July 24th, 2012
I’ve had the Citi Hilton Visa Signature card for some time now. I never use it, but it has no annual fee and gives Hilton Silver status, which makes Hilton award redemptions significantly cheaper.
They have now launched a premium version of that card, the Hilton Reserve Visa Signature card. It comes with some pretty sweet bennies.
-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
-The signup bonus is 2 free weekend (Friday, Saturday, or Sunday) nights at any Hilton branded hotel in the world that has standard rooms after spending $2,500 on the card within 4 months. This includes their higher-end brands like Waldorf Astoria and Conrad and any category 1-7 hotel. Hotels that only have suites and have no standard rooms are excluded.
The Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem, in an incredible location right across from the Mamilla Mall, is slated to open up in November 2012. There is also a Waldorf Astoria planned for Tel Aviv as well. While most hotels have cheaper rates on the weekend I can’t even imagine what the rates at the Waldorf Astroia Jerusalem will be over a shabbos when it’s just minutes away on foot from the Old City Walls, but I’m positive they will be sky-high. For opening this card you’ll have a weekend there for free!
The Waldorf Jerusalem will have standard rooms, so I see no reason why you won’t be able to use your nights there. Jerusalem is a black hole when it comes to using points (there are no Hilton, Hyatt, or Starwood properties there), so this opening is very exciting!
Category 7 and Waldorf Astoria properties range from 50,000-80,000 points per night, so the signup bonus is pretty great.
Additionally every year that you spend $10,000 on the card you get an additional free weekend night at any Hilton with standard rooms.
If you spend $40,000 on the Hilton Reserve card you get top-tier Hilton Diamond status.
Automatic Gold Elite status:
Having this card gives you automatic Hilton Gold status that normally requires 16 stays or 36 nights in a Hilton hotel. Gold status gets you free internet access, rooms upgrades, and free breakfast or bonus points.
I am super excited to get a free Israeli style breakfast even when using points when the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem opens up!
As an elite you are also eligible for discounted award stays at category 3-7 properties and at Waldorf Astoria hotels. You save 15% on 4 night award stays, 20% on 5 night award stays, and 25% on 6+ night award stays.
Hyatt will match people with Hilton Gold status (as long as they have some points in their account) to a Hyatt Diamond trial. With that you will have 60 days of Hyatt Diamond status and 4 confirmed suite upgrades in Hyatt hotels (you get to keep the status if you stay 12 nights in the 60 days). Plus if you apply for a Hyatt credit card while you are a Hyatt Diamond you get 2 free nights confirmed into a suite at any Hyatt in the world! Hyatt Diamonds also get free breakfast, and I’ve had many Hyatts buy me daily lavish free kosher breakfasts as long as you book when you are still a diamond.
You will earn 10 Hilton points per dollar at Hilton hotels, 5 points per dollar on airfare and rental cars, and 3 point per dollar on everything else.
I consider Hyatt points to be worth about 3 times as much as Hilton points and Starwood points to be worth about 4 times as much as Hilton points. However if you are aiming for the $10K anniversary night or the $40K Diamond status thresholds you also need to factor those benefits into the equation of which card to use. At any rate it should always make sense to use this card at a Hilton hotel.
There are no foreign transaction fees and there is a chip to use the card when abroad.