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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available – Citi HHonors Hilton Reserve Card
With the recent announcement that Hilton HHonors is launching lifetime Diamond elite status, I thought I’d write a little reminder about another great (and faster!) way to earn Hilton Diamond status: spending on the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card from Citibank.
As a reminder, the card offers the following sign-up bonus and benefits:
Sign-up Bonus: Earn 2 free weekend night certificates after making $2,500 in purchases within the first 4 months after account opening.
Rewards: Earn 10 HHonors points for ever $1 spent on hotel stays within the Hilton portfolio, 5 points per $1 spent on airline and car rental purchases, and 3 points per $1 spent on all other purchases.
Elite Status: Enjoy automatic Hilton HHonors Gold status as long as you’re a cardholder. Earn an upgrade to HHonors Diamond status when you make $40,000 or more in purchases each calendar year.
Benefits: Earn an anniversary bonus of one weekend night at select hotels and resorts after you spend $10,000 on purchases each year of cardmembership (starting from your annual fee date) and remain a cardholder. No foreign transaction fees.
Annual Fee: $95
The Diamond status spending bonus is now based on the calendar year instead of the credit card/account year, which makes it easier to track your spending and make sure you’re on course to requalify. Diamond status normally requires 30 stays or 60 nights, or earning 120,000 base points in a calendar year, so if you won’t make those stay requirements, having a spending strategy in place can make a big difference.
One thing to note is that Hilton HHonors lifetime Diamond status requires you to do both of the following:
- Qualify for Diamond status for 10 years (not necessarily consecutive);
- Have at least 1,000 completed paid nights.
So while you can’t earn lifetime status simply by spending on your HHonors Reserve card (due to the paid nights requirement), you can spend your way toward the 10-year qualification requirement.
While $40,000 might be a bit steep for some folks, the card also grants automatic Gold status, and comes with an anniversary bonus weekend night when you spend $10,000 or more in a cardmember year. You can use that anniversary bonus night at almost all properties in the Hilton portfolio, including many top-tier properties like the Conrad Maldives or the Grand Wailea on Maui, where nights can go for anywhere from $500-$1,200 a night, easily outweighing the $95 annual fee. Check out Nick Ewen’s post on Maximizing Citi Hilton Reserve Free Nights for more info.
All in all, the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve regularly ranks among my top travel credit cards for its overall great value, including the opportunity to earn elite status through spending, the free anniversary weekend night after $10,000 in purchases, and the fact that it’s easy to use abroad with no foreign transaction fees.