Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card Improved Sign-Up Bonus

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Link: Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card

The Citi Hilton Reserve Card is one of my favorite hotel credit cards, and it now has the best “official” sign-up bonus I’ve ever seen on the card (it has been around for a while unofficially, but this is for a limited time the standard sign-up bonus on the card).

Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card sign-up bonus

The current sign-up bonus on the card offers:

  • Two free weekend nights at most Hilton family properties after spending $2,500 within four months of account opening
  • Plus for a limited time receive a $100 statement credit after spending $100 or more on your first hotel stay in the Hilton HHonors portfolio within the first three months of account opening

So the two free weekend nights are the standard sign-up bonus, while the $100 statement credit after your first Hilton stay within three months is an added perk.

The standard sign-up bonus is already incredibly valuable. Hilton devalued their award chart substantially last year, whereby top hotels went from 50,000 points per night to up to 95,000 points per night.

Conrad-Koh-Samui-Award-Rate

So this sign-up bonus can potentially cover two free nights at a property which goes for 95,000 points per night — that’s potentially a 190,000 point value!


Redeem free night certificates for villa at Conrad Koh Samui

Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card points earnings structure

The card offers the following rewards on everyday spend:

  • 10x points per dollar spent at Hilton properties
  • 5x points per dollar spent on airline and car rental purchases
  • 3x points per dollar spent on everything else

In and of itself that’s not especially compelling, given that Hilton points aren’t all that valuable. The reasons to spend on this card involve the threshold bonuses they offer, which I’ll cover below.

Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card annual fee

The annual fee on the card is $95, which isn’t waived for the first year.

Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card foreign transaction fees

The card doesn’t have foreign transaction fees, so is a great option for international travel

Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card card perks

Not only does the card offer a lucrative sign-up bonus, but it has some awesome perks as well, which make the card worth keeping long term, in my opinion:

  • Hilton HHonors Gold status for as long as you have the card, which gets you complimentary breakfast, lounge access, and internet (which I consider to be the most valuable elite hotel perks)
  • A complimentary weekend night certificate for any cardmember year (different than calendar year) in which you spend $10,000 on the card
  • Hilton HHonors Diamond status for any year in which you spend $40,000 on the card

Hilton HHonors Gold status is the most valuable easily attainable mid-tier hotel status, in my opinion, so that alone more than justifies the annual fee after just a couple of stays, in my opinion.

Conrad_Hong_Kong50
Club lounge at Conrad Hong Kong

If you have the card, I think it’s well worth it to spend $10,000 on the card for a free night certificate. Assuming you can redeem it for a property that would otherwise go for 95,000 points per night, think of it as getting 12.5 Hilton HHonors points per dollar spent on base spend (factoring in the free night and 3x points per dollar you’d usually earn for non-bonused spend).

As far as Diamond status goes, it definitely can be worth it. $40,000 is very little to spend on a credit card for top tier hotel status. I did this last year, and to be honest haven’t been blown away by Hilton Diamond status. I find there to be very little difference between Gold and Diamond status. Still, if you frequently stay at Hiltons — and especially frequently stay outside of the US — it can be well worth it.

Hilton-Diamond-Status

Bottom line

There are cards that offer great sign-up bonuses and cards that are worth keeping long term. A minority of cards fall into both categories, though I think this one does:

  • The sign-up bonus is generous and can be redeemed for up to 190,000 HHonors points worth of value, not even factoring in the $100 statement credit after a Hilton stay
  • Gold status in and of itself justifies the annual fee after just a couple of Hilton stays, in my opinion
  • The annual free weekend night certificate makes it worth spending $10,000 on the card, in my opinion, and Diamond status can be worth spending $40,000 on the card as well, depending on your travel patterns

Link: Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card

 

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Comments

  1. @ John — They actually post on your anniversary date. So if you complete the spend within a month, it takes a while for that free weekend night to post.

  2. the offer was officially available before – that statement that it wasn’t is somewhat misleading.

    It wasn’t available as a referral link to compensate the referrer/blogger before now, but that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t “officially” around before now

  3. What do the 2 sign-up weekend stay certificates include? MOST Hilton properties seems pretty ambiguous. Is it good for all categories? Thanks.

  4. @ Jay

    I agree that it seems it wasn’t pushed until there was compensation. It is a great deal, but it is a little sad that some bloggers will only post information like this when it is in their best interest. If they talk about the card while there is no compensation.. and then compensation comes around later they kind of screw themselves.

    Ben I did notice that you ranked this as #10 on the best cards to apply for in May, but you did not give the best referral link (the “unofficial” link that gave the $100 credit). This is disappointing as the link that included the $100 credit has been on the Flyertalk wiki for some time now.

  5. Do the certs have to be used on weekend nights? I have some planned travel coming up during week.

  6. @Mike, yes, these are weekend certificate nights. Weekend being Friday, Saturday and Sunday. But some people have reported that they can be used also on Thursday, but never tried that myself.

  7. @ Lantean — Hah, I’m not sure if hotels sell gift cards. I assume dining at a hotel restaurant might work, though.

  8. Lucky, good to know. I rarely ever pay for my hotel stays anymore. I was assuming that you’d have to complete a paid stay and spend $100 for some reason. Good to know that I can just spend that $100 for a nice meal at the restaurant.

  9. @ Bgriff — Correct. As a Diamond member you’re guaranteed lounge access, while as a Gold member you only receive it if you’re also upgraded to an executive level room. That being said, of all my stays as a Gold I’ve always been upgraded to an executive level room. And keep in mind if you’re not you still get restaurant breakfast, which is arguably as good, if not better, than lounge access.

  10. Great article! I just got my Hilton reserve card and activated it. When and how does the ‘Gold’ status get activated? Mine is still showing silver on the HHonors website. I tried calling Citi and Hilton but neither person knew the answer.

  11. @ Jeff — It should automatically update within a couple of weeks of activating the card, so I’d just give it a bit of time.

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