For some time now, Hilton has been running a status match program. This allows anyone with elite status from a competing hotel chain to match it to the Hilton program instead, without the need to qualify through the regular route.
Hilton has just extended this offer, so let’s do a refresher on how it works.
How does it work?
You’ll first need to register your Hilton Honors account and provide proof of status with a competing chain. On top of that, you’ll also need to show that you’ve stayed at least once within the past 12 months at that particular chain (just go to the “stay history” section of your account and take a screenshot). This is presumably required to weed out those who acquired status via credit cards alone.
If your status match is approved, you’ll get instant Hilton Gold status for 90 days. You’ll then need to stay 10 nights within 90 days to retain Gold status, or 18 nights within 90 days to upgrade to Diamond status.
It used to be that the status earned would last until 31 March 2021. However, Hilton’s just extended the validity such that status earned lasts till 31 March 2022.
Which programs will be matched?
Here’s where it gets a bit confusing. According to the T&C of the status match program…
|Acceptable forms of status validation include a screenshot of your current and active account status. Acceptable forms of stay validation include a screenshot of your recent reservations or hotel receipt, redacting any personal information other than your name and membership number. We accept .jpg files only. Please do NOT send us any personal information (including your phone number, address, social security number, date of birth, user name, passwords, or credit card information). Only elite statuses from another hotel loyalty program that are listed in the status dropdown menu are eligible for status matching.|
The text in red means that Hilton should only match status from the following programs:
- Marriott Bonvoy
- IHG Rewards Club
- World of Hyatt
- Best Western Rewards
- Choice Privileges
- Le Club Accor Hotels
- Radisson Rewards
- Wyndham Rewards
And yet, when you go to the actual status match form there’s an option to select “Other” and manually enter the name of the program you wish to match.
My guess is the T&Cs take precedence, and Hilton simply couldn’t be bothered to update the form. If that’s true, you won’t be able to match GHA, Shangri-La Golden Circle or other smaller loyalty programs.
One workaround is to first match your loyalty status to Best Western. Best Western has a “status match, no catch” policy, which is supposedly very liberal about matching status from elsewhere. It doesn’t even require you to submit proof of stay (although they may subsequently request it after you submit the form; I’m not 100% sure).
Once your Best Western status match is approved, simply parlay that into Hilton Honors.
Other points to note
Award stays do not count towards achieving the status match requirements, and members can only request a match once throughout the lifetime of their account. That’s to say, if you already used this program in previous years, you’ll need to create a new account if you want another match.
You also can’t count stays completed before your status match was approved, so be sure to submit your request well in advance of an upcoming stay.
What if I don’t have any status to match?
If you don’t have any status to match, you may consider a status challenge instead. Although the Hilton Gold fast track offer with Visa Signature/Infinite cards has gone AWOL for a while now, an alternative option exists.
I recently wrote about the MVP status challenge, where registered participants who complete four stays in 90 days earn Hilton Gold instantly. Both paid and reward stays count towards this challenge, so it could potentially be easier to attain than the “official” status match.
The other difference is that the status match gives you Hilton Gold status while you do your qualifying nights, whereas the MVP status challenge does not- you’ll do your four stays as a regular pleb.
This is obviously something you’ll want to hold your fire on registering, given that none of us are traveling anywhere soon.
However, do keep it in mind for when all the madness dies down, as it’s a great way to earn elite status faster.