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

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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.

Conclusion

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 (February 2024)

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.

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points 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.

Virgin Money is offering double points on spending until 14th April (£5,000 cap) to new customers when you apply for the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard. Click here to learn more.

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 (127)

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

  • Jim says:

    Would existing card holders likely be offered this including bonus .. or?
    Ta
    J

    • TGLoyalty says:

      I assume this is a new product so you would just sign up for this new version like the new virgin cards or the IHG cards when they launched with creation.

      • MattC says:

        I was targeted for this questionnaire.
        I have the old Hilton card, but also Diamond. If I was targeted for the former then that might bode well for a deal for existing users.

  • Andy says:

    Fascinating article and potential card offering. Would def be keen option 2. Will be interested to see how existing card holders are treated wrt any new products

  • Nick Burch says:

    I’d prefer it if the card came with enough qualifying nights for silver, rather than silver. Would offer more incentive to medium-frequency stayers as would let them top up their status. I think that’s what the old Marriott card did?

    • Rob says:

      It did. Good point (and has no real impact on low stayers because it would still trigger Silver immediately anyway).

  • TGLoyalty says:

    Option Y for me but perhaps a small fee ie £50-100 includes gold and you spend 20k for the additional night & diamond?

    • Sundar says:

      Option Y with a 50-75 £ annual fee is great for me. Also, Hilton Gold for Option Y with earning points qualifying towards Diamond would be great.
      Not Creation though please….as NOT having a mobile app is a big negative for me.

      • Alan says:

        I find their website works fine on mobile for checking spend, pending charges, etc.

        • Sundar says:

          Yes but…. 🙂
          An app(even with basic functionality) is quicker, lesser time to market for updates/new features than a website change.

        • Callum says:

          Only marginally. If you add a shortcut to the creation website on your home screen its not much different to having an app (though I don’t know if that’s possible with Apple?).

        • Joe says:

          An app with Face ID/Touch ID is much quicker than a website if you have to log into it each time, with Face ID you just have to keep looking at your phone to authenticate.

  • Ben says:

    It would need to be a lot more for me to move my spend from my BAPP. If I think about the value I can get for my 2-4-1 voucher against a weekend night in a Hilton, there’s no contest.

    I assume this is aimed at people who stay at Hiltons less regularly, as with their quarterly promotions and night threshold bonuses, you can rack up points very quickly – and earn an any-day-of-the-week stay (or stay in a cheaper Hilton and stay multiple nights).

    • Rob says:

      You need something for non Amex spend though. Remember that Curve lets you put pretty much anything onto a Visa or MC including any HMRC payments, bills (if provider does not accept credit cards) etc.

      • elguiri says:

        Slightly related – anyone had success paying tax-free childcare account (on gov.uk site) with Curve? Despite having the new debit card, it still says number not valid when entered…

        • imbruce says:

          I have used the Curve card to pay my VAT bill and also Employers Tax & NIC contributions,
          without any problems, you can choose which card you want to use via the app.

        • elguiri says:

          It redirects to Worldline for the payment, have to do it online – no app for childcare account.
          The same happens for my wife’s curve card, so not card specific.

  • Alan says:

    First choice Option X (Ron’s!), 2nd choice Option Y.

    Promising that they’re at least considering something semi-decent, hope it comes to fruition.

    • Alan says:

      Ermm, I meant option ‘Z’, *Rob’s* – bloody autocorrect!

  • Ian M says:

    The only problem with Hilton’s proposed option Y is that once people have hit £20k spend, if they’re smart they’ll stop using the card until the following year. I would favour an annual feel and higher earning rate like you suggest Rob. Then I would continue to use the card beyond £20k

    • MattC says:

      +1

    • Mr dee says:

      Would need to be 2.5 points at least though as the virgin paid card effectively gives you 2.25 if converted to Hilton.

    • Rob says:

      But do they want you to? Paying Hilton 0.5p to 0.6p for 2 points per £1 on interchange income of 0.3p is not smart.

      • Mr Dee says:

        No but its an option if you end up with a ton of Virgin points I guess

        • Mr Dee says:

          Then again for the sake of 0.25points its probably easier just to use the Hilton card, rather than having to go through the transfer process with Virgin and I guess in high volumes they may not approve it or get rid of the option.

  • MattC says:

    Doubt it as card is moving from Barclaycard to *probably* Creation.

    Note Creation already runs IHG and Marriot cards, option Y competes well with both of these – especially as Plat status in IHG gets you little.

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