How much, in cash, is Gold worth (as opposed to Silver)?

Discussion in 'Hilton | HHonors' started by Dovster, Nov 12, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Dovster
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    Dovster Gold Member

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    This year, I will be spending roughly $30,000 on my Amex HHonors Surpass card. Most of this is the result of charges which had to be paid in dollars (air fares for myself and several other people, expenses during two trips to LAS and ATL, and vacations outside of the Euro Zone). That gets me Gold status for another year.

    It was, however, a very unusual year for me. I will not be flying back to the States next year and most of my travel will be to Euro Zone countries where I can avoid forex charges by using my Deutsche Bank MasterCard. I am guessing that I won't have more than $5000 in expenses which I would normally put on my Amex.

    I can, of course, easily reach the $20,000 in spending in 2012 by using my Amex in Israel. The problem with that is I will have to pay forex charges which I usually avoid by paying in shekels.

    I will not be reaching Hilton Gold with stays -- if I do get there it will only be through my Surpass card. So the question comes down to this: How much in forex charges should I be willing to spend in order to be Gold instead of Silver?
     
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  2. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Let's say 3% forex fee. On $20k Amex charges that would be $600 in fees.

    I'd count the expected number of stays in 2013 with Hilton properties where you'd have to pay for Internet and breakfast (that would generally be my MyWay setting). Add up that value. Eg. 10 nights of internet * $15 + 10 breakfasts * $20 = $350. If you have two people getting breakfast, that's 20 breakfasts * $20. You can add some more for the extra points you earn as Gold (vs. Silver) and if you want you can try and account for the value of room upgrades...
     
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  3. kansaskeith

    kansaskeith Gold Member

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    First of all, if you don't anticipate coming close to the FORTY thousand spend, I am not sure you want to be paying $75 annually for the Surpass Amex card. There are Hilton HHonors Amex cards -- the one in my wallet being one of them -- that give "Gold" at $20,000 spend with no annual fee. And mine has, for ten years now. Now, with my card I only get 6 HH points per dollar for Hilton stays, but in my case that's no big deal. I still get "Gold" at $20K annual spend. You have to be careful here, as there have been some ads for no-fee Hilton cards of late that don't have the $20K "Gold" offer listed, but others do. In your case, you might have to contact Amex customer service about downgrading to a no-fee Hilton card, and as they stand to lose $75 they may be reticent. But I would be frank with them and ask if you can drop to a no-fee card that still has the $20K "Gold" incentive. If it were me I would be tempted to do this a couple months into 2012 after the records for your $30K spend on Surpass this year have been locked in to "Gold" for Amex, but that timing may need to depend on when your next Surpass fee is due. (If you decide you have to act sooner, at least ask Amex customer service while you have them on the line if you downgrade to a no-fee $20K "Gold" incentive Hilton card now, are you already locked in to "Gold" for 2012 based on your $30K Surpass spend this year.)

    (When you have them on the line you might also ask them if ANY of their Amex Hilton offerings now waive the Forex fees. I did a quick websearch and I didn't see this, but some U.S. cards are moving in that direction -- I've been notified of that recent change on my "Discover" card.)

    Now, having answered a question you didn't ask, I will turn to one you did ask: "Silver" vs. "Gold." I don't know how to put a dollar amount on what the difference is worth. I will tell you that in my opinion "Silver" is next-to-nothing. It does give you free admission to some hotel health clubs, but most times I avoid the hotel clubs and go to better equipped nearby gyms anyway. And the other "Silver" benefits besides that mean even less to me. The upgrades and free breakfasts and wifi I get with "Gold," on the other hand, help me a lot. Each guy (or gal) has to take a look at the comparative benefits to each level and determine what they mean to him or her. You can go to http://hhonors1.hilton.com/en_US/hh/about/memlevels.do , click on each of four levels at the left, and make your own decision. (Apologies if you have already been to that link.)
     
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  4. DesertRose
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    DesertRose Silver Member

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    It really depends on how much you plan to stay at Hilton, what types of properties, and your personal value for the benefits you receive.

    $15,000 additional spend at 3% fees is $450.

    $450 is way too much to pay if you stay in lower-end hotels, like Hampton Inns. If you stay in HGIs, the main benefit is breakfasts, which cost $10 per person to buy, and so on... Which benefits do you enjoy and how much would you pay for them if you were not gold?

    If I spend two 5-day stays in Europe or Asia with a nice lounge, $450 is a fair price in my opinion, because in my case, 2 people receiving breakfast, internet, free drinks like bottled water or sodas throughout the day, and cocktails and evening appetizers saves us more than $50 per day in expenses in some cities.

    16 stays/36 nights will get you gold, so you should also consider other ways of earning gold: mattress runs if you are a few stays short, promos, challenges, etc. They may be less expensive in the long run.

    Definitely agree that there is no reason for Surpass unless you are spending $40k and get Diamond.
     
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  5. JetsettingEric
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    JetsettingEric Silver Member

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    I really like the gold perks - there are a lot of other ways to get gold, at least temporarily. There was one Asian/Australian airline offering Hilton Gold status. Look for fast-trak offers as well.

