Review of the Citi® Hilton HHonorsTM Reserve Card and the Citi® Hilton HHonorsTM Visa Signature® Card

Brendan Harkness

Brendan Harkness | Reviews

Jul 30, 2014 | Updated Oct 02, 2015

The Citi® Hilton HHonorsTM Reserve Card and the Citi® Hilton HHonorsTM Visa Signature® Card are both travel/hotel rewards cards, offering their benefits at hotels within the Hilton Worldwide portfolio. Their rewards structures are similar: cardholders will end up earning more points with the Reserve Card, but the Visa Signature card might be more useful for people who don’t travel as much.

Both of these cards made our list of the best hotel credit cards for Spring, 2014.

Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card

For People with
Excellent Credit

  • Annual Fee: $95
  • Interest Rate: 15.24% (Variable)
Quick Card Facts
  • Earn 10 HHonors Bonus Points for every $1 spent on hotel stays within Hilton Portfolio
  • Earn 5 HHonors Bonus Points for every $1 spent on airline and car rental purchases
  • Earn 3 HHonors Bonus Points for every $1 spent on all other purchases
  • There is no limit to the amount of rewards you can earn, as long as you use your card once per year

Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card

For People with
Excellent Credit

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Interest Rate: 15.24%, 17.24%, or 19.24% (Variable)
Quick Card Facts
  • Earn 6 HHonors Bonus Points for every $1 spent on hotel stays within Hilton Portfolio
  • Earn 3 HHonors Bonus Points for every $1 spent at supermarkets, drugstores & gas stations
  • Earn 2 HHonors Bonus Points for every $1 spent on all other purchases
  • When you spend $1,000 within Hilton Portfolio in one year, you can earn 10,000 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points
  • There is no limit to the amount of rewards you can earn, as long as you use your card once per year

The Rewards

The Reserve card offers the following rewards structure for points:

  • 10 HHonors Bonus points for every $1 spent on hotel stays from hotels contained within the Hilton HHonors portfolio.
  • 5 bonus points for every $1 spent on airline and car rentals.
  • 3 bonus points for every $1 spent on all other eligible purchases.

If $2,500 is spent on purchases within the first 4 months after account opening, 2 weekend night certificates are awarded. Each of these certificates are good for 1 weekend night stay in a standard room with double occupancy, at select hotels and resorts from Hilton HHonors.

Cardholders also get automatic Gold membership status with Hilton, which comes with special treatment and privileges like quick reservations and check-in, late and express check-out, free stays for spouses, and more. Gold members also get a 25% bonus on HHonors base points, and receive their 5th night free on Standard Room Reward stays. An upgrade to Diamond status, featuring even better benefits, is available when $40,000 is spent on eligible purchases in 1 year.

The Visa Signature card offers fewer points for a different set of purchases, and a lesser membership status:

  • 6 Hilton HHonors bonus points for every $1 spent on hotels in the Hilton HHonors portfolio.
  • 3 bonus points for every $1 spent at supermarkets, drugstores, and gas stations.
  • 2 bonus points for every $1 spent on other eligible transactions.

If $1,000 is spent on purchases within the first 4 months, 40,000 bonus points are awarded.

This card only comes with Silver membership status with Hilton, providing fewer benefits, like a 15% bonus on base points earned instead of 25%. However, cardholders can quickly attain Gold status by purchasing 4 stays at a Hilton hotel within 90 days after opening the card.

The Benefits

The extra benefits provided by these cards are very similar. Neither card has a pre-set spending limit.

For both the Reserve card and the Visa Signature, cardholders are not held liable for fraudulent charges posted to their account. Retail purchase protection is available as well for most items, which are covered in case of accidental breakage, theft, or fire, up to $500 and for up to 90 days after the date of purchase.

Shopping with these cards is also enhanced with Citi® Price Rewind, a service that searches online retailers to look for a lower price on items you buy. It will search for 30 days after the date of a purchase, and if it finds that item at a lower price by at least $25 you can get the price difference credited to your account.

Cardholders get travel and emergency assistance to help with medical and legal referrals while on the go, as well as translation services. Automatic travel accident insurance is also provided when traveling by plane, train, or bus, for the cardholder, their spouse, and their children. Auto rental insurance is available which covers physical damage and theft, as long as the car rental company’s insurance is declined.

Lost luggage expenses are reimbursed for the cardholder and their dependents, up to $3,000. This service covers lost, stolen, and damaged baggage that has been checked with a common carrier.

These cards also include Chip-and-Signature technology, for security and better access to merchants in foreign countries.

The full range of Visa Signature benefits are also provided for both of these cards, which include even more travel, shopping, and entertainment invitations and discounts.

There are only two differences when it comes to the benefits provided by these cards. The Reserve card alone offers trip cancellation/interruption coverage and an extended warranty on purchases. The coverage applies to tickets purchased from common carriers, and cardholders can be awarded up to $1,500 in the event of a cancelled or interrupted trip. The extended warranty will cover most items purchased, and will extend an original manufacturer’s warranty up to 1 year.

The Costs

The Reserve card runs with slightly higher rates than the Visa Signature card. There is also a $95 annual fee for the Reserve card, while the Visa Signature has no annual fee.

The Reserve card has a purchase and balance transfer APR of 15.24%, and a cash advance APR of 25.24%. Balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 3% of the transaction, and cash advances cost $10 or 5% of the transaction.

There is no foreign transaction fee for this card.

The Visa Signature card, however, has a purchase and balance transfer APR of 14.24%. Cash advances have an APR of 25.24% again. The same fees apply: balance transfers at $5 or 3% of the transaction, and cash advances at $10 or 5% of the transaction.

This card charges a fee for foreign transactions, of 3% of the transaction.

The penalty rates for both of these cards are identical. Each has a penalty APR of 29.99% that may be applied if you make a late or returned payment. Late and returned payments also cost up to $35 each.

The Bottom Line

These are both great cards for anyone who travels frequently and likes to stay at Hilton brand and affiliated hotels. The rewards are quite generous, but cardholders will really benefit when it comes to the wide range of additional services, provided by both Citi and Visa Signature, as well as the Gold or Silver Hilton HHonors membership status granted by the cards. These services will assist cardholders in many ways as they shop, travel, and stay at hotels.

The main difference between these cards is the type of rewards being offered. The Visa Signature card is less focused on travel, offering points for supermarkets, drug stores, and gas stations. These points replace those given by the Reserve card for airline and car rental purchases, making the Visa Signature card a better choice for those who won’t need to use it for those kind of travel purchases.

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