Hilton cards are very easy to get since they are issued through two separate issuers, Hilton and Amex. Each issuer has two Hilton cards as well so it is possible to have as many as 4 different Hilton credit cards. With the cards that issue points, it is actually possible to get 250,000 Hilton points right now (with the Surpass, the no-fee Amex, and no-fee Hilton).
Which Hilton Citi Card Should You Get?
But, thanks to Citi’s recent rules on cards that customers can get, there is a choice that must be made. If you have opened or closed a Hilton Citi card in the last 24 months, you are ineligible to receive a bonus on another Hilton Citi card. So, it is one or the other right now!
When it comes to Hilton Citi cards, which one should you get right now since you can only get one?
Let’s first look at the comparisons on these cards.
|Card Benefits||Hilton Reserve||No-Fee Hilton|
|Sign-up Bonus||2 Free Weekend Nights||50,000 Points|
|Minimum Spending||$2,500 in 4 Months||$1,000 in 90 Days|
|Points per $ at Hiltons||10 Points||6 Points|
|Bonus Categories||Airline & Car Rental||Supermarkets, Drugstores, & Gas Stations|
|Points per $ on Bonus Categories||5 Points||3 Points|
|Points per $ On All Spend||3 Points||1 Point|
|Anniversary Bonus||1 Weekend Night w/ $10K Spend in 1 Year||N/A|
Biggest Differences Between the Hilton Citi Cards?
One has an annual fee, and up front at that, and one does not. One awards customers with free weekend nights, the other with points. One gives Gold elite status (which includes breakfasts among other things) and one gives Silver elite status (mostly worth nothing). Finally, one is more awarding with spending and the other is just mediocre.
As you can see, the Hilton Reserve has some great benefits for only costing $95 per year. But, it will matter most what kind of Hilton stays you plan on getting with the bonus.
Should You Get the Hilton Reserve Card?
Keep in mind that Hilton is taking award charts later this month so it will be a bit more difficult to pinpoint hotels at a quick glance as to the cost.
The chart below shows you how many points are required for a free night in each category (until they do away with the chart!).
|STANDARD ROOM REWARDS|
|HOTEL CATEGORY||Hilton Honors POINTS REQUIRED FOR ONE FREE NIGHT|
|4||20,000 to 30,000 Points|
|5||30,000 to 40,000 Points|
|6||30,000 to 50,000 Points|
|7||30,000 to 60,000 Points|
|8||40,000 to 70,000 Points|
|9||50,000 to 80,000 Points|
|10||70,000 to 95,000 Points|
Higher Category Redemptions
But, for now, if want to stay at a hotel that is at or above a Category 6, the Citi Hilton Reserve card would give you the better advantage. Unless you were staying in a Category 6-8 during low/off-peak periods, the no-fee Hilton card is only going to give you enough points for a single night at any hotel above Category 6.
The Citi Hilton Reserve card gives 2 free weekend nights at just about any Hilton property. That means it has the potential of being worth as much as 190,000 Hilton points. Also, remember that it is only good for 1 year from the day of issue. But, it is only worth that much if you use it at Category 10 properties during peak periods. It is also only worth more than the no-fee Citi Hilton card if you are able to use it at the fullest without stretching yourself to get the full amount.
By this, I mean that it is far too easy to let the awards claim an abundance of miles just in an attempt to get value from it. For example, if the free weekend nights were going to expire, you may find yourself burning miles/money to get to a big city/far away land just to use them. Not the best way to take advantage of this bonus!
Finally, remember that these are good for weekend nights. That is not a problem for most of us (weekend being defined as Friday, Saturday or Sunday nights) but it is something to consider.
Should You Get the No-Fee Citi Hilton Card?
Points & Money
Even though the Citi Hilton Reserve has a lot of benefit, the no-fee Hilton card is still something to consider. With the new Hilton redemption system coming, you will be able to use a mix of cash and points at a more variable rate than the current points and money redemption system allows. This means you could pay as much cash as you want for a given room and use the points you have to offset the points.
5th Night Free
Also, keep in mind that your 5th night is free (if you are a Silver, Gold, or Diamond member) on award redemptions. If you are collecting Hilton points, the no-fee Hilton card is a better option to give you the points you need to get to that free 5th night. Having points without a set expiration date can be very valuable since they are flexible.
Some of the greatest value with the Hilton hotels are mid-tier category redemptions. It can be amazing what you can find for 30,000 points or so. While they not be so glamorous as a Waldorf Astoria, they are still highly functional and can present incredible value based on location.
So, which Hilton Citi card should you get? If you are interested in flexiblity, point/money mixed redemptions, longer stays, and mid-tier hotels, go for the no-fee Hilton Citi card. But, if you want the high-end, big city-on-the-weekend hotels, definitely go for the Hilton Reserve card.
It is fantastic to have options and hopefully this post has helped you to narrow those options down a bit more for you.
Editorial Note - Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.
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