Most major hotel chains now have co-branded credit cards that come with some intriguing benefits and in some cases, a bump in status for the respective loyalty program. Having the credit card is nice alternative to putting in the time and money to actually stay at the hotel. However, those benefits don’t come free. Most of these co-branded credit cards come with an annual fee. I was always told to get credit cards that have no annual fee, and I did at first. Now most of my cards have annual fees. It really comes down to whether or not the benefits you receive are worth paying the fee.
Here’s a look at some of the credit cards available to you along with the annual fee, benefits, and some insight as to whether or not this card is worth having.
Hilton HHonors American Express and Hilton HHonors Citi Reserve
The Hilton HHonors credit cards from American Express come in two flavors; The no-fee version and the annual fee version, the Surpass card ($75 annual fee). Here are some benefits that both cards have in common:
- Complimentary Silver VIP status in the Hilton HHonors program
- Achieve Gold VIP status when you spend $20,000 on the credit card in a calendar year
- Access to AXON and GLON discount codes that give you discounts on reward redemptions
For a $75 annual fee, the Surpass card gives you more points per dollar for when you actually stay at Hilton family hotels plus complimentary Gold status for the first year of card membership. You’ll also be able to get Diamond status if you spend $40,000 in a calendar year.
The Citi Reserve card comes with a $95 annual fee but, unlike the Surpass card, you get Gold status for as long as you have the credit card.
With Hilton HHonors Gold status, some of the notable perks are room upgrades, free breakfast and free internet. Of the three credit cards, your best bet is the Citi Reserve card because you get Gold status for as long you keep the card. Consider the alternative where you earn Gold the old fashioned way; head in bed. You’d have to actually stay a minimum of 20 stays, which could easily be over $2,000. I could do a lot with $1,900 in savings. I’m sure you could too!
If the AMEX cards and the AXON discounts tickle your fancy, I’d recommend starting withe Surpass card to get Gold status for the first year. The $75 fee is worth it for Gold status. To avoid paying another fee, you can always downgrade your card to the no-fee version before your fees are due.