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Credit & Charge Card Reviews (7): Hilton Honors Platinum Visa

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This is my review of the Hilton Honors UK Platinum Visa credit card.

It is part of my series of articles looking at the major UK loyalty credit cards and discussing whether or not they are worth applying for. These articles will be linked to the relevant sections of the ‘Credit Cards Offers‘ page.  My other UK airline and hotel credit card reviews can be found here.

Key link: Hilton Honors Platinum Visa application page

Key facts: No annual fee

The representative APR is 18.9% variable.

About the card

The Hilton Honors Platinum Visa is issued by Barclaycard. It is the only travel loyalty card left in their portfolio.

Who can apply?

The rules have changed a few times in recent years, although they were never properly enforced.  At the present, there are no stated restrictions on applying based on other Barclaycard products you may have. Anecdotal evidence suggests that this is not necessarily the case in practice.

However, if you have previously had the card then you will not receive a 2nd sign-up bonus if you re-apply.  In reality, this is not always the case if you re-apply a few years after cancelling – but you don’t have a leg to stand on if your free night voucher does not appear.

What is the sign-up bonus?

A free weekend night at any hotel in the Hilton system (not just the Hilton brand properties) when you spend £750 within 90 days.

A ‘weekend night’ is treated as Friday, Saturday or Sunday for the purposes of redeeming the voucher.

There are no additional restrictions on using the free night – if a standard reward night is available, you can use the free night voucher. You are e-mailed when you have hit the qualifying spend (in my experience, this can take a few weeks) and you must ring Hilton to redeem it.

This is clearly a very valuable benefit. At the extreme end, a night at the Conrad Maldives would be worth well over £750. A free night at a top property in London or New York, such as the Conrad New York I reviewed here, would be worth £250+.

The only point you need to remember is that the voucher is only valid for six months. If you want to use it over the Summer, do not apply for the card in the Autumn or Winter.

Any other benefits?

You get Hilton Honors Silver status for as long as you hold the card. I do not rate this benefit too highly, as Silver is not worth much. The official list of Silver and Gold benefits can be seen here.

You will receive Hilton Honors Gold status when you spend £10,000 on the card in a calendar year (note, calendar year, not card year). I used to rate this benefit highly as Hilton Gold is probably the best mid-tier status in the hotel industry (free breakfast, room upgrade). However, Hilton Gold status is now available for free, without any spending requirement, if you take out an American Express Platinum charge card so there is little reason to put £10,000 through the Hilton Visa.

You also get 2,500 bonus Hilton Honors points for each of your first four stays (within 12 months) after getting the card. This is obviously worth having, and is worth about £30 of free hotel stays.

What is the annual fee?

There is no annual fee.

What do I earn per £1 spent on the card?

The earnings rate on the card is 2 Hilton Honors points per £1 for general spending (3 per £1 at Hilton properties). In my experience, Barclays is slow at posting the points to your card and it can take a month from receiving your statement for them to appear.

What is a Hilton Honors point worth?

Hilton restructured its reward scheme in early 2017.

There have been two key changes:

you can now use as few as 5,000 points to get a cash discount on any booking and

reward prices will now be lower on dates when cash prices are lower, meaning that there should be fewer times when it doesn’t make sense to use points

These changes have made Hilton Honors more flexible. Upper price caps on rewards remain, so you will never pay more than 95,000 points per night for, say, Conrad Maldives.

The value of a Hilton Honors point under the new system seems to be around 0.33p although there are variations. This means that the return from your card spend – at 2 points per £1 – is 0.66% of your spending.

In the current credit card market, getting 0.66% of your spending back on a FREE Visa or MasterCard is an attractive proposition. The free IHG Rewards Club card, for example, only gives 1 point per £1 which I value at 0.4p-0.5p.

There are some Hilton properties available at incredibly cheap rates – capped at just 5,000 points per night – as I discussed here. The 10,000 point per night properties are discussed here.

This HfP article (click) is a longer discussion on what Hilton Honors points can be worth.

How does this compare to a cashback credit card?

My default comparison card is the ASDA Cashback Credit Card which is free for life and offers 0.5% cashback. The representative APR is 19.9% variable.

The Hilton card beats these, although you are trading cash for illiquid points, with the extra carrot of Gold status for spending £10,000.

How else can you earn Hilton Honors points from a credit or charge card?

Oddly, the Hilton Honors Platinum Visa card may not be the best way of earning Hilton points from your card spending.

There are two alternative ways of earning Hilton Honors points:

The American Express Preferred Rewards Gold charge card offers 20,000 Membership Rewards points for signing up and is FREE for the first year. These convert to 40,000 Hilton Honors points.

The American Express Platinum charge card offers 30,000 Membership Rewards points for signing up. These convert to 60,000 Hilton points. It has a £450 fee, refunded pro-rata if you cancel. You will also receive Hilton Honors Gold status for as long as you have the card.

