You may have read in the last week or so that Hilton is status matching elite members of competitors' loyalty programs to either Hilton HHonors Gold Elite or HIlton HHonors Diamond Elite. I like Hilton properties, especially Hampton Inn, and I have achieved HHonors Silver for many years now. (Silver only requires four stays in a year so, honestly, it is ridiculously easy to achieve.) Since I am Spire Elite with IHG, I immediately sent in my status match request. My proof of elite status with IHG was simply a screenshot of my IHG Rewards account page showing my Spire Elite status. The benefits of Hilton HHonors of Diamond Elite include:
- 50% bonus points
- Free in-room WiFi (when booked through Hilton directly)
- Room upgrades when space available
- Reserved parking spots (select properties)
- Fifth night free on reward stays of five nights or more
Here's the beauty of this: I only have IHG Spire Elite by virtue of holding the Chase IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card. That card includes Platinum status but, when IHG rolled out Spire Elite earlier this year, it apparently counted the credit card signup bonus toward the point threshold for its new top elite level. So, for all intents and purposes, I have top elite status at two major hotel chains by carrying a single rewards credit card! While I stay in hotels a lot more than I fly, I can generally only qualify for elite status - aside from Hilton HHonors Silver - with only one chain. However, now that I have gotten into the points and miles community, I am only one stay at a Starwood property this month from having at last first level elite status at three chains. Not bad for someone who does not have a road warrior job!
The good news is you may able to obtain this same perk. I say "may" because Hilton is only status-matching through January 11, 2016, so you only have a month to put things in motion. If you don't have an elite status already, you can apply for the Chase IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card. This may be the biggest no-brainer rewards card on the market. First, it has a very low annual fee - $49, which is waived the first year - that is guaranteed to pay for itself. Each year, upon paying your annual fee (starting with your first anniversary), you receive one free night at an IHG property worldwide. Even if you used this for a basic room at a Holiday Inn Express alongside a rural interstate, you would get a free night in a room that cost more than $49. On top of that, the other benefits are pretty valuable if you regularly stay at IHG properties:
- 60,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in the first three months of card membership
- 5x points at IHG hotels; 2x points at gas and grocery stores
- Platinum Elite Status
- 10% rebate on redeemed IHG Reward points
SInce you would have to spend the $1,000 and have it posted to your IHG Rewards account in a month, obtaining Spire Elite by the match deadline would be a stretch. This is not even considering that you need 75,000 points in a year to obtain the top level status, so the current bonus of 60,000 points is not enough; you would need to have earned 15,000 points with IHG already this year. However Hilton might status match your automatic IHG Platinum Elite status to HHonors Diamond Elite; you should get Hilton HHonors Gold Elite at a minimum. Since the card is worth having on its own merits, if you have been considering applying for the Chase IHG Rewards Select Credit Card, now would be a great time to do so. This opportunity just highlights the benefits of obtaining rewards credit cards! If you apply now and try to get your status match, post your comments below and let us know how it goes!
(Note, you can also obtain Hilton elite status by carrying one of a couple of Hilton cobranded credit cards. See the linked article to One Mile at a Time for more details.)