Changing My Credit Card Strategy For Hilton Gold Status?

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Update: The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN has exciting new benefits, and a great new limited time offer. Learn more about the current offer here.

Yesterday Tiffany wrote about a new benefit available to primary cardmembers of both The Platinum Card® from American Express and The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN. These Platinum cards now come with Hilton HHonors Gold status when you register online.

Amex-Hilton-Gold-1

Why Hilton Gold status is valuable to me

I’m primarily loyal to Hyatt and Starwood, as I find they offer the all around best loyalty programs, and I quite like their hotels as well. However, they’re two of the smaller major hotel chains out there, and they both have considerably fewer hotels globally than Hilton, IHG, and Marriott.

So as someone who lives in hotels it is important to have a backup chain, and for me that’s Hilton. Hilton Gold status comes with some useful perks, with perhaps the most valuable being complimentary breakfast and/or club lounge access. That’s something which saves me a ton of money.

Conrad-Hong-Kong-Club-Lounge
Club lounge at the Conrad Hong Kong

Hilton has over 4,000 hotels around the world, so is a great “backup” chain for me. My preference is always to stay at Hyatt or Starwood when they have a reasonable option available, but sometimes that’s not the case.

How I currently earn Hilton Gold status

Hilton HHonors Gold status is valuable, and presently I earn it through the Citi® Hilton HHonors Reserve Card. This is my favorite Hilton co-branded credit card out there, and it offers HHonors Gold status for as long as you have the card. The card has a $95 annual fee, so to me it has been well worth holding onto the card and paying the fee in exchange for Hilton Gold status.

On top of that, the card has a generous sign-up bonus and spending threshold bonuses, including:

  • A sign-up bonus of two free weekend nights at most Hilton family properties after spending $2,500 within four months of account opening.
  • A complimentary weekend night certificate for any cardmember year in which you spend $10,000 on the card
  • Hilton HHonors Diamond status for any year in which you spend $40,000 on the card

Conrad-Koh-Samui
The free weekend nights can be redeemed at the Conrad Koh Samui

I have the Amex Platinum Card as well, though…

For the past several years I’ve always had either the Amex Business Platinum Card or Amex Platinum Personal Card open. While the cards have a high annual fee ($550 for the Personal Platinum and $450 for the Business Platinum), they come with a suite of benefits, including the following:

Amex-Centurion-Lounge-SFO - 9
Centurion Lounge San Francisco

To me the $200 annual airline fee credit is worth close to full value, meaning I consider my out of pocket to be ~$250. For me that’s a small price to pay for access to American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts, access to Boingo hotspots, Gogo inflight wifi passes, Delta SkyClub access, a Priority Pass membership, and more.

While it’s not personally useful to me (since I have SPG Platinum status), SPG Gold status is also worth something, so is another added perk.

But the point is that as much as I’ve gotten value out of the Citi® Hilton HHonors Reserve Card up until now, I don’t see much value in holding onto it anymore:

  • I get enough value out of the Amex Business Platinum Card or Amex Platinum Personal Card so that I won’t be canceling those cards anytime soon, with or without the Hilton HHonors Gold benefit
  • While many will find value in spending on the Citi® Hilton HHonors Reserve Card in order to earn one of the threshold bonuses, I don’t see much value in them based on my patterns, so all I’m getting with my $95 annual fee is Hilton Gold status

Hilton-Manchester-Deansgate-26
Club lounge at the Hilton Manchester Deansgate

Bottom line

This is a great new perk from American Express, and one which will likely lead me to cancel my co-branded Hilton card. And this makes the value proposition of the Amex Business Platinum Card and Amex Platinum Personal Card even stronger than before.

Has anyone else held onto a co-branded Hilton card just for the Gold status, and is now reconsidering due to this new benefit?

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Comments

  1. Seems still worth it to me if 10,000 annual spend and weekend night certificate redeemed for high value hotel, ie Conrad Hong Kong.

  2. Is the free weekend night for spending $10k limited to lower end hotels or any Hilton family hotel? If the latter, then I can it more than justifying the $95 annual fee.

  3. I was looking at the hhonors T&Cs and noticed that it now says lounge access is only given to golds when they are upgraded to an executive floor room (or a room that allows lounge access). Is that new or has it always been the case? From what I read most people seem to enjoy access as gold regardless of room type…

  4. I’m pretty intrigued by the Amex Platinum card for its travel benefits. My hotels are almost always booked by my employer, with corporate or group rates. With SGP or HHonors Gold, would I still have access to upgrades, breakfast, etc if I just present my number at check-in, or do I have to book the room myself to get the benefits.

  5. The funny thing is just last week I had been seriously considering getting the Citi Hilton Reserve for this exact reason. A place to stay when a Hyatt or Starwood property is not available for whatever reason and which would get me free breakfast and perhaps a better room. I’m glad I didn’t jump on it immediately and apply. No need now.

  6. So I am currently HHonors Diamond but I will not be able to requalify next year. I have both AMEX Platinum and Citi Reserve. Shall I register it on AMEX Platinum HHonors Gold page now or wait until I lose the Diamond status? If I register it now, would lI lose my Diamond status? Any thoughts?

  7. @Luis, Here is a list of the excluded properties.

