I’ll openly admit I’m a sucker for status matches and challenges, and I received a targeted offer yesterday from Hilton HHonors to fast track to Diamond Status. What to do, what to do? First, here’s the offer:
I’m already Gold through March of 2013 and this offer would require I complete six stays by the end of the year. I already have two reservations booked that will qualify, so I’m “only” four away from Hilton’s top tier.
My first stop was Flyertalk, where two knowledgeable threads have been battling out the same question – “Is Diamond status any better than Gold?” – for more than a decade. My three-minute review of each thread basically tells me… “Not so much.”
Hilton lacks in their top-tier status compared to others by not offering Diamonds upgrades to suites based on availability at check-in or otherwise, among other perks. If suite upgrades were a published benefit, I do it in a heartbeat. Few, very few, reports from Diamonds on those threads said they’d occasionally get a suite now and then.
Otherwise, the benefits from Gold to Diamond are marginal. Diamonds get an extra 25% bonus points per stay (50% of base), guaranteed lounge access if not upgraded to an Executive Floor – I’m 90% getting Executive Floor as a Gold – and apparent incredible support from the “Diamond Desk.”
So then I start thinking about next year. What are my travel plans? Where am I flying? Am I going to redeem points next year? Internationally, Diamond status seems to be the level where things happen according to the threads. Hmm… I have several trips planned next year already that Diamond would come in handy overseas, both award and revenue travel.
No one can really answer the question “Is Diamond better than Gold?” other than yourself since it’s relative to what’s most important to you. Will the benefits exceed the cost of obtaining them? Could I just pay for a better room/experience next year for less? And then the gnawing “status” thing gets in my way. “Top tier! Top tier! Top tier!” my subconscious calls out.
Ugh. I actually have a very limited travel schedule for the remainder of the year. I just locked in 1K status with United Airlines and was satisfied with Gold in HHonors next year. Now this. If I don’t travel any more, it’ll cost me roughly $400 for those four mattress runs given I’m certain I can find $79 – $89 rates to qualify for the offer.
Then, the Million Miler program with United creeps into my head. I’m sooo close. If I’m crazy next year, I can hit it. I’d have to do Ben-style flying, but it’s certainly plausible. Plus, I already have multiple international trips booked next year for which Diamond “might” pay off. $400 out-of-pocket now for top-tier in HHonors? I’m doing it and here’s why:
- Diamond status seems to be essential internationally for the best rooms and perks.
- I have a nice balance in HHonors right now, the 25% extra bonus points for Diamond will booster that for a possible incredible redemption.
- Since I’m close to million-miler status with United, a few more mileage runs this year might be worthwhile to ease my “pain” next year. Sometimes the one-nighters with a mattress run offer the best value per EQM.
- I already have $2,000+ in travel credits with United I can use next year. I spent less than that this year for 1K.
- A suite now and then? Might be nice, especially at the properties I frequent who know me so well already. I think they’d be more prone to give an “off-the-book” upgrade.
- I have to stick it in here somewhere… “Top Tier Status!” Yes, I get satisfaction out of it. Shallow, insecure, elitist… take your pick.
- Status match opportunities in 2012. Maybe Hyatt, Priority Club or Starwood is better for me. Now is the time to have top-tier status when I can change my plans next year without consequence should I be able to match in another program.
Am I missing anything? I’d love to hear from current Hilton Diamonds, but if anyone has read this far… what do you think? If you were me, would you do it or not? Humor me and vote below: