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 Hilton Honors™ Gold Status through certain American Express credit cards, including Hilton-branded credit cards, many people will earn 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 members with Hilton Honors™ Gold Status or Hilton Honors™ Diamond 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 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.

3. Holding the right credit card

The easiest way to get Hilton Honors™ Gold Status could be by simply applying for any of these American Express credit cards that offer Hilton Honors™ Gold Status.

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
NerdWallet Rating
Apply now

on American Express' website

Rates & Fees
The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card
The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card
NerdWallet Rating
Apply now

on American Express' website

Rates & Fees
The Platinum Card® from American Express
The Platinum Card® from American Express
NerdWallet Rating
Apply now

on American Express' website

Rates & Fees
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
NerdWallet Rating
Apply now

on American Express' website

Rates & Fees
Annual fee

$150.

$195.

$695.

$695.

Earning rates

• 12 points per $1 on eligible purchases with a hotel or resort within the Hilton portfolio.

• 6 points per $1 at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations.

• 4 points per $1 on U.S. online retail purchases.

• 3 points per $1 on all other eligible purchases.

Terms apply.

• 12 points per $1 on eligible purchases with a hotel or resort within the Hilton portfolio.

• 5 points per $1 on other purchases made using the Hilton Honors Business Card on the first $100,000 in purchases each calendar year, 3 points per $1 thereafter.

Terms apply.

• 5 points per $1 on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel, on up to $500,000 spent per year.

• 5 points per $1 on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.

• 1 point per $1 on other eligible purchases.

Terms apply.

• 5 points per $1 on flights and prepaid hotels booked American Express Travel.

• 1.5 points per $1 in key business categories and eligible purchases of $5,000 or more (on up to $2,000,000 in purchases per year).

• 1 point per $1 on other eligible purchases.

Terms apply.

Other noteworthy benefits (see reviews for full rundown)

• Hilton Honors™ Gold Status, which gives you an 80% points bonus, as well as complimentary breakfasts at select hotels and room upgrades at select properties where available.

• Path to Hilton Honors™ Diamond Status. Get an upgrade to Diamond if you spend $40,000 or more on the card in a calendar year.

• $200 annual statement credit for eligible Hilton purchases on your card (doled out in $50 statement credits per quarter).

Potential free night. Earn a weekend night reward after you spend $15,000 on purchases on your card in a calendar year.

Terms apply.

Hilton Honors™ Gold Status, which gives you an 80% points bonus, as well as complimentary breakfasts at select hotels and room upgrades at select properties where available.

Path to Hilton Honors™ Diamond Status. Get an upgrade to Diamond if you spend $40,000 or more on the card in a calendar year.

Potential free nights. Earn a free night reward after you spend $15,000 on purchases on your card in a calendar year and a second when you spend an additional $45,000 in the same calendar year ($60,000 total).

• Airport lounge access. Ten complimentary Priority Pass visits each year. Enrollment is required.

Terms apply.

Access to more than 1,400 airport lounges worldwide, including AmEx's own Centurion Lounges and Delta Sky Clubs (when flying Delta).

• Credit for the application fee for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry.

Hundreds of dollars a year in credits for travel, shopping and entertainment. These include up to $200 a year for incidental fees on an airline you choose, up to $240 for digital entertainment from select providers, and up to $200 a year for Uber. See terms for details.

Terms apply.

Get 35% of your Membership Rewards points back when you redeem points for an eligible first or business class flight on any airline, or a flight in any cabin of travel on an airline you choose (up to 500,000 points per year).

Access to more than 1,400 airport lounges worldwide, including AmEx's own Centurion Lounges and Delta Sky Clubs (when flying Delta).

• Credit for the application fee for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry.

Up to $1,000 a year in credits for various business expenses and travel. These include $400 a year for U.S. Dell purchases, $200 a year for incidental fees on an airline you choose, $120 for a U.S. wireless credit, and more. See terms for details.

Terms apply.

Welcome offer

Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points plus a Free Night Reward after you spend $3,000 in purchases on the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card in the first 6 months of Card Membership. Offer Ends 7/31/2024. Terms apply.

Earn 175,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $8,000 in purchases on the Hilton Honors Business Card within the first six months of Card Membership. Offer Ends 6/5. Terms Apply.

Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on eligible purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $20,000 in eligible purchases on the Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

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Among the most popular cards with Hilton Honors™ 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.

The cheaper way to "buy" your way to Hilton Honors™ Gold Status is to get the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card or The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card. You can also go for the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, which will grant you Hilton Honors™ Diamond Status (one tier above Gold) as well as a bunch of other perks for an annual fee of $550.

These cards offer a rapid way to achieve Hilton Honors Gold Status (or higher) without even setting foot in any hotel. Terms apply.

How much is Hilton Honors status worth?

In NerdWallet’s annual analysis of the best hotel elite status programs, we sought to determine how much value the major U.S. hotel loyalty programs deliver to guests. Here's how Hilton Honors did.

Value of benefits

Cost to earn

Elite earning rate

Hilton Honors™ Silver Status

$20.

$1,460.

1.3%.

Hilton Honors™ Gold Status

$904.

$5,840.

15%.

Hilton Honors™ Diamond Status

$4,168.

$8,760.

48%

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 2024, it would be good through Dec. 31, 2025.

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 $150 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.

To view rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, see this page.
To view rates and fees of The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card, see this page.
To view rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, see this page.
To view rates and fees of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, see this page.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are some of the best travel credit cards of 2024:

Cards for Hilton from our Partners
Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

on Chase's website

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
5.0
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate

1x-5x

5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases.

Points

Intro offer

75,000

Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's over $900 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

Points
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

on Capital One's website

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
4.7
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate

2x-5x

Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options.

Miles

Intro offer

75,000

Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.

Miles
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

on Capital One's website

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
4.9
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate

2x-10x

Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel, Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases.

Miles

Intro offer

75,000

Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.

Miles
See more cards for hilton
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