Rumor: Something great from Citi…

On Tuesday, I reported on some “Exciting credit card rumors”.  In that post, I focused on a likely new Ink Bold product, and an increased SPG bonus.  However, in the comments of that post, Gary Leff (View from the Wing) coughed up something interesting:

I also expect Citibank and Hilton to announce something this week.  I am not under any sort of non-disclosure agreement about these things..

Then today he added:

The Citi Hilton news I expected to come out today will come on Monday

It’s a new product that’s pretty good and that should be around awhile :-).  Actually one of the best hotel products I’ve seen IMHO.

At first I wasn’t too excited about a Citibank/Hilton announcement.  After all, American Express has two excellent Hilton cards already (see “Surpassing Expectations” and “Another Hilton Gem”).  However, when Gary said this would be “one of the best hotel products I’ve seen”, my ears perked up big-time.  Seriously?  One of the best? 

Gary knows very well that there exist many outstanding hotel cards: Amex Hilton, Chase Hyatt, Chase Fairmont, Chase Marriott, Chase Ritz, Chase Priority Club.  These are really good products.  Most of the Chase cards come with a signup bonus of two free nights (or enough points for two nights), and another free night annually.  Can Citi not only match that, but beat it?

What magic does this new card hold?

Here are some random thoughts of what might be coming:

  • Free nights?  Sure two free nights at any Hilton property would be a great signup bonus, but would it be enough for Gary to call it the best he’s seen?  I don’t think so.  I think we’d have to see 2 free nights per year to warrant that opinion.
  • Free points?  I think the signup bonus would have to be 100,000 points to be considered the best.  Will we see a new 100K offer?
  • Elite status?  The Amex cards already provide the means to earn high level elite status through big spend.  Can this card trump that with automatic Gold status?  That would be a nice benefit!
  • Points per dollar?  The Amex Hilton cards already offer 6 points per dollar in a number of popular categories.  Can this card offer a multiple that’s even more attractive?
  • Travel benefits?  Maybe this card goes beyond Hilton benefits to airline club access, companion passes, or other perks?

What do you think?

I can hardly stand the wait! Tell me what you think is on the way.  Or, simply spill the beans Gary!

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Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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  1. MMM this is ominous. Right now the Citi Hilton cards are fully churnable. Between Citi and BofA Virgin card you can get 300k Hilton miles per quarter. So frankly I don’t want to see some new card that culls the churnability of the existing card.

    Nothing you list above cannot be realistically achieved today, so not sure what the excitement is. Maybe it pays a huge referral comish lol

  2. Phil: Have YOU churned them every quarter? That has not been my personal experience or maybe Citi black listed me in the good old before 2010 years…

  3. Delta Points: Allow time to find parking. Do not expect to find space in the new parking lot next to the library!

    And no inside stuff is spilled out until I get there…will be coming from Northville & will likely be late…ok? Thanks!

  4. About time… Citi’s Hilton card is inferior in every way other than being a visa. They really needed to improve their product, so let’s hope Gary is right and it really is good.

  5. I CARELESS ABOUT ANY HILTON CARDS, out of all the hotel points program and availablity and value, hILTON is the worst, they devalued their points so now $120 hilton room costs over 26k to 45k points.

  6. Rob, AXON redemption have pretty good value in my book. Please several of the cards can be converted to HH (many are churnable). I agree some properties don’t make since to use HH points but I would never use them over paying $120 for a room…I would use them for the highly priced destination locations..again using an AXON redemption.

  7. Citi cards don’t allow AXON redemptions by themselves. Instead you need a Hilton AMEX for this. It’ll be interesting to see how citi gets around this because they’ll need to in order to make this card competitive. Relying on GLONs alone will cut out some real value, and itll be difficult to compete with AmEx without an AXON equivalent in this new card.

  8. i dont have any hilton cards cos they are not good in value but i got 120k hilton points and gold status expires in 2013 or 2014. gold the gold status with the trick and received hilton gold status card in mail.

  9. I’m not holding my breath. This is after all Citi (not known for the best public offers, though decent hidden offers like AA cards), plus Hilton (devalues points ruthlessly and its reps have said publicly that they don’t care too much about having a good points program).

    My personal guess as to what we’ll see is 100K points (advertised as two free nights) with some minimum spend and probably an annual fee. This will, of course, be identical to what we can already do with the Virgin card. Maybe there will be one night free every year to provide some incentive to pay the annual fee (but probably not for the higher categories, maybe categories 1-4 or 1-5 only like Marriott).

  10. Got on the Hilton Bandwagon within the last 3 weeks since I exhausted all the airlines credit cards sign up bonuses. I applied and was approved for the 2 Citi Hhonors, Amex Hilton Regular and B of A Virgin Atlantic. Is there a policy that i need to wait 12 months to apply for the Amex Hilton Surpass since I already have the Amex Hilton card? Wish I knew about the Hilton honors cards a year ago so I could have churn them.

  11. I would guess that the bonus is free night (or free night per annual fee renewal) + Gold status for an annual fee card. That just puts Hilton in line with Chase’s hotel offerings.

    The initial spend on a two-browsered Citi Hilton allows one (almost) enough for four nights at a mid-tier Hilton or three nights at the Conrad Singapore, e.g. That’s about it; after the initial spend there’s no need to use the card unless staying at Hilton properties. Those cards are “sit in the drawer” cards,

    Gary’s comment “I am not under any sort of non-disclosure agreement about these things.” had me scratching my head, think “well, then disclose!”

  12. If it’s a citi and starwood card, then it dedenitely will be one of the best for me. Oh well, I can dream, can’t I?

  13. Sil – I think you could apply for the card – however, from what I have read, Amex may limit you to the delta between the current Surpass offer and your initial offer (60K vs 40K or 50K depending on which you got).

    While Amex does do that from time-to-time, they will give a bump (current offer I got have when I log in is 50K) to convert your hhonors amex to the Surpass HHonors amex. That is where the law chancge comes in – there is a regulation that says you cannot convert to a card with “adverse” terms (in this case a no annual fee card to an annual fee card) until after a year.

    So I need to wait until next year to convert mine and hope a similar offer is there. No biggie since, as noted, there is a bunch off ways to get HHonors points. Including a new one apparantly.

    I have telecom bills hitting my hhonors amex at this point for 6X – not as good as Ink bold, but I don’t have that card (yet).

  14. Maybe it’s Gold status as long as you hold the card; as with German Hilton card via DKB bank. I plan on getting this within the coming months (I live in Germany for the time being).

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