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To benefit from the status match for 2016 (which runs through to March 2017), you need to send HHonors “something that shows your elite tier in another program” (a scan of your membership card or an account statement are the obvious candidates) and your HHonors membership number. The email address to send them to is email@example.com
By Hilton‘s own admission, requests submitted now may take a couple of days to process given the Thanksgiving holiday, but they have assured everyone that any request submitted prior to January 11, 2016, will be processed in time to enjoy your new status for all of 2016, and right up to March 2017.
Hilton status benefits are outlined here. While Diamond is clearly the status to be aiming for, Hilton Gold is widely recognised as one of the most generous mid-tier hotel loyalty levels out there, with guaranteed free breakfast, and lounge access/room upgrades regularly offered.
Gold status is easy to secure – they have regular promos, fast-tracks and credit cards potentially offering it. Diamond doesn’t offer a great deal more than Gold – but does give you lounge access even if you do not get a room on the Executive Floor (Gold technically doesn’t let you in the lounge unless they upgrade you, but there are plenty of examples of them making exceptions, especially in Europe).
Clearly, the status you get with Hilton (Silver, Gold or Diamond) will depend on the tier level you have with the loyalty programme you submit to them (e.g. you can expect that SPG Gold Preferred Guest will get you Hilton Gold, while SPG Platinum Preferred Guest will get you Hilton Diamond).