One of the first posts I wrote for this site back in mid 2012 was about the Hilton HHonors Platinum Visa card.
And, way back in 1989 or so, the very first travel deal I snagged was with Hilton. They had just launched their nascent loyalty programme which carried (I think) a £20 fee. However, joining up got you a free weekend night anywhere in the UK except for Hilton Park Lane. I quickly spotted the value of that one, especially as the Hilton Park Lane Mews had not been excluded.
Whilst now run separately, the Mews used to be a de-facto extension of Park Lane – the back door was opposite the front door of the mews hotel – with cross-charging etc. My brother and I had a very pleasant London weekend for my £20!
The representative APR on the card is 18.9% variable.
What I like about the Hilton Visa card is that the deal is VERY simple and VERY easy to reach.
Get the card (it’s free)
Spend £750 on it in 90 days, which is not a strain
Get a free night at ANY Hilton Group property, anywhere in the world, as long as you stay at a weekend (Friday, Saturday or Sunday) and within six months of triggering the voucher.
You don’t need to focus on the mid-range Hilton properties, you can also stay at the luxury Conrad or Waldorf-Astoria brands. Free night at the Conrad Maldives or Waldorf-Astoria Rome? No problem. Conrad New York? Conrad London St James? Conrad Algarve? You’re in (as long as they have standard award availability). Easy.
The best way to get excited about ‘miles and points’ as a hobby to have a successful redemption under your belt.
What could be better than booking a European weekend away using Avios and Reward Flight Saver (so minimal taxes) and then staying in a top-end Waldorf-Astoria or Conrad hotel for free (or even a slightly worse Hilton, Doubletree or Hampton!)?
The whole flight and hotel weekend – assuming one night away for two people – will only require 18,000 to 30,000 Avios plus £70 taxes in Economy, depending on where you went in Europe. You will be getting a package worth £500+ if you pick a suitably expensive hotel.
(And, of course, your partner could get their own Hilton credit card and get their own free night voucher. That would get you a 2-night stay and you could be pushing £750+ of value from your weekend away.)
Long term, I don’t recommend keeping the Hilton card unless you are a dedicated Hilton HHonors collector. You only earn 2 points per £1, so you would need a ludicrous £35-40,000 of spending to get one free night at the Conrad New York. If you occasionally need some Hilton points to top up your account from hotel stays, you could transfer American Express Membership Rewards points instead.
The only reason to push spend onto the card is that you receive Hilton HHonors Gold status when you spend £10,000 in a calendar year. However, you can also get free Hilton Gold as a benefit of American Express Platinum and Hilton is also running status matches at the moment.
(Note that the £10,000 spend is based on calendar year. This means that now is the best time of year to apply if you are keen to earn Hilton Gold.)
Two quick warnings though …
Remember that the free night voucher must be used within six months. If you applied now and spent the £750 by the end of October, you would need to use it before the end of April. This may not be convenient for everyone.
Secondly, under new rules introduced this year, the voucher is meant to be a ‘one time only’ deal. If you reapply for the card after cancelling, you are not meant to get another one.
As a good ‘first card’ for newcomers to this hobby the Hilton Visa has a lot to recommend it. The application page is here.
Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibility to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances. Recommendations are based primarily on the ability to earn miles and points and do not consider interest rates, service levels or any impact on your credit history. By recommending credit cards on this site, I am – technically – acting as a credit broker. Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a credit broker.