In my continuing quest to achieve "elite" status with Hilton, I finally made it to diamond level. This has a few advantages over my previous gold level. I get a 50% bonus on points (as opposed to 25%), better treatment at European Hiltons (so I hear), and perhaps most importantly, no blackout dates on award stays.
Hilton recently implemented a "rolling" qualification method for their elite levels. It boils down to a requirement of posting 60 or more nights in 13 months. A key here is the word "posting." If you stay on the last day of a month, your stay won't post until the following month. But because Hilton gives you 13 months instead of 12, you can't really complain to them.
I ended up posting 60 nights between February 2005 and this month. I added it up, and that comes from 19 nights in the UK, 14 nights in San Diego, 10 nights in Minnesota, 6 nights in Paris, 6 nights in San Juan, 2 nights in South Carolina, and one night each in Louisiana, New York, and Maryland.
Maryland? Yes, Maryland. I knew I needed one last night to qualify for Diamond, so last weekend, Ben, Martin and I braved the snowstorm for an evening of gaming at the Embassy Suites BWI. A week later, the stay posted, and voila, I was diamond.
I don't expect to see much difference in upcoming stays -- the 50% point bonus will be nice, but right now I've got Hilton points coming out of my ears. The lack of blackout dates will be very handy when Christina and I plan our next vacation -- I will just need to secure free plane tickets, and then away we go. And I'm looking forward to seeing if the new status scores me some upgrades when I go to Europe in April.