Hilton Honors Gold Status Benefits Explained (Upgrades, Breakfast, Etc.) [2020]

Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. UponArriving has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. UponArriving and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. 

Hilton Honors Gold Status offers some decent benefits like free breakfast, late check-out, and even room upgrades but a lot of people might wonder whether or not it’s worth it to pursue obtaining Gold Status and if the perks will benefit their travels.

Here’s a look at all of the different Hilton Gold benefits and some insight to help you decide if it’s something you might benefit from. I’ll also show you how to obtain Gold status with certain credit cards and status challenges. 


What are the Hilton Gold Benefits?

The main Hilton Gold benefits are:

  • Complimentary breakfast for two
  • Upgrades (subject to availability)
  • Late check-out
  • 80% bonus on base points
  • Lounge access (when upgraded to lounge level rooms)
  • 5th night free

I’ll discuss each of these in more detail below. 

Photo of a Hilton entrance at a hotel lobby
Hilton Gold is one of the best mid-tier statuses.

How to get Hilton Honors Gold status

You can achieve Honors Gold Status the hard way or the easy way. 

The hard way: hotel stays

The hard way is by physically staying in Hilton properties. Frequent business travelers aside, it may be difficult for the average traveler to achieve status with stays.

You’d have to meet the following criteria:

  • 20 stays in a calendar year, or
  • 40 nights in a calendar year, or
  • 75,000 Honors Base Points in a calendar year

The easy way: credit cards

I highly recommend utilizing credit cards to obtain Hilton Honors Gold Status because it’s really easy to do. The credit cards that will offer you automatic Gold Honors status are the following:

Platinum Card from American Express

The Amex Platinum Card comes with a lot of benefits in addition to Gold status include:

  • 60,000 miles after spending $5,000 within the first 3 months (higher targeted offers may come around)
  • $200 airline credit
  • $200 Uber credit
  • $100 SAKS credit
  • Priority Pass access for you and two guests (review)
  • Centurion lounges access for you and two guests
  • Delta SkyClub access when flying with Delta
  • Marriott Gold
  • 5X on airfare and 5X on hotels booked through the Amex Travel portal
  • TSA Pre-Check $85 / Global Entry $100 credit (read more about these here)

Hilton Honors Surpass Card

The Hilton Honors Surpass Card comes with a lot of benefits in addition to Gold status which include:

  • 12X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton Portfolio
  • 6X Hilton Honors Bonus Points at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. restaurants, and U.S. gas stations
  • 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points on all other eligible purchases
  • 10 free priority pass lounge passes
  • One Weekend Night Reward at a hotel or resort in the Hilton portfolio after spending $15,000 in purchases in a calendar year
  • No foreign transaction fees

Earning 12X on Hilton purchases is a big deal. If you value Hilton points around half a cent per point, that’s like getting back 6% on your Hilton purchases which is competitive with some of the most premium credit cards.

Also, the free night certificate offered by this card is one of the best because you can use it at even the most expensive Hilton brands which could go for close to $1,000 per night or more! This is why I consider the Surpass to have some of the best perks out of all the best hotel credit cards.

Status matches and challenges

You can also utilize status matches and challenges to earn Hilton Honors Gold status. These typically require you to have a certain level of status with another hotel loyalty program and proof that you’ve stayed with that hotel in the past year.

After you show that, you’ll often be matched with a corresponding level of Hilton Honors status.

For example, IHG Platinum status will often earn you Hilton Honors Diamond status. Sometimes you’ll be able to keep that status without doing anything but other times you’ll need to book some Hilton stays in order to retain the status. For example, you might need to complete eight stays to hold on to your status. You can read about these status matches here.

Related: Which American Express Hilton Card is Best for You?

Hilton Gold benefits
Hilton Cabana Miami Beach.

The Hilton Honors benefits

Two valuable Hilton Honors benefits are the fifth night free and complimentary internet. These benefits are also offered to Hilton Honors Silver Members, but I wanted to cover these two since they can be pretty valuable. 

5th night free

  • Silver, Gold and Diamond elite members will receive every 5th night free on Standard Room Reward stays of 5 nights or more.

The way that the fifth night free works is that Hilton takes an average of each night based on the total number of points required for the stay. They then average the amount of points needed per night and subtract that amount from the total number of points required for the booking.

