It seems like only last week when I spoke at a credit card conference and told everyone that they were idiots if they didn’t take out the Hilton Honors Platinum Visa card in order to get the generous sign-up bonus. Wait …. it was last week!
I spoke to the Hilton credit card team at the event and we discussed some ideas they had been knocking around for changing the card. What they didn’t say to us was that the current card was about to be pulled from the market.
The card has disappeared from the Barclaycard website – although it is still on the Hilton website albeit with a dead link – and they gave us this statement:
“Barclaycard and Hilton are collectively reviewing our Hilton Honors Platinum Credit Card proposition for new customers and have removed the product from the market whilst we undertake this review. There are no impacts [sic] to existing Hilton Platinum Credit Card holders.”
The Hilton Visa had the best sign-up bonus on the market
For someone coming into the world of miles and points, the Hilton Honors Platinum Visa was the best ‘starter’ Mastercard or Visa. I have always recommended partnering it with Amex Gold as the best starter Amex.
The best way to get someone excited about points is to help them get a successful redemption under their belt. The Hilton Honors Platinum Visa was fantastic for that.
All you had to do was spend £750 on the card and you received a voucher for a free weekend night at any Hilton-run property in the world – even the super-luxury Conrad beach resort in the Maldives.
If your partner got the card as well, you would get two free weekend vouchers between you. You could back-to-back these free nights so that you got a free two-night trip away – perhaps two nights at the ‘all suite’ Conrad New York. There was no easier way to show people what could be achieved with points.
The biggest problem with the card is that, long term, it didn’t encourage high spending. The key benefit was Hilton Honors Gold status if you spent £10,000 per year. This remains a decent deal but Hilton watered it down by offering generous status matches to all and sundry and by offering Hilton Gold as an American Express Platinum benefit, no spending needed.
It would have been better to not offer a one-off free night to new cardholders but to offer an annual free night to high spenders. I like the idea of a someone having the card and working towards earning an annual free night which they could use for an annual anniversary or birthday treat. It could become a family ritual. Importantly, you could sell the idea of such a card to people who were not even interested in Hilton Honors itself.
2 Hilton points per £1 spent was also good – perhaps too good. With a Hilton Honors point worth roughly 0.3p at most properties, you were getting a 0.6p return on your spending. It trounced the pathetic 0.2 Avios per £1 earned on the (also now dead?) Lloyds Avios Rewards Mastercard, or the 0.125 Clubcard points per £1 earned on the Tesco Clubcard Mastercard.
Even though the Hilton Honors Platinum Visa is closed to new applicants, it won’t impact existing cardholders – yet. At some point, as happened to holders of the old Barclays-issued IHG Rewards Club credit cards, it is likely that you will be transitioned to a standard Barclaycard.
The rest of us will need to see if a new Hilton card comes along or not. They will need to think more creatively in the new world of 0.3% interchange fees. There were unconfirmed sightings of senior Hilton people being wined and dined at the Mastercard-sponsored Brit awards last week so we may see a change of issuer.
If you are looking for a way of earning Hilton Honors points for your card spending, remember that American Express Membership Rewards points convert into Hilton Honors points at 1:2.
This means that you effectively earn 2 Hilton Honors points for every £1 you spend on an:
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold (free for year 1, 20000 Hilton points sign-up bonus if you convert the Amex points)
American Express Platinum (£450 per year, 60000 Hilton points sign-up bonus if you convert the Amex points)
Amex Rewards credit card (permanently free, 10000 Hilton points sign-up bonus if you convert the Amex points)
Amex Platinum also gives you Hilton Honors Gold status for as long as you hold the card.
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.