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We’ve written about the excellent status match / challenge offered by Hilton Honors many times over the years here at InsideFlyer. Hilton status offers great perks – even just Hilton Gold is well worth having!
The only real hitch is that you do need to already have elite status with another hotel loyalty programme in order to request a match. Fortunately, with a little bit of creativity, that’s a lot easier than you might think.
Before we get into the detail of that though, here’s a quick refresher on how the Hilton status match works.
How to request an Hilton Honors Status Match
The process of requesting a status challenge is simple. You must fill in the online form with your first name, last name, email address, Honors account number, and the status you’re hoping to match. You must also upload proof of your competing status, as well as proof of a stay within the past 12 months with that hotel chain.
So, how do I get elite status with a competitor first?
The very cheapest way is to get the IHG Rewards Club Premium Credit Card, which costs £99 per year and comes with IHG Rewards Club Platinum status.
Hilton matches IHG Platinum to Honors Diamond, so the only other thing you would need to do is complete a stay with IHG before you send your proof to Hilton.
I wrote recently wrote about how you can book the Holiday Inn Express Bradford City Centre for just £21.60 per night. Add £21.60 to the £99 you paid for the IHG Premium Credit Card and you’re looking at a grand total of £120.60!
If Bradford isn’t convenient, you should still be able to find something similar near to where you live – just remember to book using the IHG Partner Rate!
If you don’t want to get a credit card, the next best option is to buy IHG Platinum status for ~£167 via the Intercontinental ‘Ambassador’ programme.
Craig covered the subject in detail here, but the upshot is that it costs $200 (~£167) or 40,000 IHG Points, and as well as a range of other benefits, you get IHG Rewards Club Platinum status.
Add a night at the Holiday Inn Express Bradford and your total cost would be about £188.60.
It’s worth pointing out that as well as being ready to request a Hilton status match, you would of course now have IHG Platinum status too. It’s not as useful as Hilton Diamond (or even Hilton Gold to be honest…), but it can come in handy for things like late check out.
With the credit card option you’d also receive 20,000 IHG Rewards Club Points (worth ~£80) as a sign up bonus; and many people find the benefits of the Ambassador programme to be worth paying $200 a year, regardless of whether they are interested in a Hilton status match. Therefore, depending on how you personally value those benefits, the net cost of putting yourself in a position to apply for a Hilton status match could actually be as low as zero.
Keep your Hilton Honors status until 2021
If your status match is approved you will enjoy matched status for a period of exactly 90 days. This can be extended until 31 March, 2021 by completing:
- 4 stays for Gold status
- 8 stays for Diamond status
Note that these need to be separate stays, not just 4 or 8 nights.
8 separate stays within 90 days is quite ambitious, but is based on the fact that regular Diamond qualification requires 30 stays in a year (so 8/90 is roughly one quarter of the stays in one quarter of the year). This works out well for those who can accumulate many one-night stays, but is quite difficult for those who have less frequent, but longer, hotel stays.
It’s worth knowing that points stays do still count towards qualifying for elite status via the status challenge.
As regards cash rates, Fridays and Sundays tend to offer the best rates and don’t forget that there are some excellent prices available at the moment in the big Hilton Summer Sale.
You might be wondering whether Hilton Diamond status is worth the fuss – particularly if you only get to keep it for 90 days (unless you complete the 8 stays).
Most of the time, the honest answer would be no. Diamond is great, but if you’ve just got a couple of routine short stays during the 90 day period, it’s unlikely to make sense.
There are two big exceptions though:
- If you have a big special occasion stay coming up – like a honeymoon week at the Conrad Maldives. Hilton Diamond status could save you a lot of money and make your stay even better than it otherwise would be.
- If you can complete the 8 stays in 90 days. As long as you don’t have to spend a lot of money on unnecessary stays to hit the target, getting to keep Hilton Diamond until the end of March 2021 is potentially very valuable.
I found myself in the second set of circumstances last year and am very pleased I made the small additional effort required (I ‘hotel hopped’ a couple of times) to retain Diamond status. Free breakfast and lounge access are always appreciated, and I’ve received some really good upgrades too.
Do you think Hilton Diamond status is worth chasing?