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Can I Earn a Sign-Up Bonus With One Program From Two Banks?

Sept. 25, 2016
3 min read
Can I Earn a Sign-Up Bonus With One Program From Two Banks?
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TPG reader Faraj sent me a message on Facebook to ask about co-branded credit cards:

“Can I earn separate bonuses for opening credit cards with the same brand, but from different banks? For example, can I apply for one Hilton Honors card from Citi and another from Amex, and earn a bonus in each case?”

Many airlines and hotels partner with a single credit card issuer, especially in North America and Europe. For example, Chase issues co-branded airline cards for United and Southwest, Bank of America issues cards for Alaska Airlines, U.S. Bank issues cards for Club Carlson and so on. These relationships are usually exclusive, but there are some cases where travel providers offer cards from more than one issuer, which creates some great opportunities for award travelers.

Hilton is a prime example since the brand partners with both Citi and Amex. Each card issuer offers a basic, no-fee option (the Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card and the Hilton Honors Card from American Express), as well as a mid-tier card with more lucrative benefits (the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card and the Hilton Honors Surpass Card from American Express). Each of these cards is considered a separate product, and you could theoretically earn a welcome bonus from all four of them.

You might encounter application restrictions from a single card issuer — for example, Citi recently added language to some co-branded cards that makes it harder to earn multiple bonuses for cards from a single travel partner. However, there's little to stop you from earning one Hilton card bonus from Citi and another from Amex. So long as you're eligible for each bonus individually, you'll be eligible to earn them all.

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That said, it doesn't necessarily make sense to get multiple cards from the same brand at once. There's a lot of overlap in benefits, like the Honors Gold status offered by the Citi Hilton Reserve and Amex Hilton Surpass cards, or the Silver status offered by the no-fee cards. Holding multiple cards means you're essentially squandering any redundant benefits, so I'd be hesitant to double up unless there's a particularly lucrative bonus offer.

Hilton
You can earn Hilton points from co-branded Citi and Amex cards, but apply strategically to get the best offers. Image courtesy of the New York Hilton Midtown Manhattan.

You can also look for ways to earn extra bonuses whenever there's a merger between brands. Many readers applied for the now-defunct US Airways Barclaycard in its waning days and were rewarded with a bonus of 50,000 Dividend Miles that eventually converted to AAdvantage miles. There may be similar opportunities in the near future as the merger between Starwood and Marriott progresses, but I'd wait for more information about how the two loyalty programs will be joined together before jumping on any run-of-the-mill bonus offers.

For more on Hilton co-branded cards and earning welcome bonuses, check out these posts:

If you have any other questions, please tweet me @thepointsguy, message me on Facebook or send me an email at info@thepointsguy.com.

[card card-name='Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card' card-id='22146296' type='javascript' bullet-id='1']

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