    How far are you based on stays - i would consider a mattress run to get there. Even if it was $800 vs. $600 - if you get to enjoy the trips, it could be worth it vs. spending it on fees.
     
  6. newbluesea
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    newbluesea Gold Member

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    Completely missed in the entire discussion above is the fact that qualifying for Diamond on the Surpass card ( I have no idea what any other HH card does) gives two years of status ie if you qualify in 2011 your status will be until 2014.
     
  7. kansaskeith

    kansaskeith Gold Member

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    Newbluesea, did you get some special offer? Can you give us the text? Here is verbatim the latest offer I received:

    ". If in any calendar year of Cardmembership your total eligible purchases reach US$40,000, you will be upgraded to Hilton HHonors™ Diamond status for the calendar year in which such status was earned through the end of the next calendar year. Thereafter, standard requirements must be met to maintain Diamond status. Allow 10-12 weeks for your status to be upgraded. Visit HHonors.com/Terms for complete Terms and Conditions."

    For Dovster, the man who started this thread, it all may be moot anyway, since he says he may hit $30K (not $40K) in 2011, and will be struggling to get $20K next year. But for myself, I am curious about the offer you may have received. The highlighted text in the previous paragraph tells me that if I were to hit $40K with a "Surpass" in 2011, I would have "Diamond" for the rest of 2011 and additionally until the end of 2012. I don't see anyplace where it would get me until 2014. So, if you could clarify, I would appreciate. Thanks.
     
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  8. newbluesea
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    newbluesea Gold Member

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    No I did not get a "special offer" ... I am talking about practical experience here:) ...members who actually have a HH Supass have confirmed here and elsewhere (read ..FT) that each qualification has given status for two years.
     
  9. kansaskeith

    kansaskeith Gold Member

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    First, thanks for the reply.

    Now, here's what I know about this, as a "no-fee" HH Amex cardholder who can obtain "Gold" with a $20,000 annual spend. I qualified in 2010, and early this year, 2011, was mailed a new "Gold" card. I am looking at it now, and it indeed says "Gold exp 03/2013." This is not the first time Hilton has done this, and it seems to be the practice to issue physical cards for two years, (I don't know why, maybe in case they cut their budget and want to save on postage the next year, who knows).

    BUT. . . I also know that each month throughout 2011, my Amex bill has told me how much I needed THIS year to hit the $20 K and re-qualify (which I have now done). I also know that one year, and I recall it was even with the two-year card from the previous year, along came February the next year and I get this letter that says "Welcome to HHonors Silver" (with an offer about fast-track requal to "Gold"), because their records were screwed up and somehow they didn't think I had requalified. (I raised hell with Amex and this was promptly corrected - I had spent the $20K.)

    So, newbluesea, the folks who are talking about the two-year qualification with "Diamond" on FT and elsewhere are probably seeing the same thing on their "Diamond" card that I am on my "Gold:" up to 03/2013 based on 2010 spend. Based on what my bills said all this year, though, and based on that one errant "Welcome to Silver" letter I got, I am not sure whether it is the physical card, or the T&C I quoted above, that controls. I am not the risk-taking type and probably don't want to test it. . . . Thanks again.
     
  10. newbluesea
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    newbluesea Gold Member

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    Nope.. that not it at all.

    Two of the instances with which I am very familar:
    a) Spent 40k on Surpass in 2009 received a HH Diamond card expiring 3/2012 (status confirmed by phone call to Diamond desk) ..did not qualfy as Diamond 2011 and still has that status listed on hilton.com and quite naturally has received all the benefits of Diamond on all stays including in those during this year.
    b) Spent 40k on Surpass in 2009 received a HH Diamond card expiring 3/2012
    Qualified in 2010 with $40k spend, received a HH Diamond card expiring 3/2013 (status re-confirmed by Diamond
    desk)

    Seems pretty clear cut to me.:)
     
  11. deant
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    deant Milepoint Guide

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    It is not clear cut to me. I have to give you my situation.

    1. Qualified for Diamond in 2009 with AMEX spending and received my Diamond card through March 2012 (2 full years). At the time I believe there were IT issues and I believe they gave all people 2 years.
    2. In about April 2011 I requalified for Diamond (with AMEX spending) and now have a card that is valid through March 2013 (1 full year extension).

    So based on MY experience the AMEX spending only gets you one year.
     
  12. kansaskeith

    kansaskeith Gold Member

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    Well, we have folks on either side of the issue here, obviously. . . . but remember, as far as this particular thread goes, the man who started it is not going to hit $40k spending anyway -- "just" $30k, and probably less than $20k in 2012 unless he massages his forex spending in Israel, etc. So, while we'd all love to know the intracacies of the Hilton IT department, "Diamond" for the man who started the thread, Dovster, doesn't seem to be in the picture. . . as nearly as I can tell.
     
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  13. Dovster
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    Dovster Gold Member

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    Actually, and strangely, I was given Gold Status through March 2013 when I signed up for the Surpass Card in September, 2010. The $30,000 I spent this year will not give me any extension of my status unless they decide to add on another year and make it through 2014.

