Reviews Citi Hilton Honors Visa Signature card review
Citi Hilton Honors Visa Signature card review

Citi Hilton Honors Visa Signature card review

Published: May 30, 2017
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Ratings Policy
Hotel Rating:
2.9 rating
2.9 rating
2.9 / 5
Rewards Value: 1.1
Annual Percentage Rate: 4.2
Rewards Flexibility: 4.2
Hotel Options: 4.5
Features: 5.0

In a nutshell:

The Citi Hilton Honors card offers a large enough points bonus on hotel stays to please frequent guests at Hilton, but the card’s low points value and limits on redemption limit its appeal.

Rewards Rate

  • 6:1 Hilton portfolio stays
  • 3:1 supermarket, drugstore and gas station purchases
  • 2:1 general purchases

Sign-up Bonus
40,000 points if you spend $1,000 in first 3 months

Annual Bonus
10,000 points if you spend at least $1,000 on Hilton stays

Annual Fee
$0

APR
15.99-19.99% (variable)

Estimated Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$275

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • Points don’t expire as long as you use your card once every 12 months
  • No limit on the number of points you can earn
  • Can redeem points for hotel stays, experiences, on-property rewards, airfare, car rentals, cruises, shopping and dining or charity
  • Use partial points to pay for reservations at select properties
  • Use points to upgrade a reservation
  • No blackout dates or capacity controls except when you use partial points to pay for a reservation

Cons

  • Must go through Citi to redeem points for travel
  • Can only use free night’s stay certificate if a standard room is available
  • You can transfer points to 41 airline partners, but the transfer rate (up to 10:1) is poor

Hotel Options

  • Properties: 4,600
  • Countries served: 100

Other Notable Features: Automatic silver status for the Hilton Honors rewards program, upgrade to Gold status when you spend $20,000, 15 percent bonus on Honors base points, fifth night free for every hotel stay, complimentary Internet access, express checkout, late checkout, 500 bonus points when you reserve and pay with your Hilton Honors card, 2nd guest stays free, worldwide car rental insurance, lost baggage protection, travel and emergency assistance, purchase protection

No Annual Fee Rating:
4 rating
4 rating
4 / 5
Rewards Value: 3.6
Annual Percentage Rate: 2.5
Rewards Flexibility: 4.3
Features: 5.0

In a nutshell:

With a vast hotel network, a large sign-up bonus and a bevy of hotel perks – including free hotel nights and an annual 10,000-point bonus – the Citi Hilton Honors Visa Signature card is a good deal for no annual fee.

Rewards Rate

  • 6:1 Hilton portfolio stays
  • 3:1 supermarket, drugstore and gas station purchases
  • 2:1 general purchases

Sign-up Bonus
40,000 points if you spend $1,000 in first 3 months

Annual Fee
$0

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$275

APR
15.99-19.99% (variable)

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • Points don’t expire as long as you use your card once every 12 months
  • No limit on the number of points you can earn
  • Can redeem points for hotel stays, experiences, on-property rewards, airfare, car rentals, cruises, shopping and dining or charity
  • Use partial points to pay for reservations at select properties
  • Use points to upgrade a reservation
  • No blackout dates or capacity controls except when you use partial points to pay for a reservation

Cons

  • Must go through Citi to redeem points for travel
  • Can only use free night’s stay certificate if a standard room is available
  • You can transfer points to 41 airline partners, but the transfer rate (up to 10:1) is poor

Other Notable Features: Automatic silver status for the Hilton Honors rewards program, upgrade to Gold status when you spend $20,000, 15 percent bonus on Honors base points, fifth night free for every hotel stay, complimentary Internet access, express checkout, late checkout, 500 bonus points when you reserve and pay with your Hilton Honors card, 2nd guest stays free, worldwide car rental insurance, lost baggage protection, travel and emergency assistance, purchase protection

Rewards Rating:
3.5 rating
3.5 rating
3.5 / 5
Rewards Value: 2.6
Annual Percentage Rate: 3.1
Rewards Flexibility: 4.3
Features: 5.0

In a nutshell:

With a large sign-up bonus, flexible rewards redemption and one of the world’s largest hotel loyalty programs, the Citi Hilton Honors Visa Signature card offers good value, but holds less appeal for cardholders seeking rewards options outside of Hilton hotel stays.

