Citi® Hilton Honors™ Reserve Card Review – 2 Free Weekend Nights

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The Citi® Hilton Honors™ Reserve Card is a popular hotel rewards credit card with a $95 annual fee and a host of benefits that favor frequent guests at Hilton hotels and resorts. Cardholders in good standing automatically earn Hilton Honors Gold Status, which confers generous benefits: 25% faster Honors point earnings on Hilton stays, flexible check-out, and a 5th night free on stays of 5 nights or longer. It also has a solid sign-up bonus.

Honors points can be exchanged for free nights or room upgrades at more than 3,900 Hilton properties worldwide. Other redemption methods, such as transferring to frequent flyer programs and using points to purchase general merchandise online, exist. However, these methods tend to devalue accumulated points.

The Citi Hilton Honors Reserve Card is comparable to a number of other branded hotel cards and travel rewards credit cards, most of which have annual fees ranging from $50 to $100. These include the Citi Hilton Honors Visa Signature Card, Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card, Wyndham Rewards Visa Signature Card, Marriott Rewards Premier CardIHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card, and United MileagePlus Explorer Card. It’s also comparable to some general-purpose travel rewards cards, including the U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature Card, Capital One Venture Rewards Card, Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, and BankAmericard Travel Rewards Card.

The Citi® Hilton Honors™ Reserve Card is definitely best for heavy spenders who frequent Hilton properties. Its earning rate on Hilton stays is particularly impressive: 10 Honors points per $1 spent, which is sufficient to earn you a free Category 1 night after spending just $500 at Hilton properties. And, with automatic Gold Status, the points come even faster.

On the other hand, this card has limited value for people who don’t travel often or prefer to redeem accumulated points outside the Hilton ecosystem. If you spend enough to offset the card’s annual fee, consider designating it as your travel card, to be used exclusively for travel-related purchases. Then, get a second credit card – perhaps a traditional cash back credit card – that rewards you for everyday spending closer to home. Sounds like a win-win deal.

Thanks to great earning rates on Hilton stays and automatic Hilton HHonors Gold Status, plus solid earning rates on airfare and car rentals, the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card is a great travel credit card option for frequent travelers who spend heavily in all these categories. Due to its annual fee and poor or nonexistent non-hotel redemption options, it’s not ideal for cardholders who don’t wish to redeem for Hilton stays, nor cardholders who travel infrequently or don’t spend much on the road.

Automatic Gold Status, excellent point earning rates, lots of eligible hotels, and no foreign transaction fees are all great. Annual fee (and no first-year waiver), poor frequent flyer transfers, no cash redemptions, and penalty APR all hurt. Overall, an excellent card for frequent, high-spending travelers who prefer the Hilton brand.

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Categories: Citi, Credit and Debt, Credit Cards, Lifestyle, Reviews, Travel

Brian Martucci writes about frugal living, entrepreneurship, and innovative ideas. When he’s not interviewing small business owners or investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, he’s probably out exploring a new trail or sampling a novel cuisine. Find him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.

Comments Disclosure: The below responses 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.

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