Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.
What if you could enjoy free breakfast, complimentary lounge access and the occasional suite upgrade each time you check in to a hotel? Sound too good to be true? These are just some of the benefits of Hilton Diamond status, the highest elite level within the Hilton Honors program. Surprisingly, this coveted elite status is easier to achieve than you might imagine.
This guide discusses Hilton Diamond status in detail, comparing it to other Hilton elite levels, highlighting its benefits and detailing how you can become a Hilton Diamond member.
What is Hilton Diamond status?
Hilton Diamond status is the highest elite tier within the Hilton Honors loyalty program. There are a total of three Hilton elite tiers: Silver, Gold and Diamond. As the pinnacle elite level, Hilton Diamond status provides the most perks for the frequent Hilton guest. It generally isn't easy to achieve Diamond status, as you'd need to spend many nights at Hilton hotels in a calendar year. However, there are ways to shortcut Hilton Diamond status, as well as lower tier Hilton status levels.
Hilton Diamond vs. Gold status
Hilton Diamond Elite and Hilton Gold Elite status both offer excellent benefits for those who frequent Hilton hotels. But how much is Diamond worth compared to Gold? Let's compare the benefits between the two status levels.
Hilton Gold status
Hilton Diamond status
The biggest differences between Gold Elite and Diamond Elite is the complimentary executive lounge access and better room upgrades. Depending on how you use them, the Diamond status extension and gifting of elite status can provide excellent value as well. Let's try to quantify how much Diamond status is worth compared to Gold.
Value of Hilton Diamond status
We estimate that Hilton Diamond status is worth roughly $1,460 per year.
How much is Hilton Diamond status worth? (an estimate)
Total incremental value of Diamond status over Gold: $1,460
To reach this estimate, we've made many assumptions. Hilton Gold status requires 40 nights in a year, so we've made this the baseline of comparison. Of these nights, we assume that half are at full-service Hilton hotels, while the other half are at limited-service properties, split between Hilton Garden Inn and Hampton Inn. Diamond benefits generally don't provide much, if any, additional value at Hampton Inns, so we've ignored those nights.
According to some travelers' experiences, room upgrades at limited-service properties are fairly limited, at best, and aren't a guaranteed benefit. We've assumed you're able to get a suite for a total of 10 of the full service nights and five of the Hilton Garden Inn nights as a Diamond member. We give this benefit a value of $30 per night at the full service hotel, compared to the upgrade you'd receive as a Gold member. With these assumptions, the total value of room upgrades comes to $300.
Both Diamond and Gold members receive free breakfast, so there aren't any differences there. However, Diamond status provides you with executive lounge access — and if you can access free drinks and hors d'oeuvres each night, you could skip dinner. We've assumed this saves you $25 per night for 20 nights. Our estimated value of executive lounge access then equals $500.
The value of extra points is minimal. Diamond members receive a 100% bonus versus the 80% bonus for Gold members. Assuming you pay for 30 of your 40 nights with cash, averaging $200 per night, you'd earn 120,000 points as a Diamond member versus 108,000 points as a Gold member. Valuing Hilton points at 0.5 cent each, these extra 12,000 points are worth $60.
Quantifying the value of the other benefits is tricky. We're not awarding a value to the 48-hour room guarantee, as you'd need to book a very full hotel at high rates for it to be useful. We're ignoring the premium internet benefit as well.
Gifting of Gold status to another member is a valuable benefit. We've assumed you gift status to a family member, such as your spouse, and they're able to use their status for 10 nights during the year to enjoy free breakfast when traveling without you. At $20 per breakfast, we'll conservatively value the elite status gifting benefit at $200.
Finally, the Diamond status extension is tough to quantify. This is a way to extend your benefits through a year that you hardly travel. We're going to peg this benefit at $400: The assumption here is that you only travel 10 nights at full service properties in this travel "gap" year, enjoying free dinner in the executive lounge, valued at $25 per night, and suite upgrades for half those nights, valued at $30 per night.
The total incremental value of Diamond status over Gold comes to $1,460. Obviously, the real value depends on the number of nights you stay in a year and which properties you book. This is just an example.
Top Hilton Diamond benefits
Hilton Diamond status carries with it all the benefits of the previous elite tiers, plus more. Here are the details of the top Hilton Diamond benefits:
Executive lounge access
Enjoy executive lounge access for the duration of your stay at Hilton properties with a lounge. Executive lounges offer complimentary breakfast every morning and an evening spread ranging from simple hors d'oeuvres to the makings of a real dinner, depending on the location. You can enjoy complimentary evening cocktails as well at international properties (the majority of domestic Hilton hotels, as some travelers have experienced, charge for alcoholic beverages in their lounges). Some properties operate an honor bar where guests fill out a card with the number of alcoholic beverages consumed and leave it in a box to be billed to the room.
Diamond members get a complimentary breakfast for two in the hotel restaurant every morning during a stay at Conrad, Curio, Hilton Hotels, DoubleTree and Hilton Garden Inn brand properties (breakfast is continental in all brands but Hilton Garden Inn, which is described as "hot-to-order"). Waldorf Astoria and Canopy brands do not offer free breakfast to any guests. You can enjoy breakfast in the executive lounge instead, of course, if the property offers a lounge. Depending on the location, breakfast in the hotel restaurant may be preferable.
Though the program's terms specify that members qualify for only a complimentary continental breakfast, some travelers have experienced that Hilton restaurants may (and often do) offer Diamond members a full breakfast buffet.
