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2 Free Weekend Nights & Free Gold Elite Status with Citi Hilton Reserve Card

2 Free Weekend Nights & Free Gold Elite Status with Citi Hilton Reserve Card

Million Mile Secrets2 Free Weekend Nights & Free Gold Elite Status with Citi Hilton Reserve CardMillion Mile Secrets Team

Update:   One or more card offers in this post are no longer available.  Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers. 

Citi Hilton Reserve Review

Citi launched the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card which should be useful for folks looking to get free Hilton hotel stays, for Big Spenders to get top-tier Diamond elite status and a free weekend night, and for folks who stay at a Hilton for a few nights a year to get Hilton Gold elite status for free breakfast and internet.

In 2007 Chase hired Gordon Smith, a top American Express credit card executive to head their credit card division.  Citi followed in 2010 by hiring Jud Linville, another American Express credit card executive to head their US credit card operations.

And the new Citi Hilton Reserve card goes head-to-head with the American Express Hilton Surpass card, and in my opinion, is a better card than the American Express Surpass card.

With the Citi Hilton Reserve, you get 2 free weekend nights valid at most Hilton hotels, free Hilton gold elite status (free internet and breakfast) which can save at least $30 a day, and no foreign transaction fees.

If I was new to miles and points, I wouldn’t apply for this card instead of the 2 Citi American Airlines cards first.  But the Citi Hilton Reserve card is worth considering later on (and perhaps you can get 2 of them) – especially since it isn’t a Chase card and because almost everyone can save money with the free weekend nights at a Hilton hotel or with Hilton gold status.

1.   2 Free Weekend Nights

You get 2 free weekend night certificates (weekend = Friday, Saturday, or Sunday) at any Hilton hotel after spending $2,500 within 4 months.  The certificates are valid for 12 months from when they are issued and your Citi Reserve card must be open when you redeem the certificate.

The good news is that this includes category 1 to 7 Hilton hotels which cost 7,500 to 50,000 points a night AND Waldorf Astoria hotels which cost 60,000 to 80,000 points a night.

The annual fee is $95, so you’re effectively getting each night for $47.50 in addition to the free internet and breakfast because of the Hilton gold status!

The bad new is that you can only redeem the free night certificates for weekends i.e. Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, so you can’t use them to have a week long vacation in Paris.  But you could use the certificates for the weekends and use regular Hilton points for the remaining days since there are many other ways to earn  450,000 Hilton points.

You also cannot use the free night certificates at all-inclusive or Hilton Grand hotels in addition to Waldorf Astoria hotels which do not offer standard rooms and have all suites or villas.

Hilton has over 3,800 hotels, and I’ve been told that fewer than 50 hotels are excluded.  I’ve asked for a list of excluded hotels.

You can use the free night certificates at the Grand Wailea in Hawaii, the Hilton in Paris, or the Hilton in Bora Bora which offer standard rooms, but won’t be able to use them at the Waldorf Astoria in the Maldives which has only suites & villas.

You can usually get 2 Citi Hilton or Thank You cards every 3 to 4 months, unlike the Citi American Airlines personal cards which require a wait of 18+ months before applications.  I wonder if folks can get 2 Citi Reserve cards and 2 sets of free weekend nights at the same time as well…

2.   Free Gold Elite Status

You get free Hilton Gold elite status for as long as you have the card.  Hilton Gold elite status is the best mid-tier status of any hotel chain because it includes free internet AND free breakfast, in addition to 25% extra points for paid stays, and a shot at room upgrades.

You also get a 15%, 20% & 25% discount when redeeming for a 4, 5 or 6 or longer night award as a Gold member.

The benefits of Gold elite status apply to both paid as well as award reservations using Hilton points.

Granted that there are often other ways to earn free Hilton Gold status, but for some folks Gold status can save you money when you stay at Hilton hotels and may be a reason to keep this card after the 1st year.

For example, if internet and breakfast each cost $10 per day at the hotel, you save $30 per day (more in expensive cities) if there are 2 of you in a room.  So you recover the $95 annual fee in about 3 nights.

The American Express Hilton Surpass card offers free Gold status, but only for the 1st year after which you get only Silver elite status.

Status matching to get free Hyatt nights in suite

You may also be able to match Hilton Gold status to a Hyatt Diamond trial if you have a few points in your Hilton account, though sometimes you need to have a few stays in your Hilton account.  You may only be able to match to Hyatt Diamond status once in your life so choose wisely!

This means that you have Hyatt Diamond status for 60 days and 4 confirmed suite upgrades in Hyatt hotels for paid stays.  And you can keep the Diamond status if you stay 12 nights within the  60 days of your trial Diamond membership.

But if you apply for the Chase Hyatt credit card as a Diamond member (even on a trial), you should get the 2 free Hyatt nights in a suite!

You can email Hyatt at goldpassport@hyatt.com.or call Hyatt to ask for the status match

3.   Free Weekend Night After Spending $10,000 Each Year

You get a free weekend night after spending $10,000 within your membership year (1 year from the date when you are approved and resets each year).

The free weekend night is not valid at all-inclusive or Hilton Grand hotels in addition to Waldorf Astoria hotels which do not offer standard rooms and have all suites or villas.

This isn’t, in my opinion, as good as the Chase Priority Club card which gets you a free night every year just by keeping the card (worth every cent of its $49 fee) or even the Chase Hyatt card which gets you a free night in a category 1 to 4 Hyatt hotel.

But I do see this as the trend going forward – cards which make you spend money to earn an additional benefit each year.