Utilizing the fifth free night is how to capture ridiculous value with your Hilton points. We recently used the fifth night free at the all inclusive Hilton Playa del Carmen and we came out with over $3,500 worth of free travel on that trip. It was pretty fantastic. You can read more about how the free night is calculated here.

With this benefit you have to think about if your particular travel style will benefit from this perk.

I know a lot of travelers (myself included) who rarely, if ever, stay in the same location for more than four nights when they travel. If you fall into that category then you obviously should value this perk accordingly. 

Complimentary internet

  • Complimentary in-room and lobby Standard Internet access during stays at Waldorf Astoria™ Hotels & Resorts, Conrad® Hotels & Resorts, Curio – A Collection by Hilton, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree by Hilton™, Canopy™ by Hilton, Embassy Suites Hotels™ and Hilton Grand Vacations.

This is yet another nice perk but it’s offered to Silver Status holders so you’re not getting anything exclusive internet-wise by being a Gold Member.

If you make your way to Diamond Status, the difference is that you’re given premium internet in the lobby and your room. In my experience, the difference in speed varies hotel to hotel and for most purposes the complimentary standard internet has been sufficient for me. 


The Hilton Honors Gold benefits

Now, we’ll talk about benefits that the Silver Members don’t get.

80% elite status bonus

  • With Gold elite status, you automatically receive a 80% bonus on all the Honors Base Points you earn.

This is a decent benefit but given the weak value of Honors points, it’s not exactly as strong as you might have first imagined. 

All Hilton Honors members will earn 10 points per dollar spent at Hilton properties. So with this 80% bonus, you will be earning 18 points per dollar spent.

Compared to other major hotel loyalty programs, this 80% bonus for mid-tier status amounts to a ~7% return based on a point valuation of .4 cents per point which is below Marriott, IHG, and Hyatt. With a more generous valuation of .5 or .6 cents per point, however, the return value is much more competitive.

Still, extra points are always nice and Hilton runs many lucrative promotions that make earning Honors points probably easier than any other program (like when they offered triple the points to Hilton Honors Diamond members, allowing for returns of 16% or more).

Complimentary Breakfast

Breakfast is probably one of the best Hilton Gold benefits. Complimentary breakfasts for Gold Members are offered at the following Hilton brands:

  • Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Curio – A Collection by Hilton
  • Hilton Hotels & Resorts
  • DoubleTree by Hilton

Keep in mind that many hotels usually offer complimentary breakfasts to all guests, such as Homewood Suites, Hampton Inns, etc.

One thing I’ve learned is that when it comes to hotels, not all breakfasts are created equally.

Sometimes you’ll get a full breakfast with eggs, bacon, waffles, and everything else you’d like served up at a hotel restaurant and other times you might get stuck with a more basic breakfast fixing but with an option to upgrade to something better (sometimes with a discount).

While the specific type of breakfast offered sometimes depends on your location, getting a complimentary breakfast is still usually a worthwhile benefit and good way to save some cash.

Related Reading: What Hotels Have Free Breakfast?

Hilton Gold benefits
Hilton Honors breakfast, one of the top Hilton Gold benefits.

Upgrades

Hilton states that with Gold Status, you’re eligible for upgrades at the following hotels:

  • Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts
  • Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Curio 
  • Hilton Hotels & Resorts
  • DoubleTree by Hilton

Although the terms and conditions only explicitly reference the hotels above, you’re not limited to just these hotels for upgrades.

I’ve stayed in Hilton hotels not on this list that have given me upgrades specifically because of my Gold Status. So while Hilton doesn’t list them on their website, I believe you should always inquire about upgrades if you have Gold Status.

Here’s what the terms and conditions have to say about Hilton Gold upgrades: 

Gold Hilton Honors Members may be upgraded to preferred rooms up to Executive Floor room types.  Preferred rooms may also include those not on the Executive Floor but conferring Executive Lounge access, the next-best available room types, rooms with desirable views or amenities or other rooms identified as “preferred” by the hotel and may vary within each brand.

Although a suite upgrade could happen I would not expect that. More likely, you might get bumped up to a higher floor or a room with a better view.

One thing I will say is to not assume that your upgrade will automatically happen when you check in. If you are really interested in maximizing your upgrade odds, you should definitely inquire with the agent at check in to see if they have any available upgrades for you as a Hilton Gold member. Most of my best upgrades have happened upon me requesting them.

Executive Floor Lounge Access Policy

While Diamond Members are granted access to the executive lounges, Gold Members are only given these privileges when they “receive a room upgrade to the Executive Floor or an upgrade to a room type that confers Executive Floor Lounge access benefits.”

