Your Guide to Maximizing Hilton Honors Gold Benefits

Disclosure: Well Traveled Mile has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Well Traveled Mile and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

With over 6,300 properties across 18 brands, the Hilton Honors program is one of the largest and most popular hotel loyalty programs.

Gold status is the mid-tier of the program and a fairly easy goal to reach with great rewards. It also offers some of the most tangible benefits, including complimentary breakfast and room upgrades.

This guide will cover all of the benefits of Hilton Gold status, how to earn it, and how it compares to mid-tier status in other hotel programs.

How to Earn Hilton Honors Gold Status

Earning Hilton Gold status is considerably easy to achieve. You have a few ways to do it:

  • Staying at Hilton hotels
  • Having a Hilton Honors credit card
  • Spending on a Hilton Honors credit card

You can even earn it through the status challenge program or get matched status through another program.

Hilton has reduced its elite status qualifications by 50% in 2021

Earn Hilton Gold Status with Hotel Stays

As you'd expect, you can earn Hilton Gold status through Hilton hotel stays. To earn Gold status, you must meet any of the following in a calendar year:

  • 40 night
  • 20 stays of any length
  • 75,000 base points. You earn 10x base points per dollar with most Hilton brands.

For 2021, Hilton has reduced the elite qualification requirements by 50%. To earn Gold status in 2021, you need just 20 nights, 10 stays, or 37,500 base points!

It's also important to know that both revenue and award stays count toward your stay and night total.

Get automatic elite status with a Hilton Honors credit card!

Earn Hilton Gold Status with Credit Cards

You can also reach Hilton Honors Gold status with a Hilton co-branded credit card or select Amex cards. This is the easiest way to earn Gold status and usually doesn’t require reaching an annual spending limit.

The following cards offer automatic Gold status:

Out of all these card options, the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card offers the best value for most.

You’ll enjoy automatic Hilton Gold status along with a host of other benefits like 130,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months (terms apply), Priority Pass Select membership, and a free weekend night reward once you reach a $15,000 spending threshold in a calendar year. The annual fee is only $95.

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card

Earn 130,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months (terms apply).

Learn more >>

Complete a Hilton Honors Status Challenge

The Hilton Honors status match program lets you try elite status and get the chance to accelerate your progress to the next tier. This program is available if you have elite status in a different hotel program and want to try the benefits of Hilton Gold and Platinum.

To request a status challenge, you submit a request online and submit proof of your status with a competing chain and proof of stay with the competitor within the last 12 months.

You’ll automatically get matched to Gold status for 90 days. You can maintain your Gold status through March 2023 by staying 5 nights with Hilton within the 90 days. If you stay 9 nights, you’ll be upgraded to Diamond.

Hilton Honors will match your status with another hotel program

What Are Hilton Honors Gold Benefits?

So, what exactly does Gold status get you with Hilton Honors?

Here’s a full breakdown of all the benefits and how to get the most from each perk.

Enjoy free breakfast at the Conrad Tokyo as a gold member

Free Continental Breakfast

Arguably the most valuable benefit of Hilton Honors Gold level is the complimentary continental breakfast. You’ll enjoy free breakfast for two at all Hilton brands on paid and award stays.

While the benefit only includes free continental breakfast at any Hilton property, in practice, the perk can offer much more.

Many Hilton hotels offer free full breakfast to Gold members, especially at Hilton hotels outside the U.S. If the hotel has an on-site restaurant that serves breakfast, you may instead get a credit for breakfast for two at the restaurant — which can easily be worth $50+.

Just remember that many Hilton brands offer free continental breakfast for all guests like Embassy Suites, Homewood Suites, and Hampton Inn. You’ll get the best value when you stay at the following Hilton brands that only offer free breakfast for guests with Gold and Diamond elite status:

  • Conrad Hotels & Resorts
  • Curio – A Collection by Hilton
  • DoubleTree by Hilton
  • Hilton Garden Inn
  • Hilton Hotels & Resorts
  • LXR Hotels & Resorts
  • Tapestry Collection by Hilton
  • Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts

For Gold members, complimentary continental breakfast is a MyWay benefit you must choose at check-in. To get the free breakfast, you must choose free breakfast instead of another welcome gift, such as bonus points.

