Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Why Hilton’s proposed new UK reward credit card could be one of the best

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

Hilton Honors sent a few members a questionnaire yesterday seeking their opinion on two new UK credit card options.   And, it has to be said, it looks promising.

I have written before that Hilton is known to be working on a new product to replace the existing Barclays product, now closed to new applicants.  The two scenarios being circulated are both attractive, and one could be great for high spenders.

Here are the two options:

New Hilton Honors UK credit card options

Let’s summarise this briefly:

Neither scenario has an annual fee (surprising, because in the new 0.3% interchange environment, a fee is one of the few ways to generate revenue)

The proposed sign-up bonus is pretty good for a free card, being worth £33-£50 for £1000 spend

The proposed earning rate for spending at Hilton properties is excellent (4-5 points per £1)

All cardholders get Silver status in Hilton Honors, with Gold (free breakfast) for spending £10,000 in a year

The earning rate would be either 2 points per £1 (worth about 0.66p – very good for a Visa / Mastercard in the current environment) or, far more interesting, 1 point per £1 PLUS a free weekend night voucher at £15,000 and ANOTHER free weekend night voucher at £20,000

Let’s do the maths.

For someone who spends £20,000 on the proposed 2nd version, you would receive:

20,000 Hilton Honors points, worth £66

Gold status in Hilton Honors, which we’ll assume is worth £100 to the average leisure guest over a year

TWO free weekend nights which – if they can be used at any Hilton Group hotel, including the top Conrad and Waldorf Astoria options – could be valued at £500 between them

This gets you £666 of benefits for £20,000 of spending.  This is an attractive 3.3% return.

The proposed 1st version is better for low spenders but less attractive to high spenders.  All you receive is 2 Hilton Honors points per £1 spent, which I value at 0.66p, so a 0.66% return on your spending.  This goes up to 1.66% if the cardholder spent £10,000, earned Hilton Gold status and got £100 of value from the free breakfasts.

How does this compare to other cards on the market?

This is how I value the long-term spending benefits on the airline and hotel credit cards still available to new applicants.  To understand my calculations, read this article.

The free Virgin Money Reward Mastercard varies by status:

  • Base Virgin Flying Club member – up to 2.4% on first £20,000
  • Silver Virgin Flying Club member – up to 3.4% on first £20,000
  • Gold Virgin Flying Club member – up to 6.4% on first £20,000

The £160 Virgin Money Reward+ Mastercard also varies by status:

  • Base Virgin Flying Club member – up to 4.4% on first £10,000
  • Silver Virgin Flying Club member – up to 6.3% on first £10,000
  • Gold Virgin Flying Club member – up to 12.3% on first £10,000

As you can see, if Hilton Honors went with the 2nd proposal above:

It would be more generous for a high spender than the IHG Rewards Club Premium Mastercard 

It would be more generous than the free Virgin Money Reward Mastercard if you don’t have Virgin Flying Club status

I have a proposed tweak though ….

I accept that Hilton Honors may not want to launch a card which requires £20,000 of expenditure to unlock all of the benefits.  It excludes a lot of the potential market.

I would be tempted to ‘do an IHG’ and have two variants:

as ‘Option X’ above, a free card earning 2 points per £1, giving Silver status to everyone and Gold at £10,000

a revised ‘Option Y’ with an annual fee of, say, £75 but with a higher earning rate of 2 points per £1 plus the two free night vouchers for spending £20,000

My revised ‘Option Y’ is actually a better deal for Hilton than their ‘Option Y’ except when dealing with ultra-high spenders.  One way around this would be to reduce the earning rate to 1 point per £1 after spending, say, £50,000 per year.

On £20,000 of annual spend they would be giving out 20,000 additional Hilton Honors points but they are getting a £75 fee – albeit the card issuer will want a cut.

Importantly, both of the cards I outline above would be more attractive than their respective IHG Rewards Club variants.  The free card would also be more attractive than the Marriott Rewards Mastercard, assuming that it returns to the market next month with the same benefits package (1 point per £1, no long-term spend incentive) as the old version.


If Hilton Honors does go ahead and launches a free Mastercard /  Visa product offering two free weekend nights EVERY YEAR for spending £20,000, I think it would have substantial appeal to Head for Points readers.  

A product which got you a free 2-night weekend break every year at Hilton Venice, Conrad London St James, Waldorf Astoria Rome, Waldorf Astoria Berlin etc would be very tempting.

