Hilton has introduced a status promotion that’s so valuable, it makes their extremely valuable credit card less so. Here’s why.
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Hilton’s Latest Promotion
Hilton Honors latest promotion has layers that make it unmissable. There are two key components that make it a rare promotion.
- All 2020 Stays count double from early September through the end of the year.
- Requirements for status qualification have been halved for next year.
Instead of 30 stays or 60 nights for Hilton Honors Diamond status, just 15 stays or 30 nights are enough. More than that, award nights count too, at least for status qualification. That leaves 61 days to find 15 very inexpensive nights for either cash or points to achieve top tier status or just 10 stays, 20 nights for Gold status – the most valuable mid-tier in the hotel business.
Key Benefit of Hilton Credit Card, Unnecessary
The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is an expensive credit card ($450) but it more than overcomes its cost due to some key benefits. In addition to free night certificates, a copious amount of points available in the sign-up bonus, and expedited points earnings (among others) the card comes with Hilton Honors Diamond status.
With Honors Diamond status now so easily attained, the biggest benefit of the credit card is diminished and that’s hard to do. If members don’t have the card yet it might still be worth it due to the high value of the sign up bonus and the other benefits. For cardholders that already have the card, however, it’s not nearly the slam dunk the card was before.
While I’d prefer to be hotel hopping between the Conrad Cartagena and the Hilton Cartagena to achieve status through early 2023, I have a few needed hotel stays before the end of the year. Mattress running (especially using points) may be cheaper than getting the card. Then again, starting from scratch would require $60 nightly rates on 15 one-night stays – including taxes and fees – to remain cheaper than $450/year for two years.
Smart, Smart, Smart
Not only is 2021 going to be the year of extended status and the year of the status match, but it’s also going to be the year of the land grab and Hilton is giving themselves a two-month head start. By giving Honors members a reason to divert their end of year stays to the brand they may steal some business from the competition. In fact, I am certain they already have.
Admittedly, Hyatt is usually my first priority program when it comes to status and with so little confirmed travel in the next year, that’s where I intended to focus especially early on. This Honors promotion has my attention and my business through the end of the year. I will focus on qualifying for Hilton first because the prize is so large and the commitment so small.
I also don’t know what next year will hold and how long things will remain as they are today. If travel is even more limited next year than it is right now (hard to imagine but ask anyone in France and Germany if it’s possible…), Hilton will have at least earned my business through the end of this year. I will also remain more likely to try to finish what I started if I am unable to complete the 15 stays by the end of this year as I have already made progress for next year.
Credit card holders that earn Hilton Honors Diamond status through their cards have good reason to see less value in the product, but perhaps not enough reason to entirely abandon it. Casual travelers should seriously consider a switch to Hilton at least through the end of the year and, at minimum, qualify for some level of status with the chain next year.
What do you think? Does Hilton’s promotion diminish the value of status earned through its credit card? Does this promotion have the potential to steal your business away from other properties if you weren’t a Hilton Honors Diamond member already?
Everyone is diamond.
I am so uninterested in the Hilton program, Personally, I cannot think of a location where a Hilton product is a better choice than a Marriott or Hyatt. I have always thought that if I needed to stay in a Hilton longterm or somehow otherwise needed status with Hilton, I would just get the credit card.
Hilton = Meh.
They did have one key part for members to keep the card, or maybe even downgrade to the surpass, which is all bonus points count as base points through the end of 20 to 21, good for lifetime Diamond status. So every Hilton stay now earns 24 base points per dollar plus another 14 base points per dollar for taxes. Other purchases are in three or seven base points per dollar.
I didn’t expect to get Hilton lifetime diamond anytime soon, but only because of the nights or points requirement. With this promotion I will probably rack up a decent number of base points towards lifetime diamond.
I’d argue that since they are extending current status earned in 2020 until 2022, the card is more valuable than ever. If youve never had Aspire, you can pay one AF, get a SUB and all the benefits, and keep the status for an extra year. With fewer people able to put in organic stays, there will be less competition for upgrades. However, if you have Aspire now, it might make sense to cancel/downgrade, since you’re keeping the status anyway.
Anybody going out of their way for Hilton status organically is insane, even if those requirements are reduced.
When the card is free, you keep it. Now, if only governments would let us travel freely so we can use the benefits.
@ Kyle — 15 nights is WAY, WAY, WAY more costly than $450 (or even $900), if you value all of the time spent booking, driving, checking in, exposing yourself to COVID, etc. This promotion does very little to devalue the Aspire card.
Depends where you live. Fifteen stays are doable for 75k points(Colombia, Turkey) total when using points or approx. $450 in cash(Turkey, Brazil). Probably you will find more countries.
Or if you have some points and can find some cheap stays nearby. For example, if you can find a 5k points hotel (you might never want to actually stay in it, but it’s fine for a check-in/check out) and you have 40,000 points to burn, that’s 8 of your 15 nights done.
If you place no value on your time, OK.
