Needless to say there are a number of options, and this post is to educate people on the different options in order to get the best cards, or maybe to share a new way of transferring from something you already have.
1) Virgin Atlantic Card (75k bonus) = 112,500 HHonors points
I was surprised to see the generous transfer from Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Miles. While it’s normal to transfer at a better rate to HHonors, given that they are worth a little less, what makes it odd is that it makes the Virgin Atlantic card the highest earning Hilton card.
Virgin advertises the transfer rate as 2:3 but you have to transfer in increments of 10,000 Virgin Atlantic miles.
The 75k bonus miles would technically be 87k after the spend requirement. However, you’d really have to transfer in 10,000 mile chunks so the rate for 80k would be 120,000 Hilton HHonors points.
Remember that the annual fee of $90 isn’t waived for the first year. So it’s basically buying the Hilton points for $90 and an application with Bank Of America.
2) Hawaaian Airlines (35k bonus) = 52,500 HHonors points
Hawaiian, just like Virgin, transfers 1:1.5 and in increments of 10,000 miles. Not a big deal but that’s potentionally 52,500 worth of Hilton points.
If I recall correctly back when we had this card the transfer was 1:2 and Hilton points were worth more. But it is what it is, and having more options never hurts.
Remember that the annual fee of $89 isn’t waived for the first year. So it’s basically buying the Hilton points for $89 and an application with Barclays.
3) Amtrak card + Chase UR = 50,000 HHonors points a year
This is the most complicated option and it’s probably hard to let go of Chase Ultimate Rewards, but an option left that transfers 1:2 to HHonors still. And it opens up transfers from the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Ink Plus (or Ink Bold).
So the short version is that Chase UR transfers to Amtrak 1:1. And then Amtrak transfers to Hilton HHonors 1:2. In a roundabout way it’s Chase UR points to HHonors 1:2.
It’s a bit more complicated than that because you have to be eligible to transfer Amtrak points to hotel points. Fortunately one of the ways is (in short) having the Amtrak credit card. The bonus isn’t great, as it’s currently only 10,000 Amtrak points, but it has no annual fee.
With the credit card you can transfer 25,000 Amtrak points per calendar year, which turns into 50,000 HHonors points.
Read more: Best Use of Amtrak Guest Rewards Points.
4 – 8) Five different Amex MR cards
Both Amex EveryDay Credit Cards, Green Card, both Gold Cards, and the Platinum Card all transfer to Hilton HHonors points at a 1:1.5 ratio.
Generally, there are better redemption options for Amex Membership Rewards points in terms of value. But if you need the Hilton points, here are 5 more options and Amex has some decent category bonuses for certain types of spending.
9 – 11) Three different Citi cards
Citi ThankYou Premier, Citi Prestige, and Citi Chairman all transfer to Hilton HHonors points at a 1:1.5 ratio.
This is kind of getting to be same old same old with the transfer bonus being 1:1.5 with most everything I’ve mentioned.
12 – 15) The four Hilton HHonors cards
- Hilton Reserve Citi
- Hilton Surpass Amex
- Hilton HHonors (no annual fee) Citi
- Hilton HHonors (no annual fee) Amex
First off, there is a no annual fee Hilton card with both Citi and Amex. Pretty simple.
But both Citi and Amex also offer interesting higher end cards and those two are very different and need a second to explain.
The Hilton Reserve Card
The Reserve card is a Citi card that offers a very specific bonus of 2 free weekend nights at Hilton hotels. Basically they work like any other free nights, in that they can be used at any property where standard award availability exists. However, they need to be used on weekend nights. And as an annual bonus you can spend $10,000 and get another weekend night.
But the reserve card makes a couple more relevant offers. The card earns 3 points per dollar anywhere, and 10 points per dollar at Hilton. 3x is pretty generous, and useful for uncategorized spends when going for a category one redemption of 5,000 points. You’d need to spend $1,666 to get a free night at a category 1.
Plus, the card comes with Gold status (enough for lounge access and breakfast for most properties) and the ability to spend your way to Diamond status. A mere $40,000 of spend on the card each calendar year gets you Diamond status.
Also note that the card has a $95 annual fee not waived for the first year.
The Hilton Surpass card
The Hilton Surpass is Amex’s bigger Hilton card with a $75 annual fee (not waived the first year). The bonus generally goes between 60,000 and 80,000 bonus points.
Although the spend features are the more competitive aspects of the card. The card also gives Diamond status after $40k of spend. But the card gives 6 points per dollar at drug stores, grocery, and gas stations. Plus it gives 12 points per dollar on spends at Hilton.
The biggest bonus is the Virgin Atlantic card if you really need a large number of points. After all, 120,000 Hilton points could be 24 nights at a category 1 hotel, or 12 nights at a category 2.
I’d say the most underrated credit card is the Citi no annual fee Hilton card. It’s a card I’m regularly tempted by, as it’s free points.
But the best card if your goal is high end redemptions is the Hilton Reserve if you can use the nights on a weekend. Because top end Hilton hotels require a ton of points, as much as 95,000 HHonors points per night. So the wise thing for these hotels would be to get the Reserve card and not use any points.
Although if you were trying to rack up a lot of points here are a ton of options, and options for 6x for spending at certain stores, or 3x everywhere. All that to say, earning Hilton HHonors points can be super easy.