Rewards Rate

  • 6:1 Hilton portfolio stays
  • 3:1 supermarket, drugstore and gas station purchases
  • 2:1 general purchases

Sign-up Bonus
40,000 points if you spend $1,000 in first 3 months

Annual Fee
$0

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$275

APR
15.99-19.99% (variable)

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • Points don’t expire as long as you use your card once every 12 months
  • No limit on the number of points you can earn
  • Can redeem points for hotel stays, experiences, on-property rewards, airfare, car rentals, cruises, shopping and dining or charity
  • Use partial points to pay for reservations at select properties
  • Use points to upgrade a reservation
  • No blackout dates or capacity controls except when you use partial points to pay for a reservation

Cons

  • Must go through Citi to redeem points for travel
  • Can only use free night’s stay certificate if a standard room is available
  • You can transfer points to 41 airline partners, but the transfer rate (up to 10:1) is poor

Other Notable Features: Automatic silver status for the Hilton Honors rewards program, upgrade to Gold status when you spend $20,000, 15 percent bonus on Honors base points, fifth night free for every hotel stay, complimentary Internet access, express checkout, late checkout, 500 bonus points when you reserve and pay with your Hilton Honors card, 2nd guest stays free, worldwide car rental insurance, lost baggage protection, travel and emergency assistance, purchase protection

Travel Rating:
3.4 rating
3.4 rating
3.4 / 5
Rewards Value: 2.3
Annual Percentage Rate: 3.1
Rewards Flexibility: 4.3
Features: 5.0

In a nutshell:

A good card for the casual traveler, this Hilton Honors Visa Signature card offers a better sign-up bonus than its American Express competitor, but it doesn’t offer nearly as large a spending bonus.

Rewards Rate

  • 6:1 Hilton portfolio stays
  • 3:1 supermarket, drugstore and gas station purchases
  • 2:1 general purchases

Sign-up Bonus
40,000 points if you spend $1,000 in first 3 months

Annual Fee
$0

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$275

APR
15.99-19.99% (variable)

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • Points don’t expire as long as you use your card once every 12 months
  • No limit on the number of points you can earn
  • Can redeem points for hotel stays, experiences, on-property rewards, airfare, car rentals, cruises, shopping and dining or charity
  • Use partial points to pay for reservations at select properties
  • Use points to upgrade a reservation
  • No blackout dates or capacity controls except when you use partial points to pay for a reservation

Cons

  • Must go through Citi to redeem points for travel
  • Can only use free night’s stay certificate if a standard room is available
  • You can transfer points to 41 airline partners, but the transfer rate (up to 10:1) is poor

Other Notable Features: Automatic silver status for the Hilton Honors rewards program, upgrade to Gold status when you spend $20,000, 15 percent bonus on Honors base points, fifth night free for every hotel stay, complimentary Internet access, express checkout, late checkout, 500 bonus points when you reserve and pay with your Hilton Honors card, 2nd guest stays free, worldwide car rental insurance, lost baggage protection, travel and emergency assistance, purchase protection

If you spend a lot of time on the road and are partial to staying at Hilton, this points-heavy hotel card could help you earn enough free hotel stays to make an application worthwhile. The Honors card also offers a number of traveler-friendly benefits, including one free night’s stay at Hilton when you book five nights in a row, late checkout and free fitness center and Internet access.

But don’t be fooled by the card’s everyday spending bonus or its double rewards rate on regular purchases. Despite offering a generous points bonus on gas, drugstore and grocery store purchases, the Citi Hilton Honors card’s value as a rewards card is limited. Honors points are worth less than half the value of the average credit card reward point. So if you spend a lot on gas and groceries, you may be better off using a card with a higher rewards value for your everyday purchases.