It isn’t that clear cut of course.  I am assuming that the free night voucher can be used at any hotel, which may not be the case.  Restricting it to weekend use also makes it less flexible.

Make no mistake though – I would be getting one of these cards if they did come to market.

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

How to earn Hilton Honors points and status from UK credit cards (December 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 9th January 2024, you will receive a huge 100,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 100,000 Avios) with The Platinum Card. You receive 75,000 points if you spend £10,000 in six months and a further 25,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.

The Platinum Card from American Express

Crazy 100,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY) and a huge range of valuable 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:

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive 30,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 30,000 Avios) with American Express Preferred Rewards Gold. You receive 25,000 points if you spend £3,000 in three months and a further 5,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.

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 (127)

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

  • guesswho2000 says:

    Excellent, I’d put 20k through option Y, and the majority of my spending isn’t even in GBP. That’s a great offer in the current climate.

    Wouldn’t be convinced with the GBP75 annual fee you propose, even with 2xHH:1xGBP, but if my spending was in GBP would probably consider it, so agree it’s a good proposal.

    The Aussie version is 1HH:$1, but with Gold included and a high annual fee ($389 IIRC), and I haven’t bothered with it. It does offer 4xHH:$1 at Hiltons.

  • Genghis says:

    Nice article Rob. I always try to be aiming for a bonus / target of some sort but it seems to be getting more difficult as we simply spend more. The free nights proposition could be interesting, however, as it would mean I continue to put spend through the card long term.

  • Andrew M says:

    Not sure we can be sure the 2nd certificate is restricted to the weekend. Of course, it may well be, but the wording is rather unclear I would say.

  • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

    I’m surprised that Diamond status isn’t on the table as an option (it’s a prominent feature on the cards in the US). I imagine there’s a significant contingent that would gladly swap out that second night certificate for unlocking diamond.

    • John says:

      I’ve realised that if you want to, it’s very easy to stay 30 times a year in the UK for cheap, while in the US it’s a lot more difficult for many people unless they do some very long drives (even by American standards)

      • Richmond says:

        I would like to see Diamond status at certain spending. I put £60K per annum through Hilton card and have no extra benefit except points. I would not entertain mattress run to get Diamond, I don’t want unnecessary spending and waste of time. I never get close to Diamond, I tend to stay couple of times a year for 7 days and then rest are just one night stays.

  • Din says:

    I am due to hit gold on the current hilton card in October. This will last for one year. Will I be at risk of Hilton changing their card scheme and cutting everyone off their benefits??

    • John says:

      If you achieve gold this year you will stay so until March 2020. If the current card ceases to exist mid-way through 2019 and you weren’t able to spend the £10K before that and failed to keep gold for 2019, you would have a valid complaint.

  • Jonathan says:

    Why don’t they try to stop the churning and offer say 10,000 points per year rather then 15k points one-off signup?

    Most credit cards do or did allow churning in the U.K. but it’s a faff to go through the application process 4 times (me & mrs every 6 months) a year per card times say 6 cards. I know it’s a small price to pay but like the gold Amex why not incentivise longevity.

    • the real harry1 says:

      Because they prefer the other model, which at its extreme is run like house/ car/ breakdown insurance or gas/ elec supply. Incentivise to recruit new consumers. Let the deal go expensive in year 2 onwards. Lose a few consumers but retain the majority of people too lazy to shop around.

      OK it’s much more low-key with credit card companies but some of them are still using a similar model.

  • Craig says:

    Only slightly OT: I’ve just completed a Diamond Status Match and I must say the process was fairly slick. I was upgraded 2 days after I sent the Spire Elite proof, completed my 8 stays on the 8th (6 of the 8 were already planned) and received an email confirming March 2020 on the 10th.

  • Memesweeper says:

    Any suggestion that there will be a change of issuer with the new package?

    • mark2 says:

      My choice would be Creation.

      • the_real_a says:

        Since they have dianne abbot running their ihg credit card they might be thinking twice.

        • Mark2 says:

          Soon she will be too busy as Home Secretary

        • Callum says:

          Ha good one! When Jeremy Corbyn can’t win against the complete mess that is the conservative party, you know Labour has severe problems…

      • Ian M says:

        Please not creation

    • Rob says:

      Virtually certain.

      • Memesweeper says:

        Thanks Rob. On that basis i’ll Hold my old one till the new one launches. Barclaycard have me hooked with a 0% on spend which was my incentive to be retained when I called up to shut the account a few months ago.

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

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.