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Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature Card: A Subpar Hilton Rewards Credit Card

Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card

Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature Card: A Subpar Hilton Rewards Credit Card

If you don’t spend $1,000 annually on stays at Hilton hotels, there are better credit card options out there.
Editor's Rating: 4.0/5.0

Editor's Rating

4.0/5.0

The Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature Card is a mediocre hotel rewards credit card, with little to offer to those who don’t spend at least $1,000 annually at Hilton hotels. If you travel abroad, then the card’s foreign transaction fee will put a damper on all your purchases by imposing a 3% fee on all your overseas shopping. If you care about earning HHonors Gold Status, the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature Card gives you plenty of opportunities to do so – more than any other card at this price point. Overall, we believe Hilton fans will generally be better off with either the Hilton Honors American Express Card or the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card.

Pros

  • Offers multiple ways to earn HHonors Gold Status
  • 10,000 HHonors bonus points each year you spend $1,000 at Hilton properties

Cons

  • Falls flat when compared to similar credit cards
  • Poor point transfer rates

Review: Is the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature Card Worth it?

Unless you already spend at least $1,000 annually on stays at Hilton hotels, the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature Card is a middle-of-the-road choice. If you manage to spend this much at the hotels, year-to-year, you will gain additional bonus points which make the card a worthwhile consideration. Otherwise, as far as ‘no annual fee’ hotel rewards cards we believe the Hilton Honors American Express Card will be a better choice for most consumers. As long as you spend at least $10,000 annually on your credit card, it is also worth considering getting an annual fee hotel card. The benefits you trigger after reaching that spend, on cards such as the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve, make the fee well worth it.

International travelers should be aware that the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa card comes with a 3% foreign transaction fee. This means each time you make a purchase in a foreign currency or one that passes through a foreign bank, you will be charged a 3% penalty fee. If you are concerned about using you card when overseas, there are plenty of 'no foreign transaction fee' credit cards to choose from. The Hilton Reserve card, for example, doesn’t charge its users any fees when used abroad.

Hilton HHonors bonus points do not have good cohesion with other loyalty programs. As we will explore in the following sections, if you choose to transfer your HHonors points to airline miles, you will be losing a great deal of value.

Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Card Benefits & Features

Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card
Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card
Annual Fee
No Annual Fee
Purchase APR
15.99% 19.99% Variable
Credit Needed Excellent
Details
  • HHonors silver status with fast-track to HHonors Gold status after 4 stays within your first 90 days of cardmembership
  • Receive HHonors Silver Status for free

The rewards and benefits of the Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Card are all based around its affiliate hotel program. By using this card to make purchases, consumers can earn HHonors bonus points, which can later be used in a variety of ways – most notably, to book stays at Hilton hotels.

Rewards Earned Through Spending

Every dollar you spend using your Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature Card earns HHonors bonus points – the amount of points earned depends on the category of purchase. Using the card to pay for hotel stays within the Hilton portfolio is the most lucrative, rewarding you with 6 HHonors bonus points per $1. Anytime you use the card at supermarkets, drug stores & gas stations, you will be awarded 3 HHonors Bonus points per $1. All other purchases, which do not fit into one of these categories, will be given just 2 points per $1.

Since we value HHonors bonus points at about $0.005 each, we estimate the rewards rate on the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature Card to be between 1% and 3% - depending on the category you are spending in.

Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature cardholders also have 40,000 bonus points up for grabs, when they first open their account. To qualify, new users must make $1,000 in purchases within the first 4 months of account opening. Balance transfers and cash advances will not count towards this $1,000 threshold.

Finally, there are additional incentives for those who stay frequently at Hilton properties. Every cardmember year in which you make at least $1,000 in purchases at Hilton hotels or resorts, your account will be credited a bonus 10,000 HHonors points - a $50 value.

