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No annual fee. This is an easy way to rack up points toward free nights without worrying about a fee.
Thousands of hotels available. You can use points for free nights at all Hilton, Waldorf Astoria, Conrad, Canopy by HIlton, Curio, Doubletree, Embassy Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Inn, Homewood Suites, and Home2 Suites hotels.
Easy to earn Hilton points. Hilton points are easy to earn, thanks to 2x points on all purchases with this card, plus 6x on Hilton spending and 3x at supermarkets, drug stores, and gas stations. On top of that, there are several other cards that earn Hilton points, and holding more than one can help you rack up points fast.
Not the most powerful card for Hilton points. While at least 2x points on all your spending sounds good, it’s actually less than what other cards that earn Hilton points offer. Some carry an annual fee, but the no fee Hilton HHonors Amex earns at least 3x points on all your spending.
Hilton requires a lot of points for free nights. The nicest hotels can require almost 100,000 points for a free nights, and many require 40,000 – 60,000 points for one night. Compare that to Hyatt or Starwood where 10,000 – 20,000 points gets you free night at a lot of their upscale hotels, and you can see how the easy earning of Hilton points can be diminished by high prices for a free night.
While it’s fun to rack up airlines miles to help you travel the globe on the cheap, finding a good place to stay that doesn’t empty your wallet is another challenge. That’s why it’s important to grab a good hotel-branded credit card that can earn you free nights to help put a dent in your travel costs.
The Hilton Visa from Citi isn’t the most lucrative card for earning Hilton HHonors points for free nights, but with no annual fee and a good introductory bonus it’s a good place to start.
With the Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature’s bonus spending categories, it’s easier to stack up the points for your next free night at a Hilton. Here’s how it breaks down:
As you can see, this card really rewards you when spending at a Hilton branded Hotel or Resort, but you can also gain bonus points on your everyday spending.
While these bonuses are great, you can actually EARN MORE points if you sign up for the American Express version of this card. It has all the same benefits, including no annual fee, but a stronger earnings potential. Here’s how the AMEX Hilton card breaks down:
You can see a full comparison of the two cards here.
The downside is American Express is accepted at fewer places than Visa, but for most people it’s not a big deal.
As a no annual fee card, you don’t have to worry about being slapped with a fee each time your card anniversary comes around. With the Citi HHonors Visa Signature card, there is even an anniversary benefit when you frequent Hilton Properties and spend $1,000 or more at Hilton locations. If you hit that spending requirement, you’ll receive 10,000 bonus points on the anniversary of the account opening. The maximum bonus each year is 10,000 points, no matter how much over $1,000 you spend at Hilton properties.
So once you have all these Hilton Points, what can you do with them?
Let’s take a look at all of the Hilton branded hotels you can use these points at:
There are hotels for all flavors of travel, from basic budget hotels to full 5-star resorts. You can find all the details on these hotel brands here.
When looking to book a free night at a Hilton branded hotel, the price in points is determined by what category your hotel is in. Here’s a quick breakdown of the points needed for a free night in each Hilton category:
|STANDARD ROOM REWARDS|
|HOTEL CATEGORY||HHONORS 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|
As you can see when booking a Category 4 – 10 hotel, the points needed will vary, as some locations have “seasonal” pricing, which goes up during peak times of year.
We can review a few redemptions options, and see what is a good value redemption and what is not. You see the point prices Hilton charges for a particular hotel using the HHonors Points Search Tool.
DoubleTree Hotel at the Entrance to Universal (Orlando) in June 2016 – 20,000 points per night or $150 per night (points redemption worth 0.8 cents per point)
Hilton Waikiki Beach (Honolulu) in June 2016 – 40,000 points per night or $219 per night (points redemption worth 0.5 cents per point)
Hilton Paris Opera (Paris, France) in June 2016 – 80,000 points per night – or $600+ per night (points redemption worth 0.8 cents per point)
As you can see, the value of your points redemptions can vary widely. Hilton points are typically valued at 0.5 cents per point, so booking a hotel with a value above that would be considered a good deal (for example, the DoubleTree Orlando above with a value of 0.8 cents per point, even when spending just 20,000 points per night).
Hilton HHonors Silver Status comes free as a cardmember of the Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature, but what does it give you?
Here’s a quick list of benefits of HHonors silver status:
The biggest benefit is the 5th night free when staying in a standard room 5 nights or more. For example, 5 nights in a category 3 hotel would typically cost 100,000 points, but you only spend 80,000 points when using the 5th night free award as an HHonors Silver Status member.
If you’re looking to get more, here are the details of HHonors Gold Status.
Same as Silver plus:
The complimentary breakfast is really the most valuable benefit, as it’s offered to you and an additional guest in your room, and can save you $20 or more every night you stay.
To step it up and earn Gold Status, you must spend $20k on the card within a year, but there are also 2 other Hilton credit cards that will instantly upgrade you to Gold Status when approved for the card, so you don’t have to wait to hit an annual spending requirement.
If you’re looking at building your HHonors point balance, there are a few other options out there you should consider.
Citi ThankYou Premier Card – Earn 3x points on travel and 2x points on dining and entertainment. Points transfer at a 1:1.5 point ratio to Hilton, meaning 1,000 ThankYou points is worth 1,500 HHonors points. Not only that, but there are several airline partners you can transfer to as well.
Virgin Atlantic Mastercard You can transfer Virgin Atlantic miles at a 2:3 point ratio to Hilton HHonors points, meaning 2,000 Virgin miles is worth 3,000 HHonors points. Not only that, but there are over several air partners you can use for flights as well, including Delta Airlines. The card earns Earn 3x points on Virgin Atlantic purchases and 1.5x points on everything else.
Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card – 2 Free Weekend Nights after spending $2,500 in 4 months. Automatic Hilton Gold Status. Earn 10x points on hotel stays within the Hilton Portfolio, earn 5x points on airline and car rental purchases, earn 3x points on everything else. $95 annual fee.
Hilton HHonors Surpass Card from American Express – Automatic Hilton Gold Status. Earn 12x points on hotel stays within the Hilton Portfolio, earn 6x points at U.S. restaurants, supermarkets and gas stations, earn 3x points on everything else. $75 annual fee.
As you can see, there are many ways to earn yourself a lot of Hilton HHonors points to redeem for free stays at a Hilton property. The Hilton Visa from Citi is a great no-fee option for getting yourself started with some bonus points and earning more toward free nights. There is little downside since it’s a no-fee card, but it might not be the best option for earning HHonors points most quickly. Compare the above options to find your best fit and enjoy your next night at a Hilton property on points!
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Or, consider other cards for 50,000 more miles or points that transfer into United miles with additional flexibility for your everyday spending.
$1,000 toward travel or transfer to United, Southwest, and more.
Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card - $85 annual fee.