Why I regret signing up for the 75K Citi HHonors card

There’s been some hoopla this week about the return of the 75K signup bonus on the Citi HHonors Visa, up from its normal 40K. I signed up for this card earlier this year when the bonus went up to 75K, but I kind of wish I hadn’t.

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Here’s why I regret signing up:

  • It is often worth under $400. 75K sounds like a lot, and it’s pretty good for a no-fee card that brings free Hilton Silver status. But unless you plan your trips around visiting the low-category Hilton locations, you’ll have a hard time getting great value out of these points. You could stay 8 nights in a category 2 Hampton Inn in Hunstville, Alabama, worth around $700, for example…Or you could use all your points on one night at the Waldorf Astoria outside Paris, France, which costs 80K points or 195 Euros per night. I prefer to sign up for cards that bring at least a $500-minimum signup bonus, unless the benefits of the card are otherwise very valuable (ex. Chase Freedom).
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Trianon Palace Versailles-Waldorf Astoria Hotel, Paris, France

  • Having two cards with practically the same benefits doesn’t add much value. I already had Hilton silver status from my no-fee HHonors American Express card that earns more points per dollar than the Citi card. The Amex card also has a 75K bonus, but with a lower minimum spend requirement of only $1K to get the signup bonus, rather than Citi’s $2K. Hilton is special as the only major company that uses two different credit card issuers, so there are lots of options for earning Hilton points. Hilton Silver status gets you a 5th night of any 5-night award booking free, so it’s definitely worth having a card that gives you that benefit.
  • This card counts toward my 5/24 limit with Chase, meaning Chase won’t likely approve me for most of their cards now that I’ve gotten 5 cards in the past 24 months. If I had been aware of this, I would definitely have at least waited until I already hit 5/24 before signing up for this one. Ideally, my first 5 cards would’ve been the top Chase cards I’m interested in, then I could focus on all the other banks, which don’t care how many cards I’ve signed up for. Here are some other things I wish I knew sooner.

Oblivious to these downsides, the headlines got me amped, and I caved on this card too soon. At least it’s better than the Walmart credit card with free 2-liter offer.

If you’re already at your 5/24 limit, don’t have either of these cards, or just really want one of these cards, here are the benefits of each:

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Though some people would prefer a Visa Signature card to an American Express card, the American Express card earns more points per dollar across the board and also comes with the benefit of having access to Amex offers. Here’s my post on how to earn an extra 10K points with your Amex HHonors card.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on either of these cards!

6 thoughts on “Why I regret signing up for the 75K Citi HHonors card

  1. Hilton “published” points range for each category is a “sham” and “disingenuous” to say the least. A room in the 95K category can change to 275K depending what the Hotel feels for high season as opposed to SPG without any blackout dates with points staying the same.
    Hilton points are worth around 0.4 cents. So, a 75K is worth ~$300.

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  2. I signed up for the Citi card near the end of the promotion. My approval letter only stated 50,000 bonus points plus $50 statement credit for spending $1000 in 4 months. “Huh. I got bait-and-switched.” I am making an appeal to Citi to get the 75,000-point sign-up offer…

    I see values in owning both no-annual-fee Hilton cards. I do a lot of paid hotel stays, so it works to my advantage to put $1000 Hilton stays on the Citi card to earn the yearly 10,000 loyalty bonus and then put the rest on the AmEx card. Looking at it another way, if I only keep one card, Citi earns me more points than AmEx does unless I put more than $10,000 Hilton stays on the card.

    That said, I value where I can spend my IHG points more highly than where I can spend my Hilton points, so I’ll probably put $1000 hotel stays on my Citi Hilton card and the rest on my Chase IHG card.

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  3. Pingback: Amex Hilton cards offering more points for adding authorizing users; 10K or 5K (targeted) | easyjourneys

  4. Pingback: The first good value Bay Area Hilton award redemption I’ve ever seen | easyjourneys

  5. Pingback: Hotel review: Hilton Garden Inn Venice Mestre San Giuliano | easyjourneys

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