I Finally Status Matched To Hilton Diamond!

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Hyatt kicked off a bit of a status match frenzy a few weeks back, when they initially began status matching just about anyone with any status with a competitor to their top tier Diamond status. Given the volume of status match requests they eventually began limiting the promotion to those with SPG Platinum status, which makes perfect sense, given that they were originally targeting those who were worried about the merger between Marriott & Starwood.

Surprisingly Hilton responded by also beginning offering status matches to other top tier elites. I was impressed by how clearly they published the terms of the status match promotion. The promotion is valid for status match requests through January 11, 2016, and matched status is valid through March 2017.

Originally I decided I wouldn’t match to Hilton Diamond status. But I changed my mind.

Why did I decide to match to Hilton Diamond?

Originally there were a few reasons I was hesitant to match to Hilton Diamond status:

Conrad-HK-Breakfast
Hilton HHonors Gold status comes with complimentary breakfast

So why did I change my mind?

  • While status matches are “once in a lifetime,” this is the first time I recall Hilton status matching, and the promotion ends in a few weeks; I’m not convinced they’ll offer it again anytime soon, and with the rate of consolidation in the hotel industry, who knows how much longer this program will be completely independent
  • My post yesterday about the supposed “secret” to Hilton Diamond suite upgrades has me wanting to try my luck with Hilton once again
  • While I’m primarily loyal to Hyatt and Starwood, they don’t have properties everywhere; I’m planning some upcoming travel where the two brands don’t have any properties, and I’ll end up staying at Hiltons (like in New Zealand)
  • If I do find there to be more value in Hilton Diamond this time around, it’s not that tough to qualify — $40,000 of spend on the Citi® Hilton HHonors Reserve Card will do the trick

Hilton-Budapest-Suite
My only ever suite upgrade as an HHonors Diamond, at the Hilton Budapest

What was my status match experience like?

My status match experience was super easy. I emailed Hilton a screenshot of my SPG account profile, which indicated the number of elite qualifying nights and stays I had for the year.

SPG-Status

30 minutes later I received an automated email confirming my request, which read as follows:

We’re on it!  

We’re excited to honor your status and offer our elite benefits to even more members like you. If you have not already done so, please reply to this email with the following information:

  1. Your Hilton HHonors account number. If you’re not yet a member, you’ll need to sign up first.
  2. Proof of status with another hotel loyalty program. This can be a screenshot of your current account status or your membership card. We accept jpg files, word documents & PDFs.

Please do NOT send us any personal information (including your phone number, address, social security number, date of birth, user name, passwords, or credit card information).

Then two hours later I received a personalized email confirming I was matched to Hilton HHonors Diamond status:

Dear Mr. Schlappig,

Congratulations!  Your HHonors account has been upgraded to Diamond status.  Please allow 4-6 weeks for delivery of your new card.  Your status will be active until March 31, 2017.

If there is anything else we can assist you with, please do not hesitate to contact us. For immediate assistance, please click on the link below for the contact number of the Hilton Worldwide Service Center location nearest you.

Around the same time I received a separate automated email confirming that I was upgraded to HHonors Diamond elite status.

Hilton-Diamond-Status-Match

Bottom line

I’m impressed by how quickly and professionally Hilton handled the status match, and in general I’ve been impressed by the way the program has been run over the past year.

Do I plan on switching from Hyatt and Starwood in the coming year? Nope. But the status will be useful for the stays I do have to make with Hilton, as I’ll likely spend at least a dozen nights with them next year even if I try to avoid them (they have properties everywhere, so you can’t really argue with that). If I’m impressed by the experience, I’ll find a way to put $40,000 of spend on my Citi® Hilton HHonors Reserve Card in order to requalify. Also, with the uncertainty between Marriott and Starwood, it’s nice to have a backup.

Did you status match to Hilton Diamond? And am I crazy for requesting a match?

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Comments

  1. I was in a similar boat as you, although I am fully committed to IHG as a Spire Elite (69 stays this year / 430,000 points earned). I also dabble with SPG, but doubt I will progress beyond Gold based on my travel plans in 2016.

