The Best Hilton Credit Card? Welcoming the Hilton HHonors Reserve Card

This week Citi announced a new Hilton credit card – the Hilton HHonors Reserve card.

To be absolutely honest, I would have yawned my way past this card about three months ago.  However, this card is going to be added to my best hotel credit cards page.

Why?

Because I didn’t realize how valuable Hilton Gold could be.  More on that in a minute, but for now I’ll give you some basic card benefits.

Disclosure: I’m an affiliate for the Hilton HHonors Reserve card.  That means I do get compensated if you use my link to get this card.  If you choose to use my link (at the bottom of the post) to get the card, I’d really appreciate your support.

Hilton HHonors Reserve Card FAQs

Here’s a quick rundown on the card:

  • Sign up for this card and spend $2,500 in the first four months, and you’ll get two free weekend nights.
  • You’ll get an additional free weekend night every year that you spend $10,000 on the card.
  • Earn 10 Hilton Honors points on every dollar spent at a Hilton property, 5 points on plane tickets and rental cards, and 3 points per dollar on everything else.
  • As a card holder, you’ll get Hilton Gold for as long as you have the card.  If you spend $40,000 on the card, you’ll also get Diamond status.
  • No foreign currency transaction fees.
  • Annual Fee is $95 (not waived for the first year).

To apply now for the card click here.

Two Free Weekend Nights Benefit with the Hilton HHonors Reserve

The benefit is valid at any Hilton owned hotel including high end properties like the Waldorf Astoria and Conrad locations.  The only restriction appears to be that the hotel must have standard rooms. (All suite or villa hotels will be excluded.)  A list of excluded property has yet to be published, yet should be minimal.

The weekend voucher will be valid for 12 months.

This could be a very valuable benefit, depending on how you use your weekend nights.

Let’s look at a couple of quick examples:

  • In September, I’ll be at a convention in Denver.  The closest Hilton hotel to the convention is the Hilton Garden Inn.  I could snag a weekend night for $112.  If one were to use their weekend nights for this location, it would be worth a meager $224.  No thanks.
  • The following weekend we’ll be in Hawaii.  There are several Hilton locations that cost between $200 and $400 per night.  That means the value of the weekend nights would be between $400 to $800.
  • What if one were to specifically look at some of the more expensive Hilton properties?  The Rome Cavalieri Waldorf Astoria costs $690 per night.  The Conrad Tokyo runs around $500 per night. Conrad Hong Kong is about $335 per night.  Conrad Maldives is about $700 per night.

Anyway, I think you get the point.  If you use your points at some of the higher end locations, you’ll get a fantastic deal from your two free weekend nights.

Hilton Gold Status Benefit

As I mentioned in the intro, I would have yawned my way past this benefit a few months ago.  However, it is a very valuable benefit.

This year I’ve checked-in as a Hilton Gold member, Priority Club Platinum Elite, Starwood Gold, Club Carlson Silver Elite, and Marriott Gold member.  They are all basically the lowest level elite status with each hotel (excluding Priority Club).  Other than the Hilton Gold and Starwood Gold, there was almost no recognizable difference between having status and not having status.  With the Starwood Gold, check-in was better and free internet was nice.

However, Hilton Gold at the Hilton Budapest really made a huge difference.

Hilton Reserve Budapest

Breakfast with a view. Hilton Budapest.

How?

  • Free Internet.  To be clear, I wouldn’t have paid the 30 Euro a day (or whatever ridiculous rate they would have charged), but it was nice to be able to get on the internet for vacation planning purposes.
  • Free buffet breakfast every morning.  Our first morning, they put us in a beautiful seat that overlooked the Danube River.  There was a massive selection of breakfast foods.
  • Lounge access.  After a long morning of sightseeing, we were able to go back to the hotel and grab a drink and snack from the lounge.  Also, every evening they had a reception, and the food they served was typically enough to take care of our evening meal.

The moral of the story: I’d gladly pay $95 per year (the annual fee of the Hilton Reserve card) just to be able to keep the Hilton Gold status.

The other nice thing with the Hilton Gold is the ability to status match.  The other programs listed above that I have status with (except Starwood Gold) I got as a match to my Hilton Gold.

Is this the Hilton HHonors Reserve best Hilton Credit card?

I’d say yes.  It’s better than the Surpass (which was the best).  In fact, I think Citi intentionally planned to one up the Surpass card in several ways.

The Surpass offers Gold status only for the first year, while the Reserve card offers it for the life of the card.  Moreover, the Surpass offers 9 points per dollar spent, and the Reserve card offers 10 points.

The Surpass card has a couple of different spending category bonuses that could be of interest.  You’ll get 6 points per dollar at gas stations and drug stores.  Then it’s 3 points per dollar on everything else.

Still, I’d crown this as the best Hilton card.

However, with Hilton there are a ton of ways to get points from credit cards.

  1. Hilton Reserve – 2 free weekend nights
  2. Hilton Surpass – 60,000 HHonors points
  3. Citi Hilton Visa Signature – 50,000 HHonors points
  4. Bank of Hawaii Hawaiian Airlines – 35,000 miles that can be transferred to 70,000 Hilton points
  5. Bank of America Hawaiian Airlines - 35,000 miles that can be transferred to 70,000 Hilton points
  6. Virgin Atlantic – 50,000 miles that can be transferred to 100,000 Hilton points
My Strategy:
I currently have Hilton Gold until this February.
I do have an upcoming vacation in September at a Hilton location, but I’m not sure I can get this card, reach the spend, and get the free weekend night before I go.  Also, I just applied for the two American Airlines cards (and already got my 100,000 AAdvantage miles), so I need to wait another 3ish months before my next Citi application.
However, I can tell you with certainty that some time this fall or next spring I’ll get this card.
My wife and I are talking about our 2013 getaway, and we’re leaning towards Bali.  The Conrad Bali goes for $215 per night. We could get a $430 value out of our weekend nights which isn’t outstanding, but nothing to complain about.  However, with a $430 value and Gold status, I’d say it’s definitely worth it.
Questions?  If you are a subscriber, you can just reply to your email.  Otherwise, send an email to htcheap at gmail dot com or leave a comment.



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