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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card

Travel rewards cards are always evolving, as both benefits and sign-up bonus offers come and go. Today, TPG Senior Points & Miles Correspondent Nick Ewen examines a new offer for one of Citi’s co-branded Hilton HHonors cards.

The Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card tends to get a lot of hype. Apart from the card’s valuable free night certificates and HHonors elite status benefits, you can also get good value from the points you earn. However, you may not realize that Citi also issues another Hilton credit card: the Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card.

This week, Citi announced an increased sign-up bonus of 50,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first four months of card membership plus a $50 statement credit after spending $50 on your first stay at any hotel within the Hilton Portfolio during the first 3 months of account opening. In this post, I’ll evaluate how this new offer stacks up to previous ones, and help you decide whether this card is worth adding to your wallet.

Let’s start with the sign-up bonus. It’s currently 25% higher than the standard offer of 40,000 bonus points. Once you meet the spending requirements, the 50,000 Hilton HHonors points you’ll earn are worth $250 based on TPG’s most recent valuations plus you’ll earn a $50 statement credit getting you a total of $300 in value. However, you can get even more value by redeeming for the program’s top low-tier properties (or putting the points toward stays at top-tier locations).

Here are the other benefits of the card:

  • Limited Time: Earn a $50 statement credit after spending $50 on your first stay at any hotel within the Hilton Portfolio during the first 3 months of account opening*
  • Earn 50,000 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points after making $1,000 in purchases within the first 4 months of account opening*
  • Earn 6 HHonors Bonus Points for each $1 spent at any participating hotel within the Hilton Portfolio.*
  • Earn 3 HHonors Bonus Points for each $1 spent on purchases at supermarkets, drugstores and gas stations.*
  • Earn 2 HHonors Bonus Points for each $1 spent on all other purchases.*
  • Enjoy the benefits of HHonors Silver status as long as you are a cardmember*
  • No annual fee.*

Unfortunately, these benefits generally pale in comparison to the other Hilton credit cards out there. The two premium cards — the Citi Hilton Reserve and the Hilton HHonors Surpass Card from American Express — both offer automatic Gold status and higher earning rates for stays, though they do come with annual fees. A fairer comparison is between the Citi Hilton Visa Signature card and the regular Hilton HHonors Card from American Express, as both are fee-free. The chart below compares the benefits of each card:

Benefit

Citi Hilton Visa

Hilton Amex

Winner

Current sign-up bonus

50,000 points plus $50 statement credit

40,000 points

Citi Hilton Visa

Earning rate at Hilton properties

6X points

7X points

Hilton Amex

Earning rate at supermarkets

3X points

5X points

Hilton Amex

Earning rate at gas stations

3X points

5X points

Hilton Amex

Earning rate at drugstores

3X points

3X points

Tie

Earning rate at restaurants

2X points

5X points

Hilton Amex

Earning rate everywhere else

2X points

3X points

Hilton Amex

Elite status

Automatic Silver; Fast track to Gold (or Gold after $20,000 of spending)

Automatic Silver; Gold after $20,000 of spending

Citi Hilton Visa

Anniversary bonus

10,000 points after $1,000 in Hilton purchases

None

Citi Hilton Visa

Annual fee

None

None

Tie

As you can see, the Citi Hilton Visa only comes out on top in three categories. The first one is the current sign-up bonus, as you’ll earn an extra 10,000 points with this new offer. The second involves elite status. Both cards offer automatic Silver status in the Hilton HHonors program and an upgrade to Gold status if you spend $20,000 in a calendar year. However, the Citi Hilton Visa also gives you a fast track option by awarding you Gold status with four stays in the first 90 days after opening the account. If you have several upcoming Hilton stays already planned, this can be a nice way to earn a pretty valuable tier of elite status.

The third (and final) category where this card shines above the regular Hilton Amex is the new anniversary bonus, which awards you 10,000 Hilton HHonors bonus points for spending at least $1,000 on Hilton stays in a calendar year. That’s an easy $50 of value without too much trouble.

