How to manufacture Hilton Diamond status

Update: This post includes offers that were valid at the time of publication, but have since expired. Please click here to see the best offers currently available.

Hilton Gold status is really good.  It includes room upgrades (such as this one at the Conrad Hilton Chicago) and both free internet and free breakfast at most properties.  And, its ridiculously easy to get.

Top tier Diamond status has all of the benefits of Gold status and adds guaranteed Executive Floor Lounge access.  However, there are far fewer paths to achieve this level of status.  Below I’ll summarize the easiest paths to Gold status, and how to manufacture Diamond status through spend.

HiltonDoubleTreeSuite

Hilton Elite Requirements

If you were to seek elite status the old fashioned way, by staying at Hilton hotels, you would face the following paid night requirements:

  • Silver: four stays or 10 nights
  • Gold: 20 stays, 40 nights, or 75,000 base points
  • Diamond: 30 stays, 60 nights, or 120,000 base points

Elite Benefits

You can find Hilton’s list of elite benefits here.  To summarize (bolding is mine):

  • Silver: 5th night free awards; 2 free bottles of water per stay; 15% points bonus for stays
  • Gold: Silver benefits, plus free room upgrade; free internet; free breakfast at most properties; 25% points bonus for stays
  • Diamond: Gold benefits, plus guaranteed Executive Floor Lounge access

Easiest Paths to Gold

Here are some of the easy ways to get Hilton Gold status.  For an up to date list, please see: How to fast track to meaningful hotel elite status.

  • Get the Amex Hilton HHonors Surpass card. $75 annual fee.
  • Get the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve card.  $95 annual fee.
  • Get the no-fee Amex Hilton HHonors card.  This card offers Hilton Gold status each year in which you spend $20,000 on the card.
  • Email HHonors@hrcc-hilton.com and ask if you can “fast track to Diamond status”.  Include proof of top tier elite status with a competing hotel chain.  The result is that they are likely to enroll you in a challenge in which you need to complete a number of paid nights to achieve Diamond status.  Even better, they will give you complementary Gold status (at least, that’s what happened to me).
  • Watch for promotions.  Hilton has been known to offer easy paths to Gold status quite often.

Manufacture Hilton Diamond Status

If Gold status isn’t enough for you, you can get top tier Diamond status instead.  The trick is simply to spend $40,000 in a calendar year on either the Hilton HHonors Surpass Amex card or the Hilton HHonors Reserve card from Citibank.

Here’s a quick overview of each card:

Hilton HHonors Surpass from Amex

  • 12X Hilton spend; 6X U.S. restaurants, supermarkets, and gas stations; 3X everywhere else.
  • Free gold status.
  • Diamond status with $40K spend within calendar year.
  • $75 annual fee.

Hilton HHonors Reserve from Citi

  • 10X Hilton spend; 5X airline & car rental; 3X everywhere else.
  • Free Gold status.
  • Diamond status with $40K spend within calendar year.
  • Free weekend night with $10K spend in cardmember year.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • $95 annual fee.

Which is better for manufacturing Diamond status?

The benefits of each card are so similar that it can be a tough call as to which is better.

Surpass card advantages: Better bonus categories (e.g. 6X supermarkets, etc.) and lower annual fee.

Reserve card advantages: Free weekend night with $10K spend, no foreign transaction fees, and better worldwide acceptance as a Visa card.

In general, if you plan to meet most of the $40K spend within bonus categories, such as supermarkets, then go with the Surpass card.  If you spend all $40K within the 6X bonus categories, you’ll earn 240,000 points in the process.  That’s 120,000 points more than you would earn with the Reserve card at 3X.

If you plan to meet most of the $40K spend outside of the Surpass card sweet spots (i.e. not in restaurants, supermarkets, or gas stations), or if you simply find it easier to manufacture spend with a Citi Visa card, then go with the Citi Reserve card since it will give you a free weekend night along the way and it can be used internationally without foreign transaction fees.

Diamond Status for 2 years

With either card, you’ll receive Diamond status once you’ve reached $40,000 of spend within a calendar year.  At that point, you’ll keep the status for the rest of that year and all of the next year.  So, if you’re able to put a huge amount of spend on the card early in the year, you can keep status for almost two full years.

A simple strategy for keeping Diamond status indefinitely is to meet the $40K spend requirement once every two years (and early in the year).  In order to avoid annual fees, some people I know downgrade their Surpass card to the no fee version once they get Diamond status.  Then, once status elapses, they upgrade to the Surpass card and go for it again.

Conclusion

Hilton Gold status is easy to get and it offers some really nice benefits.  If you really want top tier status, though, you can get that simply by spending $40,000 within a calendar year on either of two credit cards.

In this post I’ve detailed how to earn top tier Hilton elite status through spend, but I didn’t address whether or not it’s a good idea.  In my opinion, Gold status is worth getting.  It’s easy to get and its very nice to have, especially if you stay in Hilton hotels often.  Diamond status would be even better, especially if you stay often at properties with Executive Floor Lounges.  However, depending upon your travel habits, dedicating your spend (and annual fees) to other cards may make more sense.

