Replacing the Hilton UK Credit Card
Nearly a year ago today, it was announced that the Hilton Honors Platinum Visa credit card would stop accepting new customers. Whilst this came as a slight shock to the market, the recently introduced EU cap on the amount branded credit cards were allowed to charge retailers meant that a number of branded credit cards were withdrawn from the market. Whilst the Hilton credit card UK was not completely withdrawn – as existing customers have been allowed to keep their cards – we believe it will only be a matter of time.
With no obvious replacement Hilton credit cards being offered by Hilton, both new and existing customers are looking elsewhere for credit cards which will still allow them to accumulate Hilton Honors points on their everyday spending.
Within this review we’ll cover the best cards currently available in the UK market which will allow you to continue to earn Hilton points and help you select the best substitute for the Hilton Barclaycard credit card.
To help with our analysis of the best Hilton Honors credit card UK we thought it would be useful to illustrate why we believe a Hilton Honors point is worth approximately 0.3p per point. This will then allow us to calculate the value of benefits offered by the various cards. To do this we’ve set out a couple of examples below:
Example 1 – As we can see below, booking the DoubleTree by Hilton Docklands would cost either £148 or 49,000. The saving of £148 would equate to 0.3p for the Hilton Honors points used in this example.
Example 2 – HOWEVER, occasionally it’s possible to achieve even better value. In the example below, if you were to book the Hampton by Hilton London Docklands on exactly the same night, you’d receive 0.5p per point!
With points ranging from 0.3p-0.5p in the examples above, by adopting 0.3p we hope to provide a worst-case scenario with potential for additional value to be generated through clever booking.
Let's break this post down...
Why We Liked the Old Hilton Barclaycard Credit Card
Before we jump into alternative Hilton Visa cards, let’s take a look at the former Hilton Honors credit card, outlining the good and bad.
The former Hilton Honors credit card was issued directly by Barclaycard with no restrictions to customers who also had other Barclaycard products.
Our favourite benefit of the Hilton Honors Platinum Visa card was the free weekend night’s stay in any Hilton when you spent £750 on the credit card in the first 90 days. The free night’s stay needed to be used within 6 months of receiving the voucher and could be used for any hotel under the Hilton umbrella including the lifestyle luxury brands:
- Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts
- Conrad Hotels and Resorts
If well chosen, this benefit of the Hilton UK credit card could have been worth a considerable amount of money. If you were planning on travelling slightly further afield, a free night’s stay at the Conrad Maldives could save you in the region of £520. Slightly closer to home could be the Waldorf Astoria Rome (saving £397) or the Conrad St James London (saving £339). My other half and I used ours for the Waldorf Astoria Rome – read my review here which includes details as to how we also received free BA flights!
With over 4,600 properties to choose from and 14 different brands, the free night’s stay offered with the former Hilton Visa credit card provided something for everyone!
The Hilton Honors Visa credit card also offered Silver status in the Hilton Honors loyalty programme and an upgrade to Gold if you spent £10,000 on the card in a calendar year. You’d also receive an ongoing spending rate of 2 Hilton Honors points for every £1 spent on the card. To give you an idea as to how far these will go, a night’s stay at the Hilton Bankside London on a Friday in October would set you back about 41,000 Hilton Honors points.
Why Did Hilton Stop Accepting Customers to the Hilton UK Credit Card?
As I alluded to early, a European cap on interchange fees (the amount a credit card provider can charge a retailer) of 0.3% has impacted a number of credit cards including the Barclaycard by Hilton.
With a sign-up reward that could be worth as much as £500 and 2 points for every £1 spent being worth in the region of 0.6p it’s likely that this card is not washing its face.
So why have Hilton not cancelled the card for existing Hilton credit card customers? There’s been rumours for some time now that Hilton will be launching a new card. So rather than potentially losing customers they may be waiting to move existing customers across.
Possible New Hilton Credit Cards to Earn Hilton Honors Points?
The rumour mill has been suggesting for some time that a new Hilton Honors credit card UK may be released in the short to medium term. We understand that there are two options being considered and whilst most of the features are broadly in line with the old Hilton Visa card, there are a couple of subtle differences:
- Sign-Up Bonus: There are two options proposed.
- 15,000 points when you spend £1,000 on the card in the first 3 months. There is no loyalty spend bonus offered with this version.
- 10,000 points when spend £1,000 on the card in the first 3 months. A free Hilton hotel weekend stay (2 nights) if you spend £15,000 per year. An additional 1 night stay when you spend £20,000 annually.
Whilst reaching the hurdle of £15,000 in a year will be tough for most, the free weekend stay at any Hilton could again have real value if used correctly.
But let’s face it, these rumours have been doing the rounds since the previous Hilton rewards credit card stopped taking on new customers some 12 months ago. I suspect if we were going to see a new Hilton UK credit card it sadly would have been launched by now.
Best Alternative Hilton Honors Credit Card UK
OK so now the part we’ve all be waiting for, let’s take a look at how you can still earn Hilton Honors points with a credit card and what your best options may be.
