Monday, July 23, 2012

Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card

Looks like Citi just launched a new Hilton branded Visa card today here with more competitive features resembling the recent Fairmont card from Chase. With this card however, the complimentary two free nights are restricted to weekend nights (Friday/Saturday/Sunday) so combining your nights with friends/family might not be as easy to do here. However, coming from Citi, this is certainly a highly welcome addition to the party in which Chase has been dominating for the past year.

Two free nights at some of the top-tier aspirational properties can be extremely valuable as regular Category 7 hotels go for 50k points per night, valuing 2 nights at 100k points. Given the terms that the redemptions might be only available at 'select hotels' give me pause as to whether the certificates will be honored at the highest tier Waldorf Astoria hotels and resorts without blackout dates, but if they can, that would give spectacular value at up to 160k worth of points as one resort can go up to 80k per night during high season!

The card also offers complimentary gold status to make the card even more appealing, especially for those who don't usually stay in hotels much to get elite status. To add to that, you can get an upgrade to diamond status if you manage to spend $40k in a year.

The other big part of this card is that it offers an annual free weekend night if you spend at least $10k in a year. This is a little weak however compared to the annual free Category 1-4 night you get with the Chase Hyatt card and the free Category 1-5 night with the Chase Marriott card without having to satisfy any spend requirements.

This particular credit card offer comes with:
  • Free 2 weekend nights at select resorts/hotels after spending $2500 in 4 months
  • Free annual weekend night after spending $10k each year
  • Complimentary HHonors Gold Status
  • HHonor Diamond Status after spending $40k each year
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 10 HHonors points per $1 on Hilton purchases
  • 5 HHonors points per $1 on airline/rental car purchases
  • 3 HHonors points  per $1 on everything else
  • Annual fee of $95
The earning structure is a bit weak compared to its Amex Hilton cousin for regular spending. Although it offers an industry leading 10 points per $1 for Hilton spending, it doesn't really cover any of your regular spending categories, with 5 points per $1 covering only airline and rental car purchases (although I would consider putting those points on the Chase Sapphire card for more value with transfers over to Hyatt given Hyatt's award chart). The 3 points per $1 for all other categories makes this pretty much the same as the Amex Hilton card. In a way, I have a feeling that Citi is trying to compete more with Amex than it is with Chase.

The biggest reservation I have about this card is the $95 annual fee which can be pretty hefty considering its basically buying you HHonors gold status and would require $10k in pending to get a free night. While it certainly isn't a bad deal, Citi is really making you work for your rewards and trying to keep your business away from the likes of Chase and Amex (although I really don't see how they can do this without category bonuses on restaurants/groceries/gas).

In my opinion, if they offered 6 points per $1 on gas/groceries/restaurants, I'd probably make this my go-to card and switch over from my Amex Hilton to complement my Chase Sapphire. As it stands, although it is a superb card (and from Citi, as opposed to Chase or Amex) especially with the attractive gold status and two free nights, it will not likely replace my trusty Amex SPG, Amex HH and Chase Sapphire combo for regular spending.

You can find the application link and full details here.

Disclaimer: This card is only available to US residents.  Also, I am not paid by Citi to endorse their products.

No comments:

Post a Comment