Citi has announced a new "elite" version of the Hilton HHonors affinity card issued by them. And from our investigation, this looks like a winner. To understand this statement, we have to realize that Hilton HHonors is one of the few hotel royalty program that has two credit card issuers (Citi and American Express). And for a long time, American Express has two version (including an elite version called the Surpass Card). With this offering, Citi appears to strike back and in many ways, it is a better card.
Let's start by summarizing it's key features before we go real in-depth into the fine details.
How you earn rewards?
Card holders will be able to earn 10 HHonors bonus points per $1 spent on hotel stays within the Hilton Portfolio*. You will earn 5 HHonors Bonus Points per $1 spent on airline and car rental purchases* and 3 HHonors Bonus points per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases*.
When you spend $2,500 during your first 4 months, you will get 2 weekend nights stay. Based on our analysis, this is worth up to 100,000 points. (see our bonus section for our analysis) Now that we have looked at the key features, let's now look at their other "Visa Signature" feature that comes along with this card.
Card members get automatic gold level status with this card. If you spend $40,000 on the card, you will get diamond elite status. This is a really valuable perk
No Foreign Transaction Fees
Following the trend of many newly launched cards, this card comes with no FX transaction fee. This will be good news to those who travel abroad.
Chip and Signature Technology
The new card also comes with Chip and Signatre technology that is more universally accepted abroad. This is another feature that will appeal to those who travel abroad.
Anniversary Weekend Nights
Earn an anniversary bonus of 1 weekend night certificate at select hotels and resorts within the Hilton HHonors portfolio each cardmembership year with qualifying purchases*. This is how it works. Once you spend $10,000 a year on the card, you will get a weekend night certificate that is good for a standard room and double occupancy. The value if this perk is as much as 50,000 points because a nights stay at a category 7 hotel requires 50,000 points.
You will also receive 2 Weekend Night certificates that is good at select hotels and resorts within the Hilton HHonors portfolio once you spend $2,500 within the first four months. This is worth quite a lot as we'll explain later.
As we have mentioned earlier, Hilton also has their affinity cards issued by American Express. So let's see how this card stacks up with theirs.