Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve: Travelers, Techies and Luxury-Lovers Rejoice

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The Citi® Hilton HHonorsTM Reserve Card has it all: rewards, perks, travel technology and guaranteed luxury. It starts of with a hard-hitting signup bonus: Earn 2 weekend night certificates good at select hotels and resorts within the Hilton HHonors portfolio after $2,500 in eligible purchases within 4 months of account opening*, with a bonus weekend night every year. This can be worth several hundred dollars per night if you redeem for a Tier 7 hotel – that’s one of the best sign-up bonuses in the business, and more than enough to offset the $95 annual fee. And we haven’t even gotten to the ongoing rewards yet. If you’re a Hilton guest, sit up, take note and act soon because the special offer won’t be around forever!

Citi® Hilton HHonorsTM Reserve Card
Citibank Hilton HHonors Reserve Credit Card
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  • Earn 2 weekend night certificates good at select hotels and resorts within the Hilton HHonors portfolio after $2,500 in eligible purchases within 4 months of account opening*
  • Earn 10 HHonors Bonus Points per $1 spent on hotel stays within the Hilton HHonors portfolio*
  • Earn 5 HHonors Bonus Points per $1 spent on airline and car rental purchases*
  • Earn 3 HHonors Bonus Points per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases*
  • Enjoy the benefits of HHonors Gold status as long as you are a cardmember*
  • No foreign transaction fees on purchases*
  • Travel with ease and enjoy global acceptance with your Citi chip credit card
thumbsupPros
  • High rewards rate
  • No foreign transaction fee
thumbsdownCons
  • Has annual fee
  • Needs excellent credit
Annual Fee Signup Bonus APR , Variable* APR Promotions
$95* Earn 2 weekend night certificates good at select hotels and resorts within the Hilton HHonors portfolio after $2,500 in eligible purchases within 4 months of account opening* 15.24%* (Variable) Purchase: None
Transfer: None

International travel and elite status made easy

Designed to compete with the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and Amex Hilton HHonors Surpass, the Citi Hilton Reserve puts its best foot forward. Let’s start with rewards:

  • 10 HHonors points per $1 spent at Hilton hotels
  • 5 points per $1 spent on airline and car rentals
  • 3 points per $1 spent elsewhere

Now, we value HHonors points at about 0.5 cents apiece, so your effective rewards rate is 5%, 2.5% and 1.5% for the above categories. But you receive a host of perks beyond that:

  • EMV chip-and-signature compatibility, making the card easier to use abroad;
  • No foreign transaction fee, a claim that the Amex Hilton cards can’t make; and
  • Complimentary Gold elite status for the lifetime of the card, and Diamond status if you spend more than $40k a year.

As mentioned above, you do receive an anniversary gift of a free weekend night in a standard room with double occupancy. But there is a caveat: you must spend $10,000 a year to get the bonus. Remember also that you must spend $2,500 in the first 4 months to get the signup bonus of 2 free nights.

How does the Citi Hilton card compare with the best-in-class American Express hotel cards? It offers a better signup bonus and elite status than the Amex Hilton HHonors Surpass; it also has no foreign transaction fee – key for travelers. So yeah – the Reserve takes the gold.

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  • pwc122

    I redeemed my two free nights at the Waldorf-Astoria in Park City during peak season. It wasn’t easy, but rooms there go for $600+/night. I then parlayed my HHonors Gold status into a room upgrade to a 1br/2ba “residence” that can go for north of $900/night.

    Overall, $1800 value out of the card. And, that’s not including the Gold status.

    I wouldn’t value HHonors points at half a cent anymore. The devaluation probably pushes them down to a third or a quarter cent each.

    • amynerdwallet

      Great point, the announcement of the Hilton HHonors 2013 program changes does lead to a devaluation. Currently, there are 8 hotel categories (including Waldorf Astoria) with point redemption ranging from 7,500 to 80,000. The new program which is effective March 28, 2013 has 10 hotel categories with point redemption ranging from 5,000 to 95,000 points. As you have already noticed, the upper point threshold has increased from 80,000 to 95,000 points. This means HHonors members will have to spend 15,000 more points for the most coveted high end hotels!

      Not only are redemptions more expensive, Hilton will also have seasonal pricing, which means that popular dates will cost you more points.

      We will be re-evaluating the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve card prior to March 28 (when the program changes begin) to ensure that the value accurately reflects the devaluation. Thanks for the comment – use up those Hilton points before March 28th! I know I will.

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