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 Summary Table
- Card Bonus & Info (Partner Content)
- Card Provider
- Card Type(s):
- Card Focus:
- All Purchases
- Gas (Driving)
- Annual Fee
- Rewards Center
- Foreign Transaction Fees3%
- Typical UsersFrequent Travelers, Hobby Travelers
- Customer Service Number
1- 888-248-4226 (Available 24/7)
- Login Link
- PartnersHilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Curio, DoubleTree, Embassy Suites, Waldorf Astoria, Conrad, Canopy, Hampton, Homewood Suites, Home 2, Hilton Grand Vacations
- 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 Forwarding
- $10 or 5% of the amount (whichever is greater)
- 25.99% APR
The Ideal Cardholder
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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
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!
How To Use Citi® Hilton Honors™ Visa Signature® Card: The Upgraded Way
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!
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, e-miles, 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.
Hopefully you’ve gotten some great information from our Citi® Hilton Honors™ Visa Signature® Card review so far!
Now, let’s see how the card stacks up when we do the math. As usual, hard numbers are much more convincing than a bunch of discussion about benefits!
How You Earn Points in Honors
We’ll start by mentioning that the Honors program is quite complex compared to the others, so bear with us as we explain!
- Base Points: On rooms, you will typically earn 10x points for each dollar spent (there are some exceptions, see below).
- Choose Your Style*: You can earn more by choosing an additional “Earning Style,” which can be bonus points or bonus miles.
- Elite Status Bonus: Elite status bonuses are 15% (Silver), 25% (Gold), and 50% (Diamond). This only accrues as points and is calculated from the base point rate.
*Hot Tip: To get this benefit, you have to sign up for it in your Honors account, as you will NOT be automatically enrolled in it. Bonus miles vary per carrier, and there are dozens of partner to choose from; the standard is 1x mile.
This table summarizes how you can earn points based on your different tiers.
Choose Your Style Bonus (Choose One)
|Tier||Base Points||Elite Status Bonus Points||Bonus Points||Bonus Miles|
The exceptions for certain brands (Home2 Suites typically) are only earning 5x points, or earning 10x points on only portions of the room. If only earning 5x points, the bonus points will be 0, 0.75, 1.25, and 2.5.
We won’t detail everything here; take a look at the FAQ to learn more. The math examples will just assume we’re earning at the normal rates.
A Sample Calculation of Earned Points
Using our trusted families for reference, here’s how many points you could potentially rack up in a year through hotel spending.
Let’s assume the Kennedys are Silver, Jetsons are Gold, and Hartnells are Diamond. Let’s also assume they choose the points earning style.
|Family||Spend||Card Rate||Honors Rate||Total Rate (Card + HH)||Honors Points Earned|
|The Kennedys||$1,800||6x||10x+1.5x+5x = 16.5x||22.5x||40,500|
|The Jetsons||$6,000||6x||10x+2.5x+5x = 17.5x||23.5x||141,000|
|The Hartnells||$10,500||6x||10x+5x+5x = 20x||26x||273,000|
*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.
The families earn between 40,500 and 273,000 points in a year; more on what that means in a moment.
Additional Methods of Earning
But wait…there’s more! When you reach Gold and Diamond, you will earn additional bonus points (per stay rather than per dollar) at certain hotels.
You will have to choose between two options, so make sure to choose points if you want them.
These extra bonus points depend on the chain you’re staying with and differ for almost every one, but the range provided is the full range available.
|Family||Tier||Extra Bonus Points per stay (tier)||Number of Stays||Total Bonus Points|
*Potential bonus points that could be earned for higher level elite status members.
Adding these extra arrival gift bonus points into the previous amount earned, our final tally comes in at:
*Total points earned from spending on the card at hotels plus bonus points for elite status arrival gifts.
Putting the Points Into Perspective: Awards Rates
Hopefully you’re still with us! To put these point totals into perspective, let’s look at some room calculations.
Luckily, we don’t have to worry about an annual fee, so let’s just see if collecting all these points actually gets us anywhere.
Room awards are just as confusing, but Hilton does provide the below table for reference.
Getting a free room depends on the category of hotel, but also differs at times within that category. You can also split rewards by using points and money, which may save you money and points overall.
|HOTEL CATEGORY||HONORS POINTS REQUIRED FOR ONE FREE NIGHT|
|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|
*Courtesy of the Honors Website.
Here is a comparison of what Split Pay options cost:
|Split Pay Option Comparisons|
|Split Pay||Rewards Points|
|8,000 pts + $30||20,000|
|20,000 pts + $85||50,000|
|32,000 pts + $150||80,000|
Free Nights Earned in a Year
Now that you have all the information needed to understand how many points you can earn and what the awards cost, we can calculate how many free nights you could possibly earn over the year!
The below table details how many free nights each family could get from this level of earning. We will assume staying in a minimum of Category 3 hotel.
|Family||# Free Nights|
If you consider a room could cost a minimum of $99 in this category, the value of these free nights goes anywhere from $99 to $1,386!
Using Points With Airline Partners: Comparing the Value
If you would rather use miles, you can earn those too. The earnings for our families would be 1,800 miles, 6,000 miles, and 10,500 miles respectively. Not a ton, but it may be enough to boost you to an award!
Note that you will earn five bonus points versus one mile. If we take the example value of $0.004 per point we found above, the five Honors points will collectively be worth $0.02.
This is the value that we typically take as a minimum redemption for an air mile, so we would consider one mile equal to five Honors points. But now we are splitting our earnings between two currencies.
Looking at an example transfer ratio for points, we find that we can get 1,500 AAdvantage miles for 10,000 Honors points.
Using the same value, the 10k points are worth $40 (in reality it would be more, as this is the minimum for a Category 2 free night) versus the $30 of AAdvantage value at $0.02. Here, the Honors points win.
Math Conclusion and Value of the Card
The value of the free nights you can earn isn’t too bad for a card with no annual fee.
Keep in mind that since the math is already pretty complicated, we didn’t take into account the additional credit card points you would earn if you used the card in other categories of spending as well.
By adding in those categories (3x on gas, drugstores, and supermarkets), you could definitely add to the free nights you could get!
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
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.
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.
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.
No, there is no 0% APR offer at this time for the card.
The card comes with a 3% foreign transaction fee.
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.
This credit card does not have an annual fee ($0).
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.
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.
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.