Credit Card Review: Citi Hilton HHonors + Sign Up Bonus!

August 10, 2012 4 Comments »
Credit Card Review: Citi Hilton HHonors + Sign Up Bonus!

Do you regularly stay at a Hilton Hotel for business or vacation? If so, a Citi® Hilton HHonors Visa Signature might be worthwhile. This card is the most generous of hotel rewards cards – earning you multiple Hilton HHonors points for every dollar you spend.

Points are redeemed for items, such as free stays at network hotels or experience rewards, like flying in a fighter jet or even skydiving! Or, you can redeem points for rental cars and air travel, with partner airlines. However, as with any card, it’s important to understand the details before signing up.

40,000 Bonus Points Here

How the Points Work

Some credit cards award 1 point for each dollar you spend. Hilton HHonors points, however, are far more generous. Initially, you can earn 40,000 Hilton HHonors points by spending $1,000 within 4 months of opening the account. This is a pretty substantial bonus compared to other similar offers on the market. It’s enough to score 5 FREE nights at a category one hotel, or fewer nights at a higher category hotel. Best of all, there’s no blackout dates for hotel redemption.

Additional ways to accumulate points:

Stay at Hilton hotels. Every time you spend $1 within the Hilton Worldwide portfolio, which includes 3,600 hotels, you’ll score 6 points. So for example, let’s say you spend $300 staying at a Hilton Hotel. For each dollar you spend, you’ll accumulate 6 points, for a total of 1,800 points.

Earn points at the grocery store, gas station or drugstore. Use your card at these types of stores, and you’ll earn 3 points for each dollar spent. So for example, let’s say you spend $200 a month on gas. Use your card, and you’ll accumulate 600 points each month, just for spending money you’ve already budgeted!

Purchases at warehouse clubs, department stores and convenience stores aren’t included but you’ll still earn points for these purchases, it’s just less. Earn 2 points per dollar, rather than 6.

Earn points for using your card on everyday purchases. With this card, you won’t just earn points at select merchants. Earn 2 Hilton HHonors bonus points for every $1 you spend anywhere. This is where the the Hilton HHonors card really shines. Every hotel or travel credit card has their own favored purchases where you can earn multiple points, but no card besides this one offers multiple points for all miscellaneous purchases.

As you can see these points add up quickly. The key is to use your card when you shop, no matter where you’re doing business.

Hotel Network: Where can I Stay?

The hotel network extends outside the Hilton brand. When redeeming your points, you’ll get access to Hilton hotels PLUS exclusive hotels within the extended network. Here’s a sampling of the hotels you can expect to stay at, including:

waldorf astoria hoteldouble tree hotelhomewood suites hotelhampton inn hotel






embessay suites hotelsconrad hotels


hilton gardens hotel






Plus, you’ll get access to the Hilton Garden Inn, Home2Suites by Hilton AND Hilton Grand Vacations.

To redeem your points for a FREE night stay, you’ll need 7,500 to 80,000 points, depending on the hotel category you select. For example, stay one night in a category 1 hotel, for just 7,500 points.

Points Purchase Program

Let’s say you’ve accumulated 6,500 points. But, it takes 7,500 points to earn a FREE night stay, at a category 1 level. Since you’re going on vacation, you’d like to use free rewards, but you’re short 1,000 points. Fortunately, you can purchase 1,000 points at a discounted rate.

Here’s how it works. With your Citi® Hilton HHonorsTM account, you can purchase up to 40,000 points annually. The cost is $10 for every 1,000 points purchased. This is about $0.01 per point, which is an amazing deal! Consider the fact that a category 1 hotel stay with a Hilton would likely cost above $200 retail (depending which city you’re staying in) and that same hotel room can be bought for $75 when purchasing Hilton points. Keep in mind though, you have to purchase at least 1,000 per transaction.

Fees and Small Print

Before signing up for any credit card, it’s important to weigh the rewards versus the annual fee. Cards have an annual fee anywhere from $50 to $200. Some creditors waive the fee for the first year. But, you’ll still end up paying the annual fee for subsequent years. Fortunately, the Citi® Hilton HHonors Visa Signature card has no annual fee.

Qualifying Criteria

The Citi® Hilton HHonors Visa Signature card is a phenomenally packaged credit card offer with no annual fee and extremely generous reward options when compared to it’s peers. But, do you qualify? First, you need excellent credit. Applicants also need an income of at least $35,000 annually. If you don’t qualify, you might be approved for a Visa gold card, which doesn’t offer the same benefits.

Also, you’ll need to use the card to make it worth it. If you don’t earn points during a 12-month period, the account will be closed. Plus, you’ll lose any points you’ve accumulated before the 12-month period. This is a great account for card holders who use the card regularly (even if you pay it off each month).

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  • Jim

    I’ve heard of great things about this card. no annual fee plus 2-8 points on every dollar spent is pretty a good offer.

    What sort of credit score do you need? You say excellent. Is that anything above 680?

    I dont want to apply and then get denied…my credit score will take a hit if I do that…

  • BankVibe

    I would only apply with a score of 740 or more. A 720 might get you the card too, but 740 is considered the baseline for excellent scores (with a maximum of 850).

  • Ed

    All rewards cards that are tied to hotels or airlines require credit scores like that.

  • adrian jill

    All of these hotel cards are offering sweet deals right now. The Marriott Card also comes with a sign-up bonus and 3% cash back on any purchase. You have to have excellent credit though – above 720 – and there is an annual fee on all of them, which sucks if you only use it as your second or third credit card.