Citi® Hilton Honors™ Reserve Card Review

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"More Points and More Benefits!"

With tons of points, benefits, and perks, this card is for those who choose to stay at Hilton hotels above other brands.

Card Summary Table

The Ideal Cardholder

For you, traveling is the name of the game. When it’s time to book a room, there’s no question it will be at a hotel in the Hilton Portfolio.

Luckily you always have plenty of places to choose from. After all, there are over 4,600 Hilton-brand locations in 100 countries!

Paying for your stay can be just as easy with Citi® Hilton Honors™ Reserve Card. It earns you points on each stay and delivers a wide variety of perks to make life comfortable.

Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card is Great for Hotel Vacations
You can earn Hilton Honors points easily when you use your Citi® Hilton Honors™ Reserve Card throughout the year.

Sign-Up Bonus, Categories and Elite Gold Status

The current sign-up bonus for the Citi® Hilton Honors™ Reserve Card is detailed in the card summary table above.

Then earn 10 points for every $1 you spend on hotels in the Hilton Portfolio, 5 points for every $1 you spend on airline and car rental purchases, and 3 points for every $1 you spend on other purchases!

Best of all, you automatically achieve Elite Gold Status in the Hilton Honors loyalty program just for being a card member. With Gold status, you get a whopping 25% bonus on the Honors base points you earn!

Bottom Line: The Citi® Hilton Honors™ Reserve Card earns 3-10x points and gives you Gold Elite status, which allows you to earn 25% more bonus points while staying at Hiltons!

Other Gold Status Benefits

Your Hilton Honors Gold status is a permanent perk for as long as you have the card. It also gets additional features, such as a 5th-night free when you stay a minimum of 5 nights with a Standard Room Reward.

Additionally, enjoy free in-room and lobby internet access, late-night check-out, and complimentary access to fitness centers and health clubs where available.

Gold status usually requires 20 stays, 40 nights, or 75,000 base points, making this a huge benefit.

Why not keep going to reach Diamond status? It takes 30 stays, 60 nights, or 120,000 bonus points, so you’ve got a great head start. Stay at Hilton hotels frequently and it will add up!

Another way to reach the Diamond tier is by spending $40,000 with the card. Use the card to charge all your monthly expenses, and this may be easier than you think.

At this level, you’ll get a 50% points bonus on Hilton Honors points as well as other perks!

Bottom Line: Earn permanent Hilton Honors Gold status plus the chance to earn Diamond if you spend $40,000 in a calendar year with the Citi® Hilton Honors™ Reserve Card.

International Travel With the Card and More

Bring the Citi® Hilton Honors™ Reserve Card when you travel internationally and enjoy no foreign transaction fees. Plus, because the card comes with an EMV chip, you can make global purchases hassle-free.

Because it’s a Citi card, you get all of those benefits too, as well as a host of Visa Signature travel, purchase, and shopping benefits. See the Gritty Details section for more information.

Be sure not to overlook the value of these “simple” benefits, as many airline cards actually have a foreign transaction fee of 2% to 3%, which would negate any points you earn while overseas!

One additional benefit that doesn’t fit in with the others is an extra free night certificate every year you spend $10,000 or more on the card. This free certificate is awarded on your anniversary date each year.

Bottom Line: With the Citi® Hilton Honors™ Reserve Card, you have no foreign transaction fees and also earn an additional free night per year when you spend $10,000 or more on the card!

Drawbacks of the Citi® Hilton Honors™ Reserve Card

The biggest drawback of this card is the $95 annual fee. However, compared to other cards the cost is competitive.

Another thing to consider is that you are required to redeem more points for a Hilton Honors reward than in other loyalty programs. Fortunately, you earn points quickly at 3-10 points per $1. But it’s still important to be aware of their value!

For example, the Standard Reward value is $4.00-$6.00 per 1,000 points. While you can get a one-night stay for 5,000 points, you will be limited to rooms in Category 1. You’ll need 20,000-60,000 points per night to get a mid-level room.

Hotel Category 10 is the highest tier and requires 70,000-95,000 points for 1 night, more than 12 times the amount of a Category 1 room.

Of course, with the sign-up bonus you get 2 weekend nights automatically!

Bottom Line: There aren’t many benefits to the Citi® Hilton Honors™ Reserve Card beside the high points earning potential. The $95 fee can be intimidating, and you need to understand that Hilton Honors awards cost many more points than other programs.

