Hotel loyalty programs, such as the Hilton Hotels “HHonors” scheme are sometimes overlooked. But for frequent travellers, there are some fantastic benefits on offer.

The key benefits of hotel status, apart from free hotel nights, come with elite status. Hilton’s program has three premium status tiers; Silver, Gold and Diamond. Silver status is earned after just four stays. But the best benefits are reserved for Gold and Diamond members – and the thresholds for achieving these top tiers reflect this. Gold status, the second-highest tier, can be earned by staying at least 20 times (or 40 nights in total) in any Hilton property or by earning 75,000 HHonors points within any given calendar year. Diamond status requires 30 stays (or 60 nights) per year.

Top tier status comes with benefits including complimentary upgrades, free stays, complimentary internet access, health club access, free breakfast, late check-out, bonus points and more. So, there are certainly a number of enticing reasons to go for Gold or Diamond. But the benchmarks are fairly high. This is where a number of shortcuts can help.

If you hold Gold or Platinum status with Virgin Australia, this can be leveraged to gain elite status with HHonors. Velocity Gold members can instantly acquire Hilton Gold status, while Platinum status can be transferred into Diamond Hilton membership.

A number of other airlines offer targeted “Fast Track” programs where Hilton Gold status can be earned by staying as few as three nights in a Hilton Hotel. Of particular interest here is Airberlin, as any Airberlin Topbonus member can currently register for this promotion.

Try AirBerlin. It could be easier and doesn’t appear to need any status.

Some credit cards also include complimentary HHonors membership as a benefit. Certain Citibank and Amex credit cards come with gratis Gold status. However, these cards do attract annual fees that reflect their benefits.

If you currently hold status with any other hotel’s loyalty program, you may also be able to use that to acquire a “status match”. In fact, many hotel programs accept status match requests, so this strategy could be used with any program – not just Hilton Honors.

Even if you don’t plan to stay at Hilton Hotels regularly, it may be worth signing up anyway. Blue status – which is given to any new member – comes with late checkout and allows a partner to stay for free. Plus, the program is free to join. The same could be said for most other hotel loyalty programs that are free to join as benefits are often available even to members with no or low status in the program.

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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]