    Weekend Night Certificate Exclusions

    WEEKEND NIGHT CERTIFICATE IS VALID FOR ONE (1) WEEKEND NIGHT STANDARD ACCOMMODATION, DOUBLE OCCUPANCY, SUBJECT TO AVAILABILITY, AT PROPERTIES IN THE HILTON HHONORS PORTFOLIO EXCLUDING:

    All Inclusive Properties:
    DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Hotel Central Pacific -Costa Rica
    Hilton Bodrum Turkbuku Resort & Spa
    Hilton Dalaman Sarigerme Resort & Spa
    Hilton Hurghada Long Beach Resort
    Hilton Hurghada Plaza Hotel
    Hilton Marsa Alam Nubian Resort
    Hilton Puerto Vallarta
    Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa
    Hilton Sharks Bay Resort

    Distinctive Properties:
    Conrad Koh Samui Residences
    Embassy Suites Waikiki Beach Walk
    Kingston Plantation Condos
    Hilton Surfers Paradise Residences
    Royale Palms Condominiums
    Elara, a Hilton Grand Vacations Hotel-Center Strip
    Grand Waikikian Suites by Hilton Grand Vacations
    Hilton Club New York
    Hilton Grand Vacation Club at Craigendarroch Suites
    Hilton Grand Vacations Club at Waikoloa Beach Resort
    Hilton Grand Vacations Suites – Las Vegas (Convention Center)
    Hilton Grand Vacations Suites at Hilton Hawaiian Village
    Hilton Grand Vacations Suites at SeaWorld
    Hilton Grand Vacations Suites at South Beach
    Hilton Grand Vacations Suites at the Flamingo
    Hilton Grand Vacations Suites on International Drive
    Hilton Grand Vacations Suites on the Las Vegas Strip
    Hokulani Waikiki by Hilton Grand Vacations Club
    Kings Land by Hilton Grand Vacations Club
    Parc Soleil Suites by Hilton Grand Vacations
    Park City Hilton Grand Vacations
    Valdoro Mountain Lodge by Hilton Grand Vacations Suites
    West 57th Street by Hilton Club
    Ho’olei at Grand Wailea
    Las Casitas, A Waldorf Astoria Resort
    Qasr Al Sharq, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel

  8. @Luis, Here is a list of the excluded properties.

    Weekend Night Certificate Exclusions

    WEEKEND NIGHT CERTIFICATE IS VALID FOR ONE (1) WEEKEND NIGHT STANDARD ACCOMMODATION, DOUBLE OCCUPANCY, SUBJECT TO AVAILABILITY, AT PROPERTIES IN THE HILTON HHONORS PORTFOLIO EXCLUDING:

    All Inclusive Properties:
    DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Hotel Central Pacific -Costa Rica
    Hilton Bodrum Turkbuku Resort & Spa
    Hilton Dalaman Sarigerme Resort & Spa
    Hilton Hurghada Long Beach Resort
    Hilton Hurghada Plaza Hotel
    Hilton Marsa Alam Nubian Resort
    Hilton Puerto Vallarta
    Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa
    Hilton Sharks Bay Resort

    Distinctive Properties:
    Conrad Koh Samui Residences
    Embassy Suites Waikiki Beach Walk
    Kingston Plantation Condos
    Hilton Surfers Paradise Residences
    Royale Palms Condominiums
    Elara, a Hilton Grand Vacations Hotel-Center Strip
    Grand Waikikian Suites by Hilton Grand Vacations
    Hilton Club New York
    Hilton Grand Vacation Club at Craigendarroch Suites
    Hilton Grand Vacations Club at Waikoloa Beach Resort
    Hilton Grand Vacations Suites – Las Vegas (Convention Center)
    Hilton Grand Vacations Suites at Hilton Hawaiian Village
    Hilton Grand Vacations Suites at SeaWorld
    Hilton Grand Vacations Suites at South Beach
    Hilton Grand Vacations Suites at the Flamingo
    Hilton Grand Vacations Suites on International Drive
    Hilton Grand Vacations Suites on the Las Vegas Strip
    Hokulani Waikiki by Hilton Grand Vacations Club
    Kings Land by Hilton Grand Vacations Club
    Parc Soleil Suites by Hilton Grand Vacations
    Park City Hilton Grand Vacations
    Valdoro Mountain Lodge by Hilton Grand Vacations Suites
    West 57th Street by Hilton Club
    Ho’olei at Grand Wailea
    Las Casitas, A Waldorf Astoria Resort
    Qasr Al Sharq, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel

  9. If breakfast access and cuttng costs is a concern why not just stay at your Fairfield and other lower end motel chains. They’re cheaper, and come with all kinds of free perks. And way less pretentious than the top tier hotels which nickel and dime you

  10. One thing I don’t see mentioned much on this blog is retention bonus/incentive. In my experience, cards with relatively low annual fees (say under $100) will waive the next year’s annual fee if you tell them you’re considering dropping the account.

    It would be interesting to see what others’ experiences have been with this approach.

  11. Bye, bye Hilton Reserve card after my current reservations are taken care of and I have used to Plat AE card to keep Gold status with Hilton. From one perspective that is $95 of value added to the Plat AE card.

  12. Not sure why all the bloggers are just writing about this now… I’ve had Hilton gold status through my Platinum card for many years now. Maybe it’s more noticeable as a benefit because they added the ability to sign up online?

  13. Marriott has much better hotels than Hilton. I was Plat Hilton for 2 years and have to say completely unimpressed at many locations.

  14. I don’t know where you got that picture, but it is not from the Conrad HKG lounge. We were just there over the summer and it looked nothing like that.

  15. Any word on whether or not this will be a lasting benefit, or just a one-year promotion? I’d hate to cancel my HH Surpass AMEX, only to see the gold benefit disappear from my AMEX Plat. next year.

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