Earning HHonors Gold Status

Each year you make $20,000 in purchases using your Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature Card, you will be automatically upgraded to HHonors Gold Status. Benefits of this Gold Status membership vary from 2 complimentary bottles of water to extra bonus base points. As you can no doubt see, some of these benefits are more valuable than others. Most notably, Gold status earns you a 25% boost to all base HHonors points you earn through the loyalty program. All other gold benefits can be viewed on Hilton’s website. Note, if you are spending this much on the card every year, you should consider going with the Hilton HHonors Reserve credit card instead - there's are higher rewards potential there.

Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature cardholders can also earn gold status much faster, if they use their card to pay for 4 Hilton stays within the first 90 days of getting the card. Therefore, if possible, you should time when you apply for the card - preferably right before you will have to visit the hotel multiple times in a short period of time. If you can get the HHonors Gold Status fast track, we recommend you do so.

Transferring your HHonors Bonus Points

Instead of using your HHonors Bonus Points on hotel stays, you can choose to transfer them to any number of airlines partnered with Hilton. We recommend against doing so, mainly because of the poor transfer ratios. Many of the exchange rates call for 10:1 ratios – that is, 10 HHonors points for 1 of their frequent flyer miles. We estimate airline miles to be typically worth 1 cent each, and 1 HHonor point to have a value of approximately $0.005 per point. That means, with these exchange rates you’d be giving up a $0.05 value and getting $0.01 out of it – a poor trade in our eyes.

If, for whatever reason, you still wish to exchange your HHonors bonus points, you may do so by calling Hilton’s toll-free customer care line at 1-800-548-8690. Below you can see the exchange rates for airlines operating out of the Americas. For a full list, visit Hilton’s website and scroll to the bottom of the page.

Partners

Conversion (HHonors:Partner Awards)
Aero Mexico25,000:6,500
Aeroplan10,000:1,000
Alaska Airlines10,000:1,000
American Airlines10,000:1,500
Amtrak10,000:1,500
Avianca10,000:1,000
Delta Airlines10,000:1,000
Frontier Airlines10,000:1,500
Hawaiian Airlines10,000:1,500
Jet Blue10,000:1,000
Lan25,000:6,500
Virgin America10,000:1,000
United10,000:1,000
US Airways10,000:850

How does the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature Card compare to other credit cards?

To understand the true value proposition of the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature Card, you should be aware of all your available options. Hotel credit cards have, in general, the best rewards rates of all credit cards. For this reason, the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature has some stiff competition to beat. Below we profile the card against some of the top-tier hotel rewards credit cards.

Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature Card vs Hilton Honors American Express Card

The Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature Card and Hilton Honors American Express Card are the only two no-annual-fee Hilton branded credit cards. If you care about boosting your short-term value, go for the Hilton Honors American Express Card-it offers 75,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of card membership.

Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature Card vs Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card

The Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card is one of our favorite hotel credit cards. If you spend at least $10,000 annually using your credit card, we recommend going with the Reserve Card over the Visa Signature version. The only downside of the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card is its $95 annual fee. However, if you meet the above mentioned $10,000 annual spend, you will earn 1 complimentary weekend night with Hilton. Depending on how you redeem that reward, this benefit can be approximately worth between $100 and $300 – more than making up for the annual fee. Plus, HHonors Gold Status is automatically given to Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve cardholders – a reward which Hilton Visa Signature users must work for.

Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature Card vs Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

Travelers with no brand loyalty to Hilton should consider the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express. The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express is one of the best as far as hotel and travel rewards credit cards go, and easily makes up for its $95 annual fee (waived for the first year). This card provides a rewards rate between 1.8% and 5.4% (based on our estimated point value of $0.009 multiplied by the points earned). Cardholders earn points that are worth 0.9 cents by our estimates. Part of what makes these points so great is that they can be transferred to several airlines, meaning you'll have options when it comes to point redemption.

Comparison Tool

In order to come to a more personalized decision about which credit card can provide you with the best value, you can use the tool below. Simply input your spending habits and we will calculate for you, what the various rewards and bonuses will be on these select credit cards. If you wish you see more options, visit our main comparison tool here.