However, you’ll still be able to get your complimentary breakfast in many of the hotels, so I wouldn’t stress too much over the lack of lounge access.

In fact, sometimes the breakfast offered in the lounge isn’t even on the same level as the breakfast offered by the restaurant (where you get it on a complimentary basis).

Thus, for many people, having breakfast comped is enough to satisfy them and lounge access isn’t a deal breaker.

Gold status can sometimes get you lounge access.

Members with Gold status receive all the benefits in the lower tiers

Here’s a breakdown of more of the benefits not mentioned that are given to all members: 

  • Guaranteed Discount: A discounted, changeable & refundable rate is exclusively available for Hilton Honors members.
  • Digital Check-In: choose your room, and customize your stay from your mobile device up to 24 hours in advance.
  • Quick reservations and check-ins based on your room preferences
  • Late check-out
  • Express check-out
  • 2nd Guest stays free
  • Complimentary access to fitness centers and health clubs
  • Two complimentary bottles of water per stay at select hotels

One of the biggest let downs has to be late check out. Hilton does not offer guaranteed late check out up to 2PM or 4PM like some other programs do. In fact, many times I have only been given late checkout until about 1 PM. So if I had one gripe about Hilton’s elite benefits for Gold Status that would probably be it.

Related reading: Ultimate Late Check-Out Guide for Hotel Stays


Hotel-specific benefits

And finally, here’s a look at some of the hotel-specific Hilton Gold benefits that can be different based on the Hilton brand you are staying at.

Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts

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

Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Curio – A Collection by Hilton, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree by Hilton and Tapestry Collection by Hilton

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

Tru by Hilton

  • 250 Hilton Honors Bonus Points per stay or choice of snack and 2 bottles of water per stay

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

There are also special benefits when visiting the Maldives. Click here to view those perks.


Final Word

Hilton Gold benefits can consist of solid perks like complimentary breakfasts and potential upgrades (in addition to all of the other basic benefits). I like how easy it is to obtain the status and to maintain it over time and so it is one of my favorite middle-tier statuses.

UponArriving has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. UponArriving and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

22 comments

  1. As a gold member and traveling with my family members using HIlton Hhonor points redemption for three room, are not my family entitled to complimentary breakfasts at The Amsterdam Hilton based upon the benefits I read ?

    Can you please confirm ?

    1. Based on the Hilton Honors terms and conditions, only yourself and one guest registered to the same room as you will be entitled to a complimentary breakfast. However, YMMV, and some hotels will sometimes offer the benefits to the guests in the additional rooms on your itinerary. Since you have three rooms, I wouldn’t expect it, but you might get lucky and they might offer breakfast for everyone.

  2. Can I share tales of bad experiences that we have had with Hilton Honors and Hilton properties? Are you free to, or inclined to, give advice as to how to, and to whom to, ‘bitch’ about the properties to Hilton?
    Thank you.

  3. So when it’s all said and done I’m guessing these policies are actually up to the individual hotel? I recently stayed at a Hampton Inn in Vancouver BC and there was no breakfast included and I have gold status. I just find the whole Hilton system confusing, on the Hilton site, searching hotels and rooms there is often an option for “with breakfast” for $20 to $30 additional, even though you are logged in and have gold status, does the system just not know your status? And then there are so many categories and descriptions, for example “Curio Collection by Hilton” where does that fit in the Hilton hierarchy? Some hotels, the Moscow Hilton in Russia for one, breakfast is an inordinately elaborate affair, I just have a suspicion that even with gold status I’d be politely informed there will be an additional $50 charge if I want their breakfast. I just wish it wasn’t so ambiguous.

  4. Question, if I have Hilton gold status and I use points instead of cash to book the stay, do I still get gold benefits (free breakfast and potential upgrade) on that stay?

  5. Hi Daniel,

    You mentioned that for room upgrades, you were able to receive upgrades for hotels not listed on the eligible list. Reading more into the fine print of the benefit it says that the following brands do not offer complimentary upgrades: Embassy Suites, Garden Inn, Hampton, Tru, Homewood Suites, Home2 Suites and Hilton Grand Vacations. My question is were you able to get the upgrades from the excluded list? I’m wondering if it’s worth the gamble to book my stay at Embassy Suites as a gold member and ask for a upgrade even though technically they don’t offer it.

    Please let me know! Thank you

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *