The market for airline affiliated reward cards is competitive, but only to a certain degree. Airlines rarely enjoy much profit and they know that their best customers are locked into the hub cities that they serve.
On the other hand, hotel chains know that their most frequent guests can quickly switch their loyalty by choosing a different brand on their next trip. Hilton, which has previously offered three different credit cards affiliated with their HHonors reward program, has just introduced its Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card. This new product offers attractive features for international travelers.
How the Hilton HHonors Reserve Card Works
New cardholders receive certificates valid for two free weekend nights after spending $2,500 in their first four months of card membership. After that, 10 HHonors points are earned for each dollar spent at Hilton properties, which include Hampton Inns, Embassy Suites, and the Waldorf Astoria. Five points per dollar are earned for airline and rental car purchases, and three points per dollar are earned on all other transactions.
Cardmembers immediately receive Gold status in the HHonors program and are upgraded to Diamond status when they spend $40,000 in a calendar year. In addition, cardholders will also receive an anniversary bonus of one weekend night when they spend $10,000 in a year. There is a $95 annual fee for this card, but there are no foreign transaction fees. In fact, this card even comes equipped with an EMV chip that allows it to be used at unattended kiosks in Europe. The standard APR for this card is equal to the Prime Rate plus 10.99%, and there is no promotional financing currently being offered.
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Advantages & Disadvantages
There are a huge amount of bonus points to be earned from this card, although Hilton points are worth less than their competitors. Nevertheless, their award nights start at 7,500 points and go up to 60,000 for their most expensive properties during peak season. Yet even when earning three points per dollar on most purchases, cardmembers could earn a free night at a Waldorf Astoria for only spending $20,000. This compares favorably to the value of a domestic round trip ticket that can be earned by spending $25,000 on an airline card.
On the downside, this card has a $95 annual fee which is not waived the first year. Also, there are no promotional financing offers for this card.
Who this card is for
The Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card is ideal for frequent guests of Hilton properties as well as international travelers who need an EMV chip and want to avoid foreign transaction fees. By offering plenty of free nights and bonus points, the Hilton HHonors Reserve card is a good way to stay on top of the hotel points game while reducing foreign travel costs.