Citi® Hilton Honors™ Visa Signature® Card Review

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"Earn Great Points and Benefits With Hilton"

A high-earning card that comes with a lot of benefits, you won’t have trouble finding value if you frequent hotels in the Hilton Brand Portfolio.

Apply Now (at Citi's secure site)

Update: this card is no longer available. Existing accounts were transitioned in January 2018 to the Hilton Honors Card from American Express.

Room service, king sized beds, and cable TV: hallmarks of the hotel world. Travel isn’t always about flying, and many people enjoy the hotel much more than the flight! This card is for those people.

Do you travel and stay in hotels regularly for longer periods of time? Whether you’re a heavy traveler for work or for pleasure, you’ll find the Citi® Hilton Honors™ Visa Signature® Card earns in your favor.

Card Snapshot

The Ideal Cardholder

Couple Enjoying Hotel Bed
If you stay in hotels frequently and use your own credit card, you may want to consider the Citi® Hilton Honors™ Visa Signature® Card.

Sign-Up Bonus, Points, and Silver Elite Status

With the Citi® Hilton Honors™ Visa Signature® Card, you’ll be earning points at 6x for all Hilton portfolio stays; 3x for gas stations, supermarkets and drugstores; and 2x everywhere else.

When using your card to earn points, you earn them as bonus points and they accrue in your Honors account. Unfortunately, these don’t go toward your elite status.

However, as another bonus of owning the card, you automatically earn Silver Status for being a card holder.

Silver members get a 15% bonus on points earned for your stay (not from your Hilton credit card), as well as some other perks like 5th night free (on standard 5-night redemptions) and late check out.

Bottom Line:  The Citi® Hilton Honors™ Visa Signature® Card earns 6x points at Hilton; 3x points for gas, supermarkets, and drugstores; and 2x everywhere else.

More Elite Status Benefits

Earning status in the loyalty program is made easier using the Citi® Hilton Honors™ Visa Signature® Card. You automatically get Silver status as discussed above, and you have the opportunity to fast track to Gold status.

To do this, just complete 4 stays in Hilton brand hotels within the first 90 days (instead of the typical 20 stays in a year). Not too difficult for a frequent traveler!

Gold status can also be earned by spending $20,000 or more on the card in a given year. If you’re using this as your main card, after a year you would likely hit this threshold.

With Gold status, your bonus point earnings increase to 25%, you get all the other benefits of the previous tiers, and you get additional upgrades and points depending on which hotel you’re staying at.

If you stay enough times to make Diamond, you’ll get even sweeter deals!

Bottom Line: Gain automatic Silver status when you own the Citi® Hilton Honors™ Visa Signature® CardFast track to Gold by completing 4 stays within the first 90 days!

Other Perks of the Citi® Hilton Honors™ Visa Signature® Card

One great thing about the Citi Hilton credit card is it does not have an annual fee. Most cards that earn toward partnered programs like hotels and airlines have annual fees, so it is refreshing to see one that doesn’t!

This makes it a lot easier when deciding whether or not to open the card since it doesn’t have much of a downside.

Additionally, if you spend $1,000 or more at Hilton portfolio hotels in a given year, you will automatically earn 10,000 bonus points.

Finally, it’s worth noting that as a Visa Signature cardholder, you get access to all the benefits of that program. These include a free concierge service; discounts on events, museums, transportation; and a host of other things.

The Visa Signature page is like a discount coupon site, so search through it to find things that might be of value to you.

Bottom Line:  There is no annual fee on the Citi® Hilton Honors™ Visa Signature® CardAlso, if you spend $1,000 or more in a year, you will automatically earn 10,000 bonus Hilton Honors points!

Drawbacks of the Hilton Credit Card and Honors

While you do earn points at a higher rate on the Citi® Hilton Honors™ Visa Signature® Card, one caveat is that the program uses a larger scale points system.

Hilton claims that rewards can be redeemed for a room with as little as 5,000 points a night, but more commonly seen are rooms from 20,000-50,000 points per night.

This is a large difference, and some rooms cost as much as 70,000 points. It will be up to you to determine how to use them. You could potentially earn many redemptions, as long as the places you want to travel are in areas with cheaper rewards rates.

A room at 40,000 points may typically cost $185, which values each point at around $0.0046. That’s about half the amount a typical rewards point is worth.

You can also use points to get room upgrades, but this is more confusing and not very standardized, so you’ll have to check what rates you can get for the room you are looking for.

However, Gold and Diamond members already receive complimentary room upgrades when available, so this may not be necessary!

