Earning airline miles for free flights is fantastic, but how can you cover your costs once you arrive at your destination? Travel rewards credit cards affiliated with hotel chains offer the opportunity to earn free stays at locations that might otherwise be out of your budget.
Citi offers its Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card for those who want a way to earn free night stay awards at a variety of Hilton properties.
- Generous Sign-Up Bonus. Earn 40,000 Hilton HHonors bonus points by spending $1,000 within four months of opening your account. These are enough points to redeem up to five free nights at a lower end property, and almost enough for a free night at a Waldorf Astoria hotel.
- Earn Two Points per Dollar Spent on Most Purchases. Most purchases earn two HHonors points per dollar spent. Since their standard award nights begin at 7,500 points, a free night can be earned with as little as $3,750 in spending.
- Earn Bonus Points. Three HHonors points are earned for purchases at grocery stores, drugstores, and gasoline stations. Six points are earned for any spending at Hilton properties.
- Hilton HHonors Silver Status. Cardholders are automatically elevated to Silver status within Hilton’s HHonors program. This entitles you to priority check in, early and late checkouts, as well as free access to the health clubs at all Hilton properties.
- Annual Fee. There is no annual fee for this card.
- Foreign Transaction Fee. Citi imposes a 3% fee on all charges processed outside the United States.
- Earn Free Nights. Hilton’s HHonors is one of the better hotel loyalty programs. It offers free nights with no blackout dates or capacity restrictions so that members can redeem their points for any standard room that is currently for sale.
- Earn Bonus Points. The Hilton HHonor program requires more points than others, but cards like this offer a generous level of bonus points to make up for it.
- Wide Range of Hilton Properties. Whatever your travel budget allows, there is probably a Hilton property in your price range. Hilton brands include Hilton Garden Inn, Embassy Suites, Double Tree, Hampton Inn, and Waldorf Astoria hotels.
- Gain Status. After a long flight, it is nice to have priority check-in, as well as a few other perks that the Silver status offers.
- No Annual Fee. This is one of the rare rewards cards that does not charge an annual fee.
- High APR. As with many travel rewards cards, the Citi Hilton HHonors card does not offer a very competitive interest rate. Therefore, those who typically carry a balance should probably avoid this card.
- No Promotional Balance Transfer Offers. As a rewards card, customers can not expect to receive a valuable 0% balance transfer offer.
- Silver Status Offers Only Average Perks. While any priority status is better than nothing, HHonors Silver does not offer free Internet or room upgrades. You need to make Gold status to have a chance at those perks.
- Foreign Transaction Fees. The current trend is to waive these unnecessary fees, especially on travel-related products. Unfortunately, Citi does not appear to be keeping with the times. You may be better off using one of the many credit cards without foreign transaction fees.
There are few worthwhile rewards cards on the market that do not charge an annual fee. By offering high levels of points for opening an account, staying at their hotels, and spending on bonus categories, the Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card is a great place to start for frugal travelers who want to earn free nights.
What are your thoughts on the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card?