I bothered with Hilton Diamond status and are the benefits significantly different from Hilton Gold? While Hilton Gold and Diamond status are very similar, there are a few key differences that make it worth upgrading:
Hilton Gold vs. Diamond Benefits: Room Upgrades
When it comes to room upgrades, there are a few differences between what Hilton Gold and Diamond members are entitled to. Both will receive upgrades based on availability. I’ve stayed at Hilton hotels as both a Gold and Diamond member. I’ve gotten upgraded on every single stay, except as a Gold member at the Conrad Chicago. To be fair, that room looked like an upgrade already and I didn’t need anything bigger or nicer than that.
That being said, the Terms of the Hilton Honors program do not guarantee upgrades of any kind. They do state that Gold members are eligible for “space available upgrades” to “preferred rooms.” Upgrades can extend “up to executive rooms.” Meanwhile, upgrades for Diamond members “may include suites,” including junior and 1-bedroom suites. In other words, you’re more likely to get upgraded to a suite as a Diamond member. That definitely rings true in my case – I got upgraded to a suite at the Hilton Munich Airport, Conrad Makkah, and even scored the Penthouse Suite at Conrad Bali thanks to my Hilton Diamond status. Based on my upgrade stats alone, having Diamond status is definitely worth it.
Hilton Gold vs. Diamond Benefits: Free Breakfast
Both Hilton Gold and Diamond members receive free breakfast, though that benefit varies by hotel brand. For example, Hilton Gold elite members get complimentary continental breakfast for up to two guests at Conrad, Hilton, Curio, and DoubleTree hotels…assuming they choose this benefit over 1,000 bonus points. The breakfast benefit also extends to Hilton Garden Inn hotels, where Gold elite members can choose between 750 points per stay or a hot breakfast for up to two guests. The difference for Hilton Diamond members? They receive free breakfast and 750 – 1,000 bonus points.
Even though the complimentary breakfast is continental and only available for two guests, I’ve found hotels to be more generous. Especially as a Diamond elite member. I often book multiple rooms and receive this benefit for every guest on my reservation. When I booked three rooms at the Conrad Makkah two years ago, they not only upgraded two of our standard rooms to suites, they extended lounge access and buffet breakfast to all eight guests in our party. On trips like these, the Diamond breakfast benefit become incredibly valuable.
Hilton Gold vs. Diamond Benefits: Executive Lounge Access
Executive Lounge access is important to many of you and this is yet another area where being a Hilton Diamond member gives you an advantage. Diamond members are guaranteed Executive Lounge access at properties that have one. And while the official policy restricts lounge access to two guests per room, I’ve never had a problem bringing all registered guests (upwards of 3 per room) into the lounge.
Gold elite members only receive lounge access if they’ve been upgraded to an Executive Floor room. There have been instances where I’ve been upgraded to a club room because the hotel staff probably figured it would be cheaper than sending me to the restaurant for breakfast. At the Hilton Sydney four years ago, the front desk agent not only upgraded me to an Executive Floor room with access to the lounge, but she also offered me free breakfast at Glass Brasserie because “it’s better.” That was an understatement. While Hilton’s policy restricts Executive Lounge access for Gold elites to those who’ve been upgraded to an Executive room, this sometimes motivates the staff to upgrade you. At least that’s been my experience as a Hilton Gold elite member.
Hilton Gold vs. Diamond Benefits: Free Wifi
Unless you’re looking to disconnect completely, wifi matters when you’re traveling. Hilton Gold elite members receive free standard wifi, while Diamond members get premium internet. In my experience, the premium version is significantly faster. It may not cost significantly more to pay for that upgrade, but it’s nice to get it free of charge as a Diamond member.
Hilton Gold vs. Diamond Benefits: Bonus Points
Hilton is by far one of the best hotel rewards programs for earning free nights. Both via paid stays and credit card spending. Hilton members earn 10 points per $1 spent, which is already generous enough. Gold elite members receive an 80% bonus on top of that, while Diamond members qualify for a 100% bonus. Combine that with Hilton’s frequent double point promotions, credit card category bonuses, and the points on the cheapest hotel stay can really add up.
Hilton Diamond Status via the Aspire Card: Worth it?
The difference between Hilton Gold and Diamond status is pretty significant even if you’re not a frequent traveler. You’re more likely to get a room upgrade (especially to a suite), lounge access is a given, and you may get a better breakfast than the continental option Gold elites are entitled to. That’s not to say Hilton Gold status is worthless. It’s actually the best mid-tier status level of any hotel rewards program. But if you don’t mind paying the $450 annual fee on the Amex Hilton Aspire Card to secure Diamond status, then it’s worth the splurge. Especially with all the other perks the card offers.
In my case, I’ll easily off-set my annual fee with Amex Offers credits alone. The two hotel credits and annual free nights are just icing on the cake. Having Diamond status is absolutely worth it, especially with all the benefits offered by the Hilton Aspire card.
If you’re considering applying for a Hilton American Express Card, consider using my referral link. I’ll earn 20,000 Hilton bonus points if you get approved and you can do the same by referring friends and family.