    Initially I couldn’t be bothered to apply for the Hilton Status Match, but as I have a night planned at the Hilton Helsinki Airport in early Jan 16, I decided to go for it. Super easy process to get Diamond until March 2017 so very impressed.

    Hilton probably will get some business from me in 2016 based on this status match. Instead of just looking at the IHG website, I will now also look at the Hilton website when making travel plans. The most convenient & cheapest hotel will win my business.

    I will comfortably obtain Spire again with IHG in 2016, so have no issues at all sharing my travel spend around & pleased I will now get some additional perks from Hilton.

  2. Bravo, @Lucky, for joining us on the ‘dark side’, and may the force — HH Diamond Force, that is — be with you!

    The efficiency and maturity that Hilton showed in handling your status match and the clarity in the terms are just a couple of the traits that some of us have come to appreciate about the “new” (post “devaluation”) HHonors.

    Cheers from the UA Club at ORD, where I am about to board a B744 to PVG, flying in BusinessFirst thanks to a GPU! My 3-week long, 5-natiion 2015 Year-end Asian Escapade(tm) just got underway so I will rather occupief, but please do holler if you need any inside info on the HH program. Welcome!

  3. Aside from cc signups, what do you suggest as the best way to earn Hilton points? Any good transfer partners? Transferring Citi Thank You Points a bad/good idea? Or are cc signups the best way? Thanks Lucky!

  4. Actually, this is the second time Hilton has matched me to it’s Diamond tier. The first time was either in 2010 or 2011 when I was already SPG platinum and I decided to email them even though there weren’t any elite matching promos going on at that time. I was contemplating seriously switching programs and wanted to see what their Diamond benefits consisted of and if I was as unabashed as DCS, I might have stayed on with them. I was status matched back then and again this time. So I wouldn’t necessarily believe that status matching is a “once-in-a-lifetime” sort of thing. As for their promptness, it took them 5 business days to respond to my request but in their defense, I was one of the few that opted in immediately after when I found out about their elite matching program and it was done over the Thanksgiving period too so I’m assuming they must’ve been swamped with requests the way Hyatt was as well.

  5. I just received the Hilton Diamond match too, but I’m on the opposite end of the spectrum from you road warriors, who I envy. It may not thrill you to know that they gave me the top status based on IHG platinum status that I just “earned” only from getting the IHG Mastercard; I didn’t list my number of IHG stays, which totaled exactly one this year. In other words, the Hilton status is based on little in the way of actual hotel activity although I have had two Hilton stays in recent months.

    In my case it’ll probably be worth it to Hilton because it has motivated me to seek out their hotels for some upcoming work travel where I might have gone down the street to save a few bucks. If the Diamond experience is even modestly beneficial, such as an occasional upgrade to a club or suite room, plus the other stuff, the status match will have been effective marketing by the chain. Just like the recent Hyatt elite changes you have discussed, the only downside seems to be the potential for crowding out availability once in a while for power users.

  6. You should try more of Hilton’s and Marriott’s top tier properties, especially the Curio and Autograph Collection.

    You will be surprised. I agree Hyatt upgrades more consistently but that’s only true proactively and only when you don’t ever ask.

    If you begin asking, Hyatt drops out of the top 2 or 3 (SPG and Hilton are now the best) because if you remember to remind them or do the whole “I noticed there were suites available online…” then SPG will consistently do suites, Hilton follows at a better than 50% rate for me. Even Marriott beats Hyatt because Hyatt really does treat *space available* suite upgrades as an exception or “going above and beyond”, they really rely on the DIAX vouchers for upgrades whereas for the other 3, its written into the program in some form.

