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Hilton HHonors Changes Elite Status Requirements for 2013

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Starting in 2013, the Hilton Hotels will up their requirements for Gold and Diamond elite status in their HHonors rewards program. And it’s a not-insubstantial increase: stay requirements for Gold status will increase 25%. Thankfully, any elite status you earned in 2012 for the 2013 calendar year will still be valid. Here’s a breakdown of the new HHonors elite status program:

Elite Level Blue Silver Gold Diamond
Benefits
  • Quick reservation and check-in
  • Late check-out
  • Express check-out
  • Spouse stays free
Blue-level benefits, plus:

  • 15% points bonus
  • Complimentary health and fitness center access
  • Two bottles of water per stay
Silver-level benefits, plus:

  • 25% points bonus
  • eCheck-In
  • Depending on the hotel, get room upgrades, breakfast, free food/water or bonus points
Gold-level benefits, plus:

  • 50% points bonus
  • 48-hour room guarantee
  • Depending on the hotel, get room upgrades, breakfast, free food/water or bonus points
2012 requirements Just enroll 4 stays or 10 nights 16 stays, 36 nights or 60,000 base points 28 stays, 60 nights or 100,000 base points
2013 requirements Just enroll 4 stays or 10 nights 20 stays, 40 nights or 75,000 base points 30 stays, 60 nights or 120,000 base points
Change None None +25% stays, + 11% nights, + 25% base points +7% stays, 0% nights, +20% base points

The benefits are pretty sweet, even at the Silver level, so it’s understandable that Hilton is raising the bar. Thankfully, there are a couple credit cards that’ll get you to Elite status:

Silver Gold Diamond
Citi HHonors Visa Signature Automatic First year, after 4 stays within 90 days of opening the account
Hilton HHonors Card from Amex Automatic When you spend $20,000 a year
Hilton HHonors Surpass from Amex Automatic First year, and any year that spending exceeds $20,000 a year
Citi HHonors Reserve Automatic When you spend $40,000+ a year

You can check out our in-depth review on the HHonors cards for more details, or, if you’re in a hurry to catch a plane for an award stay in the Bahamas, here’s the gist:

  • No-fee Hilton HHonors: Earns 3% at Hilton and at supermarkets, drugstores, cable/wireless/phone and gas, and 1.5% elsewhere. 40,000 Hilton HHonors Points Bonus after spending $750 - when you spend $750 in the first 3 months signup bonus.
  • Hilton HHonors Surpass: Earns 6% at Hilton, 3% at supermarkets, drugstores, cable/wireless/phone and gas, and 1.5% elsewhere. 40,000 points with your first purchase, and 20,000 more when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months signup bonus. Comes with free Priority Pass airport lounge access, valued at $99. $75 annual fee is more than made up for by the Priority Pass membership.
  • Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature: Earns 3% rewards on Hilton, 1.5% on gas, supermarkets and drugstores and 1% elsewhere. 40,000 HHonors Bonus Points after $1,000 in purchases within the first 4 months of account opening. signup bonus with $1,000 in purchases in the first 4 months, no annual fee.
  • Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve: Earns 5% rewards on Hilton, 2.5% on airline and car rentals and 1.5% elsewhere. Signup bonus of 2 weekend night vouchers when you spend $2,500 in the first 4 months, plus 1 weekend night certificate every year that you spend $10k+. Also has an EMV chip and no foreign transaction fee. $95 annual fee.

Special thanks to one of our readers, Raj, who let us know about Hilton’s changed requirements!