You don’t have to go to a hotel to check in then check out
There is no more Conrad Cartagena, de-flagged.
This is terrible news, but thank for sharing anyway.
Unless you are forced to quarantine in a Hilton hotel this promotion is useless. Nobody is traveling.
You couldn’t be more wrong. There are a lot of us that have been and will continue to travel no matter what “pandemic” is going on. There are plenty of us that have to work out on the road and don’t get to stay home and collect a check. So think about what you are saying when in imply nobody is traveling. I’ve been flying and living in hotels every weeks since all this bullshit has started. But I do agree. The promotion means nothing
@Shane: you took my “nobody” way to deep. Yes, you and some others traveling but that is a very very small percentage of people. Do you know why I know? My wife works for one of the largest business travel agencies in the world. If you work for any big company you have to book your travels through their portal since you cannot just book it on the hotel website. Thus, she knows how much business they are getting everyday. It is close to none. All major companies have a mandatory “no travel” policy. BTW, I don’t receive checks from the Government since I work hard everyday but just cannot travel.
To me, it does not matter what status one has, e.g. Diamond, Platinum,… It is what the benefits members receive matters. Whatever level one has, if the benefits are not guaranteed, then it is useless. What is the point if the benefits state you would receive free breakfast, and the hotel does not have it at all.
Hilton Diamond status wasn’t incredibly valuable before because Hilton doesn’t provide a way to confirm an upgrade in advance with instruments. It’s less valuable now because hotel F/B is being cut back in many locales to doggie bags of yogurt, apples and prepackaged pastry as the breakfast benefit, and many executive lounges aren’t open. Hilton Diamond is a marginal upgrade on Hilton Gold (points and executive lounge access, when they’re open); of the top statuses you’d rank it below World of Hyatt Globalist and Marriott Titanium Ambassador, but over IHG Spire (since you actually get benefits on award stays).
As such the math behind the Aspire card is pretty much the same:
– it’s still possible to get full value out of the $250 airline credit if you know what you’re doing, if you get the card now, before year’s end that’s $500
– the room night you earn for the card will be good until the end of 2022
– the $250 resort credit can turn into a weekend at a Hilton resort when paired with the room night
The earn on the card outside of Hilton category isn’t amazeballs, but it isn’t terrible either- it’s arguably a better card than an AMEX Platinum for earning on car rentals and dining, if you’re trying to meet spend.
I agree that Hilton is “meh”, but then Marriott Bonvoy has been pretty “meh” as a program for quite a while. Hilton at least has been very good at alternate benefits to members and extending status. That doesn’t make up for WoH Globalist being a better status overall, but I think at least Hilton’s program hasn’t been in “death of a thousand cuts” mode like anyone who came into Marriott via SPG has been…
@eponymous coward – Thanks for taking the time to comment, I read them every week and I appreciate your thoughts. The card still has value, certainly, and I mention that in the post – but the key value, the one that made it a no-brainer, that is far easier to attain than it was in the past.
Finishing my status match tonight (Bonvoy Platinum/Hilton Diamond); 18 nights at Hilton (6 of which were double night credit). Now the best of both worlds, whatever that is, for the foreseeable future.
I love this!
So, I am a Hilton loyalist to the extent that I spend any and all business and leisure nights in their hotels to the maximum extent possible. For reference and background on my travel, I travel extensively and have continued to throughout the Pandemic. I maintain Presidents Club with Hertz, have and maintain high-level status on Delta and American (American is not an accolade in my book), and Diamond with Hilton. I intentionally do not have credit cards, so I achieve my status with all companies on a cash-basis (closing all out with a check card or similar).
In my experience, brand loyalty pays off quite well despite the fact that you cannot achieve an upgrade at booking with Hilton. To be honest, a company that values me as a customer and greets me with smile and always recognizes my status and needs during a stay is greatly appreciated. I haven’t found that to be true at chains outside of Hilton. The average leisure traveler will likely not achieve status under Hilton’s lesser standards but even if they do, how much harm will occur to business travelers? Likely zero. For me, brand loyalty pays off and quite quickly. I enjoy their perks and don’t foresee myself changing whatsoever.
With all due respect Kyle, you’re wrong. Diamond status is NOT “the biggest benefit of the (AmEx Hilton Aspire) credit card”. It may be a “key benefit” as you wrote 1 paragraph before writing it’s the biggest benefit. (Looking at long term, before and after COVID-19 era.)
The fact that with minimal effort the card pays the cardholder at least $50 each year ($250 Airline Fee credit plus $250 Hilton Resort credit less $450 Annual Fee) is by far a bigger benefit than Diamond status. Add a Free Weekend night (going forward valid for 2 years and any day of the week, easily worth several hundred dollars) and 14 points per dollar on Hilton charges (easily leveraged into another free night or free nights) and the card pays the cardholder hundreds of dollars each year. Diamond status is merely a “cherry on top” sort of perk. Any savvy miles and points monger, I mean aficionado , should be able to leverage this card for a thousand dollars or more back in their pocket every year.
