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Hyatt, SPG, Marriott, IHG, and Fairmont offer (or will offer by next month) free internet in their hotels worldwide.

Hyatt announced free wifi in lobbies and guest rooms worldwide, starting February 1, 2015. This applies no matter how you book your room–yes even if you use Priceline–and even if you are not a member of the Hyatt Gold Passport loyalty program. Hyatt operates the Hyatt, Park Hyatt, Andaz, GrandHyatt, Hyatt Regency, Hyatt Place, Hyatt House, Hyatt Zilara, Hyatt Ziva, Hyatt Residences, and Hyatt Residence Club brands.

SPG announced free internet access, starting February 2, 2015. The free internet is only available to SPG members who book their stay through SPG.com or other SPG owned channels (ie the SPG app or sheraton.com.) Join SPG for free here. SPG operates the following brands.

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Marriott announced free internet access, starting January 15, 2015. The free internet is only available to Marriott Rewards members who book their stay through marriott.com or other Marriott owned channels (ie by phone or directly with the hotel.) Join Marriott Rewards for free here. Marriott operates the following brands.

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IHG already offers free internet to IHG Rewards club members no matter how their stay is booked. Join IHG Rewards for free here. IHG operates the following brands.

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Fairmont already offers free internet to Fairmont President’s Club members no matter how their stay is booked. Join Fairmont President’s Club for free here. Fairmont operates the following brands.

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Finally the great hotels of the world are catching up with a standard benefit of hostels for the last decade. ;)

Seriously though, this is great news for travelers. In the United States, I never bought internet from hotels anymore, opting to tether my laptop to my phone, but abroad I was often stuck paying 10 to 15 euros per day at hotels. I look forward to free internet at hotels worldwide for the rest of my life.

The one noticeable absence from this post is Hilton. Hilton has not announced free internet to match its rivals. (I expect it will.) In the meantime, the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card comes with Two Free Nights worldwide at top tier Hiltons after spending $2,500 in four months on the card.

The Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card also comes with Hilton Gold Status as long as you hold the card, which means free internet on your Hilton stays.

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ThankYou Points are a transferable points program offered by Citi on select credit cards. ThankYou Points transfer to nine airlines and Hilton. Normally 1,000 ThankYou Points transfer to 1,500 Hilton points. Until January 8, 2015, 1,000 ThankYou Points transfers to 2,000 Hilton points!

Screen Shot 2014-11-16 at 12.17.25 PM

This is exciting to me because there are some high value uses of Hilton points, and also because this is the first Citi ThankYou Points transfer bonus. Hopefully the first of many.

We have seen transfer bonuses from American Express Membership Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest points, but never from Chase Ultimate Rewards or Citi ThankYou Points until now.

Citi ThankYou Points are extremely easy to earn. The Citi ThankYou® Premier Rewards Card offers 20,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 in the first three months and 30,000 more bonus points after spending $3,000 in the first three months of your second year of cardmembership. That’s 50,000 total bonus points.

The Citi ThankYou® Premier Rewards Card also earns 3x points on dining and entertainment and 2x on airfare and hotels.

Before you rush off and transfer all your Citi ThankYou Points to Hilton HHonors points, though, make sure you are moving toward a high-value redemption.

  • What are the high value redemptions for Hilton points?
  • What are the other options with your ThankYou Points?

High Value Uses of Hilton Points

I value ThankYou Points at about 1.75 cents and Hilton points at about 0.4 cents, so on the face of it, exchanging 1 ThankYou Point for 2 Hilton points seems like a bad deal.

Screen Shot 2014-11-16 at 12.17.38 PM
However there is exceptional value with Hilton points, all of it at the bottom of the award chart. Last year, Hilton gutted the top of its award chart, so a single night at a Category 10 property goes for 95,000 points. That would mean basically spending your entire sign up bonus on the Citi ThankYou® Premier Rewards Card on one hotel night. No thanks!

