Citi Hilton Reserve Card Increased Sign-Up Bonus Ending Soon

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As I first posted about in mid-April, the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card is offering a limited time increased sign-up bonus. It’s worth noting that this limited time sign-up bonus will be pulled in less than a week, on June 8, 2015.

As a reminder, the terms of the promotional bonus are as follows:

  • 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

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 a couple of years ago, whereby top hotels went from 50,000 points per night to up to 95,000 points per night.


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 and/or lounge access, and bonus points
  • 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. That alone is why I hold onto the card year after year.

View from 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 when I first got the card, 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.


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

While we’ve seen a similar limited time sign-up bonus in the past, I don’t ever recall seeing a better sign-up bonus than this for the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card. So if you’re interested you only have a few days left to apply under this publicly available offer.

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  1. Are the two free night certificates getting pulled? Or is it just the $100 statement credit?

  2. @ Bgriff — They’re valid for a year from whenever the certificates are issued (shortly after having the statement close when you complete minimum spend, most likely).

  3. Lucky, I highly recommend you undertake a future Conrad Seoul stay. The hotel is on par with the Park Hyatt, but it is half the price. The views of the Seoul skyline from the Executive Lounge are spectacular. The 37th floor Bar & Grill is on par with the PH Tokyo’s New York Bar & Grill, but it is much more reasonably priced. I think one of the reasons Hilton gets mixed reviews as a hotel brand is due in part to the large number of hotels under their brand. Try Hilton branded hotels at international locations which garner good reviews on tripadvisor. Happy travels.

  4. The most vibrant loyalty program out there right now is HHonors and the fastest growing hospitality company is Hilton Worldwide. Period.

    In May I was upgraded to a suite at Conrad Chicago without asking. I am now at Hilton Toronto where I was upgraded to corner suite without asking. Try getting such upgrades as a HH Gold and maybe the claim of no differences between HH Diamonds and Golds would have some merit. To claim equivalence of the two HH elite levels simply because they both get free breakfast is just silly because it sets the bar so low that the same claim equivalence should be made between the top two elite levels of pretty much every program, except for Hyatt which, for all practical purposes, has only one elite level 😉

    Time to change that worn out, outdated tune!

  5. @chitownflyer : thanks for your Conrad Seoul review. As a Seoul native (but now i am living in ME), I’ve heard some good things about the property. I am told that in that specific property, there is a huge difference in treatment for Gold & Diamond members (it’s probably because there are a horde of gold members in the country.. lol). As HHonors Diamond I am so looking forward to staying there. Although I am Hyatt Diamond member too, I am much more inclined to stay in Conrad Seoul than PH Seoul due to location, skyline, room design & color etc.

  6. Just in case, anybody has an opinion on Dubai hotels? I am struggling to choose a hotel with my dad’s upcoming visit from Asia. I ruled out all hyatt properties there (Grand hyatt, Hyatt Regency Dubai and Park Hyatt) for some reasons, now am considering JW Marriott Marquis / Conrad Dubai / Intercon Festival City. (note: my tier is hyatt diamond, marriott platinum, hilton diamond, IHG plat, SPG plat). For the moment I am most inclined to Intercon Festival but the problem is that we won’t have a lounge access there and not sure if I can get a nice upgrade with Plat status. Grosvenor Dubai would be perfect but point redemption requirement per night seems too high to me.

  7. I just did two nights at the Conrad Koh Samui using my weekend certificates. Tremendous value!

  8. @jessie — I stayed at PH Seoul a year and half ago and thought it was a great hotel. I was in Seoul for a conference and the PH was very convenient because it is located literally across the street from the Seoul Convention and Exhibition (Coex) Center, the conference venue. Based on @chitownflyer’s strong recommendation of Conrad Seoul, that is where I am staying when I am in Seoul again later this year…

  9. @jessie — If you are HHhonors Diamond I highly recommend the Conrad Dubai. It opened in 2013 so it’s brand new, and the Executive Suites are outrageous. I also recommend taking advantage of the limo service from DXB, which can be arranged through concierge. I was picked up in a Maserati Quattro Porte, and then whisked straight up to my upgraded suite for in-room check-in. Great breakfast buffet as well.

  10. @ jessie — What time of year are you going? And if I may ask, why did you rule out the Hyatt properties?

  11. Just met minimum spend with this card. Assuming that certificates are deposited into a member’s HHonors account can they be applied online by reserving through the Hilton website? Thanks

  12. @DCS: PH Hyatt Seoul (Gangnam) and Conrad Seoul (Gangbuk) have almost completely opposite geographical locations, so I think one should just choose a hotel depending on their needs for location.

    @Andy: Thanks for tips. I am not sure, but based on travellers’ pics Conrad Dubai room design/furniture/color looked a bit boring compared to JW Marriott and others. If that limo service is not complimentary, we will just use Dubai Uber. hehe… lol.

    @ Lucky: My dad is visiting this August. I am not against any Hyatt properties in Dubai. We will spend some time in PH Abu Dhabi before heading to Dubai so decided to avoid similar resort style or mega-size hotels and I’d rather try a skyscraper-style hotels in Dubai to see the skyline of the city. That’s all.

    I have a Chase IHG Free night certs so really wanted to use in InterCon Dubai Festival. Even considered to enrolled in Ambassador program now but I don’t think even ambassador membership will get me a guaranteed lounge access. IHG loyalty program is really frustrating !

    Regarding Conrad Seoul: I can’t remember all differences in benefits/treatment for Gold and Diamond members in Conrad seoul discussed in Korean community. One thing that I remember is that Gold member doesn’t get an access to excellent sauna facilities (Diamond will have).

  13. For the annual $10k free night, is it only a weekend night like the two certs, or can you use them any day of the week? If any day that would be great, can combine with spouse’s two free certs.

  14. Damn, I was hoping for an anytime voucher. It’s still better than limited category stays though.

  15. Do you know if the $100 spend in the first 90 days needs to be in the USA or would a stay in Europe qualify? Also, if it would qualify, do you think it would have to be charged in USD or would Euro be OK? I don’t see anything in the fine print about it.

  16. @ bluedevil — It can be anywhere in the world, and can be charged in another currency (it will be converted anyway).

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