Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card Versus Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card

hilton honors credit cardsCiti offers 2 solid Hilton credit cards—the Citi® Hilton Honors™ Visa Signature® card, and the Citi® Hilton Honors™ Reserve Card.

While the Hilton Reserve card comes with a $95 annual fee, we believe the Reserve card’s benefits and rewards more than make up for it. This is supported by a number of runs (simulations) with the PIQ Ranking Engine, but we’ll also spell out the logic below.

Why We Think The Hilton Reserve Beats Hilton Honors

We’ve run a number of simulations in the PIQ Ranking Engine, and the Hilton Reserve card consistently beat the Hilton Visa Signature—though we strongly recommend you run it yourself, with your own unique spend profile, just to be sure!

So here are some of the reasons that the Hilton Reserve comes out on top:

  • PIQ values 1 night weekend stay at a Category 1-7 hotel at $200 (of course, if you stay at a category 1 “gem” the value would be lower!). So the sign-up bonus for the Hilton Reserve credit card is worth $400. The Hilton Visa gives you 40,000 Hhonors points. We value these points at $0.0043 each (read our post on valuing HHonors Points to find out why), which makes the signup bonus worth less than half that of the Reserve card. (note: we assume cardholders spend enough with each card to earn the bonus in the first place—though the PIQ Ranking Engine takes your spend into account).
  • If you spend $10K or more per year on the Reserve Card, you get another night free each year—which is like another $200 signing bonus each year.
  • The spending rewards for the Reserve Card are better. For example, you’ll earn 12.5 points (10 points plus a 25% bonus for gold status) for hotel stays with the Reserve card, whereas you’ll only earn 6.9 (6 points plus 15% bonus for being silver) points with the Hilton Visa.

hilton honors statusWhat’s The Difference Between HHonors Elite Gold Versus Elite Silver Status

Since one of the obvious major differences between these two credit cards is that the Hilton Reserve gives you gold status for as long as you hold the card, whereas the Hilton Honors Visa Signature card gives you silver status. So we felt it wise to provide a quick review of the difference in benefits.

Feature Comparison: Hilton Honors Reserve Versus Hilton Honors Visa Signature Card
Hilton Honors Reserve Hilton Honors Visa Signature
Key benefits
  • 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 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 a 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.*
  • No annual fee.*
Complimentary Elite Status Gold status as long as you remain a cardmember. Silver status as long as you remain a cardmember.
Annual Fee $95 None
Foreign Transaction Fee None 3% of each transaction in USD

What’s The Difference Between HHonors Gold Status Versus Silver

Since one of the obvious major differences between these two credit cards is that the Hilton Reserve gives you gold status for as long as you hold the card, whereas the Hilton Honors Visa Signature card gives you silver status. So we felt it wise to provide a quick review of the difference in benefits.

Quick Comparison of Hilton Gold Versus Silver Status
Elite Gold (Hilton Reserve Card) Elite Silver (Hilton Visa Signature Card)
Elite status bonus 25% bonus on all earned Hilton Honors base points 15% bonus on all earned Hilton Honors base points
Quick reservations and check-ins based on your room preferences YES YES
Late check-out YES YES
Express check-out YES YES
Spouse stays free YES YES
Free access to fitness center and health clubs YES YES
2 free bottles of water per day at many Hilton brand hotels YES YES
Complimentary high speed internet access YES NO
eCheck-in YES NO
Space-available upgrades (for specific hotel brands) (see note 1) YES NO
Bonus points per stay (for specific hotel brands) (see note 2) YES NO

Note 1: As of this post, includes: Waldorf Astoria hotels, Conrad, Hilton Hotels and Resorts, DoubleTree.
Note 2: Includes all hotel brands mentioned in Note 1, plus: Embassy Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Inn, Homewood Suites, Home2 Suites, Hilton Grand Vacations.

PlasticIQ’s Concluding Thoughts on Both Hilton Credit Cards

Of course, the decision on whether to get a Hilton credit card in the first place will likely be driven by many factors (including whether or not you enjoy staying at their properties!). Assuming you have decided you want to double-down on Hilton, and also assuming you can make use of the free weekend stays (if you can’t, begs the question of why you’d want a hotel credit card!), then the Hilton Reserve card is the better way to go.

Until we meet again. Peace, PIQ.

Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card