Instead focus on the 34 Category 1 properties and 131 Category 2 properties available for only 5,000 and 10,000 points per night respectively. I’ve talked about my awesome stay at the Category 2 Hilton Doubletree in Kuala Lumpur. Some of these Category 1 and 2 properties are quite nice! Here is Hilton’s PDF of all its hotels’ categories.

The fifth night is free on Hilton award stays, so 20,000 Hilton points (10,000 ThankYou Points) could get you 5 free nights at a Category 1 hotel. That’s value!

For more information, see “Free Spreadsheet & Map to Download of Category 1, 2, 9, and 10 Hilton Properties Plus the Only Two Good Hilton Strategies.” The post also details the second Hilton strategy of getting the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card to get two free nights at Hiltons worldwide and Hilton Gold Status (free breakfast and internet.)

Other High Value Uses of ThankYou Points

To Europe or Israel: 12,500 Flying Blue miles each way

To South America, Central America, or Hawaii: Super cheap award with Singapore miles on United flights with multiple stopovers

Why the ThankYou Premier is One of Two Cards I Carry

During my nine-month trip, the only two cards I am carrying in my wallet for purchases are the Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard® with 40,000 bonus miles after spending $3k in the first 90 days and the Citi ThankYou® Premier Rewards Card.

They get the nod because neither has foreign transaction fees, and I’ll be in South America and Europe and because, the Arrival Plus earns a stellar 2.28 cents back toward travel on all purchases and the ThankYou Premier earns 3x on dining and 2x on airfare and hotels, all of which are big expenses on the road.

I’ll use my Arrival miles for Airbnb stays, the taxes on airline awards, or for flights on low-cost carriers.

I’ll use my ThankYou Points to transfer to Singapore or Flying Blue miles since Singapore miles are great within South America and back to the United States and Flying Blue miles are great to Europe.

See more of my credit card strategy in “Since I Met Minimum Spends I Carry Three Cards.”

Bottom Line

The transfer ratio from ThankYou Points to Hilton Points will be 1:2 until January 8, 2015. This is exciting for people who want to book a Category 1 or 2 Hilton property.

It is more broadly interesting because it is ThankYou Points’ first transfer bonus. Hopefully we’ll see future transfer bonuses to Singapore miles and Flying Blue miles.

Citi ThankYou® Premier Rewards Card

My Review of the Citi ThankYou® Premier Rewards Card

  • Earn up to 50,000 bonus ThankYou® Points. Bonus points are redeemable for up to $500 in gift cards, up to $625 for airfare or other great rewards
  • Earn 20,000 points after $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn an additional 30,000 points after another $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of your second year of being a cardmember
  • Annual Fee: $125 (fee waived for the first 12 months). On  4/19/2015, this fee will be reduced to $95 on all accounts
  • Points do not expire and earn unlimited Thank You Points
  • Travel with ease and enjoy chip based technology

Application Link: Citi ThankYou® Premier Rewards Card

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Expired! The current offer is identical except it doesn’t contain the $100 statement credit.

Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card with Two Free Nights worldwide at top tier Hiltons after spending $2,500 in four months

  • Earn 2 weekend night certificates good at select hotels and resorts within the Hilton HHonors portfolio after $2,500 in eligible purchases within 4 months of account opening*
  • Earn 10 HHonors Bonus Points per $1 spent on hotel stays within the Hilton HHonors 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*
  • Enjoy the benefits of HHonors Gold status as long as you are a cardmember*
  • No foreign transaction fees on purchases*
  • Travel with ease and enjoy global acceptance with your Citi chip credit card
  • Earn an anniversary bonus of 1 weekend night certificate at select hotels and resorts within the Hilton HHonors portfolio each cardmembership year with qualifying purchases*

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Expired! The current offer is identical except it doesn’t contain the $100 statement credit.

Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card with Two Free Nights worldwide at top tier Hiltons after spending $2,500 in four months

  • Earn 2 weekend night certificates good at select hotels and resorts within the Hilton HHonors portfolio after $2,500 in eligible purchases within 4 months of account opening*
  • Earn 10 HHonors Bonus Points per $1 spent on hotel stays within the Hilton HHonors 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*
  • Enjoy the benefits of HHonors Gold status as long as you are a cardmember*
  • No foreign transaction fees on purchases*
  • Travel with ease and enjoy global acceptance with your Citi chip credit card
  • Earn an anniversary bonus of 1 weekend night certificate at select hotels and resorts within the Hilton HHonors portfolio each cardmembership year with qualifying purchases*

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The limited time offer on the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card ends tomorrow (Friday, July 18.)

  • Earn 2 weekend night certificates good at the Hilton HHonors portfolio worldwide after $2,500 in eligible purchases within 4 months of account opening
  • $100 statement credit after $100 or more on your first hotel stay in the Hilton HHonors Portfolio within 3 months of account opening
  • Enjoy the benefits of HHonors Gold status as long as you are a cardmember

 

As a retention bonus, the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card offers an additional free weekend night certificate after spending $10,000 within a cardmember year.

Since any new cardholder will spend $2,500 on the card to get the first two free night certificates, that means that spending $7,500 more on the card during the first 12 months you have it will entitle you to a third free night certificate, in addition to the Hilton points you’d normally earn on that extra $7,500 in spending.

This extra free night certificate is an incredible benefit for many people who highly value a free night at a top-tier hotel.

In fact, the benefit compares favorably to spending the same $7,500 on most other cards.

  • How much is a third free night certificate worth?
  • How does spending $7,500 extra on the Hilton Reserve card compare to spending $7,500 on another card?
  • Can you use all three weekend certificates for one stay?

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Expired! The current offer is identical except it doesn’t contain the $100 statement credit.

Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card with Two Free Nights worldwide at top tier Hiltons after spending $2,500 in four months

  • Earn 2 weekend night certificates good at select hotels and resorts within the Hilton HHonors portfolio after $2,500 in eligible purchases within 4 months of account opening*
  • Earn 10 HHonors Bonus Points per $1 spent on hotel stays within the Hilton HHonors 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*
  • Enjoy the benefits of HHonors Gold status as long as you are a cardmember*
  • No foreign transaction fees on purchases*
  • Travel with ease and enjoy global acceptance with your Citi chip credit card
  • Earn an anniversary bonus of 1 weekend night certificate at select hotels and resorts within the Hilton HHonors portfolio each cardmembership year with qualifying purchases*

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The limited offer on the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card ends this Friday, July 18:

  • Earn 2 weekend night certificates good at select hotels and resorts within the Hilton HHonors portfolio after $2,500 in eligible purchases within 4 months of account opening
  • $100 statement credit after $100 or more on your first hotel stay in the Hilton HHonors Portfolio within 3 months of account opening
  • Enjoy the benefits of HHonors Gold status as long as you are a cardmember

 

Starting Saturday, the publicly available offer will still include two free weekend nights at Hiltons worldwide and Hilton Gold Status, but the $100 statement credit after your first Hilton stay will disappear.

If you’ve been thinking about getting this card, now is the time.

  • How do the free nights work?
  • Where are the best properties to use them?
  • What do you get with Hilton Gold status?
  • How do you get the $100 statement credit?
  • What is the card’s retention bonus (it’s awesome)?

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Expired! The current offer is identical except it doesn’t contain the $100 statement credit.

Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card with Two Free Nights worldwide at top tier Hiltons after spending $2,500 in four months

  • o   Earn 2 weekend night certificates good at select hotels and resorts within the Hilton HHonors portfolio after you make $2,500 in purchases within 4 months of account opening*
  • o   Earn 10 HHonors Bonus Points per $1 spent on hotel stays within the Hilton HHonors portfolio*  
  • o   Earn 5 HHonors Bonus Points per $1 spent on airline and car rental purchases* 
  • o   Earn 3 HHonors Bonus Points per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases* 
  • o   Enjoy the benefits of HHonors Gold status as long as you are a cardmember*
  • o   No foreign transaction fees on purchases*
  • o   Travel with ease and enjoy global acceptance with your Citi chip credit card

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The Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card released a limited time offer today:

  • Earn 2 weekend night certificates good at select hotels and resorts within the Hilton HHonors portfolio after $2,500 in eligible purchases within 4 months of account opening
  • $100 statement credit after $100 or more on your first hotel stay in the Hilton HHonors Portfolio within 3 months of account opening
  • Enjoy the benefits of HHonors Gold status as long as you are a cardmember

Free Nights

The two free nights at Hiltons and Conrads worldwide are good on any Friday, Saturday, or Sunday night. You can use both nights together or use one at a time.

