A Recent Citi Upgrade Offer & Why Upgrading Is a Terrible Decision

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citi hhonors reserve upgrade

The Citi HHonors Reserve Upgrade Offer

A few years ago Hilton HHonors points weren’t great, but they were somewhat valuable. During that time the Citi HHonors Visa Signature card was churnable and it was giving 50,000 bonus points at sign-up. It was pretty easy. Sign-up, collect points, sign-up again, etc.

Eventually Hilton had a huge devaluation and their points weren’t as desirable for me, so I stopped applying for new cards. Since the cards I have don’t carry an annual fee, I have kept them in my card binder for the past couple of years.

As you may know, Citi also has their HHonors Reserve card which gives Gold status and 2 free weekend nights at sign-up. While my wife has signed up for the Reserve card, I have never done it. It is on my list, but the Executive cards last year and ThankYou cards this year have taken priority.

The Upgrade

citi hhonors reserve upgrade

I talked briefly in my Q&A about the implications of upgrading/downgrading cards on your credit report. Then Citi sent me a “Special Invitation” solicitation to upgrade my regular HHonors Visa Signature to a Reserve card.  I carefully read over the entire advertisement and there is no mention of 2 free weekend nights. So the question then becomes, “Why should I upgrade?”

Well perhaps Citi thinks I want to earn 10 HHonors points per dollar on Hilton stays and 5 HHonors points on airline and car rental purchases. (I don’t.) Maybe they think I want the Gold status which comes with free breakfast. (I actually already have that.) While I don’t know what they are thinking, this is a terrible deal.

Why I Am Not Going to Upgrade

citi hhonors reserve upgrade
The text of the offer.

There is one huge reason for me NOT to upgrade. They aren’t giving me anything to do it. Additionally, by upgrading to the HHonors Reserve card, I am diqualifying myself from getting a bonus on that card for the next 18 months. Here is the language on the card application:

Weekend Night Certificates offer is not available if you have had a Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card account that was opened or closed in the past 18 months.

So in addition to not offering me anything to do the upgrade, Citi is taking away my ability to earn a very valuable bonus on this card for 18 months. Upgrading would be a terrible decision. I wonder how many people took them up on their “Special Invitation”.

Conclusion

When receiving an offer from a credit card company it is always important to try to look at the situation from all angles. In this case upgrading wouldn’t give me anything, but it would cost me 2 free weekend nights at almost any Hilton property. I really enjoyed the Grand Wailea when we used my wife’s two free nights and wouldn’t mind going back, so I’ll pass.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. Good warning.

    We also loved using our 2 free nights at the Grand Wailea. Got upgraded to the concierge level and the daily complimentary cocktail hour was great!

  2. The reason you don’t want to upgrade is the 18 month restriction where you cannot open a new reserve card and collect the 2 weekend night bonus over and over, correct? But if you were to only open the card once (getting the 2 weekend night bonus) and spend $10k within each year, you still get 1 weekend night as the anniversary bonus according to the website:
    “Earn an anniversary bonus of one weekend night (standard room, double occupancy) at select hotels and resorts within the Hilton Portfolio after you spend $10,000 on purchases each year (starting from your Annual Fee Date) and remain a cardmember.”

    Is upgrading the HHonors signature card to Reserve still worth it if you just maintain one credit card?

    Regards,

    • I’m not sure I follow your question, but in my opinion why would you upgrade if you can sign-up and get the bonus? I would rather just close my existing card and open a new one personally.

  3. What about the guaranteed upgrade to Diamond status or the higher points awarded for normal purchases. 3 points per $1 compared to the current 2 points per $1??

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