Alternatives to the Citi® Hilton Honors™ Reserve Card

If you want an alternative Hilton credit card, there are a few available from Citi and American Express.

The Citi® Hilton Honors™ Visa Signature® Card has no annual fee and a slightly different structure than the Citi® Hilton Honors™ Reserve Card.

You will earn 2-6 points per dollar and will be able to earn a sign up bonus when using the Citi® Hilton Honors™ Visa Signature® Card.

Alternatively, the Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express earns 3-7 points per dollar and is also a no annual fee card. A unique offer of this card is you earn 500 bonus points each time you book with your Amex card online.

Both of these alternative cards only offer Silver elite status versus the Gold status, but if you aren’t actually staying in that many Hilton Hotels throughout the year this may be the better choice anyway.

You can earn all your points with your normal, everyday spending without having to pay an annual fee, and then redeem your points for a vacation night sometime in the year.

Card Conclusion

The Citi® Hilton Honors™ Reserve Card is a very high-earning points card, earning 3x points for all purchases, 5x points for airlines and car rentals, and 10x bonus points at Hilton Hotels.

For a high spender, this card could mean lots of extra Hilton points during the year!

Finally, you get Gold status and an array of other travel and card insurances that could be useful to you.

Bottom Line: Get the opportunity to earn mega-points, and a ton of perks; together, these make the Citi® Hilton Honors™ Reserve Card a decent option for travelers.

Great Card If

  • You are a frequent traveler
  • You like staying at Hilton hotels
  • You want a card that earns points quickly

Don't Get If

  • You usually stay at hotels outside the Hilton brand
  • You want a card for frequent flyer miles
  • You won’t use the free 2 weekend nights

U.P. Pro Tips

Members of the Hilton Honors loyalty program earn 10 points per dollar spent on Hilton hotel rooms. Add that to the 10 points you earn as a Citi® Hilton Honors™ Reserve Card member, and that’s 20 points per dollar!

And that’s before the 25% bonus points you earn with your Gold status!

Use the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card at Hotel to Earn 20x Points
Use your Citi® Hilton Honors™ Reserve Card at your Hilton Hotel stays to earn lots of bonus points for your stays. It is great for a frequent business traveler!

How To Use the Citi® Hilton Honors™ Reserve Card: The Upgraded Way™

Best Way To Maximize Points

Many of the most attractive rewards in the Hilton Honors program require a lot of points. Therefore, it’s smart to earn points in as many ways as possible

Here are some suggestions for using multiple strategies to earn more points with the Citi® Hilton Honors™ Reserve Card.

Tip #1: Put all of your hotel expenses onto your Hilton hotel bill to get the most points possible. For instance, get 10x points for room charges like telephone calls and room service.

Tip #2: Use the card for all of your travel spending. Remember, you earn 5x points through airlines and car rentals; don’t forget about 3x points for everyday spending!

You’ll earn points faster and get closer to achieving Diamond status this way.

Tip #3: Sign in to your Hilton Honors account and set your My Way Earning Style for more points. You can choose bonus points or airline/rail miles from participating travel partners.

Once you set your preference, you get 10 base points plus 5 extra bonus points OR 1 mile per every $1 spent on your room (depending on the carrier.)

Tip #4: When you stay at Hilton hotels, ask the front desk about current offers for elite status members. You may be able to earn points you weren’t aware of just by checking in.

Tip #5: Along the same lines, watch for periodic Hilton credit card promotions. Every now and then Hilton offers the chance to double (or even triple!) your points with a stay or purchase.

Tip #6: Earn points with Hilton Honors partners. Get 500 points by renting at Avis, Budget, and Sixt, up to 1,000 at Europcar, and up to 5,500 points at Car Club. You can also earn points by booking with Cruises Only.

Tip #7: You can earn Diamond status (and a 50% point bonus!) by accumulating stays. If your travel is flexible, consider staying only 1 night in a hotel, and watch your stays add up!

Bonus Tip:  Use the dining program to earn lots of points without doing any extra work!

Earn 5x Points Renting Cars with Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card
Earn 5x points when renting cars with the Citi® Hilton Honors™ Reserve Card, and potentially earn a bonus of 500 points when renting with Hilton Honors partners.

