Review: Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card

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Reward credit cards from airlines are popular, but cardholders can often regret their choice when they learn the airline has allocated hardly any award seats at the lowest mileage levels. Hotel reward credit cards offer an attractive alternative, because the points have far fewer restrictions.

The Hilton HHonors Visa Signature card from Citi is one such card. It allows you to earn points that can be used for award nights – with no blackout dates or capacity restrictions.

Advantages

  • Sign-up bonus. Receive 40,000 Hilton HHonors points after spending $1,000 in the first four months of opening an account. That’s enough for a free night at one of their most expensive properties, or multiple nights at a medium- or low-priced hotel.
  • Earn points for spending. Earn 2 points per dollar spent on most purchases; 3 points per dollar spent at supermarkets, drugstores, and gas stations; and 6 points per dollar at all Hilton properties.
  • Redeem points for free nights. Award nights for standard rooms start at 7,500 points and go as high as 50,000 points. Hilton hotels include Waldorf Astoria, DoubleTree, Embassy Suites, and Hampton Inn.
  • Receive elite status. Automatically get upgraded to HHonors Silver status, which entitles you to points bonuses, health club privileges, and other amenities.
  • Fees. There’s no annual fee, but there’s a foreign transaction fee of 3 percent on all charges processed outside of the United States.

Disadvantages

  • Interest rates. The standard APR is 14.24 percent for Visa Signature or 16.24 percent for Visa Gold. Like most reward cards, that’s higher than some of the lowest interest rate cards on the market.
  • Foreign transaction fee. At a time when many travel rewards credit cards are dropping this fee, this one still has this outdated – and unnecessary – charge.
  • No introductory financing offer. While many cards offer interest-free financing on balance transfers and new purchases, this card does not.

Bottom line

Get it if: You want to earn points toward free nights at Hilton hotels.

Forget it if: You carry a balance and are looking for the lowest interest rates.

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