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There are things I both love and hate about Hilton HHonors. I love the fact that I can easily maintain Hilton HHonors Gold status just for having the Citi® Hilton HHonors Reserve Card, The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN, etc. That status gives me free breakfast and/or executive lounge access, which is the hotel elite status perk I value most.
Conrad Hong Kong executive lounge
At the same time, Hilton has a top tier Diamond status, and I don’t love the fact that they don’t offer much in the way of incremental benefits for earning that status. The status is relatively easy to earn, as you can earn Hilton Diamond by spending $40,000 per year on the Citi® Hilton HHonors Reserve Card, which is pretty good for top tier hotel status. At the same time, I feel bad for the people actually putting in the 60+ nights required to earn the status, since they’re not getting much in the way of incremental rewards.
What are the differences between Hilton Gold and Diamond?
Over the years I’ve been both Gold and Diamond with Hilton, and I haven’t found there to be much of a difference. On paper the differences include:
- Diamond members earn a 50% points bonus, while Gold members earn a 25% points bonus
- Diamond members get guaranteed access to club lounges, while Gold members get access based on availability (though they get breakfast otherwise, which many prefer to lounge access anyway)
- Diamond members get complimentary premium internet, while Gold members get complimentary standard internet
- Diamond members may receive prioritized room upgrades, including to suites
However, there are two things that Hilton doesn’t offer their top tier elite members that could really help to differentiate status:
- Guaranteed 4PM check-out, which is offered by Hyatt, Marriott, and Starwood
- Confirmed and/or guaranteed suite upgrades of some sort; with Hilton’s current terms, you can be upgraded to a suite at the hotel’s discretion, which is very different than being entitled to a suite upgrade based on availability (Hyatt and Starwood even offer some form of confirmed suite upgrades)
So clearly there’s an opportunity for Hilton to enhance their top tier status.
Is Hilton Diamond+ the answer?
Doctor of Credit has the details of a rumored new premium Hilton credit card. At this point we don’t know the timeframe or if it will even come to market, but the thing that intrigues me the most about this $395 annual fee card is that it will supposedly offer Diamond status for as long as you have it, and then Diamond+ status when you spend at least $60,000 on the card in a calendar year.
The intriguing thing here is the card offering Diamond+ status, since as of now that’s not even a thing. Again, we don’t yet have a sense of the timeline of this, but it suggests to me that Hilton will very shortly be announcing a new top tier status level, and it’ll likely be called Diamond+.
I suspect that if Diamond+ status is in fact introduced, it will come with guaranteed late check-out and/or some form of suite upgrades. That could come in the form of space available suite upgrades at check-in, or otherwise a certain number of confirmed suite upgrades per year (I suspect the latter is most likely).
Regardless of how it’s implemented, I’m a bit surprised to see Hilton introducing an additional elite tier, rather than reworking their existing tiers. Under the new system they’d have four elite tiers, and it sure seems like there wouldn’t be much differentiation between Gold and Diamond.
Then again, perhaps the above is exactly the reason they’d keep a Diamond tier — it allows them to continue to offer it through a premium credit card as a base benefit. It would be tough for them to differentiate a higher annual fee credit card if it also “only” offered Gold status.
At this point it’s all speculation, though it sure seems very likely that Hilton will soon announce a new top tier status, and that the status will be called Diamond+. We don’t know what the benefits will look like, though I’d put my money on the point of differentiation being with guaranteed late check-out and/or suite upgrades.
What would you like to see from a new Hilton Diamond+ tier?