After a year of reduced global travel, it’s nice to finally think about things like renewing your Hilton Honors status or maybe even signing up for one for the program for the first time. Don’t worry if you can’t remember the ins and outs of the Hilton Honors program; that’s what this article is for! 

If there’s one thing I appreciate these days, it’s a well-designed loyalty program. With Hilton Honors, each of the four status tiers builds off of the previous one without any additional complications.

In this article, we’ll go over each of the status tiers with Hilton Honors, how you can get there, and the benefits you can expect. Then, we’ll let you know how you can supercharge your status by taking advantage of Hilton’s suite of credit cards. 

But first, the status levels.

San Diego Bay Front Hilton Hotel

Hilton Status Levels

Member Status

The lowest rung on the Hilton Honors ladder is basic Member status, which kicks in as soon as you join and lasts until you complete your fourth qualifying night. Member benefits include:

  • Guaranteed Hilton Honors Discounted rate
  • Earn points towards free nights, travel partners, and more: 5X Honors Base Points per $1USD at Tru & Home2, 10X Honors Base Points per $1USD at all other properties
  • No resort fees on rewards stays booked with points
  • Digital Check-in
  • Digital Key
  • Choose your room
  • Free Basic WiFi
  • Access to Exclusive Hilton Honors Experiences: bid or redeem points on exclusive packages

Silver Status

The next tier of Hilton Honors status is Silver, which applies after staying five nights or two stays at any Hilton property. Another way to earn Silver Status is to redeem 12,500 Honors Base Points, which qualifies members for a jump from Member to Silver. Silver Status includes all of the benefits of Membership Status with the following upgrades:

  • 20% Bonus Points on stays: 1X Bonus Points per $1USD at Tru & Home2, 2X Bonus Points per $1USD at all other properties
  • Complimentary bottled water
  • Fifth night free when booking a standard room with points
  • Elite Rollover Nights: roll over extra nights to expedite next year’s status

All bonus points earned on cash stays are on top of the base points earned. Silver members will earn a total of six Hilton Honors points per dollar spent at Tru & Home2 and 12 Hilton Honors points at all other properties.

Gold Status

After Silver comes Gold Status, which applies after staying 20 nights or 10 stays at any Hilton property. Alternatively, members may redeem 37,500 Honors Base Points to jump to Gold Status. In addition to Member and Silver Status benefits, Gold Status includes the following upgrades:

  • 80% Bonus Points on stays: 4X Bonus Points per $1USD at Tru & Home2, 8X Bonus Points per $1USD at all other properties
  • Complimentary room upgrades, as available, up to Executive Floor room types
  • Free continental breakfast for you and one guest
  • Milestone Bonuses: earn 10,000 Bonus Points every 10 nights, after you have stayed 20 nights in a calendar year

Diamond Status

The ultimate tier on the Hilton Honors chart is Diamond Status, which kicks in after completing 30 nights or 15 stays at any Hilton property. Members may also choose to redeem 60,000 Honors Base Points in order to jump to Diamond Status. In addition to all of the benefits that accompany Member, Silver, and Gold Status, Diamond Status includes:

  • 100% Bonus Points on stays: 5X Bonus Points per $1USD at Tru & Home2, 10X Bonus Points per $1USD at all other properties
  • Complimentary room upgrades, as available, up to 1-Bedroom Suite
  • Executive lounge access and accompanying amenities
  • Diamond Status extension: enjoy a one-time, one-year extension when you have been a Diamond member for 3 years and stayed 250 lifetime nights or earned 500,000 Base Points
  • Complimentary Premium WiFi
  • 48-hour Room Guarantee
  • Elite Status gifting: gift Gold Status to any member if you hit 30 nights in a calendar year, which is upgraded to Diamond status if you hit 60 nights

Status

Although it comes with a hefty fee, you can reap the rewards of Hilton's top tier Diamond status by opening just one card.

Hilton Honors Credit Cards

Hilton makes it relatively simple to move traditionally through the tiers of the rewards chart since members can either stay qualifying nights or take advantage of their stockpiles of Honors Base Points. However, how could one expedite the process and make those jumps without having to stay all of those nights or accumulating Base Points?

If you are familiar with the world of points and miles, then you can probably guess what we’re going to recommend for this: open a line of credit with a Hilton Honors credit card. As it turns out, Hilton hosts an impressive suite of credit cards; as many cards as they have tiers in their rewards chart! Let’s go over them, and then hopefully you’ll have the information you need to determine whether one of these cards is right for you.

