Citi, Hilton Want to Swipe High-End Traveler
By: Brian O'Connell

 
NEW YORK (sbup) -- It’s the heat of the summer and Americans are on the move -- through airports, over highways, in train stations -- and hopefully, on the way to beach cabanas too, all in search of a place to decompress for a week or two.
 
If the search for relief from the heat ends in some Americans decamping to -- or dreaming of -- a luxury hotel, Citibank (Stock Quote: C) wants to reward travelers for spending $2,500 on a new credit card with the promise of two free weekend nights at a brand synoymous with the elite set.
 
The offer is good if consumers of the new Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Visa Signature credit card spend that $2,500 within four months of using the card. That gets the card owner two free weekend nights at a Hilton (Stock Quote: HLT) hotel anywhere in the world, as the resort giant looks to partner with Citibank to get more travelers into its rooms.
 
Co-branding is a big trend in high-end travel, and the Citi/Hilton combination is as big a co-brand as you can get. 

Here’s a closer look at the card, and what it offers consumers in the mood and market for a little luxury rest and relaxation:
 
The credit card has a $95 annual fee, and for that, travelers earn rewards points on where they go, how they travel, and how they spend their money:

  • 10 points per $1 dollar spent on Hilton hotel stays.
  • Five points per $1 dollar spent on airline tickets and car rentals.
  • Three points per $1 dollar spent on purchases made while using the card.

The no-fee version of the Hilton HHonors card offers six points per dollar spent at Hilton hotels, three points per dollar on supermarket, drugstore and gas station purchases, and two points per dollar on all other purchases. 

Hilton has hotels all over the world, but a two-night stay at the high-end locations aren’t cheap. According to Tripadvisor.com, a two weekend night stay at the Beverly Hills Hilton on August 3 to August 5 would set you back $750 per night for a standard double room. 

A similar room in New York City, at the Hilton New York Fashion District, near the Empire State Building, would run you $619, according to the Hilton website.
 
Over in the U.K., a one-night weekend stay at the Hilton London Metropole runs about $300 per night -- the London Olympic timeframe notwithstanding.
 
While your mileage may vary, it wouldn’t be difficult to get a $1,200 Hilton two-night hotel stay for free if you meet the four-month, $2,500 spending barrier.
“Hilton Honors Reserve card members will enjoy more ways to earn complimentary nights at thousands of properties in the Hilton Worldwide portfolio — and weekend night stay certificates that can be worth hundreds of dollars,” explained Ralph Andretta, director of co-brands and loyalty at Citi Cards, in a statement.
 
Citibank also says that Hilton HHonors Reserve card owners can get special concierge services while traveling, and aren’t penalized by foreign-transaction fees when using the card in international bourses (no-fee card members do get charged a 3% foreign transaction fee.)
 
If you like staying at Hilton hotels, and want to earn some decent travel rewards points, and get a few weekend nights free at a high-end Hilton hotel, the new Citi card may be for you. 
 

—For more ways to save, spend, invest and borrow, visit MainStreet.com.

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