The Guide to Hilton Gold Status

Hilton Gold status is worth the perks for loyalists (and it's not actually all that difficult to earn).
Ramsey Qubein
By Ramsey Qubein 
Updated

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Earning Hilton Honors Gold status through frequent stays is an impressive achievement. But given how easy it is to earn automatic Hilton Gold status through certain American Express credit cards, including Hilton-branded credit cards, many people will earn Hilton Gold status with little trouble.

Unlike many other easy-to-earn elite status tiers that have mediocre benefits, Hilton Gold status can be hugely lucrative. Hilton Honors Gold is the second-highest tier in Hilton's elite status program, and it offers delightful benefits including food and beverage credits, waived resort fees and big discounts on five-night stays booked on points.

Here’s what you need to know about Hilton’s mid-tier elite status, Gold.

Hilton Gold perks

There are several Hilton Gold status benefits in store when you stay at an eligible property. The best Hilton Gold perks include:

  • 80% bonus points: 10 base points on most Hilton purchases plus an 80% bonus, which equates to 18 points per dollar spent.

  • Complimentary upgrades at check-in: Upgrade eligibility on all room types, even up to the executive floor.

  • Elite rollover nights: Extra nights earned above a particular status roll over to the next year for a head start on status renewal.

  • Fifth night free: When redeeming five nights using Hilton Honors points, you only pay the point equivalent of four nights.

  • Food and beverage credits, club lounge access or complimentary breakfast: Daily food and beverage credits (varies based on brand) within the U.S. or complimentary continental breakfast in non-U.S. hotels.

  • Waived resort fees: Resort fees are waived on free night awards for all Hilton Honors members.

Free breakfast (or other food) for Hilton Gold members

For a stay at the Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas, you might use your credit to pay for the chicken and waffles at Zen Kitchen. (Photo by Sally French)

One standout perk that Gold members tend to love is the daily food and beverage credit, which replaced the former complimentary continental breakfast benefit. All Hilton Honors members with Gold or Diamond elite status automatically receive a credit for each night stayed at U.S. hotel brands where you previously would have received complimentary continental breakfast.

Credits vary by hotel but tend to run between $15 and $25 per night (and you can get twice the credit if there are two people in a room).

The credit can be used toward eligible food and beverage purchases charged to your room — at any time of day. You could use it toward the hotel breakfast buffet, or you might opt to put it toward dinner, a fancy coffee from the lobby cafe or snacks at the grab-and-go market.

How to earn Hilton Honors Gold

There are three primary ways that you might earn Hilton Honors Gold elite status. The first two require frequent travel. Most people will earn Hilton Honors status through the third route.

1. Earning base points

Hilton Honors members earn 10 base points per dollar spent on up to four rooms per stay if paying eligible rates. Some rates are not eligible for points earning, including wholesale/contracted rates, travel agency discounts, timeshare rates or those booked through a third-party website like Orbitz. Once you achieve 75,000 base points in a calendar year, you will earn Hilton Honors Gold status.

2. Staying at Hilton properties

Make at least 20 stays or stay 40 nights within the calendar year at Hilton Honors-participating hotels to achieve Hilton Honors Gold status. This can include rollover nights from the year before.

The Platinum Card® from American Express
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3. Holding the right credit card

The easiest way to get Hilton Honors Gold status could be bysimply applying for any of the American Express credit cards that offer Hilton Honors Gold status automatically.

Among the most popular cards with automatic Hilton Gold status as a benefit is The Platinum Card® from American Express. You will have to take the extra step to officially enroll with Hilton, but it's a quick process. Though, it's not exactly the cheapest way to get Hilton Gold status. The card comes with an annual fee of $695, so only go this route if you can take advantage of the card's other benefits. Terms apply.

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That said, there is a cheaper way to "buy" your way to Hilton Honors Gold status, and that's through the following two Hilton Honors co-branded credit cards: the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card (which has a $95 annual fee) and The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card (which has a $95 annual fee) .

These are rapid ways to achieve Hilton Honors Gold status without even setting foot in any hotel. Terms apply.

How much is Hilton Honors status worth?

In our most recent analysis, NerdWallet determined Hilton Honors Gold to be the most rewarding and valuable of mid-tier status levels. We determined this through a comprehensive analysis of quantifiable elite status benefits like bonus points and free breakfast.

Value of benefits

Cost to earn

Elite earning rate

Silver

$23.

$1,460.

1.5%.

Gold

$960.

$5,840.

16%.

Diamond

$4,296.

$8,760.

49%

It earned such high marks based on the 80% points bonus on eligible stays, food and beverage credit (or free breakfast at many hotels), and the ability to earn status instantly with the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card. Terms apply.

What else you need to know

You can benefit from Hilton Honors promotions

Hilton Honors offers promotions throughout the year with bonus points that can edge you closer to a redemption night. Be sure to register for these promotions, even if you do not have stays planned. You never know when a last-minute trip might pop up, and if you are already registered, you can take advantage of it.

Status matches are available

If you hold mid-tier status with another loyalty program, Hilton Honors may offer a status match to its Hilton Honors Gold tier. This can be a good idea if you have an important stay coming up and want to take advantage of the potential room upgrade or food and beverage amenities that come with Gold status at eligible properties.

To qualify, you’ll have to stay at least seven nights within a 90-day window to keep Gold status. If you stay at least 12 nights, you’ll climb all the way up to Diamond status.

This offer is only available once per member, so use it wisely.

How long does Hilton Honors status last?

Gold status will remain in effect until Dec. 31 of the subsequent year in which you earned it. So if you achieve Hilton Honors status in the summer of 2023, it would be good through Dec. 31, 2024.

Milestone bonuses

If you stay with Hilton frequently, you can keep earning through its milestone bonuses offering. For every 10 nights you stay after achieving 30 nights in a calendar year, you will earn 10,000 points. Once you reach 60 nights in a calendar year, you’ll earn 30,000 more points.

Hilton lifetime status

Hilton Honors does not offer lifetime status for Silver or Gold tiers, but it does for Diamond status. If you enjoy Gold status enough to keep earning toward the Diamond tier, you could be well on your way.

If you keep Diamond status for 10 years (they don’t have to be consecutive) and complete an additional milestone (like staying over 1,000 nights or earning 2 million base points), you can earn Diamond status for life.

Is Hilton Honors Gold status worth it?

It's tough to argue anything other than, yes, Hilton Honors Gold status is absolutely worth it. In fact, no other major U.S. hotel chain offers as high a value of a mid-level status tier than what Hilton offers. Here's how Hilton Gold compares against the other major hotel offerings:

While not top-tier Hilton Diamond status, Hilton Gold offers plentiful perks and is worth achieving if you stay at Hilton family hotels often.

And even if you don't stay at Hilton hotels often but are open to playing the points and miles game by applying for a new credit card, the $95 annual fee on the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card could easily pay for itself if you take advantage of perks like your fifth night free on points stays.

And don't overlook the high value of the daily food and beverage credits. If you stay at a hotel that offers $25 per night, that alone could put you ahead of the card's annual fee after just two nights at a Hilton hotel, assuming two people per room.


How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2023, including those best for:

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