What do you think?  Is it right for you?  Please comment below.

 

Last updated on January 14th, 2018

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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Byc
Guest
Byc

Do points earned through Hilton’s points back portal count for status, as they do for Southwest and the CP?

bdogg
Guest
bdogg

You say they will offer you a status challenge if you have top-tier status at a competing chain. Do you know if they will offer the status challenge if you have Hilton Gold from having the Surpass or Reserve card?

Paul
Guest
Paul

I like HH Diamond as I never have enough stays to get top tier status in any other hotel program. $40K spend on Surpass at 6x is fairly easy. Just ~$3.33K spend a month gets you Diamond, plus 240K points at about 0.2c each. Even with the devaluation, Hilton remains one of the best hotel programs in all categories (low, mid, top). No other chain is as flexible, nor offers ability to get status solely thru spend. But of course, since Amex doesn’t offer affiliate bonuses for the Surpass, all we ever hear about is Chase and Hyatt….what a surprise…

Nguyen
Guest
Nguyen

@FM, regarding to “some people I know downgrade their Surpass card to the no fee version once they get Diamond status,” I once called AMEX to ask about this and the CSR told me that they could not do that. I would have to cancel my current Surpass card and then apply for the no fee version ??? May I ask on how do I downgrade the card? Thanks.

PD
Guest
PD

Assuming all purchased are in supermarkets, putting 40k on the old Amex Blue Cash will generate 6.5K*0.01+ (40k-6.5k)*0.05 = $1,740. 240k Hilton points are worth $720 at 0.3 cent per point. Plus old Amex Blue Cash does not have an annual fee and Surpass does. So spending to get the Diamond status is essentially buying it for $1,740 – $720 + $75 = $1,095. Maybe worth it for some folks but not for me.

Smitty
Guest
Smitty

This is spot on. I simply can’t justify trying for Diamond any way I cut it.

William
Guest
William

I agree with PD on this one. I’d much rather put 40k spend on a different card. Even at 3% on the Marukai JCB, that’s $1200.

I suppose if you don’t mind manufacturing 3.3k of spend every month, but that’s more work than I’m willing to do 🙂

JustSaying
Guest
JustSaying

I manufactured Diamond and then ?SHAZAM they devalued and that was the day I stayed my last night as a paid guest………I will burn the points in Australia as there is out sized value there but am so happy to have Hyatt Diamond instead of Hilton……..Hyatt is SO much better it is not even close and if they don’t have a Hyatt I stay at Relais and Chateau or a B&B…………

Mike
Guest

PD’s math is pretty much spot on.

Spending $40k at a grocery store on the surpass you’re loosing out on the opportunity cost of spending it on the BC card or another 5% CB card. Years ago when there were other ways to mfg, like VR’s and when the HH program didn’t cost 95k points at a top tier hotel, it might be worth it to some folks.

With the current Hilton award chart, in some cases, it’s better to mfg arrival points through Buxxx or simon GC and redeem for the cash rate at a hilton property than it is to mfg Hilton points for a night.

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Nathan
Guest
Nathan

With my spending habits, this is nearly impossible. No more Amazon Payments, CITI codes Amex cards as a cash advance, and now Amex Serve will code CITI as cash advance (Not personally tested but I’ve heard stories). Now I’m looking at having to do gift cards and Serve loads, which is too cumbersome for 40K in spending.

Jeff
Guest
Jeff

I am currently spending on the Amex Surpass card to meet $40,000 spend this calendar year. My card closing date is the 10th of the month. The card member agreement says that it will take 10 to 12 weeks after spend is met for status to become effective. If I, say, meet the spend on 12/11 does that mean that I only have Diamond status from March of 2015 to 12/31/15?

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Nico
Guest
Nico

As I read the terms if HHonors, it says that you receive Diamond when reaching 120k base points.

Both the Surpass and the Reserve earn 3 “base points” per dollar (the Surpass earns 3 “bonus points” at grocery stores).

I’m wondering if it is possible to put, say, $20k on each card to hit the $40k in spend that will yield 120,000 base points. Or $30k/$10k?

Nobody ever mentions it — I’m not sure if that’s because it is impossible or just because nobody but me is dumb enough to have both cards. I recently upgraded my no-AF Hhonors to the Surpass just to pick up some bonus points without opening a new acct (I open 15-20 a year, so I was just looking for some low-hanging fruit). I’m still in my first year of the Reserve. I’d like to do $10k in spend on the Citi card for the free weekend night, but I’d otherwise prefer to do most of the rest of the spending on the Amex for 6x at the grocery store.

Anyone ever tried splitting it?

will
Guest
will

I just wanted to tell everyone, what I did with the free Gold HHonors membership they are giving away.

I did a simple status match to best western who gave me Diamond (within minutes)

Now for the fun bit………

Status matched back to HHonors And they gave me Diamond (tuck 3 days)

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