If you’re going to stay at a hotel that already offers free complimentary breakfast, make sure you choose bonus points instead!

Enjoy room upgrade with Gold status | Image Credit: Hilton

Upgrades to Preferred Rooms

As a Hilton Gold member, you can enjoy free upgrades to preferred rooms on a space-available basis. Room upgrades aren’t guaranteed and they’re always offered at each hotel’s discretion at check-in.

Suite upgrades are specifically excluded, but you may still get lucky sometimes — and it never hurts to ask at check-in. Under the terms and conditions, you can receive upgrades up to executive rooms.

Room upgrades can be a great perk but remember they aren’t guaranteed, even if there is availability. The World of Hyatt and Marriott Bonvoy, by comparison, guarantee upgrades to their upper-tier elite member when available.

With Gold status you get upgrades to executive-level rooms

Executive Lounge Access (Subject to Room Upgrade)

If you receive a space-available upgrade to the executive level, you’ll receive executive lounge access. However, you otherwise don’t get executive lounge access as a Gold member – that’s a perk offered at Diamond status level.

Related: Everything you need to know about Hilton Gold vs Diamond status

80% Bonus Points

With Hilton Gold status you'll earn Hilton points faster. Remember that all Hilton Honors members earn 10x base points per dollar spent at Hilton properties.

With Gold status, you’ll earn an 80% bonus on the points you earn on your Hilton stays. That’s 18x Hilton points on stays – plus any Hilton points you earn by using a co-branded credit card! With status, you'll find it much easier to rack up Hilton points to use for free stays with Hilton in no time.

Milestone Bonuses

The Milestone Bonus perk lets you earn bonus points every time you hit a milestone stay. You’ll get 10,000 bonus points when you reach 40 stays in a calendar year plus 10,000 bonus points for every 10 nights you stay after that.

If you hit 60 nights in a calendar year, you’ll get an extra 30,000 bonus Hilton points.

Hilton MyWay Benefits

With Hilton MyWay benefits, you choose the welcome bonus you want to receive at check-in. You can select your MyWay benefits through your Hilton account.

These perks vary by brand and some are automatic. You can always choose between a MyWay benefit or bonus points on every qualifying Hilton stay.

To change your MyWay benefits, log into your Hilton Honors account and select “MyWay Earning Style Preferences” then “Change Earning Style.”

Here are Hilton's MyWay benefits by hotel brand:

Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts

  • Space-available upgrade to a preferred room
  • 1,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points per stay or one in-room movie1 per stay

Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Curio - A Collection by Hilton, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree by Hilton

  • Space-available upgrade to a preferred room
  • 1,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points per stay or complimentary continental breakfast for you and up to one additional guest registered to the same room each day of your stay

Canopy by Hilton

  • Space-available upgrade to a preferred room
  • 500 Hilton Honors Bonus Points per stay

Embassy Suites Hotels

  • 500 Hilton Honors Bonus Points per stay or two snack/refreshment choices per stay

Hilton Garden Inn

  • 750 Hilton Honors Bonus Points per stay or a complimentary Hot Cooked-to-Order Breakfast for you and up to one additional guest registered to the same room each day of your stay

Hampton by Hilton

  • 250 Hilton Honors Bonus Points per stay or choice of snack and non-alcoholic beverage

Homewood Suites by Hilton

    • 250 Hilton Honors bonus points per stay or two bottles of water and sweet snack per stay

Home2 Suites by Hilton

  • 100 Hilton Honors Bonus Points per stay or choice of snack and bottled water per stay

Hilton Grand Vacations

  • 1,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points per stay

Fifth night Free on Awards Stays

All Hilton elite members get a 5th night free on award stays. The value of the fifth night is the average of all nights across your entire stay.

The example below from Hilton shows how it breaks down, but the bottom line is it means saving more points when you stay 5 nights or more!

