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The Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card is now offering a new promotion where you can earn 2 free weekend nights after making $2,500 in purchases within the first 4 months of account opening and a $100 statement credit after you spend $100 or more on your first hotel stay within the Hilton Portfolio within the first six months of account opening. It’s a decent offer but there are a few things you should know about the offer before applying.
Weekend nights only
First, make sure you note that your two free nights need to fall on the weekend. For purposes of this card, a weekend night consists of Friday, Saturday, or Sunday night.
The two weekend nights are perfectly suited for travelers like myself who love to stay at luxury hotels on weekend getaways and are flexible with their planning but obviously will present challenges to folks who already have lengthy itineraries envisioned for specific locations. In the latter scenario, you may have to go out of your way so that you’re in a location with an available Hilton on a weekend.
Moreover, you want to make sure that you use your weekend certificate at properties that are actually worth it (you don’t want to use your two free nights on a low category property and lose out on hundreds of dollars of value). Finding availability at a property worth redeeming may require a lot of flexibility or a fair amount of planning ahead so just be mindful of that.
How valuable are the weekend certificates?
Per the terms of the credit card, the“[w]eekend night certificate is valid for one (1) weekend night standard accommodation, double occupancy, subject to availability, at properties in the Hilton Portfolio.” Note: there are several exclusions where these certificates cannot be used. Here is the list of excluded properties.
So you’re going to be looking at standard room redemptions with your certificates. (You are still eligible for upgrades based on availability even when you use weekend night certificates.)
Standard room redemptions can still be very valuable. For example, the Conrad in the Maldives has standard room awards for 95,000 HHonors points per night. Thus, if you used your two weekend nights at this hotel you’d be getting 190,000 HHonors points worth of value out of it. In case you were wondering, the cash value for two nights would be $1,800, so you’re getting a ton in value!
Personally, I would try to not settle for anything below 50,000 HHonors points per night with the weekend certificates. If you use them on a 40,000 per night hotel, you could’ve gotten those two nights just about covered with a no-annual fee Hilton card and you’re losing tens of thousands worth of HHonors points redemption potential.
The annual fee and statement credit
The buzzkill to the offer is the $95 annual fee (which usually accompanies the offer). However, there is the $100 statement credit after you spend $100 or more on your first hotel stay within the Hilton Portfolio within the first six months of account opening. Since you have to spend $100 on a Hilton hotel stay to activate the statement credit, it’s not a true “free money” statement credit (unless you usually spend money at Hilton hotels).
Choosing this card over other cards
The way I see it is that you could get a no-annual fee Hilton card and earn up to 75,000 HHonors points or you could pay $95 for the Reserve card and redeem for up to 190,000 HHonors points. That’s like paying $95 for an additional 115,000 points which I think is well worth it to me but not everyone travels the same way.
Someone else may see more value in stretching 75,000 HHonors points from a no-annual fee card to cover three or more nights at a hotel than paying $95 to stay at a high-end hotel for two nights. Also, there’s the added freedom of being able to redeem for nights at any time during the week when you earn a balance of points on a sign-up bonus.
Ultimately, it just comes down to your preference. But if you’re interested in redeeming at high-end Hilton hotels and can plan ahead to ensure availability, I think this is a decent deal worth considering.
$100 statement credit
Charges that will be reimbursed by the $100 statement credit include (but may not be limited to):
- Charges at hotel restaurants
- Retail stores
If you don’t normally spend money on any of those items during a hotel stay then it’s hard to say that you’re “saving $100” on them since you’re still paying a $95 annual fee up front. However, if you’re like me, and normally do spend some dough at the bar or restaurant, then the $100 statement credit actually does offer you savings that can potentially cancel out what you’ll pay for the annual fee.
Just keep in mind that you’ll need to spend the $100 in one transaction!
Earn Hilton HHonors bonus points for spend
The card comes with a number of other benefits, including bonus earning potential. The card earns bonus points at the following rates:
- 10 HHonors Bonus Points on hotel stays within the Hilton Portfolio
- 5 HHonors Bonus Points on airline and car rental purchases
- 3 HHonors Bonus Points on all other purchases
You get to enjoy Hilton HHonors Gold status as long as you’re a Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve cardmember.
- 5th night free
- Complimentary internet
- With Gold elite status, you automatically receive a 25% bonus on all the HHonors Base Points you earn.
- Complimentary Breakfast
- Eligible for upgrades and occasional executive lounge access
Earn an upgrade to HHonors Diamond status when you make $40,000 or more in purchases each calendar year. Honestly, there are much easier ways to obtain Hilton HHonors Diamond status than spending 40 grand. If you do happen to obtain Diamond status you can count on enjoying a number of additional benefits that you can read about here.
Earn an anniversary bonus of one weekend night certificate good for one weekend night (standard room, double occupancy) at select hotels and resorts within the Hilton Portfolio after you spend $10,000 on purchases each year (starting from your Annual Fee Date) and remain a cardmember. $10,000 in a year is certainly obtainable for a lot of people and for one weekend night that’s not a bad offer.
Overall, I think it’s a an offer you should definitely consider and if you’re a flexible traveler like me who likes taking those weekend getaways and staying in luxury Hilton hotels, this can be a solid option.
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Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. His content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.