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Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card Review

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

Hilton HHonors Reserve CardThe high-end travel credit card market keeps getting more competitive, as Citi and Hilton just introduced the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card aimed towards the affluent traveler. The brand new card offers a generous sign up bonus: when you spend $2,500 within 4 months of opening your account, you’ll earn 2 weekend night certificates, each valid for a weekend night standard accommodation at category 1-7 hotel or select Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, subject to availability. (Note that some Waldorf Astoria hotels and all All-Inclusive and Hilton Grand Vacation properties are excluded.) If the certificates are used at Hilton’s highest-end properties, this is a bonus that could easily be worth four figures.

The card earns 10 HHonors points per $1 spent at Hilton, 5 HHonors points per $1 spent on airlines and car rental purchases and 3 HHonors points on everything else.

Other features of the card include: no foreign purchase transaction fees, smart chip technology, and an anniversary bonus of one weekend night certificate each year after you spend at least $10,000 in a year.

You’ll also earn elite Hilton HHonors Gold status as long as you are a cardmember. Gold status confers special benefits, such as point bonuses, free high-speed wireless, complimentary food and beverages and room ugprades when available, and executive lounge access. You’ll also receive an automatic upgrade to HHonors Diamond status when you spend at least $40,000 in a calendar year.

There is an annual fee of $95.

It’s worthwhile to compare the Reserve card with the other Hilton offerings (with apologies for the squished formatting):

Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card Hilton HHonors™ Amex Hilton Surpass Amex
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* Earn 40,000 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points after spending $1,000 within 4 months of account opening* Earn 40,000 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points after spending $750 within 90 days Earn 40,000 points after first purchase, plus another 20,000 points after your first $3,000 in purchases within the first 90 days
Annual fee $95 None None $75
Bonus points earned at Hilton 10/dollar spent 6/dollar spent 6/dollar spent 9/dollar spent
Other bonus points earned 5 points/$1 spent on airline and car rentals; 3 points/$1 spent on all other eligible purchases* 3 points/$1 spent at supermarkets, drugstores and gas stations; 2 points/$1 spent on all other eligible purchases* 6 points/$1 spent at grocery stores, drugstores, gas stations, wireless and home phone, internet, cable and satellite TV; 3 points/$1 spent on all other eligible purchases* 6 points/$1 spent at gas stations, drugstores and wireless and home phone, internet, cable and satellite TV; 3 points/$1 on all other eligible purchases*
Elite status Gold as long as you have the card. Diamond when you reach $40,000 or more during the calendar year Silver as long as you have the card. Silver as long as you have the card. Gold when you spend at least $20,000 in the calendar year Silver as long as you have the card. Gold for free for your first year and all subsequent years in which you spend at least $20,000. Diamond when you reach $40,000 or more
GLON Awards* Yes Yes Yes Yes
AXON Awards** No No Yes Yes

*GLON Awards – available to HHonors elite members and HHonors credit cardholders, GLON awards offer discounts off the standard reward rate. For instance, GLON awards offer a 15% discount off 4-night awards, 20% off 5-night awards and 25% off 6-and-more night awards.

**AXON Awards – Available exclusively to American Express cardholders, they are discounted awards for 4 nights. Sometimes they offer a better deal than GLON awards.

For a comprehensive overview of the arcane details of Hilton awards, this FT thread details your options.

In review
The new HHonors Reserve card replaces the Surpass as Hilton’s top-tier card, with a more generous sign up bonus, while also earning more points at Hilton properties and granting higher Elite status. It’s a card that Hilton loyalists should strongly consider.

To apply or for more info, see this link.

star Looking for more? Click here to see more credit cards with great travel rewards. Click here to see more Citi credit card offers.

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2 Responses to “Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card Review”

  1. William Says:
  2. ccwatcher Says:

    @William For most people, I think the SPG Amex is more appropriate. Starpoints were always more valuable than HHonors points, but with Hilton’s recent points devaluation, that’s even more true. Starwood also currently has a nice promo going on. In general, the SPG card is one of my favorites (see my review here).

    The Hilton card may still be a better choice if you frequent Hiltons more often. It also has no foreign transaction fees and smart chip technology, which the SPG Amex does not. So for overseas travel, the Hilton Reserve is the better choice.

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