Best Way To Redeem Points

The Hilton Honors redemption system can be a little confusing. We try to break it down for you in this section so you can decide how to redeem all the points you’ve earned.

Tip #1: You can start redeeming points for room rewards with 5,000 points. In some cases, it may make sense to stay in a room at a cheaper rewards rate, but it will depend on your minimum expectation for room quality.

Since rooms can vary drastically depending on the chain, it’s a good idea to check reviews online and even call the hotel before making a decision about how many points to use for your stay.

The following table shows how many points must be redeemed for different hotel categories:

1 5,000 Points
2 10,000 Points
3 20,000 Points
4 20,000 to 30,000 Points
5 30,000 to 40,000 Points
6 30,000 to 50,000 Points
7 30,000 to 60,000 Points
8 40,000 to 70,000 Points
9 50,000 to 80,000 Points
10 70,000 to 95,000 Points

Tip #2: Hilton Honors gives you the option of paying for your room using a Points & Money combination, which is sometimes the better deal. Check the math for both the split pay and normal pay options before choosing.

For instance, a room at the Hampton Inn that would cost you $124 could be redeemed for 30,000 points (or $.04 per point). If you used the Points & Money option, it would cost $50 and 12,000 points, which is about the same value.

See the table below for Points & Money requirements:

Points & Money Comparison
Hotel Category Rewards Points Points & Money
1 5,000 2,000 pts + $30
2 10,000 pts 4,000 + $35
3 20,000 pts 8,000 + $40
4 30,000 pts 12,000 + $50
5 40,000 pts 16,000 + $65
6 50,000 pts 20,000 + $85
7 60,000 pts 24,000 + $100
8 70,000 pts 28,000 + $125
9 80,000 pts 32,000 + $150
10 95,000 pts 38,000 + $200

*Courtesy of the Honors Website.

Tip #3: Take advantage of the 5th-night free option so you don’t have to use as many points. Just book your stays in multiples of 5, and you will only have to redeem 4 nights worth of points.

You can do this on a stay of up to 20 consecutive nights to get a total of 4 free nights out of the deal!

Tip #4: Before redeeming points for a Premium Room award, make sure it is a good value compared to a Standard Room award. In many cases, the Premium award has less value.

For instance, after doing the calculations, we found a $0.001 difference per point between the two.

Tip #5: Transfer Hilton Honors points you’ve earned with your Citi® Hilton Honors™ Reserve Card for flights with a participating airline partner.

The transfer ratio below is for flights in the Americas. Find a list of all participating airlines worldwide here.

Hilton Honors Points Transfer
British Airways 25,000 6,500 Premier Kilometers
American Airlines 10,000 1,500 AAdvantage Miles
United Airlines 10,000 1,000 MileagePlus Miles
Delta Airlines 10,000 1,000 Delta Miles
JetBlue 10,000 1,000 TrueBlue Points
Aeroplan 10,000 1,000 Aeroplan Miles
Frontier Airlines 10,000 1,500 EarlyReturns Miles
LAN 25,000 6,500 LANPASS Kilometers
Alaska Airlines 10,000 1,000 Mileage Plan Miles
Avianca 10,000 1,000 LifeMiles
Hawaiian Airlines 10,000 1,500 HawaiianMiles
Virgin America 10,000 1,000 Elevate Points


Card Math

So far in this review, we’ve examined the ways to earn and redeem points with the Citi® Hilton Honors™ Reserve Card. In this section, we will look at how well the card stands up to math in terms of value.

How To Earn Honors Points

Just to refresh your memory, there are 3 main ways to accumulate points: base points, Elite Status bonus, and Choose Your Style.

Base points: Earn 10x points for each dollar spent on rooms, although there are some exceptions (which we’ll get into below).

Elite Status bonus: Earn bonus points off of the base point rate. Silver status holders earn 15%. However, with automatic Gold status, Citi® Hilton Honors™ Reserve Card members earn 25%. (Achieve Diamond status to earn 50%!)

Choose Your Style: Select an “Earning Style” (bonus points or bonus miles) which will be applied for each stay. You won’t earn this benefit if you don’t sign up for it in your Hilton Honors account, so sign up as soon as possible!

This table shows how you can earn base points and bonus points at each of the 3 tiers.