If you hit that threshold exactly, you’d have an extra 16,000 Hilton points between the bonus and your regular earning rate. This essentially increases your earning rate at Hilton properties to 16 points per dollar, for a return of 8%! This puts it ahead of both the Hilton Surpass Amex and Citi Hilton Reserve. In fact, to match your earnings on those purchases with the other Hilton cards, you’d need to spend the following amounts at Hilton properties:

  • Citi Hilton Reserve: $1,666.67
  • Hilton Surpass Amex: $2,500
  • Hilton Amex: $10,000
Your Hilton HHonors Gold status includes free breakfast at luxurious properties (like the Hilton Bora Bora)
50,000 bonus points will put you well on the way toward a free night at luxurious properties like the Hilton Bora Bora.

What Does This Mean for You?

I’m a firm believer that everyone should have at least one Hilton credit card for the free status alone. The category bonuses at restaurants and supermarkets are nice, but Hilton HHonors is the only program that restricts its fifth night free benefit to elite members. Even if you only stay in a Hilton property once a year (or even less frequently), having any Hilton credit card is a no-brainer.

As far as this card goes, personally I’m still on the fence. I’m a long-time holder of both the regular Hilton Amex and Citi Hilton Reserve, and the everyday earning rates on this card don’t compare to either of those two cards. However, the new anniversary bonus is very intriguing, and in my opinion completely changes the calculus for those of you who are casual Hilton travelers. If you typically spend just over $1,000 at Hilton properties in the US each calendar year, this card is now worth considering. This is especially true if you have at least four stays coming up in the next 90 days, as the fast track offer would give you Gold status through the end of 2016.

The other big benefit is the sign-up bonus, which should make this an appealing card for those of you who have other Hilton credit cards. 50,000 bonus points with a single credit card application is a respectable haul, and these points alone could get you the following:

  • 6 nights in a Category 2 property like the Doubletree Kuala Lumpur (this includes the fifth night free)
  • 2 nights in a Category 3 property
  • 1 night in a Category 8 or 9 property in low season

After earning the sign-up bonus, you’d probably only want to use the card for your first $1,000 in Hilton stays each calendar year. However, keeping it open can improve your credit score by increasing the average age of your accounts, which is one of my favorite features of credit cards with no annual fees.

Citi typically requires you to wait at least 8 days between credit card applications, and only allows two applications for personal cards every 65 days. Keep this in mind if you’re also interested in applying for cards like the Citi ThankYou Premier Card or the Citi Prestige Card.

Bottom Line

This new sign-up bonus plus the recently-added anniversary bonus have definitely made this card more valuable. While it isn’t as rewarding for everyday spending as the other Hilton credit cards, it can be a great option for boosting your Hilton HHonors account balances and enjoying automatic elite status for no annual fee.

What are your thoughts on the Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature card?

Citi Prestige® Card

While Citi announced some negative changes to this card back in July — including a lower sign-up bonus, the elimination of Admirals Club access and the end of the free rounds of golf benefit — one of its most valuable perks still remains, which is the 4th Night Free perk.  This benefit alone can save you thousands of dollars a year if you use it to its full advantage.

Read more: http://thepointsguy.com/2017/01/top-10-travel-rewards-credit-card-offers-january-2017/#ixzz4VNpeqUJJ

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • $250 Air Travel Credit each year, and receive a statement credit, up to $100 every 5 years, as reimbursement for your application fee for Global Entry or TSA Pre √®
  • 4th night hotel benefit for any hotel stay at hotels booked through the Citi Prestige® Concierge
  • Earn 40,000 bonus points after $4,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open.
  • Points are redeemable for a $532 flight on any airline or $400 in gift cards.
  • Transfer points to a variety of travel loyalty programs from airlines to hotels.
  • Earn 3x points on Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 2x points on Dining at Restaurants and Entertainment
  • 1 ThankYou® Point per $1 spent on other purchases
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
15.74%* (Variable)
Annual Fee
$450
Balance Transfer Fee
3.00%
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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.