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Citibank Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Visa Card – Rewards vs. Expenditures?


The Citibank Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Visa card provides a variety of rewards and services, but are the rewards really worth it? We’ll cover the basics when it comes to this relatively popular Visa card offered by Hilton HHonors. The card is certainly beneficial to those who do a lot of traveling and prefer Hilton family hotels, but it may not be the right fit for those who don’t.

 Are Citibank Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Visa Card Benefits Really Worthwhile?

The Citibank Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Visa card offers a variety of benefits and rewards, including bonus points when you stay at the Hilton family hotel.  You can earn weekend night certificates at certain Hilton family resorts and hotels, but only after you’ve spent $2,500 worth of eligible purchases within four months of opening your new account. Such stipulations are the reason why it’s important to read and understand the terms and conditions applied to any credit card offer – before you sign on the dotted line.

In addition to the weekend certificates (which only apply to double occupancy in standard rooms), Hilton Reserve card members also receive between three and 10 HHonors s points for certain purchases which include airline ticket purchases, a car rental, or a hotel stay within a Hilton HHonors participating hotel.

For example, for every dollar spent on a hotel stay in a Hilton HHonors eligible hotel, you have the potential to earn 10 HHonors points. Earn  up to five HHonors bonus points for an airline ticket purchase or a car rental. Earn three HHonors points for all other “eligible” purchases.  Eligible purchases don’t include convenience checks, cash advances, convenience checks, credits, fees, transferred balances, or interest charges.

Note – in order to earn the 10 HHhonors bonus points for every dollar you spend, your purchases can include expenditures at a hotel restaurant, retail store, spa, or hotel lounge that have been charged to your hotel room bill – and paid for using your Citi Hilton HHonors Visa card when you check out. (Not all hotel vendors permit card members to apply such charges to their hotel bill, and in such a case, you won’t be eligible to earn those 10 HHonors bonus points for every dollar you spend.)

Citibank has clarified in their terms and conditions for the reward program that they have the final say-so in determining what types of purchases will qualify for the five HHonors bonus points for every dollar spent within those categories.

The Citibank Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Visa card also specifies a number of stipulations regarding free nights, the certificate for weekend certificates, their first anniversary bonus weekend night certificates, complimentary Gold status, and what they define as eligible purchases. Again, take the time to thoroughly review the rules to avoid unpleasant surprises.

If you read through the terms and conditions carefully, you’ll find that the certificate for weekend nights, for example, can be redeemed in thousands of hotels in over 90 countries, unless a property in their portfolio happens to be found on their list of excluded properties (see the small print in the “Reward Program Information” found in their disclosures.)

But What about the Perks?

The Citibank Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Visa card also offers a variety of perks. For example, this card does not charge for in transaction fees, and you’re able to upgrade your status after you’ve made more than $40,000 in eligible purchases within a calendar year. This upgrade to Diamond status will remain in effect as long as you meet the yearly qualifying purchasing requirements using the reserve card – and that status remains for the calendar year during which you earned that status through the end of the following year.

The card also offers a zero dollar liability on any unauthorized charges, and provides chip-based technology that provides added security as well as global acceptance of your card when in transit. A variety of online services are offered by Citibank to manage your Citibank Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Visa card account, including online account management, online statement access and viewing, account tracking and fast payment processing.

In addition, HHonors points don’t expire, so you don’t have to worry about any pre-set spending limitations. The card also offers a variety of services that include automatic travel accident insurance, travel and emergency assistance, coverage for trip cancellations or interruptions, an auto rental collision damage waiver program, retail purchase protection, lost luggage coverage, and others.

 Interest Rates and Interest Charges

When it comes to interest rates and interest charges, the Citibank Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Visa card is fairly typical of other cards out there. The annual percentage rate for new account holders is 15.24%, and that APR also applies for a balance transfers made within the first two months of the account opening.

Cash advance APR is 25.24%, but the penalty APR may increase to 29.99% if you make a late payment, or a payment that is returned unpaid. As with many other credit cards these days, the penalty APR may apply “indefinitely”.

The card comes with a $95 annual fee as well as transaction and penalty fees. Balance transfer transaction fees amount to $5 or 3% of the amount of the transfer, whichever is larger, and cash advances come with a $10 or 5% transaction fee, again, whichever is larger.  Penalty fees include late payment and returned payment fees in the amount of up to $35. Visit the website to read and review information regarding all transaction fees and stipulations. Also be aware that if you default or fail to follow the rules and regulations of your credit card agreement, you risk losing the offered promotional APR on any balance transfers.

Bottom Line

Read the fine print! The rewards program attached to this card focuses on bonus points that can be redeemed for hotel stays, travel, and eligible merchandise transactions. The card is not so beneficial to those who don’t travel or who infrequently visit Hilton family properties. Unless you’re a big spender striving to attain the Diamond status for the Citibank Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Visa card, this card is fairly average, and is recommended only to die-hard business travelers, but not so much for only infrequent or occasional travel.

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