Choose Your Style Bonus (Choose One)
Tier Base Points Elite Status Bonus Points Bonus Points Bonus Miles
Silver 10 1.5 5 1+
Gold 10 2.5 5 1+
Diamond 10 5 5 1+

Stays at Home2 Suites only earn 5x points. Bonus points for Home2 Suites based on Elite Status are 0.75, 1.25, and 2.5.

There are so many combinations that we won’t detail all of them here, so take a look at the FAQS to learn more. For the math examples in this section, you can assume we’re earning at the normal rates.

Earning Points: A Sample Calculation

We’ll use our model families as references when calculating how many points you could potentially rack up in 1 year through hotel spending only.

Since the card offers Gold Elite status, we will assume everyone has that. We’ll also assign each family the points earning style.

Family Spend Card Rate Honors Rate Total Rate (Card + HH) Honors Points Earned
The Kennedys $1,800 10x (10x + 2.5x + 5x) =  17.5x 27.5x 49,500
The Jetsons $6,000 10x (10x + 2.5x + 5x) =  17.5x 27.5x 165,000
The Hartnells $10,500 10x (10x + 2.5x + 5x) =  17.5x 27.5x 288,750

*The total rate of earning is calculated from all sources, and then the total points are calculated for the hotel spend of each of the families.

Based on these figures, the families earn between 49,500 and 288,750 points in a year. And that’s before we add in the additional bonus points per stay for being Gold status!

Free Nights Earned in 1 Year

So now, our families have between 49,500 and 288,750 to spend!

The table below shows how many free nights each family could enjoy if they redeemed their points for a minimum Category 3 hotel.

Family # Free Nights
The Kennedys 1-2
The Jetsons 3-8
The Hartnells 3-14

Considering a room in this category could cost a minimum of $99, the value of these free nights can be anywhere from $99 to $1,386++!

Which is Better–Points or Miles

You might prefer to earn miles for your stays instead of points. In this case, the miles earnings for our families would be 1,800, 6,000, and 10,500 miles respectively.

Not a ton, but it may be enough to boost you to an award. But which is the better deal? Let’s look at an example.

Note that you will earn 5 Honors bonus points versus 1 mile. Taking the value of $0.004 per point we found above, the collective value of the 5 Honors bonus points (and 1 mile) is $0.02.

Based on the transfer ratio, we get 1,500 AAdvantage miles by transferring 10,000 Hilton Honors points.

At $0.004 per point, the 10k points are worth $40, and in reality could be worth even more! The AAdvantage miles are worth $30 at $0.002 a mile, so the Honors points win hands down.

But that’s just one example. Because transfer and earnings ratios vary, always consider the value of your options before transferring points.

Comparing Value of Points Versus Miles Hilton HHonors
While not this large of a difference, you should compare the value of earning points versus earning miles for you. If you have elite status, it is likely beneficial to earn the hotel points versus miles!

Math Conclusion and the Value of the Card

The value of the free nights you can earn with the Citi® Hilton Honors™ Reserve Card isn’t bad considering there is no annual free.

Also, remember that we just calculated potential points based on hotel spending…we didn’t even take into account the additional credit card points you would earn by using your card for other spending categories too!

When you add the 5x points for airline and car rental purchases plus 3x points for other purchases, you would definitely be able to redeem your points for even more free nights!

The Gritty Details: Everything Else You Need To Know

The sign-up bonus only applies to new cardmembers. Bonus points post to your account 4-6 weeks after you meet the minimum requirements.

We’ll admit, the Hilton Honors loyalty program is confusing! Make sure to sign up for all additional benefits through your Honors profile. In addition, always confirm that you are receiving the correct number of points with your desk agent.

Other Unique Features

Complimentary Gold status in Honors – You’re automatically given Gold status in the program, which is equivalent to 20 stays or 40 nights. Gold status earns you 25% bonus points on all stays.

Be sure to ask your desk agent to add your bonus points to your account for your stays at Homewood Suites, Waldorf Astoria, Conrad, Embassy Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, DoubleTree, Hampton, Home2, and Hilton Grand Vacations.

Worldwide travel accident insurance – Provides financial help after an accident.

Lost baggage – You may receive a refund of the purchase price of missing items or the cost to repair or replace them if your luggage is lost, stolen, or damaged by the common carrier.

