Two hotel chains offer new credit card perks good for frequent travelers
If you are a frequent guest at either the Hilton or Starwood chain of hotels, the credit card perks they’re offering are worth signing up for.
Hilton has partnered with Citi to offer the new Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Visa Signature Card (www.citicards.com).
It awards three Hilton points per dollar for general purchases on the card, five points for airline tickets and rental cars and 10 points for any payment you make at a Hilton hotel (you’ll also get points for your stays).
The card has an embedded chip instead of the now old-fashioned magnetic strip, making it easy for you to use the card worldwide. And the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve card doesn't charge a foreign transaction fee.
But it’s the hotel-specific benefits that really stand out.
You’ll earn two free weekend nights at select Hilton hotels if you charge at least $2,500 on the card in the first four months. Charge $10,000 in a year, and you’ll get another weekend night as well as automatic Gold status, which gets you upgraded rooms, complimentary breakfast and other hotel guest perks.
Like airline miles, the value of hotel points depends on where and what you buy using the credit card.
With this one, you’ll earn between one-tenth of a cent to two cents per dollar if you charge outside Hilton Hotels. Use the card at the Hilton chain, of course, and those 10 points per dollar will rack up.
Hilton has nine hotel brands in all price ranges, from the Waldorf Astoria to Homewood Suites, so the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve card is worth a look if you regularly choose to book your rooms with the chain and want to amass HHonors points there.
The annual fee is $95, but those weekend-night awards and Gold status can make up for it during your next Hilton stay. The variable APR is 14.24%.
Another notable hotel company with a notable card is Starwood, whose portfolio of chains includes Le Meridien, Westin, Sheraton and W Hotels.
With the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express (www.americanexpress.com), you can earn up to 25,000 bonus Starpoints.
You’ll get 10,000 Starpoints with your first purchase and another 15,000 when you spend $5,000 within the first six months of having the card.
Starwood says that amount is enough for up to six free nights at one of its hotels — and there are no blackout dates.
Another bonus of the Starwood card is that it also lets you book flights on more than 350 different airlines with your Starpoints. That makes it much more versatile than the standard hotel-branded card.
You'll earn one Starpoint for every eligible dollar spent and up to five points for every dollar spent at one of its hotels.
NextAdvisor, a consumer-services reviewer, put the value of Starpoints at 2.1 cents per dollar for hotel-stay redemptions and 1.2 cents per dollar for air-miles redemptions.
Starwood will waive the annual fee for the first year, then it’s $65 a year. The variable APR ranges from 15.24% to 19.24%.
Compare these offers with the points rewards credit cards in our database.