These free nights can be used at amazing $1,000-a-night, aspirational properties where I wouldn’t otherwise ever be able to afford to stay.

Last year, Hilton put its top-tier Category 9 and 10 hotels nearly out of reach with points. They now cost up to 95,000 points for one night, so these two free nights could be worth up to 190,000 points if you use them strategically.

Luckily using the free nights strategically just got a lot easier when super reader Jeremy made a spreadsheet with all the Category 9 and 10 properties in one place.

Download it for free here.

Then super reader Dave made a custom map of all the Category 9 and 10 properties worldwide to make the visualization easier.

See it for free here.

Both those resources also show Category 1 and 2 hotels for a totally different reason. More in that on my post about the two best strategies for the Hilton program.

For more info on the free nights, and the $1,000-a-night hotels see:

Free Gold Status

As long as you have the Hilton Reserve, you get automatic Hilton Gold status, which earns a 25% points bonus on Hilton stays plus free breakfast and free internet.

On your two free nights and future paid stays, these perks will save you quite a bit of money.

$100 Statement Credit

The limited time offer includes a $100 statement credit after $100 or more charge to the card during a Hilton stay in the first 90 days.

That’s in addition to the 10x points per dollar you already earn at Hilton properties.

This is $100 free if you have a Hilton stay planned. If you don’t, it makes a Hilton stay potentially worth it, since you’ll get $100 off.

Bottom Line

The Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card was already the best card out there for luxury hotel stays.

You have always gotten two free nights at Hiltons worldwide after spending $2,500 in the first four months, some of which are $1,000-per-night or 95,000-points-per-night properties.

You have always gotten Hilton Gold Status to enjoy stays more with free internet and breakfast.

Now, for a limited time, you get a $100 statement credit after making a $100+ charge at a Hilton within 90 days of getting the card.

  • Earn a $100 statement credit after spending $100 or more on your first hotel stay in the Hilton HHonors Portfolio within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 2 weekend night certificates good at select hotels and resorts within the Hilton HHonors portfolio after $2,500 in purchases within 4 months of account opening*
  • Earn 10 HHonors Bonus Points per $1 spent on hotel stays within the Hilton HHonors 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*
  • Enjoy the benefits of HHonors Gold status as long as you are a cardmember*
  • No foreign transaction fees on purchases*
  • Travel with ease and enjoy global acceptance with your Citi chip credit card

There is a $95 annual fee that is not waived.

Application Link: Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card

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Citi is offering 60,000 bonus Hilton points after spending $1,000 in the first three months on the no-annual-fee Hilton HHonors card.

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This offer also comes with:

  • a $25 statement credit after spending $200 at National, Alamo, or Enterprise rent-a-car
  • automatic Hilton Silver status;
  • Hilton Gold status after four Hilton stays within 90 days of cardmembership

The landing page says the offer expires August 31, 2014.

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There are two strategies to maximize Hilton’s program:

  • Use Hilton points at Category 1 (5k points per night) and Category 2 (10k points per night) properties
  • Use free night certificates at Category 9 and 10 properties

A few super readers put together a spreadsheet and map of where to find those properties that you can access here.

Follow one or both of those two strategies. Do NOT get this card with a points bonus to stay at top tier properties, which cost up to 95,000 Hilton points per night. This card is good only if you plan to use the points for bottom-tier Hiltons.

For top-tier Hiltons and automatic Gold status, you want the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card with Two Free Weekend Nights at Hiltons worldwide after spending $2,500 in four months.