Trip cancellation & interruption protection – When unforeseen events get in the way of a trip, you can get reimbursement for non-refundable expenses like change fees.

Unauthorized charge protection – $0 liability for all unauthorized charges.

Damage & theft purchase protection – Covers repairs or a refund if purchases are damaged or stolen within 120 days of purchase (90 days in NY).

Extended warranty – Adds 1 year to a regular warranty of 3 years or less.

Citi Price Rewind – Searches for the lowest price on registered items purchased at online merchants for 60 days. If the price is less than the original, you may receive the difference.

Travel and emergency assistance – Get 24/7 access to emergency travel arrangements, medical needs, and more.

Auto rental collision damage waiver – Receive up to $50,000 in damages for accidents during a car rental of less than 30 days when you rent a car and deny the agency’s insurance.

Visa Signature Concierge Service – The concierge is available to help you with whatever you may need, including making reservations.

Emergency cash disbursement/card replacement – Get a forward within 1 business day when traveling.

Visa Signature Entertainment – Find deals on museums, events, and attractions. Visa Signature Sports, which gives you access to sporting events, is also included.

Signature Fine Wine and Food – Receive access to VIP culinary events and special savings at restaurants and retailers.

Photo Credits/Credit/Copyright Attribution:
Woman Entering Hotel: Netfalls – Remy Musser/Shutterstock
Businessman Checking Into Hotel: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock
Handing Over Keys: Kekyalyaynen/Shutterstock
Elephant Balancing Ant: vexworldwide/Shutterstock


Is the Citi® Hilton Honors™ Reserve Card worth it?
While the card has a $95 annual fee, it does have a lot to offer. You get the opportunity to earn tons of Hilton Honors points, a variety of benefits, and a good sign-up bonus.

Just for being a cardmember, you receive complimentary Gold status as well as a variety of insurance and benefits from Citibank and Visa Signature.

The card can be a great option for people who travel regularly and stay at Hilton brand hotels.

What is the Citi® Hilton Honors™ Reserve Card login?
The login for the card is through Citibank. Once you log in, you can check your statements, purchases, and calculate your points.

To log in and check your Honors account information, including points deposited into your account, you need to use the Honors sign in page.

How do I earn points with the Citi® Hilton Honors™ Reserve Card?
Earn 10x points on Hilton hotel stays, 5x points on airline and car rental purchases, and 3x points on other purchases with the card.

You also earn a bonus of 25% points with your complimentary Gold status. Earn even more points by making purchases with Hilton Honors partners.

Is there a 0% APR offer for the Citi® Hilton Honors™ Reserve Card?
No, the card does not have a 0% APR offer.

What is the foreign transaction fee for the Citi® Hilton Honors™ Reserve Card?
There is no foreign transaction fee with the card.

When do Citi® Hilton Honors™ Reserve Card points expire?
Your points will not expire as long as you have activity on your account every 12 months. In other words, you need to either earn or redeem points or stay at a hotel within the 12 months.

Does the Citi® Hilton Honors™ Reserve Card have an annual fee?
Yes. The annual fee for the card is $95.

Where can I find my Honors number?
Your Honors number will not be on your Citi® Hilton Honors™ Reserve Card, but you can locate it a few different ways.

Start by checking the number on the front of your Hilton Honors loyalty card.

The number is also in the registration email from when you signed up for the program, as well as other Honors marketing emails.

If you still can’t find the number, use the “forgot my password” tool to request an email with your information or call customer service.

What is Hilton Honors Gold status?
Gold is the third tier of 4 in the Honors status system. Blue is the starting tier, Silver the second, Gold the third, and Diamond is the fourth.

You automatically earn Gold status for being a member of the Citi® Hilton Honors™ Reserve Card.

As a Gold member (which typically takes 40 nights or 20 stays to achieve), you earn 25% bonus points for staying at Hilton, get digital check-in, complimentary internet access, room preferences, late check-out, express check-out, and a second guest to stay for free.

You’ll also get your 5th night free if you redeem points for 5 nights at a standard rate. Finally, you get complimentary access to fitness clubs when available, and 2 bottles of water per stay.

When does Honors status expire?
With the Citi® Hilton Honors™ Reserve Card, you will always have Gold status with the club.

If you earn Diamond status, then your status is good through the entire year you earned it, the next full year, and up through March 31st of the year after.