100% bonus points on stays
Hilton Diamond members earn a 100% bonus on base points earned. Regular Hilton Honors members earn 10 base points per dollar (5 Base Points per dollar at Home2 Suites by Hilton and Tru by Hilton hotels). The 100% Diamond bonus gives you a total of 20 points per dollar spent. This is before any promotional bonuses or credit card earning, which will increase the return on your stays even more.
Valuing Hilton points at 0.5 cent each, this is a return of at least 10% on every stay.
Complimentary suite upgrades
There's nothing quite like hearing the words "we've upgraded you" at the front desk when checking in to a hotel. While Gold elites can enjoy modest room upgrades, Hilton's terms for Diamond Elite room upgrades include suites. A suite upgrade is not guaranteed, but can definitely be offered.
Note that the following brands do not offer complimentary upgrades: Embassy Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton by Hilton, Tru by Hilton, Homewood Suites by Hilton, Home2 Suites by Hilton and Hilton Grand Vacations.
Elite status gifting
Gifting of elite status to another member is a unique benefit of Hilton Diamond status. Diamond members who achieve 60 nights may gift Gold Elite status. Those who achieve 100 nights in a calendar year may gift Diamond status.
The value of the gifted status entirely depends on how it's used. Assuming that the recipient is not a frequent traveler (and thus capable of earning their own status), the value likely isn't massive — but it certainly will be appreciated for the stays the recipient does enjoy.
Diamond status extension
Hilton's Diamond status extension perk is unique among hotel loyalty programs. Most chains require you to requalify for elite status every year. According to some travelers' experiences, some may offer soft landings, where you don't lose your status completely should you stop staying with a chain.
Hilton's Diamond status extension, in contrast, lets you extend your top-tier elite status by one year if you miss requalifying. To use this perk, you must have been a Hilton Diamond Elite member for a minimum of three years and stayed at least 250 lifetime nights or earned at least 500,000 base points; this perk may only be used once. You must also manually submit the Hilton Diamond status extension request.
48-hour room guarantee
Hilton guarantees a room at their hotels to Diamond members as long as they book at least 48 hours ahead of arrival. This benefit is only applicable for paid rates, and there's no guarantee that Hilton hotels will have award inventory available. There are a couple other restrictions: Hotels do not need to honor the 48-hour Hilton Diamond guarantee if they become overbooked by more than 10% of room inventory (some if only by 2%). In addition, the guarantee does not include extraordinary demand dates (New Year's Eve, for example), nor does it include a handful of specific properties.
5th night free
The fifth night free on award stays is a benefit that all Hilton elite members enjoy: Every time you book an award stay of five nights, the fifth night is free.
The fifth night free applies on longer stays as well. For stays of 10 nights, 15 nights and 20 nights, you'll enjoy one free night for every multiple of five nights. You can enjoy up to four free nights per award stay.
Fifth night free only applies on 100% points stays. Resort fees are also waived on 100% points stays — another reason to avoid using the Points & Money option.
How to get Hilton Diamond status
Hilton Diamond benefits are the richest of the bunch. However, earning the 30 stays, 60 nights or 120,000 base points can be a bit of a challenge. Here are the requirements for all Hilton elite levels:
- Silver Elite — 10 nights or 4 stays or 25,000 base points
- Gold Elite — 40 nights or 20 stays or 75,000 base points
- Diamond Elite — 60 nights or 30 stays or 120,000 base points
There are shortcuts to all levels of Hilton elite status, including Hilton Diamond status. Here are a couple of your best options:
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire card
The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire card is a premium credit card with a number of excellent perks, including automatic Hilton Diamond status. There are several Hilton credit cards, though the Hilton Aspire is the best of the bunch in terms of both earning and perks.
The benefits of the Hilton Aspire card include:
- A welcome offer where you can Earn 150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases on your Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
- 14x points per $1 of eligible purchases with a participating Hilton hotel or resort
- 7x points on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com, car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies and at U.S. restaurants
- 3x points for other purchases
- Free annual weekend night award
- $250 annual Hilton resort statement credit
- $250 airline fee credit
- $100 Hilton on-property credit at Waldorf Astoria and Conrad properties (two-night minimum)
- Complimentary Hilton Diamond status
- Priority Pass™ Select membership
- No foreign transaction fees
- $450 annual fee
The list of Hilton Aspire benefits is impressive, and it's definitely one of the best hotel credit cards. Applying for the card is the easiest and fastest way to earn Hilton Diamond status, since you don't need to complete any of the standard qualifications.
Hilton Diamond status match
Hilton has run a status match promotion for several years where you can match your elite status with your status with another chain. Currently, you can match either Hilton Gold or Hilton Diamond status at Hilton's dedicated status match page. Qualifying programs include Marriott Bonvoy, IHG Rewards Club, World of Hyatt and Choice Privileges, among others.
The status match grants you Hilton Gold status for a period of 90 days. To keep the status, you must meet certain qualifications within that time period. If you stay 10 nights within the 90 days, you'll keep Gold. If you manage to accrue 18 nights during the 90 days, you'll be upgraded to Hilton Diamond status all the way through March 31, 2022.
Is Hilton Diamond status worth it?
Hilton Diamond status is well worth achieving, whether you are a road warrior or an occasional traveler looking to enjoy the perks on a handful of stays each year. From free breakfast, to executive lounge access, to suite upgrades, Hilton Diamond benefits provide excellent value during your Hilton stays. The best part is that the Hilton Aspire card makes this elite status available to anyone willing to pay the annual fee for this premium hotel card.