Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

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.

  • Lev441 says:

    I’ve never understood why more cards don’t encourage you to put all your spend on them by offering staggered rewards such as option y. I’d definitely be interested in robs version of the card.

    • MattC says:

      Agree, although here the cut off is £20k, many readers could surpass this if the earnings were still good but nothing is above this so…

    • Mr dee says:

      Not all cards are moderate or any profit profit for big spenders who pay off every month.

      • Rob says:

        There is no profit on big spenders now who clear balances. The reward cost is always higher than the interchange revenue.

        • lev441 says:

          Was thinking more out aloud about the amex cards – platinum especially – no real incentive to put money through it… At least the gold card has the bonus attached to a certain level of spend..

        • lev441 says:

          p.s. had a good time the other night, thanks rob

  • MattC says:

    They are missing something here, better companion cards and accounting.
    I’d argue if they are targeting big spend then this is pretty important to many.

    For high spending you often put your family on, but whilst Amex is great at breaking down spending per person in detail, other cards – looking at you Creation – don’t.

    Yes, this is IT related but should be pretty cheap to implement. Key seems to be that each card gets a different number to aid tracking.

  • Mr dee says:

    The model y 1 point or 2 points is fine but the free nights is a must and if it’s a paid version then 2 nights a year at least.

    • Mr dee says:

      Also diamond for 50k spend would be useful as he US card had something similar when I looked

  • Rob says:

    Hi,

    I am a BIG credit card spender. I run an advertising business and can spend £100k/month.

    I’m fairly new to avios/reward cards.

    At the minute I put most of my spend through a BA Amex Card. Now I’ve discovered curve and use a Tesco card to pay my VAT bill.

    Can I use Curve to pay off my amex to earn even more points?

    What is the best card reward card I can use to link with my Curve? I’m using Tesco currently, I can’t use HSBC, but it will need to be MasterCard/VISA.

    • Rob says:

      See https://headforpoints.com/2017/09/04/what-is-the-best-visa-or-mastercard-travel-loyalty-credit-card/ On those sort of volumes the Virgin Reward Plus is your best bet. Remember that Virgin miles will be spendable on KLM and Air France within 12 months so a lot more options will open up.

      • Genghis says:

        Equally, at those sorts of volumes, decide what you want to do as in reality you can achieve anything quite easily. SQ suites for example through the HSBC card / SPG card (while it lasts)?

        • Rob says:

          What is an SQ suite?

          Ideally would love a few free family holidays each year (flights + hotels) not necessarily bothered with 1st class etc.

          • Rob says:

            See https://headforpoints.com/2018/06/20/new-singapore-airlines-a380-first-class-suites/

            It really depends on where you go. For example, using Singapore Airlines miles (1:1 from HSBC World Elite or any Amex Membership Rewards card) you can get business class return to the Middle East from the UK for just 50,000 miles return (BA wants 120,000 Avios) flying usually SWISS or Lufthansa. Great if you go to Dubai a lot, not a lot of use if you don’t. One option is to work backwards from where you go a lot and see which airline scheme has the best rates.

        • TripRep says:

          SQ Suite = Singapore Airlines First Class cabin suite

    • Mr Dee says:

      I’d look at the virgin card, good so far

    • Sundar says:

      Rob – With that kind of spend, you can definitely plan your aspirational rewards and work the spend accordingly.
      Regulars like Genghis, Triprep will probably draw you a roadmap 🙂
      Happy to share ideas/suggestions as well.

  • Peter K says:

    Option Y for me, though if it were creation running it that’d be a real nuisance.

  • TripRep says:

    “20,000 Hilton Honors points, worth £66”

    Happy getting a £350 room yesterday for 20k… 😀

    https://headforpoints.com/2018/07/10/ihg-launched-new-promotion-10-off-points-cash/#comment-269373

    • Nina Jarvis says:

      Where?

    • marcw says:

      You can not value taht high Honors points anyway. Now you can buy with a 50% discount, so effecitvely 20.000 points for USD100 = £75.

      • TripRep says:

        But my point is valid, enabled me to make a booking on points when the cash price is ridiculous, clearly only a couple of rooms left.

        • Genghis says:

          What you buy points for (and therefore what they’re worth to you) and what you’re willing to then sell them for are two different numbers.

          I.e. you got a great redemption there (selling points) (I assume you wouldn’t have paid the £350) but equally you could just buy the points to do redemption (buying points).

        • marcw says:

          No. You wouldn’t have spent £350. Instead, you would have bought 20k for £75,

      • Rob says:

        If you can buy them for £75 then it is easy to value them at £66. Not so easy the other way round!

        • TripRep says:

          My comment was more about being grateful I follow HFPs and collect points at all, one of the rooms I booked was for someone that doesn’t collect lotalty points.

  • TripRep says:

    Option Y + Platinum for 30k?

  • sunguy says:

    Meh….Im on the Hilton reviews boards, have a Hilton credit card (current), Gold in Hhonors (both spend and stay based!) and I didnt get asked!

    • Jamie B says:

      My ‘proper’ diamond account (now lapsed blue) got asked. But my two status matched accounts – everyone else seems to be doing it – did not. On status matching: I have not noticed any degradation whatsoever in my Hilton stays lounge wise whatsoever (the exception being Newcastle… but hey… give Geordies a free beer and they’ll try and drink the brewery at 7am) and my eyes have not been opened by IHG Spire – which I have put more of my cash into the past two years. Crown Plazas are hit and miss lounge wise. And a ‘welcome drink’ does not equate to a decent breakfast. And apart from CP Bratislava not a single CP has delivered as much as even a DoubleTree. So, back to Hilton for me. Except Hilton Newcastle over any weekend.

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