As the earning rate on these Amex cards is the same as the Hilton card (you earn 1 Amex point per £1, which converts to 2 Hilton points) you may find the Amex route preferable for long-term spending. You retain more flexibility – you can transfer to Hilton as and when needed, but you can also transfer to many other hotel and airline schemes if you change your plans.

You will also receive Hilton Honors Gold status as a free benefit of having American Express Platinum – as well as SPG, Club Carlson, Melia, Shangri-La and Marriott status.

The downsides to this plan are the annual fees on Amex cards (although Amex Gold is free for the first year and you can cancel at any time), more limited acceptability than a Visa and the lack of the 2,500 point bonus for your first four stays offered with the Hilton card.

Conclusion

The Hilton Honors Platinum Visa has, undoubtedly, a very generous sign-up bonus. If you maximise the use of your free night you will receive a hotel room worth £250+ and the £750 qualifying spend to trigger it is very low. The lack of an annual fee makes this an even better deal.

On-going earning is also strong. If you are getting 0.33p per point then a return of 0.66p per £1 spent is very good for a free credit card. The 2,500 extra Hilton points for each of your first four stays after getting the card is a decent extra bonus. American Express Preferred Rewards Gold offers a similar earning rate, however, with more flexibility over where you eventually use your points.

The free upgrade to Hilton Silver gives few practical benefits, to be honest. Gold status for £10,000 spend may be worthwhile but it depends on your personal Hilton stay pattern. The benefits (free breakfast, ‘preferred room’ upgrade) are good.

The application form for the Hilton Honors Platinum Visa can be found here.


How to earn Hilton Honors points and status from UK credit cards

How to earn Hilton Honors points and status from UK credit cards (August 2022)

There are various ways of earning Hilton Honors points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.

Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Hilton Honors Gold status for as long as they hold the card?  It also comes with Marriott Bonvoy Gold, Radisson Rewards Gold and MeliaRewards Gold status.  We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.

EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points, £200 travel credit and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Did you know that the Virgin Atlantic credit cards are a great way of earning Hilton Honors points? Two Virgin Points can be converted into three Hilton Honors points. The Virgin Atlantic cards are the only Visa or Mastercard products in the UK which can indirectly earn Hilton Honors points. You can apply here.

You can also earn Hilton Honors points indirectly with:

and for small business owners:

The conversion rate from American Express to Hilton points is 1:2.

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which can be used to earn Hilton Honors points

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Comments (87)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • MARCELO C CORREA says:

    Rob, any comments about Aqua cash back card? It has a 0.5% cash back and no foreign fee.

    • Rob says:

      It is, in theory, a card for deadbeats or bankrupts with no credit history and comes with pathetic credit limits. I accept that this is not entirely true but it doesn’t really work for most readers.

      • Roger I* says:

        ‘It is, in theory, a card for deadbeats or bankrupts with no credit history and comes with pathetic credit limits’ – hmmm, so much for theory. I’m neither and have an adequate limit.

        ‘I accept that this is not entirely true’ – sorry, Rob, not like you to write nonsense.

        ‘… it doesn’t really work for most readers.’ I suspect most readers would be happier with 0.5% CB than 0.5% in ASDA vouchers. ASDA? Now I know you’re not serious. 😀

        • Lee says:

          Rather patronising from Rob – everyone has issues at times and occasionally needs to get a helping hand. I would not call anyone a deadbeat just because they have issues. There by the the grace of God go I……

  • Jerry says:

    My partner and I timed our Hilton sign ups to give 2 free nights for our Japan trip last month. Saturday nights tend to be the most expensive night of the hotel week in Japan so the weekend stay rule was a bonus. I was surprised to get a room upgrade as ‘silver’ (this was specifically mentioned) on our first paid 3 night stay in Niseko. I used my free night voucher for the brand new (open 4 months now) Conrad Osaka. We were welcomed like visiting royalty and upgraded to an executive room (‘thank you for choosing our hotel as a silver member’) with afternoon tea and cocktails in the lounge and breakfast in the executive dining area (not in the lounge). I checked online and the room was selling for £700 that night. My partner’s free night was at Conrad Tokyo, no complimentary upgrade here but at the desk we were offered to upgrade to an executive room for the equivalent of about £130. A reasonably attractive offer (for tea, cocktails and breakfast) but we’d already missed afternoon tea and we declined (also a ‘free night’ isn’t free at £130). The value of that Saturday night in Tokyo was £500 to book for cash. So we got £1200 value for spending £1500 across the 2 cards. This was one of our best travel deals this year, oh and we were on a 241 F to Japan.

  • Wally1976 says:

    Hoping this card is still going in January – planning on applying for his ‘n’ hers to cover 2 nights in Dublin in September. When booking the stays, will I be able to book the night on my wife’s account at the same time as the one on mine or will she have to call separately (really hope the latter won’t be required as very difficult to get her to do such things!)? Or maybe they can just speak to her to pass security?