    A lot of my spending was unintentional and will most likely not be repeated. In Israel, (almost) all airfares are quoted in dollars and if you pay in shekels you have a hefty conversion rate. Hence, I paid for my airfares with my Amex. When my daughter and a friend wanted to fly to Europe, I paid for both of them with my Amex and they repaid me in shekels (at a much lower rate then the airlines would have charged them). The same is true when my son and a friend went to Costa Rica. I also gave a trans-Atlantic flight to someone as a gift.

    As I mentioned, I will not be going back to the States in 2012 but will be making several trips to Europe. In the Euro Zone, I am better off paying with my Deutsche Bank Mastercard but the airfares will go on my Amex as will any expenses in non-Euro countries (I doubtlessly will be in Switzerland for at least a few weeks and possibly some other non-Euro countries as well).

    My Hilton stays are paid for, no matter where they are, with my Surpass card in order to get the points.

    That said, I don't think I will get to over $5000 in spending unless I decide to use the Surpass card in Israel. That would mean $15,000 would have to be spent here and $450 in forex costs seems about right.

    When I stay in Italy or Switzerland I stay in my girlfriend's houses. (Only one girlfriend, but she has multiple homes.) When I stay anywhere else, I look for good hotel deals. This year I found several Hilton deals (two in Atlanta, two in Las Vegas, one in Dusseldorf and one in Frankfurt). If I can't find a good deal at a Hilton I have no problem in going to a different hotel (as I did in Prague and will do again in Prague in December).

    I am going to guess (and that is all that I can do right now) that I will be spending about 15 nights per year in Hilton properties in the future. When I return from my upcoming trip I will check with Amex about non-Surpass cards that offer Gold at $20,000. Still, I have to wonder if 15 nights is worth the $450. That translates to an additional $30 per hotel night.
     
  14. Jaimito Cartero
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    Jaimito Cartero Silver Member

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    Gold is worth $1788.
    Silver is worth $35.

    :)
     
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  15. newbluesea
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    newbluesea Gold Member

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    Fair enough ... one other factor that might have influenced the final status date was that in all the instances I mentioned qualification occured in or (close to) December of the given years so the posting of status change may/did not occur until the Jan of the subsequent year. I will know pretty soon since one of the individuals will qualify again in December so we will see what their new card says.

    Finally my point in bringing all this up was referencing the discussion that ensued relative the cost of the annual fee.
    If one can get two years either by chance/luck or tweaking the system then one needs only to spend the required amount for qualification on altenate years to maintain continous status. Added to the above even if you have a limited spend at Hilton properties the additional 3 points earned could quite easly cover the Surpass annual fee.
     
  16. DLroads
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    DLroads Gold Member

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    Oen side note, while not relevant to the amex hilton card-
    Amex platinum has no forex fees (just the exchange rate). Since I'm spending about 45-50 days abroad a year, it makes it useful. If you spend $20K, a 3% exchange rate (and that's the minimum, sometimes other fees apply) translate to $600. That's already $150 above the annual fee.
     
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  17. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    I wouldn't read too much into that. I suspect Amex doesn't know what your status is and they just have code that displays the delta needed to $20k, whether you actually need it to requalify or not. Mine right now tells me I need about $12k -- but I have Gold until March 2013 via the VISA signature offer (confirmed viA email by HHonors customer service, a don't actually have a card yet).
     
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  18. DesertRose
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    DesertRose Silver Member

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    So it really depends on what benefits you get during those 15 nights. Internet plus breakfast can easily be a $30 value in Europe.

    In your case, I would just hang on and wait for Hilton to offer you some sort of promo or challenge to gold. You do already have gold status for the next ~16 months. Hilton has frequent offers where you can earn full gold status after 4 stays within a 90 day period. (see, e.g. Hiltonfamilymvp.com which will hopefully still be around in 2013.)
    If you hand a front desk clerk an official unexpired card that says you are Gold, they should give you Gold benefits. What are they going to do, accuse you of counterfeiting? :confused:
     
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  19. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Exactly. And that's especially true because the card is the only thing that tells you your status expiration date -- last I checked you can't find out from their website.
     
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  20. kyunbit
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    kyunbit Silver Member

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    Btw if you only plan to use the card for airfare, why not get a Chase Sapphire card? No Forex fees, 2% on airfares and you can transfer to Hyatt
     
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  21. newbluesea
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    newbluesea Gold Member

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    Whereas that statement is entirely acurate but
    1) Who actually totes around their status cards ( and that applies to most loyalty programs) and
    2) At the moment of check in if hilton.com says you are Diamond rest assured that you are .. at least until
    the end of the subsequent March 31st.:)
     
  22. mtlfire

    mtlfire Gold Member

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    Unfortunately Canada doesn't have any Hilton cards. I have to maintain status the old fashioned way... Just passed the Gold line last week, but will unlikely miantain Diamond this year.
     
  23. DesertRose
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    DesertRose Silver Member

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    Counterfeiters. :D

    Actually, I have a stack of them in a drawer, and I generally grab the ones I will need when I'm packing for a trip. Usually within the US, I don't bother, but internationally they can be helpful.
     
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