Additional Benefits You Get with Hilton Honors Gold Status

  • Guaranteed Hilton Honors Discount
  • Points toward free nights, travel partners and more
  • No resort fees on reward stays
  • Free WiFi
  • Two complimentary bottles of water per stay
  • Late check-out, subject to availability. This is only at the hotel's discretion and not guaranteed.
  • Elite Rollover Nights. Qualifying nights above the ones you need for your status roll over at the end of the year and help you reach elite status next year.

Is Hilton Gold Worth it?

For most people, Hilton Gold is the most valuable tier of the Hilton Honors program. It isn't just easy to earn with a Hilton co-branded credit card; the free breakfast perk alone can make it worthwhile to carry a Hilton credit card for even occasional travelers.

When you add in the 80% bonus on base points, room upgrades, and lack of resort fees on award stays, you'll probably find Gold status is worth it even if you only complete a handful of Hilton stays each year.

What's the Difference Between Hilton Gold and Diamond Status?

Hilton Honors Gold status is so desirable because it’s easy to achieve and offers impressive benefits. The free breakfast alone can save you hundreds of dollars per year if you travel somewhat frequently, especially if you often have a guest. So, is it worth it to keep going to earn Platinum?

Hilton Platinum is much harder to earn than Gold. The only credit card that offers it automatically is the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card which has a $450 annual fee. Otherwise, you need 60 qualifying nights or 30 qualifying stays or 120,000 base points per year or $40,000 in spending on the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card.

The upgraded perks aren’t worth it unless you’re a very frequent traveler and always use Hilton properties. Earning Diamond status gives you the following benefits:

  • Premium Wi-Fi
  • Executive lounge access, even if you don’t stay in an executive room
  • 100% bonus points on stays (20% more than Gold)
  • One-time Diamond status extension once you’ve had Diamond status for 3 years
  • 48-hour room guarantee with restrictions
  • Elite status gifting allows you to gift Gold status to someone after 30 night stays in a calendar year. Gift Diamond status once you reach 60 nights in a year.

The Bottom Line

Hilton Honors Gold status is best for occasional to frequent travelers. The perks are worth it even if you only stay with Hilton a few times a year thanks to the free breakfast perk alone. This is particularly true if you stay at Hilton brands that don't include complimentary breakfast.

The best way to earn and keep Hilton Gold status is with the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card. The card has a $95 annual fee but a sizable welcome offer, automatic Gold status, and it earns up to 12x Hilton points on spending to earn free Hilton stays even faster.

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card

Earn 130,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months (terms apply).

Learn more >>

FAQ

What is Hilton Honors Gold status?

Hilton Honors Gold status is the mid-tier level of the Hilton Honors program. It offers a range of perks like free breakfast at all Hilton properties, free room upgrades, and 80% more Hilton points on stays.

How do you qualify for Hilton Gold?

You can qualify for Hilton Gold status by completing 40 nights or 20 stays of any length at Hilton properties in a year. It's also included as a perk with several co-branded and Amex credit cards.

What benefits do Hilton Gold members get?

Hilton Gold members receive many benefits including free breakfast, 80% bonus on base points at Hilton, and free room upgrades.

Do Hilton Honors Gold members get free breakfast?

Yes, Hilton Honors Gold members receive free breakfast at all Hilton hotels.

Do Hilton Gold members get late checkout?

Hilton Gold members and other elite members can receive late checkout, but it is at the hotel's discretion. This is not a guaranteed benefit.

Does Hilton Gold get you lounge access?

Hilton Gold status only offers lounge access if you receive a free upgrade to an executive room. Only Diamond members receive guaranteed lounge access.

How can I get Hilton Gold status for free?

Hilton Gold status can be earned for free with a Hilton co-branded or some other Amex credit cards which do have an annual free.

How can I get Hilton Gold status for free?

Hilton Gold status can be earned for free with a Hilton co-branded or some other Amex credit cards which do have an annual free.

What is Hilton Gold status worth?

The value of Hilton Gold status depends on how often you stay at Hilton properties. The free breakfast perk alone can be worth up to $36 per person (up to two per Hilton reservation) per day!

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Advertiser Disclosure: Well Traveled Mile has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Well Traveled Mile and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

Editors Note: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.
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Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card
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Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
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