4.   Top Tier Hilton Diamond Status After Spending $40,000

The Citi Hilton card also gets you top-tier Hilton Diamond status after spending $40,000 within a calendar year (January to December).  The Diamond status is valid for the year in which you earn in and the entire next year.

Diamond status gets you a 50% point bonus on paid rooms and a real shot at good room upgrades.

The American Express Surpass card also gets you Hilton Diamond status after spending $40,000 a year, but you do NOT get the free weekend night which you get with the Citi Reserve card after spending $10,000.

So Big Spenders are better off earning Hilton Diamond status on the Citi Hilton Reserve card since they will get top tier Hilton Diamond status AND a free weekend night for spending $40,000.

 5.   No Foreign Transaction Fees & Card Has a Chip

Unlike the American Express Surpass card which charges a 2.7% foreign transaction fee, the Citi Hilton Reserve does NOT charge a foreign transaction fee.

Paying a foreign transaction fee is usually never worth the miles and points you earn, so this is a welcome feature of the card.

The card also has Chip and Signature technology, which could make using automated machines in certain countries easier to use, but don’t count on it.

6.   10 Points at Hilton Hotels, 5 Points for Airline and Car Rental and 3 Point per $1 for Everything Else.

You earn 10 points per $1 spent at Hilton hotels which is better than the 9 points per $1 spent using the American Express Surpass card.  And this is also the better card for using at Hilton hotels outside the US because it doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees.

However, you do earn 500 points for online bookings made using an American Express Surpass card, so the extra 1 point per $1 could be a wash depending on how much you pay per stay.

The American Express Surpass card earns 6 points per $1 at spent supermarkets, drugstores, gas stations, phone, internet & cable, so that could be more valuable to some than the 5 points per $1 spend on airlines and car rentals with the Hilton Surpass card.

7.   $95 Annual Fee

The $95 annual fee is not waived for the 1st year, but I’d gladly pay that for 2 free weekend nights at a Hilton hotel worldwide and free Hilton Gold status.

Why you still want a no-fee American Express Hilton card

Both the American Express Surpass card and the no-fee American Express card get you access to AXON awards where you can redeem 4 nights at a top category 7 hotel for 145,000 points.

With the Citi Hilton Reserve, you would have to pay 170,000 points for 4 nights at a top category 7 Hilton after the 15% discount.

So the best strategy if you collect Hilton points (and there are lots of ways to do that) could be to get the Hilton Reserve Card for the free nights, gold elite status, and potential to earn Hilton Diamond status, but to also get a no-fee American Express Hilton card for access to discounted award redemptions.

Bottom Line:  The Citi Hilton Reserve card is a welcome addition from Citi which hasn’t had a lot of new offers in the miles and points world. I wouldn’t get the card for the free weekend nights unless I knew I was going to use them within the next 12 months since the free night certificates expire, but the card does give you an easy way to get 2 free weekend nights & free internet and breakfast.

If you stay at Hilton hotels more than 3 or 4 times a year and don’t have Hilton Gold status, it could be worth paying the annual fee for Hilton Gold Status.  And the card is the best option for Big Spenders who can spend $40,000 for Hilton Diamond status.

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Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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You did not appear to mention the following prohibition to the free night certificate:

"This reward is not valid at All-Inclusive or Distinctive properties and cannot be combined with the 5th Night Free benefit or other promotions."

Does this mean I cannot use the certificate if I am also redeeming points for 5 nights?

Hi Daraius! I was about to apply for the Citi Hilton Reserve card because I was looking forward to receiving the 2 free weekend nights, but on the application page I noticed this disclaimer: "Weekend Night Certificates offer is not available if you have had any Citi® Hilton HHonors™ card opened or closed in the past 24 months." I opened the Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature card within the last year, so can I take that to mean that I will NOT qualify for the free weekend nights if I apply for the Hilton Reserve Card? Thanks so much for your help!

D-

You should update this post as it is somewhat outdated. The Virgin Atlantic card is no longer 2-1 and Hyatt does not match to Hilton at present [only SPG platinum]. Thanks for all your good info!

Hi Darius just wanted to let you know that we just returned from Europe and took advantage of all the perks from our new Hilton Honors credit card sign up bonuses which made this trip extra special as well as sleeping extra cozy while away from home.. First we stayed at the Doubletree by Hilton Istanbul Old Town for four nights. One of the nights we booked separately with a prepaid rate so that we were able to use our hundred dollar credit within the first 90 days which made that night almost free. Plus with the Hilton honors perks of being Gold we got a wonderful free breakfast every day as well as a free room upgrade to a King corner room and complementary Internet. We hated to leave but hey, we were then off on a 11 night cruise with friends, then afterward flew to London where we used our two free weekend night certificates from Hilton to stay at the Conrad St. James London Hotel. Man oh man! What a score! (Read the reviews of this hotel- over the top and the location is superb plus right across the street from the St James Park underground.) We were upgraded to an incredible room plus got access to the executive club lounge (yes being Gold has its perks!) where we enjoyed complementary breakfast everyday, wonderful espressos and cappuccinos all day long, afternoon canapés and hors d'oeuvres and complementary drinks in the evening with more canopies and hors d'oeuvres. I tell you what, the next time we plan to go to Europe were signing up for this card again under my wife's name and doing it all over again. Thanks so much for this incredible tip! P.S. Forgot to mention we used our airline points earned on other credit card sign up bonuses to fly business class on this entire trip but will save those comments for a later post. Thanks again!

Hi Darius just wanted let you know that we just returned from Europe and used our two free weekendnights at the Conrad St. James in London

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