Assumptions Based On Monthly Spend of: $1,430 Edit
General:
U.S. Gas Stations:
U.S. Supermarkets:
Airlines:
Hotel:
U.S. Restaurants:
Office:
Utilities:
Computing:
Card Annual Fee 2-yr Net Rewards Rate

The Net Rewards Rate is equal to the Rewards Value over two years divided by the total spending. The total spending is equal to the values entered into the tool and multiplied by 24 months. See the rewards Value note to see details on how it is calculated.

The estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone. They are not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. All estimates are based on the spend assumptions entered above (which you can edit).

Bonus Value

The bonus field shows our estimate for the value of the card’s welcome bonus. If the bonus is point or mile based, we multiply the total bonus points/miles by our estimate for their value to arrive at a dollar equivalent. We display $0 if there is no bonus or if the user doesn’t qualify for the bonus based on the current spending entered into the tool. All estimates are based on the spend assumptions entered above (which you can edit).

The estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone. They are not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

2-yr Rewards Value

The Rewards value is calculated by adding together the rewards earned from charging purchases to the card over two years and any welcome bonuses (if applicable). They are then multiplied by our estimated point/mile value, with any annual fees (if applicable) subtracted. All values are based on our own estimates for the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using a card and on the spend assumptions entered above (which you can edit).

The estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone. They are not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95. 3.49%
$675
75,000 Bonus Points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
$1,198
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Terms and Limitations Apply

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Point Value Rewards Value
Spending Rewards 68,640 x $0.009 = $618
Bonuses
75,000 x $0.009 = $675
Less Annual Fees -$95
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 1,198

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
APR 17.74%-26.74% Variable
*Rates and Fees

Card Details

  • Earn 75,000 Bonus Points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 6 points for each dollar of eligible purchases at participating SPG® and Marriott Rewards® hotels and 2 points on all other eligible purchases.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on International purchases.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card account anniversary. Award can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 points) at a participating hotel. Select hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy complimentary, unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi on up to four devices at more than 1,000,000 Boingo hotspots worldwide. Enrollment required.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Hilton Honors American Express Card
$0 3.12%
$375
Earn 75,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 within the first 3 months.
$1,072
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Terms and Limitations Apply

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Point Value Rewards Value
Spending Rewards 139,440 x $0.005 = $697
Bonuses
75,000 x $0.005 = $375
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 1,072

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $0
APR 17.74%-26.74% Variable
*Rates and Fees

Card Details

  • Earn 75,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Card after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton Honors portfolio of brands.
  • Earn 5X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations.
  • Earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees. Enjoy international travel without additional fees on purchases made abroad.
  • Enjoy complimentary Hilton Honors Silver status with your Card. Plus, spend $20,000 on eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year and you can earn an upgrade to Hilton Honors Gold status through the end of the next calendar year.
  • No Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card
$95 2.40%
$500
Earn 2 weekend nights after spending $2,500 in the first four months
$825
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 102,960 x $0.005 = $515
Bonuses
0 x $0.005 = $500
Less Annual Fees -$190
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 825

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $95
APR 15.99%

Card Details

  • Get Hilton Honors Gold Status as a cardmember
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No caps and expiration on points if you use your card at least once a year
  • Earn an anniversary bonus for one weekend night at select hotels
  • No points cap
Fairmont Visa Signature® Credit Card
Image of Fairmont Visa Signature® Credit Card $0 Intro Annual Fee for the first year then $95 2.18%
$500
Enjoy 2 complimentary nights with Breakfast for 2 after you spend $3,000 within the first 3 months of account opening
$748
Graph Card More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 34,320 x $0.01 = $343
Bonuses
0 x $0.01 = $0
0 x $0.01 = $500
Less Annual Fees -$95
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 748

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $0 Intro Annual Fee for the first year then $95
APR 15.99%

Card Details

  • $0 foreign transaction fee
  • One complimentary night stay each anniversary year
  • Annual Lounge Club Membership plus 2 free lounge visit passes each year
  • Automatic upgrade to Fairmont Premier Membership Status
  • When you spend $7,500 on your card, get 1 stay credit towards Platinum status, up to a maximum of 2 stay credits per calendar year
BankAmericard Travel Rewards® Credit Card
No Annual Fee 2.08%
$200
20,000 online bonus points if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days - that can be a $200 statement credit towards travel purchases
$715
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 51,480 x $0.01 = $515
Bonuses
20,000 x $0.01 = $200
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 715