    My experience without asking:

    Hyatt (Club/best room)
    SPG (Club/best room)
    Hilton (Club/best room)
    Marriott (Sometimes nothing)
    Accor (Often nothing)

    My experience with gentle reminder of policy

    SPG (Almost assured suites, has to be a good reason if not)
    Hilton (strong chance at suite)
    Marriott (some chance at suite depending on property/region/occupancy)
    Hyatt (some but rarer chance than Marriott depending on property/region/occupancy)
    Accor (they gently remind you back of the policy, one category :P)

    Also most will cross the suite barrier and attempt some kind of upgrade even if you book a suite to begin with. Hyatt is most likely to leave you as is if you book the best room or a suite to begin with (the effort required to get upgraded is a a little bit more in such cases).

    Anyway, benchmark across chains and post the results 😛

  7. Lucky, I am glad to see DCS was able to persuade you to give Hilton an opportunity for future stays. I became a Hilton loyalist due in part to my stay at Hilton Buenos Aires as a Gold in 2008, and it was the Executive lounge, and the hotel that wowed me. International Hiltons often have much better amenities than the US based Hiltons. The Executive lounges at international Hiltons such as Hilton Dubai Jumeirah Beach, Hilton Buenos Aires with its roof top pool, and Conrad Hong Kong are night and day different from many US based Hiltons.

    Are there more posh or opulent hotels than Hilton? Certainly. What Hilton represents to me is an excellent value for the paid nightly rate, which is usually 20 percent lower than Hyatt and often less expensive than Marriott. Their scope of hotels globally is quite impressive. Before staying the first time at a Hilton, do check and read up reviews on Tripadvisor and Flyertalk to get a general idea of feedback. Also, check the AAA rates as they can offer a very good discount.
    I think a competitive nightly rate and Executive lounge access represent a good value for the money at quality hotels.

    Now I need to see if I can have better luck with obtaining suite upgrades.

  8. @Lucky,
    Did you already have any status (though lower tier) with Hilton? Or were you completely absent of status at the time you were matched to Hilton? I only ask due to a bad experience matching to Hyatt (even though Marriott Platinum), they wouldn’t match since i was already Hyatt Platinum, which pissed me off.

  9. The quick response was probably due to you being well known in these circles. Most people I heard about took 3 or 4 days. It took me 6 to hear back and I sent them both SPG and Hyatt top status cards. No biggie though. Free status!

  10. Ben:

    I’ve been a Hilton Diamond for fifteen years. Treatment in US hotels can vary wildly, but, with the exception of Geneva and the airport hotel in Zurich, treatment at Hilton properties in Europe (even using points) has been top notch for me, with upgrades to corner rooms or mini-suites and full breakfasts (The breakfasts in Munich, Lyon and Amsterdam were spectacular).

    Enjoy.

    nola

  11. What email address did you use? I submitted over two weeks ago and have heard nothing. Followed up this week again. I didn’t get an auto reply which leads me to believe I might have used the wrong address.

  12. I like your general honest reporting. I agree, you will find Hilton Diamond Elite status to be a disappointment compared to your SPG and Hyatt top tier status. You possibly will get better upgrades then your free Gold status through the credit card gave you. Don’t expect much, and you may one day actually get something. I will be interested in reading your blog over the year to see just how valuable your HHonors elite status was.

    I also would be curious if you ever use Priceline or Hotwire or other discount to see how your treatment is. From my experience, if I am not paying the higher Hhonors.com rates, I usually get denied my loyalty benefits.

  13. @ Chris Naylor and others…

    So Hilton will provide Diamond match for IHG Spire Elite? I am SPG Gold and Marriott Silver, but do have IHG Spire from the credit card and just one stay.

  14. been to asia numerous times, i can attest to comments everywhere about us brand hotels in asia being ‘day and night’ difference. they are all true but i wonder why? not only hotels but airlines as well, the hardware (facilities, food, amenities…) and software (service attitude) products are unbelievable, makes mid-range Sheraton/Hilton in US is like a motel 6 in Asia.

  15. Wow! Almost as loud as the bang heard around the travel blogosphere after @Lucky announced that he’d joined the ‘dark side’, is the bang with which my 2015 Year-end Asian Escapade(TM) is off to!