For a comparison of the no-annual-fee Hilton to the Hilton Reserve, see this post.

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Today is the fifth day of five weeks of discounted travel packages sponsored by the US Travel Association and American Express called Daily Getaways. Every weekday at 1 PM ET, a discounted travel package or packages will go on sale and will usually sell out in a few minutes. Some of the offers will be awesome; some will be duds.

Today’s deal is discounted Hilton HHonors points in 100k, 150k, and 250k packages. Today only, you can pay 0.495 cents for all the Hilton points you could ever want.

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  • Is .495 cents per Hilton point a good deal?
  • What are the best value properties for Hilton awards?

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Update: Super reader Dave made a map of the locations of the Category 9 and 10 properties for visual learners.

Super reader Jeremy has created the most valuable spreadsheet imaginable for the Hilton HHonors program that you can download for free here.

The spreadsheet lists:

  • all 34 Category 1 hotels
  • all 131 Category 2 hotels
  • all 46 Category 9 hotels
  • all 10 Category 10 hotels

For each hotel, the name, location, and a link to its Trip Advisor reviews are listed.

Jeremy took the information from Hilton’s PDF of all its hotels’ categories and made it much more useful and streamlined.

The three main improvements he made:

  1. His spreadsheet is sortable by city, state, country, or hotel name (which often starts with the hotel brand.) This can be very useful if you want to know if there is a Category 1, 2, 9, or 10 Hilton on the route of your next trip.
  2. He added links to the Trip Advisor page of each hotel for more information quickly.
  3. He cut out Categories 3-8.
  • Why is cutting out Categories 3-8 an improvement?
  • What are the only two viable Hilton redemption strategies?
  • What card offers up to 10 free nights at Hilton properties after spending $1,000 in three months?

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Update 4/18/14: The current offer on the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card is 40,000 Hilton Points after spending $1k in the first three months.

  • Earn 40,000 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points after spending $1,000 within 4 months of account opening*
  • Earn 6 HHonors Bonus Points for each $1 spent at any participating hotel within the Hilton Portfolio.*
  • Earn 3 HHonors Bonus Points for each $1 spent on purchases at supermarkets, drugstores and gas stations.*
  • Earn 2 HHonors Bonus Points for each $1 spent on all other purchases.*
  • Enjoy the benefits of HHonors Silver status as long as you are a cardmember*
  • No annual fee.*

Application Link: Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card

A lot of people will love the benefits and sign up bonus on the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card.

The card comes with automatic Hilton Silver status, which earns a 15% points bonus on Hilton stays, late checkout, and free access to fitness centers. Better yet, if you complete four Hilton stays in the first 90 days of card membership, you get bumped up to Hilton Gold status, which earns a 25% points bonus on Hilton stays and free internet in addition to the benefits of Silver.

The 40k bonus points are enough for 8 free nights in a Category 1 Hiltons and 4 free nights in Category 2 Hiltons. I stayed at an awesome DoubleTree in Kuala Lumpur that was a Category 2 Hilton.

The last big benefit of the card is that it has no annual fee. Very few rewards cards with no annual fee offer so much.

But many people will be better off getting the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card with Two Free Weekend Nights worldwide at top tier Hiltons after spending $2,500 in four months.

Comparison of Hilton Reserve and Hilton Cards

Sign Up Bonus

The Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card comes with two free weekend nights (Friday, Saturday, or Sunday night) at Hiltons worldwide after spending $2,500 in four months on the card. There are some incredible (and incredibly expensive) Hilton properties at which this benefit could approach $2,000 in retail value.

Check out this post looking at the best properties.

Hilton’s award chart charges up to 95,000 points for a single night in a category 10 hotel, so two free nights could be worth up to 190k points.

The Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card has a sign up bonus of 40,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in four months on the card.

Forty thousand points won’t get you two (or even one) night at a top tier Hilton. But it will get you 5-10 nights at the bottom categories, which have some gems.

The “regular” Hilton card also has a much small spending requirement.