    • Optimus Prime says:

      I was able to redeem my wife’s voucher myself. They just ask for her elite membership number.

    • Genghis says:

      Bear in mind the voucher is only valid for 6 months once received.

    • Cate says:

      ‘(really hope the latter won’t be required as very difficult to get her to do such things!)? Or maybe they can just speak to her to pass security?’ @Wally1976

      Mr Cate is exactly the same. Never had a problem with phone passing once he has passed security but he always asks if they could talk to me as I do all this stuff. I think they’re used to people doing this between partners.

    • Wally1976 says:

      Thanks all for the helpful replies :-).

      Genghis – yes I’ll be applying early January and trigger the vouchers early April to use for stays end of September! Just hoping this card doesn’t get pulled before then (and there’s still the availability I want come early April).

      • Rhys says:

        Out of interest, where are you thinking of staying in Dublin? We’re planning our first weekend without the children for the spring next year and our wondering about hotels there. Want to make the most of the fact that we won’t need to choose a hotel with the children in mind. Had a look at the BA holiday deals page mentioned on the weekend but the discounts didn’t seem to be anything too special.

        • Wally1976 says:

          I was thinking of the Conrad Dublin primarily but will depend on what’s available when I come to book. We have Hilton Gold status from Amex Platinum card meaning the free breakfast is a big pull towards Hilton!

        • Stu N says:

          I was at the Conrad on Saturday with a mate, very nice property – very well furnished and great staff. The basement bar has a dangerous selection of beers and lobby bar does great cocktails. Breakfast buffet worked too and confirmed as a Gold benefit at check-in which was a nice touch.

          It’s a little bit off centre – maybe 10-15 mins from Trinity/ Grafton St but actually that was a benefit, was nice and quiet and Dublin isn’t exactly big anyway.

        • Wally1976 says:

          Thanks for the mini review Stu. Sounds good (especially the ‘dangerous’ selection of beers :-)).

        • Rhys says:

          That sounds perfect then as we’ll finally be able to enjoy a hotel bar! We’ve got gold through Plat so might get the Hilton credit card each if the availability looks okay as it’ll take a while to receive the cards and spend 2 x £750.

  • Scottydogg says:

    I tried to apply for this Card but was denied as i live in the Isle of Man , i asked why this was , the guy said that they made this decision recently to not offer this card to Isle of man residents anymore , shame as i wanted that free night voucher !

    • Stuart_f says:

      If you still want the card, try putting your details into this eligibility checker https://www.barclaycard.co.uk/personal/credit-cards/eligibility-checker

      If it says yes and they subsequently deny you, complain about false advertising and, if they still say no, ask for a letter of deadlock so you can take your complain to the Financial Ombudsman.

      I had to do this after they turned me down for no good reason and the request for the letter of deadlock suddenly resulted in the application being approved.

  • S879 says:

    How does the Hilton status expiry work? My Diamond (thanks Rob for the status match I did 2 years ago) is expiring March. Is it 1st March or 31st? Considering it’s the latter, I am wanting to go on a holiday in Easter so if I get there by 30th/31st March and want to stay for 10 days how will that work re status as it’s a long jump down to silver. My husband is Hilton Gold so I’d rather boo in his name so I get some benefits as opposed to silver. I am really confused whether to book in his name or mine as that means transferring points to one person’s account as we have separate ones.
    I will be upgrading my Amex Gold to Platinum soon but since I am Diamond, the Gold status is no use to me till my membership expires in March. Am considering Conrad Maldives and hence ideally want a Diamond status.

    • zark says:

      Can only speak from personal experience. When I booked a points stay at Hilton Dubrovnik was Platinum, but when stayed , had been downgraded (March 31st) to Silver. The hotel welcomed me with Platinum services: upgraded to a suite, excellent breakfast in main restaurant & exec.lounge acess (OK small lounge -good free alcohol etc, average evening snacks).
      Communicate with guest services in Glasgow or your chosen hotel directly perhpas, to clarify.

    • Rob says:

      31st March

    • TripRep says:

      S879 – tbh the Gold benefits at Rangali are pretty awesome, I think Diamonds possibly stand a slightly better chance of an upgrade, but these are often purchased by many (inc Diamonds) with $$$$.

      Have another peek at my review for a summary of the benefits, hope you have a great trip there, March is usually terrific weather.

  • Genghis says:

    No effect. Only issue is whether you will get them and then have them taken away…

  • Siy says:

    Thanks both, looks like the better option was to play safe and take the 2000 HH points for booking via the app. Although the circa 6k FC miles would have been nice.

  • pauldb says:

    Does anyone have a suggested hotel to use the voucher in NYC, Hilton Gold travelling with a 4yr child? I assume the Conrad is still the pick, but thought I’d ask.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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