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee No Annual Fee
APR 14.99% - 22.99% Variable

Card Details

  • Get an additional 10% customer points bonus on every purchase when you have an active Bank of America® checking or savings account
  • Redeem points to pay for flights, hotels, vacation packages, cruises, rental cars, or baggage fees with no restrictions or blackouts
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Smart chip technology provides greater acceptance and added security
  • No limits or expiration dates on points earned
The Choice Privileges® Visa® Card
No Annual Fee 1.73%
$62
Earn 8,000 bonus points after your first purchase
$593
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 68,640 x $0.008 = $531
Bonuses
8,000 x $0.008 = $62
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 593

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee No Annual Fee
APR 16.24%, 20.99% or 25.99% Variable

Card Details

  • Cardmembers automatically get Elite Gold status
  • Book award and free nights twenty days before other members
  • 10% point bonus on points earned for eligible stays at Choice Privileges locations
  • Redeem points for reward nights at over 1,500 hotel locations, gift cards for a variety of merchants, donations, and memberships
Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card
No Annual Fee 1.77%
$200
Earn 40,000 HHonors Bonus Points after spending $1,000 within the first 4 months
$607
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 81,360 x $0.005 = $407
Bonuses
40,000 x $0.005 = $200
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 607

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee No Annual Fee
APR 15.99% 19.99% Variable

Card Details

  • HHonors silver status with fast-track to HHonors Gold status after 4 stays within your first 90 days of cardmembership
  • Receive HHonors Silver Status for free
Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card
$395 1.47%
$930
Earn two complimentary nights at any participating Tier 1-4 Ritz-Carlton Hotel, after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
$504
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 34,320 x $0.011 = $364
Bonuses
0 x $0.011 = $0
0 x $0.011 = $930
Less Annual Fees -$790
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 504

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $395
APR 15.99%

Card Details

  • Complimentary upgrades to the Ritz-Carlton Club Level three times annually on paid stays of up to 7 nights
  • $300 annual airline incidentals credit
  • $100 hotel credit on stays of two nights or longer
  • Worldwide Airport Lounge Access
  • Automatic gold elite status your first year
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Personal service assistance to cardmembers
  • Automatic Gold Elite Status your first year
  • Maintain Gold Elite thereafter by spending 10,000 each year
Best Western Rewards® MasterCard®
Image of Best Western Rewards® MasterCard® No Annual Fee 0.90%
$114
10,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in first 3 billing cycles. Also, earn another 10,000 bonus points after you spend total of $3,000 in the first 6 billing cycles
$310
Graph Card More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 34,320 x $0.006 = $196
Bonuses
0 x $0.006 = $0
20,000 x $0.006 = $114
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 310

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee No Annual Fee
APR 16.24% - 23.24% Variable

Card Details

  • Redeem points towards free nights at over 4,000 Best Western locations, gift cards, merchandise, airline rewards, and Avis car rentals
  • Upgrade to Best Western Rewards Gold Elite Status after the first purchase

Comments and Questions

Opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed or endorsed by the issuer. We may be compensated through the issuer's Affiliate Program. For a full list of our advertisers see our disclosure page

* See the online credit card application for details about terms and conditions. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. However all credit card information is presented without warranty. When you click on the "Apply Now" button, you can review the credit card terms and conditions on the issuer's website.

Info about the following cards: Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express, Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express, Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, Hilton Honors Surpass® Credit Card, American Express® Blue Sky, American Express® Green Card, The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express, The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express, The Plenti® Credit Card from Amex, Blue from American Express®, Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Mercedes-Benz, Bluebird, Centurion® Card from American Express, Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card, and Amazon Business American Express Card has been collected independently by ValuePenguin. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).

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Advertiser Disclosure: Some of the offers that appear on this website are from companies which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). The site does not review or include all companies or all available products. For more information please see our Advertiser Disclosure.