Bottom Line: Hilton’s scale is different than that of other programs, so while you earn a lot of points with the Citi® Hilton Honors™ Visa Signature® Card, that doesn’t always translate into a ton of redemptions.

Alternative Hotel and Travel Rewards Credit Cards

If after reading this, you don’t feel the Citi® Hilton Honors™ Visa Signature® Card is the card for you, then you might want to try another rewards card.

The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express is a great hotel card alternative, and earns 2x Starpoints at both Starwood and Marriott properties. These points transfer to lots of great travel partners.

You also get elite status benefits and the card typically comes with a good sign-up bonus.

Another hotel card is the Chase Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card. You can earn 5x Marriott Rewards points at Marriott and Starwood hotels, earn a yearly free night, elite status benefits, and more.

These points are not as flexible and useful as Starpoints, but there are still many options for using your points.

Finally, a popular flexible point travel rewards card is the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express, which earns 3x points for airfare booked directly with the airline and 2x points at US gas stations, restaurants, and supermarkets.

Card Conclusion

Depending on your situation (work, number of cards already open, etc.), the Citi® Hilton Honors™ Visa Signature® Card may offer some benefit for you.

With high earning potential, some decent fringe benefits, and no annual fee, you will likely not find much of a downside to the card.

Great Card If

  • You love Hilton hotels and want a card to help you quickly earn more points
  • You want a card with no annual fee that still offers decent benefits
  • You plan on purchasing everything on the card, which will allow you to earn the additional bonuses offered
  • You want to boost yourself to Gold status quickly to take advantage of the added benefits

Don't Get If

  • Hilton is not your go-to hotel chain and you have a different preference some of the time
  • Transferring airline points is part of your strategy

Card Fees

  • Annual Fee
    • $0
  • Foreign Transaction Fees
    3%
  • Interest Rates ?
    • 15.99% - 19.99% variable APR based on your creditworthiness
  • Late fees ?
    • Up to $35
    • Penalty APR of 29.99%
  • Balance Transfers
    • $5 or 3% fee of the amount of each transfer (whichever is greater)
    • 15.99% - 19.99% variable APR based on your creditworthiness
  • Cash Advance APR
    • $10 or 5% of the amount (whichever is greater)
    • 25.99% APR

U.P. Pro Tips

Not only can you earn all of the bonus points, but from time to time Hilton puts out offers to get double or triple bonus points, rather than just the 5 bonus points from the Earning Style option.

This means you could earn 10 to 20 extra points per dollar while you use your Citi® Hilton Honors™ Visa Signature® Card!

Bonus Points in Pocket
Hilton often puts out double and triple points earning offers, so keep an eye out to earn a ton of extra points!

Best Way To Maximize Points

There are a bunch of different ways to earn Hilton points with your Citi® Hilton Honors™ Visa Signature® Card. You’ll do best by implementing multiple strategies, as many Honors rewards require a higher number of points:

Tip #1: Use your card whenever you stay at Hilton Hotels. This ensures you earn 6x points on the card and 10-15x points through the program (depending on your status).

Tip #2: Go into your Honors profile right away and sign up for the bonus earning style; you’ll get either 5 extra bonus points per stay, or 1+ airline miles (depending on the airline you choose).

Tip #3: Once you hit Gold or Diamond status, be sure to ask the hotel for the bonus point offerings for each stay. You can earn between 100-2,000 extra bonus points on top of your regular points just for staying at certain hotel chains.

Tip #4: Watch for deals from Hilton, as they often offer double or triple points for stays. This means your 10-15 points could go up to 20-45 points per stay for the Honors earned points.

Tip #5: You can only earn base points on up to 2 rooms at a time, as well as bonus points on normal rates. Bonus points from other offers are only available on a single room.

Tip #6: Make any purchases through the hotel on your room bill to ensure they get counted as a hotel. Sometimes, the restaurants and other services do not get counted in the hotel category when paying separately.

Tip #7: Transfer points earned through other cards or programs to your Hilton Honors account if they are a partner. This way you earn maximum points in multiple card categories rather than just the 2-3x on the card.

Tip #8: Find ways to reach status more quickly, such as staying in a hotel only one night if your travel is flexible. Sometimes earning status can be quicker if you earn it through stays. Higher status equals more points!

Bonus Tip:  Earn lots of extra points when you sign up to the dining program and head out to eat for the night!

VIP Status
Getting a higher elite status helps you to earn many more points because you will earn bonus points for your stay, which increases each tier you move up!

