By  Mon Jul 23, 2012

Citi Teams With Hilton Hotels to Launch High-End Card for Travelers

Lee Cannon / Flickr source

To capture more frequent international travelers, Citi introduced the new Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Visa Signature credit card. The co-branded card features hotel-stay vouchers and a generous points system for some of the most common purchase categories of a regular traveler.

“Hilton HHonors Reserve cardmembers will enjoy more ways to earn complimentary nights at thousands of properties in the Hilton Worldwide portfolio — and weekend night stay certificates that can be worth hundreds of dollars,” said Ralph Andretta, head of co-brands and loyalty at Citi Cards, in prepared remarks.

At the price of a $95 annual fee, cardmembers will earn 10 points per dollar spent on hotel stays at Hilton locations, 5 points per dollar spent on airline and car-rental purchases and 3 points per dollar on everything else.

Every year, cardmembers will receive a bonus of one weekend night when they spend $10,000 during the year. As a signup bonus, cardmembers can get two weekend nights after spending $2,500 in the first four months of cardmembership.

Other perks include card concierge service, no foreign-transaction fees and Gold-level HHonors member status. Depending on status, members may receive points bonuses and complimentary services and benefits during their hotel stays.

The Hilton HHonors Reserve card also sports an embedded EMV chip to allow for smoother card purchases abroad. EMV chip technology uses dynamic data encryption to thwart card-skimming, which was rampant in foreign countries. While many foreign nations adopted EMV as the standard, the U.S. is just starting to make progress on this front.

Not surprisingly, the Hilton HHonors Reserve card is most appropriate for those who stay at Hilton locations often enough to make up the $95 annual fee. The bonus points on airfare may pose a problem for cardmembers who also have a preferred co-branded airline credit card. Hilton HHonors Reserve cardmembers would have to evaluate both card programs to find the better deal.

The regular, no-fee version of the Hilton HHonors card offers 6 points per dollar spent at Hilton hotels, 3 points per dollar on supermarket, drugstore and gas station purchases and 2 points per dollar on all other purchases. The card has no anniversary bonuses and it does charge a 3% foreign transaction fee. It can be considered a better credit card for frequent Hilton guests who travel within the U.S., while the Hilton HHonors Reserve card is more suitable for international travelers.

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