Video SRQ: Deciding Between the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve and the Chase Hyatt Visa

by on April 14, 2013 · 10 comments

in Chase, Citi, Hilton, Hyatt, Sunday Reader Questions, Video Blog Post

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TPG reader Jeff would like some help deciding whether to get the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve card or the Chase Hyatt Visa:

“Since the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve came out I’ve really wanted to pick it up. I want to get a card with SmartChip technology and am debating between getting it and Chase Hyatt Visa. 

I am a very dedicated Starwood Preferred Guest member, have some points with Hilton, and nothing with Hyatt so the choice isn’t as clear to me on which program I should add on.

Which card would you recommend for someone who will be returning to school and traveling less?”

Good question! I myself currently have both the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve and the Chase Hyatt Visa, as well as top-tier status in both these programs as well as Starwood, so let’s look at how these cards stack up.

The Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve gives two free weekend nights.

The Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve gives two free weekend nights as a sign-up bonus.

Just evaluating sign-up bonuses, the Hilton card will give you two free weekend nights at most of their properties (with some exclusions) when you spend $2,500 in 4 months, whereas the Hyatt card will give two free nights at any of the their properties any day of the week when you spend $1,000 within 3 months. So when it comes to sign-up bonuses, I’d say Hyatt wins, although Hilton does have a lot more properties than Hyatt.

Jeff doesn’t have elite status with Hyatt, but if you are Hyatt Diamond when you apply for the card, you’ll end up getting two free nights in a suite, which is extremely valuable, and if you’re a Platinum member of the program, you also get a sign-up bonus of two free suite upgrades. However, in Jeff’s case with no status, I think it’s a wash here depending on what type of hotel you want.

Andaz West Hollywood

I’ll gladly pay $75 a year to be able to redeem a night at the Andaz West Hollywood.

Another big consideration here is the annual free night you can earn with both cards. With the Hilton Reserve card, if you can spend $10,000 in a calendar year, you’ll get a free weekend night at any of their properties (apart from the exclusions list). I just redeemed mine at the Conrad Maldives which goes for $1,000 a night, so I’ll gladly pay the annual fee of $95 for that free night. The Hyatt card gives cardholders a free night at a Category 1-4 each year, with no spending required, so I also keep my Hyatt card open, since I get more value out of the free night at a property like the Andaz West Hollywood or the Park Hyatt Seoul than the $75 annual fee.

The cards also come with elite status. The Hilton card will give you Hilton Gold, which I think is the most valuable mid-tier hotel status and includes free breakfast and internet. The Hyatt card gives Hyatt Platinum status, which sounds better than it is since it just gets you free internet and space-available room upgrades.

The Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve gives automatic Hilton Gold status.

The Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve gives automatic Hilton Gold status.

Lastly, if you can hit $40,000 in calendar year spending, both have some additional elite status perks, but I think the Hilton Reserve wins out, since you’ll get their top tier Hilton Diamond status. The Hyatt card is much stingier with giving the elite status credits. At $20,000 in spend, you’ll get  2 stay / 5 night credits, and at $40,000 you’ll get an additional 3 stay / 5 night credits, so that’s really not that great in my opinion since Hyatt Diamond requires 25 stays or 50 nights a year whereas the Reserve card just gives you Hilton Diamond status outright.

When it comes to chip and signature, it’s nice to have that, but I’ll be honest I’ve used these cards abroad, but the cards that require chip, require chip and pin. But in my experience you can use any credit card abroad for the most part.

I think overall you’ll get more value out of the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve card, but why not get both at some point down the line? Think about getting the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve card first, trying to hit that $40,000 spending threshold, then status match to Hyatt Diamond so then when you do get the Chase Hyatt Visa, you can get your bonus two free nights in a suite, which makes the Hyatt card a real winner in my book.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • JK

    Are “weekend” nights only Fridays and Saturdays? Or do Sundays count as well?

  • Drsifu

    When was the last time someone confirmed Hyatt still did status match? Last time (yesterday), no status match was offered, only challenges.

  • Ben Price

    I’m in the same boat, more or less, as the OP. I got the Hyatt card because I like Hyatt properties more than Hilton. I’ve stayed at Hilton’s all over the world. Shinjuku, Paris, Beijing, etc. Some can be fantastic. But, more often than not, I really don’t like the product being offered. Conversely, I’m really attracted to Park Hyatts and Andaz.

  • sam

    Not familiar with Status match. I just made Diamond tier for Hilton after spending $40k, and how do I request status match for Hyatt. Also Do i do status match before applying for Chase Hyatt card? Thank you.

  • rick

    Can i let my parents redeem my certificates for either Hytt or Citi card?

  • disqust101

    Hyatt has a status challenge – but you need to show you have actually earned status thru stays vs credit card bonuses. I think they request a minimum of 10 stays before they’ll consider a challenge regardless of your status level in other hotel chains.

  • veritas

    I thought you had to have Hilton “Diamond” for a free breakfast, not Gold as you state above? Right?

  • Juno

    Nope. Hilton gold will get you free breakfast and internet

  • yourPFpro

    Since I had Hilton gold status, I matched to hyatt diamond for 60 days and to get a suite upgrade for an upcoming stay. Won’t be able to complete the challenge would it make sense to sign up for the Hyatt card right now?

    I would get 2 free nights regardless of Hyatt status but since I’m diamond i would be able to use 1 of the 4 upgrades too?

  • cgriffiths

    I thought I would share this information with everyone considering the Citibank Hilton Reserve card. Citibank doesn’t provide your spend total in each statement like the Hilton Amex card does, therefore making it very hard to know when you’ve met the $40,000 spend requirement. Citibank confirmed by email I had met my spend requirement at the end of March and I have been waiting since then for my status to be upgraded. I have talked to customer representatives and been in touch by email and they keep on telling me everything is ok and that it should be done soon. Today after over 4 months, I receive a letter from Citibank saying I have not met the spend requirement! So very unprofessional. If you’re counting on getting status via this card, I recommend you be very careful and not trust what Citibank tells you. It’s extremely frustrating!!!

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