Advantage: Depends on whether you want more nights or fancier nights and how much of a spending requirement you can meet.

Perks

The Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card comes with Gold Status.

The Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card comes with Silver Status and the chance to earn Gold Status with four paid Hilton stays in the first 90 days.

Advantage: Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card

Spending

Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card:

  • Earn 10 HHonors Bonus Points per $1 spent on hotel stays within the Hilton HHonors 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*

Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card

  • Earn 6 HHonors Bonus Points for each $1 spent at any participating hotel within the Hilton HHonors portfolio.*
  • Earn 3 HHonors Bonus Points for each $1 spent on purchases at supermarkets, drugstores and gas stations.*
  • Earn 2 HHonors Bonus Points for each $1 spent on all other purchases.*

Advantage: Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card

Annual Fee

The Hilton Reserve has a $95 annual fee, and the “regular” Hilton card has no annual fee.

Advantage: Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card

Full Offer

The “regular” card is ideal for folks who want a no-annual-fee card that rewards their loyalty to Hilton.

  • Earn 40,000 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points after spending $1,000 within 4 months of account opening*
  • Earn 6 HHonors Bonus Points for each $1 spent at any participating hotel within the Hilton Portfolio.*
  • Earn 3 HHonors Bonus Points for each $1 spent on purchases at supermarkets, drugstores and gas stations.*
  • Earn 2 HHonors Bonus Points for each $1 spent on all other purchases.*
  • Enjoy the benefits of HHonors Silver status as long as you are a cardmember*
  • No annual fee.*

Application Link: Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card————————————————————————————————————

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Update 4/18/14: The current offer on the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card is 40,000 Hilton Points after spending $1k in the first three months.

  • Earn 40,000 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points after spending $1,000 within 4 months of account opening*
  • Earn 6 HHonors Bonus Points for each $1 spent at any participating hotel within the Hilton Portfolio.*
  • Earn 3 HHonors Bonus Points for each $1 spent on purchases at supermarkets, drugstores and gas stations.*
  • Earn 2 HHonors Bonus Points for each $1 spent on all other purchases.*
  • Enjoy the benefits of HHonors Silver status as long as you are a cardmember*
  • No annual fee.*

Application Link: Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card

———————————————-

A lot of people will love the benefits and sign up bonus on the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card.

The card comes with automatic Hilton Silver status, which earns a 15% points bonus on Hilton stays, late checkout, and free access to fitness centers. Better yet, if you complete four Hilton stays in the first 90 days of card membership, you get bumped up to Hilton Gold status, which earns a 25% points bonus on Hilton stays and free internet in addition to the benefits of Silver.

The 40k bonus points are enough for 8 free nights in a Category 1 Hiltons and 4 free nights in Category 2 Hiltons. I stayed at an awesome DoubleTree in Kuala Lumpur that was a Category 2 Hilton.

The last big benefit of the card is that it has no annual fee. Very few rewards cards with no annual fee offer so much.

But many people will be better off getting the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card with Two Free Weekend Nights worldwide at top tier Hiltons after spending $2,500 in four months.

Comparison of Hilton Reserve and Hilton Cards

Sign Up Bonus

TheCiti® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card comes with two free weekend nights (Friday, Saturday, or Sunday night) at Hiltons worldwide after spending $2,500 in four months on the card. There are some incredible (and incredibly expensive) Hilton properties at which this benefit could approach $2,000 in retail value.

Check out this post looking at the best properties.

Hilton’s award chart charges up to 95,000 points for a single night in a category 10 hotel, so two free nights could be worth up to 190k points.

The Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card has a sign up bonus of 40,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in four months on the card.

Forty thousand points won’t get you two (or even one) night at a top tier Hilton. But it will get you 5-10 nights at the bottom categories, which have some gems.

The “regular” Hilton card also has a much small spending requirement.

Advantage: Depends on whether you want more nights or fancier nights and how much of a spending requirement you can meet.

Perks

The Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card comes with Gold Status.

The Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card comes with Silver Status and the chance to earn Gold Status with four paid Hilton stays in the first 90 days.