Best Way To Redeem Points

Because the Honors system is very complex, it is difficult to determine the best way to redeem your points once you’ve gone through the trouble of earning them. Hopefully this section helps sort some of that confusion out:

Tip #1: Look for redemptions at the lowest amount of points (it starts at 5,000). Although you may have a minimum standard of expectation for room quality, it can vary drastically between chains and even hotels within the same chain.

Look for reviews and ask the hotel about their rooms to see if staying at a cheaper rewards rate room might hold the same quality as a more expensive one.

Tip #2: Consider both the split pay option as well as the normal points option for rewards. Sometimes the value can be better in one or the other.

For example, a room at a Hampton Inn that would cost $124 for a Friday night in Austin, TX could be redeemed for 30,000 points (a value of $0.004 per point). The split pay option costs $50 and 12,000 points, which in this case is almost the same value.

Checking similar deals, another room had a better value per point if you just redeemed the whole room with points ($0.006 versus $0.004).

Tip #3: Use the 5th night free option and book in multiples of 5 to get the best value. Booking a five night redemption will get you a discount equal to one night.

You can do this for 4 free nights on up to a 20-night consecutive stay, and it will be automatically credited during your redemption.

Tip #4: While there are Premium Room Rewards available, they are usually much lower value than a normal redemption. One calculation we did came in at around $0.003 versus $0.004+ in the examples above.

If you’re interested in redeeming for a Premium Room, be sure to calculate a comparison for a normal room reward.

Hilton Honors partners with many different companies. Included in the brand are the following.

Hilton Brand Hotels:  Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Curio, DoubleTree, Embassy Suites, Waldorf Astoria, Conrad, Canopy, Hampton, Homewood Suites, Home 2, Hilton Grand Vacations

They also have a variety of partners that aren’t in the airline business.

Other Partners: LifeLock, Energy Plus, Diner’s Club, DirecTV, Avis, Car Club, National, Alamo, Europcar, Sixt, CruisesOnly, One SimCard, Travelling Connect, Shop-to-Earn Mall, Budget, and Priority Pass.

Airline Partners and Transfer Ratios

If you’re the type who wants to transfer points to airlines after earning them on your Hilton credit card, you’ll need to know that the transfer ratios differ per airline.

While many other programs offer a 1:1 transfer ratio, Honors actually has a lower ratio depending on the airline. For example, Hawaiian Airlines offers a ratio of 1.5:1 (Honors:Hawaiian), while Olympic Air offers a 2:1 exchange.

Airline Partners: British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Air China, American Airlines, Turkish Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Airlines, Lufthansa, and Virgin Australia.

The Gritty Details: Everything Else You Need To Know

The sign-up bonus is only available to new cardmembers (although it does not specify whether this applies to all Citi cards, or this card specifically). Your bonus points will show up in your account within 4-6 weeks after meeting the minimum requirements.

When you are making purchases at gas stations, supermarkets, and drugstores, make sure you check to see if the merchant is properly coded for these categories, otherwise you may not earn your 3x points.

As you have likely read above, the Hilton Honors program is quite confusing.

Make sure you have signed up for all the additional benefits through your Honors profile, and always ask the desk agents to confirm that you’re receiving all the points you should be for your stay.

Other Unique Features

The rest of the features and benefits you get from being a Citi® Hilton Honors™ Visa Signature® Card member are listed below.

Complimentary Silver status in Honors – You’re automatically given Silver status in the program, which is equivalent to 4 stays or 10 nights.

The value of this benefit alone could be worth getting the card since there is no annual fee. Silver status earns you 15% bonus points on all stays.

Fast track to Gold status – Within your first 90 days of being a cardmember, simply stay 4 nights at any Hilton hotels to get Gold status.

This is an incredible benefit as well, as you will begin to earn many more points (25% bonus) and it usually takes 40 nights (20 stays) to earn Gold.

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

Alternatively, you can earn Gold status any year you make $20k or more in purchases. However, the 4 stays option is likely much, much faster and cheaper!

Earn 10,000 bonus points – For each year you spend $1,000 or more on Hilton brand stays, you will be credited 10k bonus points to your account. Your card must be open and in good standing at the end of the year to earn the points.

Car rental insurance – Rent a car and deny their insurance, and you are eligible for up to $50,000 in damages for accidents during the car rental (if it is less than 30 days).

Visa Signature Concierge service – The concierge is available to help you with whatever you may need.

From making reservations to getting you some research on the best spots to see wherever you are, the Visa Concierge service is waiting for you. Simply call the number and you’ll be connected with a service representative.

There have been mixed reviews on what they can do, but go ahead and give it a try!

