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

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

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The information on this page has expired. The Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card is no longer available and has been replaced by the Hilton Honors American Express Card.

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% of each purchase transaction in US dollars 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 HHonorsTM 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 HHonorsTM Reserve Card, make the fee well worth it.

International travelers should be aware that theCiti® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card comes with a 3% of each purchase transaction in US dollars 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 your card when overseas, there are plenty of 'no foreign transaction fee' credit cards to choose from. The Citi® Hilton HHonorsTM 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 Signature® Card Benefits & Features

The rewards and benefits of the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® 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 Points per dollar on hotel stays with Hilton, 3 Points per dollar spent at supermarkets, drugstores and gas stations, 2 Points on other purchases.

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 75,000 Hilton HHonors™ Bonus Points after making $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 Citi® Hilton HHonorsTM Reserve Card instead - there 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® Card 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

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If you care about boosting your short-term value, go for the Hilton Honors American Express Card- 80,000 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.

For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Card, please click here.

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

The Citi® Hilton HHonorsTM 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 Citi® Hilton HHonorsTM Reserve Card over the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card version. The only downside of the Citi® Hilton HHonorsTM 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 HHonorsTM Reserve Card cardholders – a reward which Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card users must work for.

For rates and fees of the Citi® Hilton HHonorsTM Reserve Card, please click here.

The information related to the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card and the Citi® Hilton HHonorsTM Reserve Card has been collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. This offer and/or promotion may have since changed, expired, or is no longer available.

Joe Resendiz

Joe Resendiz is a former investment banking analyst for Goldman Sachs, where he covered public sector and infrastructure financing. During his time on Wall Street, Joe worked closely with the debt capital markets team, which allowed him to gain unique insights into the credit market. Joe is currently a research analyst who covers credit cards and the payments industry. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin, where he majored in finance.

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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 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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