Hilton Will Pull the Trigger on a New Credit Deal Soon

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Hilton’s CEO says they’re in advanced talks on a new credit card deal. (HT: S.B.) What could that mean?

Based on Hilton’s earnings call this is expected in the second quarter.

Hilton is relatively unique — although now not alone in the U.S. since American has two card issuers here, or along in the world since Etihad has multiple bank issuers in the same market for instance — in having more than one credit card issuer. Both American Express and Citibank issue Hilton cards.

A new credit card deal could be a renewal of the current arrangement at a higher price. A new bar was set by Citi-Costco leading to higher priced deals for Delta, United, Southwest, and American Airlines. And American Express and Chase are still jockeying to figure out what the future looks like with Marriott (Chase is co-brand card issuer) and Starwood (American Express issues) have merged. Normally you’d expect the surviving issuer to be Chase given that Marriott was the acquirer. However American Express has been aggressive trying to figure out how to retain the business.

It could also be a new deal with only one issuer. American Express has been aggressive since losing Costco (and jetBlue). They renewed Delta and Starwood (although Starwood is now in question with the merger). They’ve been increasing their marketing spend. They could be going after Hilton at a high enough price point to gain exclusivity, turnabout on Citi for taking the much larger Costco deal away from them.

Conrad Koh Samui

Unquestionably any new deal will be more expensive for the bank issuer than the current deal. That’s going to mean more money to Hilton Honors. As a consumer what I’m looking forward to is learning what benefits may come along with a new card deal, since the bank is going to want to position itself to have a more profitable product, more attractive to more people, generating higher levels of spend.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Maybe finally something that gives me (HH Gold) free breakfast at Waldorf Astoria properties?

  2. I’ll tell you what it means (if I may borrow your quote Gary). It means sales by all the bloggers pushing the Hilton card will come to a screeching halt. 😉

  3. Gary, so then with AmEx most likely throwing a lot of money at Hilton… would this be a good time to hop in and get the Citi Hilton Reserve card just in case Citi loses the card? I already have the AmEx Surpass so can’t cancel and get the bonus again.

  4. It’s probably a good time to get Hilton cards from both Amex & Citi while you can.

  5. LOL. Just can’t let the bias against Hilton go, can you?! Apples and oranges are not the same fruit and should not compared!!!

    “Hilton is relatively unique — although now not alone in the U.S. since American has two card issuers here, or along in the world since Etihad has multiple bank issuers in the same market for instance — in having more than one credit card issuer. ”

    Just admit it, @Gary, Hilton is UNIQUE among HOTEL loyalty programs, not only in having 2 credit card issuers, but also in having 2 credit cards from each issuer, for a total of 4 co-branded loyalty CCs. You should be comparing that to other HOTEL loyalty programs and NOT to AIRLINE FF programs!

    A real coup would be if Hilton added CHASE as another issuer… 😉


  6. I literally don’t remember the last time I read a post of yours WITHOUT A TYPO. Thot leeder indead.

  7. DCS – there’s nothing to complain about here, and you know I’ve often joined you against anti-Hilton bias

  8. @James — Thank you for often joining me against anti-Hilton bias, but you do not seem to know @Gary as much as I do. The bias I pointed out is as clear as spring water. Why the comparison with airline FF programs? I will tell you why…

    …because every positive thing he says about Hilton or H Honors must either be heavily caveated or full of bogus and discredited claims about the program’s purported shortcomings in order to bury the “good” his post — HHonors got no credit: mission accomplished!

  9. Only morons would rejoice at having “guarantees” whose real, in fact, only purpose is to place severe restrictions or limitations on a perk…

  10. Definition of an “alternative fact” at it’s finest – it’s your personal opinion that has zero basis in fact. Most rational posters realize these guarantees set a floor, not a ceiling. Key word being “rational”.

    Sheraton Grand in London was more than happy to give me 6pm – what’s an extra two hours when 4pm is already guaranteed?

    The equivalent Hilton, where you’re not guaranteed anything past 12pm? Good luck getting 6 more hours.

  11. How stupid do Citibank and Hilton think their customers are?

    Citi Double Cash = 2% cashback on any purchase
    Citi Hilton = 3 Hilton points per dollar

    And yet a Hilton point has never been FARTHER from being worth 0.666 cents.

    And yet… Hilton wants to charge the banks MORE for its points?

    Hilton points would have to be offered at 5 points per dollar for me to consider spending on a Hilton card. And Citibank would have to be paying something less than 0.4 cents each for them to even consider awarding that many points per dollar.

    None of this is adding up to me.

  12. Not really sure what all the hype is about the 100k hilton signup. I looked at the conrad tokyo. For one night they want 258k points! You can get a room there for $560 if you buy in advance. Really? People should really look hard at what they want to redeem for before running out and signing up for this card. This card is a hard pass as far as I am concerned. Soo many better hotel cards out there.

  13. @stvr sez: “And yet a Hilton point has never been FARTHER from being worth 0.666 cents.”

    I am 100% sure you have no clue what that means.

  14. But @Bill, what about all those 5000 point Hilton properties the bloggers talk about. LOL. 😀

  15. @Bill — There are no Hilton STANDARD awards that cost more than 95K/night. To complain because all you found at the property were so-called “premium” awards fails to understand what the program offers. Those rooms that you could still book for 258K HH/night (it would be insane to do it) would simply be unavailable under most other programs, but it seems that it is easier to complain about exorbitantly priced awards than about lack of award availability, two situations that have exactly the same implications! See how misguided much of the bitching is?

  16. @DCS

    It’s semantics expensive award vs lack of the standard cheaper awards- the end result is the same devaluation in the program.

    We routinely call out AAdvantage for good award pricing to Asia but 0 zero seats at that level in the schedule for the next year. Effectively it means their price to Asia is the premium price or not at all.

  17. @Vinhsynd ditto. Well written.

    A devaluation is a devaluation. A rose by any other name.

  18. I don’t use Hilton Points for expensive hotels typically. I just redeem them at Hampton Inns and such. The redemption that I just scheduled yesterday, I’m getting almost 1.5 cents/point on for my three-day stay in June. I typically get a much better redemption than .6 cents/point.

    I’m looking forward to what this cryptic message means….

  19. I got the free Hilton Citi card, which I am going to keep because the extended warranty protection is so good (adds 2 years to any warranty, and since it’s no annual fee I won’t be temped to cancel it before 7 years.). But I mostly would want to use the Hilton card for Hiltons overseas, and it has foreign transaction fees. So I went looking for one of the Hilton Amex cards and they BOTH have foreign trans fees, even the one with an annual fee. I don’t get the point of a hotel card with foreign trans fees. So that’s the first thing that’s got to change. I’m going to using Chase Sapphire Preferred instead just because of that, even at Hiltons!

  20. Amex surveyed me. Asking all kinds of questions on Hilton Surpass Amex card. Quite a bit of the questions were on the foreign exchange fee. So, I’m guessing the new deal is just a refresh on one of the existing cards.

  21. Forget the Amex Hilton cards. If you travel outside the US, you get hit with a 3.7% foreign transaction fee. The surpass card gives you Hilton Gold, but you can also get it from an Amex Plat card.

    Citi is the better deal.

  22. er… that’s 2.7% forex charge. The Hilton Citibank Reserve card has no forex charges (but apparently not the free Hilton Honors Signature card).

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