Emergency cash and card replacement – If you’re traveling and need cash, you can get a forward within one business day. Simply call the customer service number to coordinate with a bank near your location where you can pick up the cash.

Visa Signature Entertainment – You can find deals on events, museums, and other attractions. Search your credit card portal to connect and find current deals. Visa Signature Sports is also included, which gets you access to sporting events.

Visa Signature Fine Wine and Food – This allows you access to VIP culinary events and special savings at retailers and restaurants.

Visa Signature Shopping – Another online portal offering discounts on shopping-related items such as clothes and electronics.

Extended warranty – Check your member agreement to make sure this applies (it is not a standard benefit). If it does, you can double your warranty up to a maximum of 1 year on all warranties 3 years or less.

This benefit will pay out $10,000 in case a repair, replacement, or refund is necessary. It is a secondary benefit, and cannot be used in conjunction with the manufacturer’s warranty (you must try to get it from them first).

It also excludes super high-dollar items and many other things, but it could be worth it for some higher priced gadgets and toys.

Travel and emergency assistance – This is another service you will need to confirm since it’s not standard. For emergency travel arrangements, medical needs, travel snafus, and more, you get 24/7 access to an assistant to help you.

In stressful situations when you need someone you know will speak English, this can be very useful! While the service is free, any third-party contractors you get will cost you money.

Photo Credits/Credit/Copyright Attribution:
Couple Enjoying Hotel: pio3/Shutterstock
Bonus in Pocket: Gajus/Shutterstock
Friends Dining Laughter: hidesy/Shutterstock
Stylish Travel Maps: ra2studio/Shutterstock

FAQ

Is the Citi® Hilton Honors™ Visa Signature® Card worth it?

The card offers a variety of benefits, the ability to earn tons of Hilton Honors points, and has a pretty good sign-up bonus. And the card is free each year!

You get complimentary Silver Status, the ability to fast-track to Gold status in the first 3 months, a variety of insurances, and other Visa Signature fringe benefits.

There is really no downside to owning this card other than the steps you’ll have to take to manage your credit opening it.

One thing to note, however: the card does come with a foreign transaction fee, so international travelers may not find this the most valuable option.

What is the Citi® Hilton Honors™ Visa Signature® Card sign in?

The login for the card is through Citibank. You can check your statements, purchases, and points from there.

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

What are the benefits of the Citi® Hilton Honors™ Visa Signature® Card?

The Citi® Hilton Honors™ Visa Signature® Card gives you complimentary Silver status in the Honors program, as well as the ability to fast track to Gold status within 90 days by staying 4 nights at any Hilton hotel.

Alternatively, you’ll earn Gold if you spend more than $20,000 on the card in a year.

You’ll earn 2-6 points per dollar spent plus 10,000 bonus points if you spend $1,000 or more on Hilton hotels in a year. Hilton Honors also comes with a variety of partners.

Finally, you’ll have access to Visa Signature benefits such as a concierge, additional premium shopping portals, and insurances: car rental, travel emergency, and extended warranty.

Does the Citi® Hilton Honors™ Visa Signature® Card offer 0% APR?

No, there is no 0% APR offer at this time for the card.

What is the foreign transaction fee for the Citi® Hilton Honors™ Visa Signature® Card?

The card comes with a 3% foreign transaction fee.

Do points expire if I have the Citi® Hilton Honors™ Visa Signature® Card?

As long as you have activity on your account every 12 months, your points will not expire. This means that you need to earn points, redeem points, or stay at a hotel within the 12 months.

What is the annual fee for the Citi® Hilton Honors™ Visa Signature® Card?

This credit card does not have an annual fee ($0).

Where is my Honors number located?

You can find your number in a few different ways. First, if you have a Honors loyalty program card, your number will be on the front.

Next, you can check for the email you received when signing up for the program, or check the marketing emails they send out; your number will be in there.

If you can’t find any of those, you can use the “forgot my password” tool to send an email with your information. Finally, you can call the customer service line and ask them. Your number will not be on your card.

What is Hilton Honors Silver status?

This is the second tier of four in the Honors status system. Blue is the starting tier, Silver the second, Gold the third, and Diamond is the fourth.

You automatically earn Silver status for being a member of the card.

As a Silver member (which typically takes 10 nights or 4 stays to achieve), you earn 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 fifth 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?

As a Citi® Hilton Honors™ Visa Signature® Card member, you will always have Silver status in the club.

If you earn a higher status (Gold or Diamond), then your status is good through the entire year you earned it as well as the next full year, and up through March 31st of the year after.

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