You may or may not be aware that you can transfer points from American Express Membership Rewards to your Hilton Honors account at a rate of 1 Membership Rewards point to 2 Hilton Honors points. This opens up a number of interesting opportunities to continue to collect points through a form of Hilton Amex credit card.
In this search for the best replacement Hilton Honors credit card UK we’ll look at both free and fee-paying credit cards.
Free Hilton Honors Credit Card Alternatives
There are currently two alternative Hilton credit cards we’d recommend considering, however as we explain below, one provides significantly better value than the other…
- American Express Gold card (reviewed here): The card is free for the first year and offers a generous sign-up bonus of 10,000 Membership Rewards when you spend £3,000 on the card in the first 3 months. With a rate of 1 American Express Membership Reward point for every 2 Hilton points, the sign-up bonus would equate to 20,000 Hilton Honors points. At 0.3p per point this could be worth £60. You’ll receive a further 1 reward point (2 Hilton points) for every £1 spent as well as 2 free airport lounge passes. You can increase the sign-up bonus to 12,000 reward points (24,000 Hilton points) by using this link.
- Virgin Atlantic Reward MasterCard credit card (reviewed here): The ability to transfer Virgin Flying Club miles to Hilton Honors at a rate of 2:3 opens up the opportunity of using the new Virgin MasterCard as an alternative Hilton credit card UK. The card currently offers a sign-up bonus of 5,000 Virgin Flying Club points which is occasionally increased to 10,000 points. Even the increased rate, which would equate to 15,000 Hilton Honors points, is considerably behind the Amex Gold card. You can read our full review of the Virgin Atlantic credit card here.
Paid-For Replacement Hilton Credit Cards UK
- American Express Platinum (reviewed here): This card comes with a whopping annual fee of £575 pa. However if you travel a significant amount, the value of the numerous benefits offered by the card could more than outweigh the annual fee as we discuss in our recent review here. The card offers a sign-up bonus of 30,000 reward points (60,000 Hilton points) which can be increased to 35,000 points using this link and scrolling down to the correct card. You’ll receive Gold status with Hilton and a number of other hotel schemes, as well as the likes of unlimited airport lounge access, family travel insurance, rental-car insurance, the list goes on and on and on…
- Virgin Atlantic Reward Plus MasterCard (reviewed here): With an annual fee of £160 pa the Virgin Atlantic Plus MasterCard appears cheap next to the card above. However as would be expected, the benefits aren’t as good. In fact, if you’re seeking to convert the sign-up bonus of 25,000 points to Hilton points, you’d only receive 37,500 Hilton points which when compared with a possible 24,000 points with the (free for the first year) American Express Gold card wouldn’t justify the £160pa annual fee.
Things You May Not Know You Can Do With the Points from the Hilton Credit Card UK
If you’re sitting on a large balance of Hilton points and are unsure how you’ll be able to spend them, you don’t have to use your points for just hotel stays.
Hilton have partnerships with airlines such as Virgin Atlantic, Hawaiian and Sri Lankan airlines which allow you to use your points to redeem rewards flights. Unfortunately because of the exchange rate you’ll receive for transferring points between the various loyalty schemes you’re unlikely to receive a value of 0.3p per point if used in this way.
You could also use your points on the Hilton Auctions site which allows you to redeem your points for concert tickets and other experiences. Examples of current offers are set out below.
FAQs – Hilton Honors Credit Cards
Do Hilton credit card points count towards status?
Unfortunately not. As we’ve seen, the old Hilton UK credit card offered Silver status upon signing up and Gold status once £10,000 had been spent on the card. The only credit card offering Hilton Gold status would currently be the American Express Platinum card.
Hilton UK Credit Card Conclusion
Since closure of Hilton Honors Platinum Visa card to new customers, we’ve been expecting a new Hilton credit card to be launched. Sadly this hasn’t been forthcoming and as such, new and existing customers have had to look elsewhere for an alternative Hilton Honors credit card.
As we’ve seen during this review there are still a number of unbranded ‘Hilton credit cards’ in the UK which will allow you to earn Hilton Honors points – some of which are clearly more generous than others!
For most, we’d recommend the American Express Gold card which comes with a sign-up bonus which could be equivalent to 24,000 Hilton Honors points. Whilst the card comes with an annual fee of £140 pa after the first year, we’d recommend that you cancel the card shortly before incurring this cost. I recently used this card alongside another to earn enough points for 2 First Class flights between London and Sao Paulo with BA. You can read my full review here which includes a step-by-step guide to earning enough points for 2 First Class BA flights!
We hope you’ve found this Hilton credit card UK review useful and as always please do reach out if you have any questions.
If you’re thinking of signing up to either of the American Express cards mentioned in this review don’t forget to use the following links to get an enhanced sign-up bonus:
- American Express Gold Card Sign Up– 12,000 points compared to 10,000 points
- American Express Platinum Card Sign Up – 35,000 points compared to 30,000 points
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