    Scratch what I said earlier about traveling in United BusinessFirst from ORD to PVG because after I presented my electronic boarding pass for a scan at boarding, the agent said that I first should have had my documents checked at the counter and then been issued a paper BP. I apologized and was about to go get that done when she said that she could do it right there and then if I’d just show her my passport, which I did (it had a spanking new 10-yr validity Chinese visa that I got just last week.) She then printed me a paper BP and handed it to me with a broad smile: “Thanks for your loyalty!” I looked at the BP and the full meaning of what the “thank you for your loyalty ” was about became crystal clear: I had just scored a double upgrade, first from Y to BF, which cleared about a month ago, and then instantly there at the gate from BF to United GlobalFirst (GF), with a single GPU!!! Now, you try to compute the “value” of such a coup (and do not give me the garbage about the value being lower because I would never have paid for a UA GF ticket…balloney! The “value” of this double upgrade to me is astronomically high!)

    I just inquired about the reason for this largesse and learned that nearly everyone in GF now, which is only about 50% full, got here through a complimentary upgrade from BF, to make room in the back because Y was overbooked — the old trick of making more room in the back by moving some bodies forward. I am just glad I was part of the ‘forward body movement’ 😉

    I was assigned seat 1A at the very from, which I found to be a bit toocconfining, so I have been allowed to move to 4K.

    Oh, the FA is handing me the Menu:

    – Short Rib of Beef
    – Shrimp and Scallop Stir-fry (think will have that)
    – Fillet of Salmon with Lumb Crabmeat
    – Stir-fried Noodles
    – Executive Dining (option to delay lunch until when one wants to have it)

    Miscellaneous offers from the FA:
    – Do I wish to be woken up for the pre-arrival meal/snack (no).

    – Please do let us know if you are ready to crash and we’ll do “the turnboard service for you” (kool).

    PA: Request to power off large electronic devices…Anyway, we are about to push out (20 min late due to a last minute maintenance job), but you get the picture from here in the UA GlobalFirst cabin aboard flight #835 from ORD to PVG.

    [Note: we taxied and took off faster than I thought so I lost signal to my Droid for a while. I just connected to the on board WiFi and am just now able to post this, even though it was clearly mostly composed on the ground at ORD]

    Like I said, my 2015 YEAE(TM) just got off with a Big Bang: a rare Y to UA GF double GPU. Simply kool…

    G’day 🙂

  16. Above, that’s “seat 1A at the very front” and “turn down service”…

    I wish these phone editors were not so eager to help and sometimes make changes on their own!

  17. @Ben – I did the status match offer as well matching with IHG Platinum (at the time, now Spire), and Marriott Gold. Figured why not – and toying with the idea of trying them out in the coming year since which brings me to my question – if I wanted a co-branded card which HHonors card is the best one; AmEx HH Surpass or CITI HH Reserve? Is it even worth getting it if I have Citi Premier w/ 3x on Hotel?

    Thanks

  18. Just FYI- I just sent in a screen shot of my Marriott Platinum account page, along with my Hilton Honors number (Blue status) to HHonorMyStatus at hilton.com, and 14 minutes later received confirmation of my new Hilton Diamond status through 3-31-17. Thank you for the heads-up!

  19. my first stay at a hilton as recently upgraded diamond via match was quite a pleasant experience.
    no, i did not get a suite upgrade.
    but the hotel, which did not have club lounge, was comping free appetizer from the lobby restaurant and starbucks coffee to diamonds.

  20. If you were semi impressed with the Park Hyatt Maldives, this is your excuse to try the Conrad Maldives (on points…not cheap but well worth it, and worth buying points at 0.5 cent to top up if and when poss eg during Getaway promo)

    Trust me it is 100 times better than the PH. Come see why. I happen to be there myself now on my 5th visit and planning my 6th.

    Underwater restaurant, true “bare foot elegance”, 8 or 9 dining options, plenty to do (or not do) stunning snorkeling,diving.

    Its insane…and my favorite hotel in the world by far. The PH M isn’t in my top 5 even. Obviously my opinion but shard by many!

  21. I have Hilton Gold Status. Was upgraded to Diamond status by staying 4 paid nights at a Intercontinental
    Hotel Suite.

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