The Best Hotel Credit Card Overall: Citi Hilton Visa Signature

There are a couple of truly great hotel credit card offers for travellers this summer, but if we had to select only one, Outlaw would go with the Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature credit card. It stands heads and shoulders above the rest. (See the card’s design and apply online here to get a decision within minutes.)

What makes this one of the best hotel credit cards at the moment for U.S. travellers? There are several distinguishing features:

– The initial bonus: The Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature credit card allows you to earn 40,000 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points after making just $1,000 in purchases on your new card within the first 4 months. You can use those points toward free stays at any Hilton hotel or resort property within their vast global portfolio, which includes Hilton Worldwide’s 10 distinct hotel brands. So, if you spend just $250 or more on the card each month, you’ll hit the threshold in time & receive that generous point bonus.

– No annual fee: It is unusual for a rewards card of this calibre (included Visa Signature benefits, large promotional point bonus, etc.) to have no annual membership fee attached. The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express, for example, is a great hotel credit card but has a $65 annual fee after the first year’s $0 introductory fee.

– Solid, intuitive rewards structure: Aside from the 40K point bonus, cardholders “earn 6 HHonors Bonus Points per $1 spent at participating hotels within Hilton Worldwide’s 10 distinct brands,” and you’ll earn 3 HHonors Bonus Points per $1 spent on purchases at supermarkets, drugstores & gas stations (it’s 2 points per $1 spent on all other purchases).

The 10 Hilton Worldwide brands included in the 6 bonus points per $1 offer are: Hilton, Conrad®, Doubletree, Embassy Suites Hotels, Hampton Inn, Hampton Inn & Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, Hilton Grand Vacations Club, Homewood Suites by Hilton, and The Waldorf Astoria Resorts & Hotels group.

Are there any major drawbacks to this hotel credit card? Not really, unless you don’t plan on staying at a hotel within their brand portfolio. If, for example, you only stay at Westin Hotels when you travel on business, you’d be better served by the Starwood card. Also, there is no 0% introductory rate, so you should pay off your balance in full each month before your statement due date — this is not the ideal credit card for a balance transfer, nor is it the ideal card to “ride out” a large balance for months at a time. (See Outlaw‘s favourite 0% intro offers here; click on the “0% Intro Rates” tab to pre-sort for those kinds of offers only.)

Disclosures: We’re a credit card promotions site, and as such we maintain financial relationships with numerous banks and financial institutions, including some of the offers and cards mentioned or featured herein. This article originally appeared in slightly different form on Credit Card Outlaw‘s Top Cards section.

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