Advantage: Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card

Spending

Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card:

  • Earn 10 HHonors Bonus Points per $1 spent on hotel stays within the Hilton HHonors 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*

Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card

  • Earn 6 HHonors Bonus Points for each $1 spent at any participating hotel within the Hilton HHonors portfolio.*
  • Earn 3 HHonors Bonus Points for each $1 spent on purchases at supermarkets, drugstores and gas stations.*
  • Earn 2 HHonors Bonus Points for each $1 spent on all other purchases.*

Advantage: Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card

Annual Fee

The Hilton Reserve has a $95 annual fee, and the “regular” Hilton card has no annual fee.

Advantage: Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card

Full Offer

The “regular” card is ideal for folks who want a no-annual-fee card that rewards their loyalty to Hilton.

  • Earn 40,000 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points after spending $1,000 within 4 months of account opening*
  • Earn 6 HHonors Bonus Points for each $1 spent at any participating hotel within the Hilton Portfolio.*
  • Earn 3 HHonors Bonus Points for each $1 spent on purchases at supermarkets, drugstores and gas stations.*
  • Earn 2 HHonors Bonus Points for each $1 spent on all other purchases.*
  • Enjoy the benefits of HHonors Silver status as long as you are a cardmember*
  • No annual fee.*

Application Link: Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card

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2013 was a year of several major devaluation announcements including:

  • United (kicks in February 1, 2014)
  • Southwest (kicks in March 31, 2014)
  • Delta (already kicked in on current award bookings for travel that starts February 1, 2014 or later)
  • Hyatt (kicks in January 7, 2014)
  • Ultimate Rewards (with three major transfer partners devaluing–United, Southwest, and Hyatt–the program took a major hit through no fault of its own)

But the more things change, the more they stay the same. We’re still getting outsized value from our miles and points and traveling the world in style for next to nothing.

What’s my outlook for 2014 and what’s my strategy for earning and burning the major points’ currencies?

I earn a commission for some links on this blog. Citi is a MileValue partner.

I am a lodging cheapskate. My ideal trip length is four weeks, so hotel bills would add up quickly. Right now I haven’t been in the US since February, so I’ve had to come up with creative ways to sleep cheaply.

But just because I’m a cheapskate doesn’t mean I don’t want to stay at fancy hotels sometimes too. I’m jealous that Rookie Alli has two nights at any Hilton worldwide. I have my own two free nights at Hyatts worldwide that I’ll be sure to use somewhere way outside my price range.

There is a third way, though, between the extremes of free ultra-luxury and cheap adequate accommodation: under-categorized hotels are a fantastic value play.

Free nights at hotels cost a certain number of points that are decided by which category a hotel places the hotel into. For instance, a Category 1 Hilton costs 5,000 points for a free night. A Category 10 Hilton costs up to 95,000 points for a free night.

The number of points needed generally tracks the quality, location, and price of the hotel, but some hotels are under-categorized and represent fantastic value with points.

Last night I stayed in one such hotel, the DoubleTree Kuala Lumpur, which is a Hilton Category 2 property that costs only 10k Hilton points per night.

Continue for my review with photos of the DoubleTree Kuala Lumpur and a rundown of all the freebies I got. What hotel award charts might have sweet spots? What are the best value free nights you’ve gotten?

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Earlier this month, I received my two Free Weekend Night certificates from Hilton after spending $2,500 in four months on my Citi Hilton Reserve card.

Hilton has some incredible properties around the world that cost as much for a night as my rent costs for a month, so I want to use my two free nights for truly aspirational stays I could otherwise never afford. And I want you to help me pick a property, since I’m sure MileValue readers have stayed at all these properties.

Hilton Bora Bora Nui, I could stay here…

I decided that I only wanted to redeem my certificates outside of the US at either a Category 9 or Category 10 hotel–why settle for less, especially when it’s free? I want to take a nice trip next summer, so I am looking at redeeming the certificates for a consecutive Friday night and Saturday night stay in June. I came up with five finalists.

What are my options? Where should I stay?

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