In a follow-up to my post the other day about the changes with Hilton HHonors, I wanted to again show you some great Hilton hotel credit cards. True, there has been a devaluation of the Hilton HHonors program, but that does not mean that there are not still values to be had within the Hilton system. To reiterate, for the traveling runner, not much has changed. Most race hotels are mid-tier hotels to begin with and those did not change that much – in fact, some of the award requirements dropped.
Hilton Hotel Credit Cards
When it comes to hotel credit cards, Hilton really holds the cards. It is definitely the easiest hotel program for which you can accrue points. Unlike other loyalty programs, there are several banks with which you can get a credit card that will help you in accruing Hilton points. One of the reasons for their program restructuring was more than likely due to the amount of points they had on their books. Just like a cash line, points are a liability on a company’s books and need to be accounted for. By raising the required point amounts at the most sought after hotels, they are able to clear out some of those points.
So, just how many Hilton points can you get with credit cards? Literally, the sky is the limit. This is because there are several transfer partners that will allow you to turn their miles/points into Hilton HHonor points – many times at a 1:2 ratio (in other words, doubling the points you are transferring in). Just adding up the Hilton branded cards, you can earn 140,000 Hilton HHonor points AND 2 free weekend nights. Because of all the transfer partners, you can earn another 240,000 Hilton HHonor points with the 1:2 transfer partners. BUT, again because of the transfer partners, you can actually convert both Membership Reward points AND Ultimate Reward points into Hilton HHonor points. Because of that, you could earn another 600,000 points easily. See how easy it is? In this post, I will just focus on the Hilton Hotel branded credit cards to make it easy. In another post, we will talk about the credit cards from transfer partners.
Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card
This credit card from Hilton gives you two free weekend nights at any Hilton Hotel in the world (with a few exceptions) after spending $2,500 in the first 4 months. In addition to those free nights, you will also earn an anniversary night each year if you spend a minimum of $10,000 during the membership year and you will have complimentary Hilton HHonors Gold status (mid-tier) as long as you hold the card. If you spend $40,000 within a year, you will receive Diamond status. As for every day spending, this card gives 10 points per dollar on Hilton stays, 5 points per dollar on airline and car rental purchases, and 3 points per dollar on everything else. The annual fee is $95 (not waived the first year). If you have a particular stay in mind in the next year, this is definitely a card to consider. As for the annual fee, it is a card worth keeping if you meet the $10,000 in spending per year as you will receive your anniversary night (which you will be able to get more than $95 of value out of.
- Earn 2 Weekend Night Certificates each good for 1 weekend night (standard room, double occupancy) after $2,500 in eligible purchases within the first 4 months of cardmembership***
- Enjoy HHonors Gold status for as long as you are a cardmember
- $95 annual fee***
- No foreign transaction fees***
Application Link – Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card (I do not receive a commission for this card)
Hilton HHonors Surpass Card from American Express
This credit card, unlike the previous one, is from American Express. It is really great to have two separate banks issuing a loyalty-branded card since you can get both at the same time if you would like to without having to wait a certain number of days (like you would if they were both from the same bank). This card deals more with the traditional points instead of free nights. I prefer the points to the free nights since I feel under more pressure to use the free nights at a top-tier hotel even though my particular travel pattern might be more in keeping with mid-tier hotels (which cost fewer points than the higher tier hotels). This card gives you 40,000 points after your first purchase and an additional 20,000 points after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months. In addition, you will receive complimentary Gold status for the first year and Silver status for every year after that you remain a cardholder. As for everyday spending, you will receive 12 points per dollar at Hilton Hotels, 6 points per dollar at US restaurants, US gas stations, and US supermarkets, and 3 points per dollar on all other purchases. All of this for a $75 annual fee. Note: I had applied for the next card on this list and continually receive upgrade offers to this card. The offer is for 50,000 additional Hilton HHonor points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months of upgrading. You cannot upgrade for 12 months after opening the first card, but it is something to keep in mind!
- Earn a welcome bonus of 75,000 Hilton HHonor points when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months of card membership.
- Receive complimentary HHonors Gold status for as long as you hold the card
- Earn 12 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged directly with a participating hotel and resort within the Hilton HHonors portfolio of brands.
- $75 annual fee
Application Link – Hilton HHonors Surpass Card from American Express (I do not receive a commission for this card)
Hilton HHonors Card from American Express
This is a great no-fee Hilton Hotel credit card to get and hold. It has very nice bonus categories, complimentary Silver status, and a decent sign-up bonus. Those things combined with the no annual fee makes it a keeper for me. The offer here is similar to the one above but a little less – earn 40,000 Hilton HHonor points after spending $750 in the first three months. You will earn 7 points per dollar at Hilton Hotels, 5 points per dollar at U.S. gas stations, U.S. restaurants, and U.S. supermarkets, as well as 3 points per dollar on all other purchases. You will also receive complimentary Silver status as long as you hold the card.
- Earn 40,000 HHonors Bonus Points after you make $750 in purchases within the first three months of Cardmembership
- Enjoy complimentary HHonors Silver Status for as long as you are a Cardmember
- Earn 7 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged directly with a participating hotel and resort within the Hilton HHonors portfolio of brands
Application Link – Hilton HHonors Card from American Express (I do not receive a commission for this card)
Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card
This is another no-fee card – this one from Citibank (as opposed to the two above this one that are from American Express). This card allows you to earn 40,000 Hilton HHonor points after spending $1,000 in the first four months. It also grants you complimentary Silver status for as long as you hold the card. For spending, you will earn 6 points per dollar on Hilton hotel spending, 3 points per dollar on purchases from grocery stores, drugstores, and gas stations, and 2 points per dollar on all other spending.
- Earn 40,000 HHonors Bonus Points when you spend $1,000 on purchases within 4 months of opening your account — enough for a free night*
- Enjoy HHonors Silver status for as long as you are a cardmember
- Earn 6 HHonors Bonus Points for every US dollar you spend at hotels within the Hilton Worldwide portfolio*
Application Link – Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card
Just with the three cards that offer points for signing up, you can receive 140,000 Hilton HHonor points. That is enough for almost 5 nights at a category 4 hotel! In addition, each card grants you elite status with Hilton and very decent category bonuses. If you have any upcoming stays at Hilton hotels, you should definitely consider these cards. Look for the next post coming soon on secondary Hilton credit cards :).