After weeks of rumors, conspiracy theories and posturing the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card has launched.
Hilton guests, both current and prospective, should be paying attention because this card is pretty exciting.
Citi has upped the stakes with the HHonors Reserve card: higher signup rewards, greater travel perks and additional points earning power.
Let’s begin with the juicy part of the story: the signup bonus.
This card comes loaded with 2 Free Weekend Nights that can be redeemed for a standard room rewards in Category 1-7 hotels and applicable Waldorf Astoria’s.
Those two free weekend nights are worth $379 each, if used for a Category 7 Hilton hotel, making it one of the best signup bonus offers of all the current hotel credit cards.
Is that something you might be interested in?
I definitely can get interested and that is exactly what Hilton is betting on.
The only downside is the night certificates are for weekends only, making it necessary to combine them with HHonors points if you want to stay for free on weekdays.
That is just how they hook you into their program; now we will investigate just how they plan on keeping you there.
The Reserve card comes out swinging with instant HHonors Gold status and for the duration of your card membership and the chance to upgrade to Diamond status after spending $40,000 on purchases within a calendar year.
HHonors Gold status is more than just a title and has tangible benefits:
The amount of money saved on breakfast’s alone could be reason enough for me to get this card (I eat a lot).
Those are all premium benefits that I wish I had at one time or another:
Arriving jetlagged to your hotel and your room is not ready for another 5 hours; I wish I had Early Check-In.
Coming back from the beach and wisihing I could shower before heading out to the airport: Late Checkout would have been useful there.
You see how practical HHonors Gold status can be for leisure travelers, families and business pros.
Next up is the Hilton points earning power packed into this magical plastic card:
- Earn 10 HHonors Bonus Points per $1 spent on hotel stays within the Hilton Worldwide portfolio
- Earn 5 HHonors Bonus Points per $1 spent on airline and car rental purchases
- Earn 3 HHonors Bonus Points per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases
This is a lot more than the older Citicard Hilton would offer but it does come with a price; a $95 annual fee to be exact.
Along with a bonus weekend night every year of card membership, this card has benefits for days.
What’s in a Name?
With a name like Reservethe card is meant to convey a premium tier of Citi Hilton Hotel credit cards and not meant to compete with the basic Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card but more with the AMEX Hilton Surpass Card.
Surpass vs Reserve, which card will go beyond the superlatives and bring us the goods:
With an overall record of 6 wins, 2 Ties and 4 Loses; The Citi Hilton Reserve hotel rewards card is our champion.
Those two competing Hilton cards stack up pretty well but the numbers never lie and the Reserve card is better.
The new Citicard was victorious in important categories that provided $100s in value like foreign transaction fee, signup bonus and comped elite status.
Pretty Impressive so far.
Reaching for the Star[wood]
If you want to see the Citi card move up a weight class you can match it up against the SPG AMEX.
This is much stiffer competition, almost unfair to the new Citicard, and should make for a telling barometer of where the Hilton HHonors Reserve hotel credit card stacks up.
Despite a split decision of 6 Wins for each card, the Starwood Preferred Guest card triumphs because of its airline transfer partners.
Keep your chin up Citicard.
You definitely made huge progress improving your rewards credit card portfolio and have nothing to be ashamed of and it is not your fault that Starwood is a better hotel rewards program.
Overall a great showing by the Reserve card and I would definitely start to shuffle around my credit card applications to find room for it.