Negative Hilton status match changes: No instant Diamond, more nights required

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Hilton has today announced changes to its status match program. Unfortunately, the news is not good: effective today, Hilton no longer offers a direct match to Diamond but instead requires you to match to temporary Gold and then meet a minimum number of nights to keep Gold or upgrade to Diamond. While that makes sense from a loyalty perspective, it’s a bummer for those who planned a future match, especially those who had their sights set on the status match-go-round.

Direct link to new Hilton status match

Here is an excerpt from the email they sent explaining these changes (bold font is mine for added emphasis):

Hilton Honors’ priority is to be the most customer-centric loyalty program to our more than 94 million members, which is why we continually refine our program and offerings to ensure that members get the most out of Hilton Honors.

That’s why as of today, we’re updating the program requirements for Status Match to align with best practices across the travel space. Hilton Honors is one of the only major hotel loyalty programs to offer status match year-round – and to give trial members access to our unique program benefits as soon as they sign up. The goal with these new changes is to simplify the program and make elite status even more valuable. See below for more details on the new program requirements, which focus on number of nights, instead of number of stays:

Every eligible member will be matched to trial Gold – there will no longer be an option for Status Match to Diamond tier.
Complete 10 nights within 90 days, and your Gold status will be extended through March 31, 2021.
Complete 18 nights within 90 days, and you will be upgraded to Diamond status through March 31, 2021.

In a nutshell, if you want to get Hilton Diamond status, you’ll now need to match to Gold and then complete 18 nights in 90 days.

That’s obviously a negative change from two perspectives: First, Hilton previously offered an immediate trial match to Diamond status from a variety of programs. Additionally, the terms of the match previously required a member to make 4 stays in 90 days to keep Gold status or 8 stays in 90 days to keep Diamond status. For those who typically stayed 2-3 nights each time, the new nights requirement won’t make much of a difference. However, those who counted on single night stays to meet the old stay requirements will now need to stay more than twice as many nights as the previous minimums. To be clear, I expect that these new requirements only take effect for those matching today onward — if you’re in the midst of a match, I expect the terms that were in place when you matched will still apply (i.e. if you matched under the old requirements, you should just need the 4 stays / 8 stays to maintain status). This is a good reminder that best practice is to always take screen shots of key terms.

If there is good news to draw from this, it is that Hilton still offers an immediate trial match to Gold status. That’s nice as Gold status gives you free breakfast and at least a shot at being upgraded to a room with club lounge access (Diamond members get guaranteed club lounge access). Hilton Gold status is widely regarded as the best mid-tier hotel status as it guarantees you breakfast (or in a few cases a breakfast credit) at just about all Hilton properties worldwide, so this match could still be quite handy for those who don’t want to get Gold status from a credit card.

On that note, keep in mind that there are several credit cards that offer easy Hilton status: the Hilton Honors Surpass card, which grants automatic Gold status as long as you hold the card or one of the many flavors of Amex Platinum, which also grant instant Hilton Gold status. Those who want Diamond status can consider the Hilton Honors Aspire card, which gives automatic Diamond.

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