Inflated rewards rate
At first glance, the Citi Hilton Honors card’s rewards program seems like a pretty good deal: It offers six bonus points for every dollar you spend on Hilton hotel stays, three bonus points for every dollar you spend on grocery, gas and drugstore purchases and two points for every dollar you spend on everything else. The problem is Citi’s Honors points aren’t worth as much as most card rewards points when you redeem them. Citi’s version of the Hilton Honors card also is significantly less generous than the American Express version, which offers seven points for every dollar spent on Hilton stays, five points for gas, restaurant and grocery purchases and three points for all other purchases.

Low points value
Honors points, valued at less than half a penny each, are worth substantially less than the average credit card rewards point. Most points, by contrast, are each worth at least a penny or more. Rather than evaluate the Hilton Honors card solely by its rewards rate, you may be better off cutting the Honors rewards rate in half when comparing it to other cards. In terms of value, you’ll essentially take home roughly three points for every dollar you spend on Hilton hotel stays, 1.5 points for every dollar you spend on grocery, gas and drugstore purchases and one point for every dollar spent on all other purchases. That’s a decent haul — particularly if you spend a lot of time at Hilton hotels — but it’s not nearly as generous as the card’s inflated rewards rate makes it seem.

Fair sign-up bonus
Citi also offers a sign-up bonus you can put toward another hotel stay or other free travel rewards. If you spend at least $1,000 in the card’s first three months, you’ll earn 40,000 bonus points. Roughly worth about $176, the Hilton card’s sign-up bonus should make it easier for you to earn a rewards-funded vacation relatively quickly.

Forgettable annual bonus
The Citi Honors card also offers an annual 10,000-point loyalty bonus if you spend at least $1,000 on Hilton hotel stays. But the bonus is worth only about $60 — less than half the price of a single night in an average Hilton hotel room. According to Statistica.com, the average daily rate for Hilton hotels and resorts runs as high as $141.19. At that rate, you’d have to spend at least seven to eight nights in a Hilton hotel each year to even earn the $60 bonus.

Great perks for Hilton hotel stays
The Hilton Honors card helps make up for its so-so rewards program and low points value by offering a number of strong perks for Hilton guests. Hilton Honors cardholders are automatically upgraded to Silver status in the Honors rewards program and, as a result, are eligible for a number of hotel perks. For example, if you book five nights in a row at a Hilton hotel, your fifth night will be free. You’ll also get free Internet and fitness center access, late checkout and an additional 15 percent bonus on your earnings. Meanwhile, if you stay at a Hilton hotel for at least four nights within your card’s first 90 days — or if you spend $20,000 in a calendar year — you’ll automatically be upgraded to Gold status and earn a 25 percent bonus on your earnings.

Exceptionally large network
You shouldn’t have much trouble finding a Hilton to stay at either, no matter how far you travel. Hilton boasts 4,600 properties spread through 100 countries worldwide. You aren’t limited to Hilton hotels and resorts either. You also can earn points at Hilton brand properties, such as DoubleTree by Hilton, Embassy Suites by Hilton, Homewood Suites by Hilton and Hampton Inn by Hilton.

Reasons to get it:

  • You’re a fan of Hilton properties and hope to earn more complimentary hotel stays.
  • You want more flexibility with your rewards earnings and want a card that allows you to redeem your points at a wide variety of hotels.
  • You plan to stay at Hilton for more than four nights and would benefit from a fifth night free.

How to use it:

  • Spend at least $1,000 in the card’s first four months to get the 40,000-point sign-up bonus.
  • Use your card every time you book a room with Hilton in order to get the maximum number of rewards.
  • Use your card only for grocery, gas and drugstore purchases if you don’t have another card that offers at least two points or more for these purchases.
  • Use your card at least once a year so your earnings don’t expire.

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