Hilton Honors American Express Card

The Hilton Honors American Express Card is the most basic card in the collection but might be perfect for someone who is just getting started.

This card has no annual fee and is currently offering a welcome bonus of 80,000 Bonus Points after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months of the account opening. Plus you can earn an additional 50,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 in purchases in the first 6 months. The benefits that accompany this credit card include:

  • 7X Bonus Points per $1USD on Hilton Purchases
  • 5X Bonus Points per $1USD on purchases at restaurants, supermarkets and gas stations in the U.S.
  • 3X Bonus Points per $1USD on all other eligible purchases
  • Automatic Silver Status
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees (rates and fees)
  • $0 Annual Fee (rates and fees)
  • Additional Status Upgrade with minimum spend

This is a great card to consider if you aren’t willing to invest in an annual fee but would like to start earning Bonus Points to use on reward nights. The card comes with automatic Silver Status as well as the opportunity to upgrade further. You can earn Gold Status after spending $20,000 on the Hilton Honors Card in a calendar year.

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card

The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card has increased earning potential compared to the Hilton Honors Card, but it does come with a $95 annual fee (rates and fees). This card is currently offering a welcome bonus of 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of your account. Plus, earn an additional 50,000 bonus points after you spend $10,000 in purchases in the first 6 months. In terms of benefits, this card offers:

  • 12X Bonus Points per $1USD on Hilton Purchases
  • 6X Bonus Points per $1USD on purchases at restaurants, supermarkets, and gas stations in the U.S.
  • 3X Bonus Points per $1USD on all other eligible purchases
  • Automatic Gold Status
  • Free Weekend Night Reward with minimum spend
  • Priority Pass Select Lounge visits
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees (rates and fees)
  • Additional Status Upgrade with minimum spend
  • $95 annual fee

This card is an excellent way to jump straight to Gold Status; a $95 annual fee is a pretty small price to pay considering that benefit. Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to upgrade to Diamond Status depending on how much you’re planning on using the card, which is a definite bonus. You can earn Diamond Status after spending $40,000 on the Hilton Surpass Amex in a calendar year.

Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card is identical to the Hilton Honors Amex Surpass in almost every way, making it more or less a lateral move unless you are planning to make considerable travel purchases. In that case, this card offers much better earning potential for cardholders who travel often.

With the same $95 annual fee (rates and fees) and same basic benefits as the Hilton Honors Amex Surpass, the two cards diverge in terms of earning potential. The additional earning opportunities with this card are:

  • 6X Bonus Points per $1USD on flights booked directly with airlines or through Amex Travel, and on car rentals booked directly through select car rental agencies

Again, this card also holds the same benefits as those mentioned above for the Hilton Honors Amex Surpass. However, if you are looking for a good card for business travel, this could be a great option.

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

Editors note: All information about the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has been collected independently by 10xTravel. The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is no longer available through 10xTravel.

The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is the final credit card in the collection, and it comes with a hefty $450 annual fee. At first glance, it might not seem worth it to splurge on a high-fee card when the Bonus Points earning potential is only marginally better than the other three cards mentioned above. On top of that, the sign-up bonus comes with no statement credit and just 150,000 Bonus Points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of the account.

However, when weighing the annual fee against the additional benefits, it might be a good deal if you’re looking to skyrocket your status. Benefits and earning potential of this card include:

  • 14X Bonus Points per $1USD on Hilton Purchases
  • 7X Bonus Points per $1USD on purchases at US restaurants, flights booked directly with the airline or through Amex Travel and cars booked directly through select car rental agencies
  • 3X Bonus Points per $1USD on all other eligible purchases
  • Automatic Diamond Status
  • Free Weekend Night Reward with minimum spend
  • Priority Pass Select Lounge visits
  • Annual Free Weekend Night Reward
  • $250 Annual Hilton Resort Statement Credit
  • Airline Incidental Credit

While the earning potential alone does not make up for the increase in annual fee, the benefits offset the fee quite a bit. This could be a great opportunity to automatically qualify for Diamond Status while enjoying $250 off of a stay at a Hilton Resort, plus a free Weekend Night. The value of these benefits alone surpasses the annual fee, so as long as you’re planning on using the benefits, this card is well worth it.

Bottom Line

Hilton makes it pretty easy to earn status the traditional way, but opening a Hilton Honors credit card is the fastest, simplest way to move up. If you haven’t already, join Hilton Honors today!