BTW, for snow skiers, this card really shines. Several Epic Pass ski resorts (Vail, Breckenridge, Whistler, Park City, all of which meet the Resort credit requirement) have Hilton properties in close proximity and some other ski resorts (Jackson Hole, Steamboat) have Hilton properties nearby and all offer buffet breakfast to Diamond members which is particularly appreciated when skiing. Personally I rarely eat breakfast except when skiing, both for energy and to fill my tummy to save some dollars on an otherwise outrageously expensive lunch .
Please keep up the good work Kyle, you and Matthew have a wonderful blog.
Clarification: I mean that the Hilton properties near the Epic Pass ski resorts mentioned above meet the Hilton Resort credit requirements for this card, not the ski resorts themselves.
(Not sure what happened but this comment should have appeared ABOVE my comment of November 3, 2020 at 7:23 am.)
With all due respect Kyle, you’re wrong. Diamond status is NOT “the biggest benefit of the (AmEx Hilton Aspire) credit card”. It is a “key benefit” as you wrote 1 paragraph before writing it’s the biggest benefit. (Looking at long term, before and after COVID-19 era.)
The fact that with minimal effort the card pays the cardholder at least $50 each year ($250 Airline Fee credit plus $250 Hilton Resort credit less $450 Annual Fee) is by far a bigger benefit than Diamond status. Add a Free Weekend night (going forward valid for 2 years and any day of the week, easily worth several hundred dollars) and 14 points per dollar on Hilton charges (easily leveraged into another free night or free nights) and the card pays the cardholder hundreds of dollars each year. Diamond status is merely a “cherry on top” sort of perk. Any savvy miles and points monger, I mean afficionado, should be able to leverage this card for a thousand dollars or more back in their pocket every year.
BTW, for snow skiers, this card really shines. Several Epic Pass ski resorts (Vail, Breckenridge, Whistler, Park City) have Hilton properties which meet the Hilton Resort credit requirement in close proximity and some other ski resorts (Jackson Hole, Steamboat) have Hilton properties nearby and all offer buffet breakfast to Diamond members which is particularly appreciated when skiing. Personally I rarely eat breakfast except when skiing, both for energy and to fill my tummy to save some dollars on an otherwise outrageously expensive lunch .
Please keep up the good work Kyle, you and Matthew have a wonderful blog.
What does the title mean? “De-values credit credit”?
Emercycrite, since apparently your question has not been answered and if you’re still following this discussion, I’ll offer an answer (without speaking for Kyle).
As Kyle mentioned, the credit card being discussed, AmEx Hilton Aspire, has a high annual fee and one of its benefits is Hilton Honors Diamond status. Hilton has now introduced different, more easily attained, requirements for elite status including Diamond status.
Thus, as Kyle advocates and wrote “With Honors Diamond status now so easily attained, the biggest benefit of the credit card is diminished.”
Not everyone agrees with that logic. The value proposition and benefits of elite status are unrelated to how easily that status is attained or the number of people who attain similar status. Granted some programs have changed (reduced) elite benefits after allegedly “too” many people attain status and/or the requirements for status have been reduced but that’s theoretical, the program might have made the changes regardless of elite numbers.
It’s frustrating when a polite appropriate question goes unanswered, hope this helps.
(All, sorry my comment above was posted twice; November 3, 2020 at 7:18 am and again (with minor clarification) at 10:09am. For some reason when I viewed the comments at 10:00 my clarification comment at 7:23 was there but the 7:18 comment was not thus a clarification comment WITHOUT the comment being clarified so I posted the original comment again. Please Matthew or Kyle, delete either my 7:18 comment or my 10:09 comment.)
@HL – While we make an effort to respond to every comment, some slip through the cracks. That said, you state it pretty well. I’d argue that you’ve more or less repeated what I typed in the post, so the answer was there all along, but just to expand on it and what other commenters have added:
One of the key benefits of the card was the ease with which a casual traveler could achieve Hilton Honors Diamond status simply by holding the card. By creating a promotion so good that just 15 stays before the end of the year could net that status for not just one but two years, the value of the card diminishes. I maintain in the post, comments, and now that the card still has great value and maybe still pays for itself.
However, the key reason that the card is so incredibly valuable is that status in my opinion. At the most base level, if a card offers 25 different benefits and takes one away – any solitary benefit – it is less valuable than it was before that benefit was removed. In this case, the benefit wasn’t removed, but because of its difficulty to obtain (two years would require 60 stays or 120 nights split evenly over the period) and now it’s relative ease, the over-the-top value of the card is lessened. I find it to be worth a little more than even money on the annual fee.
The statement/title remains true as you freely state in your response to @emercycrite. I wouldn’t worry too much about them feeling left out in the dark, @emerycrite comments often and is often responded to. I also include my email address in my bio at the top of this page: firstname.lastname@example.org. If a direct line of communication is required, I am freely available to respond.