|by Mr Credit Card|
Aside from Hilton HHonors Credit Cards from American Express and Citibank, there are other ways that HH members can get points through other sign up bonuses. The opportunity arises because there are a few programs that allow you to transfer miles or points that you have earned to Hilton HHonors points (and often at 1:2 ratio!). So the trick is to know which programs also partner with Hilton and if there are big sign up bonus opportunities in their credit cards.
1. Amtrak Guest Rewards – 1:2 Transfer to HH – If you are a member of the Amtrak Guest Rewards program, you can transfer points to Hilton HHonors at a 1:2 ratio. However, you have to be a Select or Select Plus member. Just to be thorough, to be a Select member, you need to earn 5,000 Qualifying Tier Points in a year. You can only Qualifying Tier Points by traveling on Amtrak or by any specific Qualifying Tier Points Bonus. Other regular bonuses or points earned by not traveling on Amtrak do not count towards qualifying status.Select Plus status require 10,000 Qualifying Tier Points.
If you are not a Select or Select Plus member, you can still transfer points if you are a Chase Amtrak cardholder and have spent $200 a year on the card. You are limited to transferring 25,000 Amtrak points to your HH account.
If you are a Select or Select Plus member, you are allowed to transfer a maximum of 50,000 Amtrak Points to your HHonors account in a year (up to 35,000 points in a day). The minimum number of points you can transfer is 5,000 Amtrak points (which will get you 10,000 Hilton HHonors points.
Sign Up Bonus Opportunity With Amtrak Rewards – Because of the favorable 1:2 transfer ratio, there are a couple of sign up bonus opportunities for Amtrak Rewards. The first obvious one is to sign up for a Amtrak Rewards Card from Chase. At this moment, the sign up bonus is 12,000 points after the first purchase (which is not very attractive from a Hilton HHonors objective point of view).
The real big opportunity now is from getting the Chase Sapphire Preferred(SM) Card and the Chase Ink Bold(SM) with Ultimate Rewards. The reason this opportunity exist is because you can transfer Ultimate Reward points on a one for one basis to Amtrak Guest Rewards. Then, if you are a Select or Select Plus member, you can transfer points to your Hilton HHonors account. At the moment, the sign up bonuses for these two cards are 40,000 and 50,000 points respectively.
If you are not a Select or Select Plus member, then you can simply get the Chase Amtrak Guest Rewards MasterCard, spend $200 and then transfer up to 25,000 Amtrak points to your HH account for 50,000 HH points in a year. Since Ultimate Reward points do not expire, you can wait to transfer the next batch the next year.
2. Hawaiian Airline Miles 1:2 Transfer Ratio To Hilton – Hawaiian Miles is another program that allows you to transfer points to Hilton HHonors at a 1:2 ratio. Unlike Amtrak, there does not seem to be any hurdles you have to cross to do the transfer. There is no cap either. Therefore, if you are savvy, you could wait for a mega sign up bonus deal from Hawaiian Airlines credit card issued by Bank of America and then transfer the Hawaiian Miles to your HHonors account.
Sign Up Bonus Opportunity For Hawaiian Miles – Right now, Hawaiian Airlines Visa is issued by Bank of America. The Visa Signature version has a 35,000 sign up bonus whereby you get 20,000 bonus miles after the first purchase and an additional 10,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 within four months. There is a catch when you apply for this card. If you do not get approved for the Visa Signature version, you will be instead be approved for the Platinum version. The Platinum version has a lower sign up bonus: just 10,000 bonus miles after first purchase!
Aside from Bank of America, Bank of Hawaii also issues a Hawaiian Airlines credit card (also with a 35,000 sign up bonus miles at the moment).
Virgin Atlantic FlyClub 1:2 Hilton HHonors Transfer – Virgin Atlantic Flying Club is another frequent flier program that allows you to transfer Virgin miles to Hilton HHonors points and vice versa. The transfer ratio is 1:2. You have to transfer a minimum of 10,000 Virgin Flying Club Miles and then in increments of 5,000. And just to be complete, you could also transfer Hilton points to Flying Club miles. But the transfer ratio is 10,000 HH points for 1,500 Flying Club. So never transfer HHonors points to Virgin!
Sign Up Bonus Opportunities With Virgin Flying Club Miles – There are a few ways to actually get sign up bonus for Virgin Miles (directly or indirectly). The most obvious way is the get a sign up bonus from the Virgin Atlantic credit card from Bank of America. Right now, the sign up bonus is only 20,000 so I do not think this is the right time as they have had 50,000 promotions before.
Another way to indirectly get Virgin miles is through getting the Starwood credit card. That is because Starwood Preferred Guest allows you to transfer Starpoints to Virgin miles at a 1:1 ratio. You also get 5,000 bonus miles when you transfer 20,000 points. However, Starwood seldom has mega sign up bonuses. I also suspect that most Starwood Preferred Guest credit card applicants are more interested in Starwood points (at least for the immediate use).
American Express Membership Rewards also allows you to transfer MR points to Virgin miles at a 1:1 ratio. Recently, both the Amex Premier Rewards Gold Card and the Business Gold Card offered 50,000 sign up bonus. So that is a viable way to transfer points to Virgin and then to Hilton HHonors. It is a rather cumbersome way, but if there is a huge sign up bonus, it might be worth doing so.
Does This Mean You Do Not Get The Regular Hilton HHonors Credit Card? – With all these opportunities, it appears that at first glance that may getting the Hilton HHonors credit card (either from Citi or Amex) may not be worth it. From a sign up bonus point of view, you cannot beat the Chase Sapphire or Hawaiian at the moment because of the 1:2 transfer ratio.
But the Citi and Amex cards comes with Elite Status and with that comes VIP Awards. So the strategy for Hilton HHonors members is to get these card with huge decent sign up bonuses in addition to your regular HH card from either Citi or Amex.
If you already have a “proper” Hilton credit card, then right now, the Chase Sapphire Preferred(SM) Card and the Ink Bold(SM) with Ultimate Rewards offer the best sign up bonus opportunity for HH points. With the Ink Bold(SM) with Ultimate Rewards, you can get 50,000 Ultimate Rewards sign up bonus, transfer to 50,000 Amtrak Guest Rewards and then transfer to Hilton HHonors. The Chase Sapphire Preferred(SM) Card offers a 40,000 sign up bonus as well!