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The UK Hilton Honors Platinum Visa credit card has closed to new applicants – what now?

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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.

Next steps

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.

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

How to earn Hilton Honors points and status from UK credit cards (June 2023)

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 Premium and MeliaRewards Gold status.  We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 13th June, the sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card is doubled to 60,000 Membership Rewards points (worth 120,000 Hilton Honors points) – and you get £200 to spend at Amex Travel too! Apply here.

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points AND a £200 Amex Travel voucher until 13th June! 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.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 13th June, the sign-up bonus on the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ card is doubled to 30,000 Virgin Points (worth 45,000 Hilton Honors points). 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 (131)

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

  • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

    Almost certainly, given how Lloyds are likely to have structured their systems. They’ll have taken down landing pages etc, but I doubt they’ve removed the product from their new application systems.

    • Rob says:

      Telephone and in-branch applications are being accepted allegedly

  • RussellH says:

    Just checked out a German Hilton Visa
    Annual fee of €48
    1 point per €1 ordinary spend.
    2 points per €1 Hilton spend.
    0.2% credit interest on any credit balance.

    Not a very attractive proposition TBH.

    I would guess that given the still widespread predjudice against credit cards in Germany, the number of cardholders will be much smaller than for the current Hilton Barclaycard.

    • Rob says:

      But 1 point per £1 PLUS a free night for spending £10k? That becomes more interesting. It is also probably affordable because Hilton doesn’t really pay for the free night.

      If you offered that on a free card then you have something which would be more attractive to some than the IHG Premium card, depending on whether status mattered.

      My logic is that you want to create a card that a hotel reception desk in the UK can easily explain to guests who are checking in. There is nothing easier to explain than saying “by the way sir, if you get this free credit card and spend £10k on it then the next time you stay here you won’t have to pay”.

      • Jay says:

        As most Hilton hotels are either under management contract or franchised, there will be a cost to Hilton HQ where the individual stays in a non owned property as the management contracts won’t allow for “free nights”. The ‘free card night’ still has a cost attached to it similar to the cost associated to Hilton when someone redeems Hilton Honors Points.

        • Rob says:

          The cost is $25+ or so, which is the ‘room cleaning fee’ that Hilton pays the hotel on a redemption night unless the hotel is full, at which point it pays more.

      • RussellH says:

        Are there not problems with check-in staff promoting a credit card? Rob is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a credit broker so that he can recommend cards on this site. Check-in staff would need to be very careful as to what they said, surely, unless they were also subject to regulation?

        • Rob says:

          That’s true. They would probably be restricted to having a stack of brochures on the counter but not being able to discuss it.

      • New Card says:

        I see the logic in that, though that would be such a significant downgrade on the free card which existed until yesterday, it’s quite hard to look at that proposition and think of it as attractive!

        The only problem is that would leave no incentive whatsoever to spend £10,001+. At 2 points per £1, I can realistically spend away and hope to earn another free night (or more) through points. That simply isn’t going to happen (ignoring bargain redemptions in KL etc) at 1 point per £1.

        How to solve this? Free nights triggered for *each* £10,000 spent on the card?

        • Rob says:

          How could it be a downgrade? The free night for hitting £10k would be worth up to 90,000 points. The switch from 2 points per £1 to 1 per £1 would, on £10k of spending, only lose you 10,000 points.

      • New Card says:

        Because the free night is currently triggered by a £750 spend instead of a £10,000 spend?

        • Rob says:

          I would personally prefer a free night every year for spending £10k than a once-per-lifetime free night for spending £750.

      • New Card says:

        So it’s a downgrade on both the free night threshold and the ongoing earning rate compared to what is already in my wallet. Am I missing something?

        • Rob says:

          You don’t earn a free night on the Hilton card at the moment, except when you first take it out.

          What I’m proposing is that a switch from 2 points per £1 to ‘1 point per £1 plus a free night certificate for spending £10k’ would be better for everyone.

      • New Card says:

        Ah I see. So you’re proposing a free night triggered for each £10k which is spent? (so at £10k, £20k, etc…) That would be very interesting.

        • Rob says:

          No, I’m saying one voucher per year, like the IHG Premium card.

          You need to understand that super-high spenders are effectively cancerous to credit card issuers now. The points cost more than the marginal interchange revenue. Creation will have lost at least £300 on the £50k of VAT, PAYE and tax I paid in January.

          One view from the conference last week is that there will be an annual spending cap imposed on points cards, or at the very least a tapering earnings rate beyond a certain point.

    • RussellH says:

      Provided that the card were free, I would take/keep it (I do have a current Hilton Barclaycard, and most of my non-Amex spend goes on it).. Clealy nothing like as good for contributing to free nights, but it would, presumably, stop my accumulated points expiring, which is crucial, surely.

      I seldom spend more than £5 per month on my MBNA Miles + More Visa and Amex, purely to keep my M+M points. Even though the Amex still earns 1.5 points per £1 (started out at 2 points), it is never going to earn me a free flight, but it does preserve the points.

    • New Card says:

      Or did you mean £10k each year? (so can get 1 free night each year).
      That would be less interesting (still no incentive to spend £10,001+ each year), but still worthwhile.

  • KevMc says:

    Thanks Paul! Mrs Mc has just applied and been accepted. We were waiting until the end of March when my 6 months double earning was up, but looks like we have got lucky.

  • mark2 says:

    In USA there is a Hilton American express card, which would be nice here too.

    • Jay says:

      If a recent briefing to Hilton in SE Asia is anything to go by it is Amex.

  • Cate says:

    Hilton and Barclaycard need to give serious thought to providing a premium product for those with cash to spend or they’l walk.

    Free or low fee cards are starting to feel like when you send someone to the off licence with a 100 quid for a bottle of wine and they keep coming back with a bottle of Blue nun and gush how how much they’re saved you.

    • RussellH says:

      But they need to keep their free (or almost free) offers available too, or the rest of us will walk!

  • Rob says:

    Ugh! That will teach me to wait before applying 🙁
    Fingers crossed something just as good gets released to replace it.

  • JamesB says:

    Perversely I find myself loving all these credit card changes, our hobby has not been so thrilling since the days of calling up Pune 🙂

  • Chris says:

    Card issuers need to do something to encourage increased spending. I hit the max on each card and move on. However, if there was something like a 2-4-1 voucher per £10k spent instead of 1 no matter how much you spend, I might actually be a loyal customer…

    • Chris says:

      It would also reduce churning

    • Anna says:

      +1. I’m sure, given the taxes and fees BA charge on long haul redemptions, that they don’t lose money on the 2 4 1’s. (Though I’m happy to stand corrected!)

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